I have been on the hunt for an antique dollhouse for quite some time now.
A cupboard style house; taller than it is wide, and with a flat or mansard roof. Widow's walk and original wallpapers would be a huge plus. They are harder to find than regular farmhouse or Victorian style dollhouses, and usually very expensive.
This week at Brimfield, however, (loaded with cash from the Labor Day weekend thankyouverymuch), I was amazed to find three houses that I maybe coulda shoulda woulda bought.
I'll start with the one that got away. Home made cream Italianate.
I loved the details like the tower, trim, and the elevating base with steps, like you see in old English dollhouses. Also, the panel doors had old brass locks (children are not allowed to play with my miniatures!), and, the seller had already crafted replacement parts for the missing trim. Much bigger than it looks in the picture, the size of this house was out-of-scale for my collection of antique miniatures (1:12 scale), but I perhaps would have let that detail slide. Unfortunatly the house was sold before I got to ask the price.
This next one was old and sweetly tattered, small enough for a table top, and in very poor condition. $500.
Probably commercially made, maybe by Gottschalk or Bliss. I've bought and sold a few dollhouses like this, but none was "just right" for my needs)....
This one was restorable but didn't have enough going for it. Had all the wallpapers not been violently scratched and scraped off every surface, I might have sprung for it. That was the deal breaker.
Lastly, the one I loved the very most. If I were to build one from scratch it would look a lot like this.
Looked like an old FAO Schwartz store display or something. Wouldn't it look amazing in my shop window at Christmastime? Over 5 feet high, with balconys and side windows letting in lots of light. No doors to open; just reach right in. Electrified but (again) in need of much restoration. At $1800, it was way out of my league. Even at 7 am, the seller insisted I make any old crazy offer. I did, he declined, and when I went back two hours later to take a better picture --and maybe make a better offer? --- it was gone.