I Aten't Dead

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Back Stories

  • February 5, 2014 1:09 pm

Ever since I got my first doll house about 8 years ago, I’ve always felt that each house needed its own back story so that it could be decorated and furnished correctly.


With my first house, I went with something easy — late Victorian. There’s a ton of stuff you can buy for houses in this era. In fact about 90% of the merchandise out there is aimed at Victorian houses. Same with all of the DIY books. So it was hardly surprising that this house was decorated and furnished pretty quickly and easily.

The back story for this house is that it is in a northern village (Yorkshire?) circa 1890 and owned by an older widow. Although these days she spends her time knitting, cooking and entertaining her neighbours, she does have a few “different” hobbies as well. She’s a keen amateur photographer and was, in her younger years, something of a biologist. She has three children — all of whom moved to different parts of the country and are now married — and two young grandchildren.


House No. 2 needed to be very different. Two Victorian houses would have been overkill. So this house is firmly set in 1941 during World War II. The house as given to me fully decorated and — although the wallpaper is well worn — I’ve no plans to replace it any time soon. It looks just right for this period.

Furnishing & filling this house has been a lot harder! For a start, there are less miniatures around of this period (1930 – 1945). Then there’s the fact that this was an era of hardship. Food & clothes were rationed. Furniture was probably very hard to come by as there wasn’t much of a workforce to make it. So people tended to do a lot more in the way of “make do & mend”. Sparklingly new pieces of furniture would look totally wrong in this house, so I have to try and locate distressed pieces. Or buy new and distress them myself. Even so, finding the right pieces for this period is difficult.

This house is owned by a young family in a large city (Liverpool?). The father is a railway clerk (a reserved occupation) by day and an air raid warden by night. The child is quite young (perhaps 18 months old), so the mother is a housewife. They are reasonably well off but food — like meat, butter & eggs — is rationed, so meals revolve around vegetables and some fish. Dressing the kitchen is really hard compared to the well-stocked Victorian larder!

I really must dust my camera off and take some photos of both houses. However, be warned! Unlike my Victorian widow, I’m a pretty lousy photographer.

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