A Wonderful Dollhouse Before & After: The Restoration Is Complete

I’m back today with Part 2–the reveal of Elena’s wonderful dollhouse renovation/restoration. If you missed yesterday’s post, check it out first so you can see the condition the house was in before Elena worked her magic. You’ll find Part 1 here: A Wonderful Dollhouse Before & After: The Restoration Begins.

If you remember from yesterday, the railing and balusters of this porch area were broken and many were completely missing. Also, the opening to the porch was missing its doors. Since Elena’s dad had handcrafted her dollhouse, finding doors that fit proved to be a challenge, but Elena didn’t give up and found some that worked beautifully!


Here’s how this area looks now with the furniture in place. So nice! Amazing how realistic everything looks!


The kitchen is located below the outdoor porch/balcony area. It looks so cute with all its furniture back in place. I love those little cans on the hutch.


Remember the beautiful wainscotting Elena handpainted yesterday? How does it look now that it’s in the dining room?


Wow! Such an elegant room!


Here’s how the dining room looks with the furniture back in place. You may remember from yesterday’s post, Elena decided to keep and reuse the same furniture that was originally in her dollhouse in the 1970s.


Here’s how the stairway area looks downstairs with all-new wallpaper. The medallion is back secured snuggly to the ceiling–before it had been falling down. Elena had to completely rebuild the handrailing and balusters since the old one was falling apart.


Here’s how this area looks now with furniture.


Next, we come to the living room, or maybe this is a parlor or sitting room.  Looks like someone is working on their needlepoint.


Upstairs we are in the little girl’s room. It has new wallpaper, too. Elena said, “I kept the original girl’s room curtains since I made them and they matched the bedspread.”


At the other end of the house upstairs, we find all-new wallpaper in the room, along with the newly rebuilt, gilded staircase. Regarding the staircase, Elena said, “My father made the original one by hand with dowels and slats. I think it was to appease my 12-year-old mind that asked, “But HOW are they going to get up to the third floor?” Well, it totally fell apart, so I found a vintage kit on eBay and made one myself!” I wonder how Elena will furnish this room in the future.


Remember the attic space?


Now it’s a cute nursery…


…a bathroom.


And a guest room.


Here’s how the house looks restored without the furniture in place.



And here’s how the house looks with furniture back in each of the rooms. (The attic rooms aren’t visible since they are only visible when the roof is raised up to access those.) I know Elena’s dad would be so proud to see the dollhouse he built for her as a child, fully restored and just as beautiful, if not more so, than when he originally built it for her in the 1970s.


Thanks so much to Elena for sharing this wonderful dollhouse restoration project! It’s making me want to do the same for the Victorian dollhouse I found antiquing so many years ago! Elena and I both really loved reading your comments on yesterday’s post–those special childhood dollhouses hold so many wonderful memories and truly live in our hearts forever. ♥♥♥

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  1. Franceil Parde says

    Charming is an understatement…I would find myself “talking to it” every time I passed by…”nite, nite Elena.” franki

    • Oh My! I will probably be doing that every night from now on, wasn’t that a Twilight Zone episode? LOL!!! Thank you for the kind comments!

  2. Kara Thompson says

    I really loved this post! I always wanted a dollhouse like this as a child. So much fun! Beautiful details to everything. Thank you!

  3. Franceil Parde says

    “Totally Charming” is an understatement!! I would find myself “talking to it” every time I walked by! “Nite, nite, Elena!” franki

  4. I love this so much. I never had a doll house (unless a Barbie Dream Home counts) but I’ve always been fascinated by them. They are truly magical to me. Both Elena and her father did such incredible jobs. I can’t imagine attempting the restoration work. Thanks for sharing this doll house treasure with us….again, I love it!!!

    • Yes, Barbie definately counts, LOL!!! I also kept my Barbie Camper Van and Friendship Airplane but my kids hated them, I think I sold them on eBay to a collector. They were just too 70’s for them!!!! Glad I kept the doll house and furnishings though, the renovation was a lot of fun!

      • Christy Keyton says

        Elena, you have inspired me! I have a childhood dollhouse that my Uncle built for me to look just like my childhood home. Now I want to restore it! And I also had the Barbie Camper and Airplane! I loved them and wish I still had them!

  5. The details–both the original and restored–are phenomenal. The fireplace in the kitchen caught my eye. Such tiny pieces of stone and brick. Fantastic job Elena! Thanks so much for sharing the photos and process.

    • Thank you so much! I Love the fact that you appreciated the Kitchen fireplace! My Dad built it by hand with purchased 1/12 scale bricks and stones he found out in the driveway!!!

  6. Wow, wow, wow! The doll house looks amazing and Elena did a wonderful job on restoring it and I’m sure brought back floods of memories! A work of art for sure and I can imagine her father would be so proud that his creation has been restored and living on for future generations to enjoy! It is absolutely gorgeous! Hugs, Brenda

    • I appreciate the kind comments SO much! My Dad passed in 1998, renovating the doll house meant a lot and yes, it brought back some wonderful memories!

  7. Mary from Virginia says

    What a wonderful doll house! I had one as a child and I bought a dollhouse at a yard sale after you showed your yellow doll house Susan! Now that I have three little grandgirls I need to get moving on repairing mine. There are lots of people on Instagram showing their dollhouses. It’s so fun to see the workmanship! I really enjoyed these two posts. Thank you!

  8. All I can say is “Go for it!” Most times it was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be and when I did make a mistake I reminded myself it was a doll house and did not need to be perfect! There is tons of info available on the web. We own a hobby shop and although we never stocked doll houses or miniatures it was nice to have a couple of handy men (my husband and son) to rely on!!!

  9. Elena, it looks fabulous, you did an amazing job! I especially love the roof top patio with the white wicker furniture, darling!!

    • Thanks so much!! I was totally in love with Victorian furnishings and clothing, the white wicker was my favotite!!!

  10. The restoration is amazing!!! You did a great job! I actually giggled out loud with the gal soaking in the bubble bath. TOO cute!!! : – )

    I have two large dollhouses. My main one is complete, done in a 1940s era – and I have a vintage Victorian one I have always wanted to make into a Tea House…..but I decided not to spend the money doing so. So there it sits.

    I should sell it, I suppose as it is large and taking up a great deal of room in my storage area of the basement. I sure do love it though so it’s been difficult to want to sell it.

    And I never had a dollhouse when a little girl so I big time made up for it in my adult years, haha. Now my 7 year old grand plays with it and loves it – warms my heart!!

    • What a wonderful way to connect with another generation!!! I’m not sure when or where I bought the bubble bath tub, it’s definately not the original but I thought it was a hoot!!! The bathroom needs more decorative items, but the roof never had a support to keep it open. Once I get something figured out I will have to add some things! Victorian is defintately where my heart is at, I’m sure you’ll find a good home for the Victorian one day! Thanks you for the wonderful comments!

  11. Such a work of art and love!!! So special.

  12. Absolutely beautiful. Your hard work paid off. I hope you have someone in the family to pass it down. An heirloom like that should be around for a long time.

    I have one suggestion. Have you thought about putting framed family pictures on the walls? If so, there is an easy way to make dollhouse sized pictures from your family photos. Put an 8×10 photo on the floor and stand on a chair to take a picture of the picture. It should be the perfect size for your dollhouse. I think I purchased dollhouse empty frames and put my son and wife’s wedding picture on the wall in the living room of my granddaughters’ dollhouse. I used a film camera but should be just fine with a digital image as well. A picture of your father and family would be a nice tribute to the man who made this all possible.

    • OK Lynn, way to make me cry!!!! That is an INCREDIBLE idea!!!! I absolutely LOVE it!!! I will HAVE to try and make that happen, what a special idea, thank you SO much for sharing that.

      • Elena, you have a labor of love in your dollhouse, first from your father and now you. Sometimes the little touches make it even more personal to those who come after us. Restoring a beloved childhood toy as you have done is a wonderful gift to your descendants. Don’t know if you have ever read The Story of the Live Dolls, but it is an interesting story written in 1901 when the Queen of Dolls comes to tell all the little girls in a town that on a day in June all their dolls will come alive. Read it when I was young. I so wanted my dolls to come to life but no such luck. A dollhouse is an important part of the story.

        • Sounds like a wonderful story, I will have to find it. Another one of my Father’s loves, Books! Thank you so much for the kind words!

  13. I forgot something. If anyone is visiting Disney World or Florida, there is an amazing miniature store called Ron’s Miniatures in Orlando. They have been in business about 30 years. How they ever moved from one location to another remains a mystery. Millions of tiny things.

  14. I loved seeing this post. We have a dollhouse that looks just like this one. My father-in-law built it in the late 70’s. The floorpan is the same and even the porch looks close to the same.

    • That’s amazing!!! I know my father did not use any plans, I guess great minds think alike! I hope you cherish it as much as I cherish mine!

  15. What an absolutely delightful family heirloom!

  16. A lovely tribute to your Dad and a wonderful family treasure…a true labor of love. Thank you for sharing Elena.

  17. YES! I agree…what a labor of love. It truly is something to treasure for years to come. Great job!

  18. Thank you! I guess I made up for the years it was neglected and un used!!! Appreciate the kind comments!

  19. Beautiful restoration! What I am finding to be fun about the dollhouse is all of the tiny accessories. I noticed an iron in the kitchen, a telephone in the living area, different lamps on tables, eyeglasses, mantel clock, his and her towels, and all the food in the kitchen. It all just came together so nice and now you have past, current and future memories! Thanks for sharing.

    • So nice of you to notice the minute details!!! When I look at more current doll houses they are really full of accessories so I think I need more…….of course the mice got to a lot of mine!!! I love the way you looked at it……past, present and future memories……. Thank You, I will always remember that.

  20. I just absolutely love this….I got lost in your restoration! How perfect everything is. I’m amazed at the wallpaper….was that hard to do is such tiny spaces…and to line it up also. Wow. Beautiful work. There is a doll house in a large home not far from me (but I don’t go in that direction often) that I have checked out from passing by it for years….always wondered about it. The 2 story brick older home it’s in is gorgeous too….sometimes I panic thinking it won’t be there! I’m happy for you and hope you can enjoy it for years to come. Thank you for sharing!

  21. Thank you so much! If you look at the photos, my father did not wall paper the back walls of most rooms………only the 2 story center hall, which is wider than the other rooms. There was no way I was going to try wall papering those! He placed the wall paper before gluing the molding around the doors so luckily most of the moldings came off. Made it a lot easier. I left the original wall paper on the back walls of the center hall since it was still well adhered and not too faded. I don’t know if you can see it in the before photos, but he actually wall papered AROUND the steps of the staircase! I couldn’t even imagine doing that! I just cut a straight angle and stained the bare wood dark to match the steps. The hardest part of the restoration was that nothing was plumb or square. I think over the years the wood shrank in some areas. I love your story of the doll house in the older home! Next time you drive by it say hello for me!!!!

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