Over a decade ago, I stopped by a local school’s holiday fair and took a chance on three raffle tickets for a beautiful handmade doll house. It was a $6 investment, and to my surprise, I won!
My lucky win was this beautiful old doll house. It's large, measuring 27 inches wide, 27 inches deep and 22 inches high. Someone (I wish I knew who) hand made it and donated it to the raffle. It’s a scale model of an existing house called the Burr Homestead in Fairfield, Connecticut, a town about a twenty minute drive north of us.
Once the home of the influential Thaddeus Burr family, the Burr Homestead was the site of important social and political gatherings for many years. The family’s guests included Samuel Adams, the Marquis de Lafayette and none other than George Washington himself. The original building was burned by the British in 1779; the present Georgian structure was built circa 1790 utilizing the surviving chimneys and foundation.
Today, the Burr Homestead can be booked for weddings and private parties and is maintained by the Fairfield Historical Society. Surrounded by four acres of colorful gardens, this home was where John Hancock wed Dorothy Quincy in 1775.
The front face of my Burr Mansion lifts off to reveal 12 rooms. When I first brought this empty doll house home, I had every intention of furnishing it properly, with items suitable to it's 16th century heritage. However, once I did my research and visited several doll house shops, I realized how time consuming and costly outfitting this house would be.
Both of my kids were in elementary school at the time, and I wanted them to be able to play with and enjoy our new doll house. I discovered that Playmobil makes rooms of furniture for their doll house line that were the perfect size for our house. So we decided to furnish every room with plastic Playmobil furniture, housewares and people that are both colorful and indestructible.
We know our doll house interior is not historically correct or esthetically perfect. And I'll bet some doll house experts are cringing at its decor. Nevertheless, this house gave my children hours of fun without having to worry about breaking precious pieces.
Maybe someday when time permits, I'll undertake the project of filling our doll house with the right furnishings. But by then, we'll probably have grandchildren. Maybe I should just hang on to the Playmobil stuff!