KJ Dollshouses Street Scene

Friday, 14 December 2012


I recently exhibited 2 of my houses at the Kensington Dollhouse Fair and although I received fantastic comments and compliments for the 2 new style houses I took, as is the norm for me for shows here in the UK I didn't sell any. When I got back home and realised that with all of the costs involved including van hire, diesel, hotel, parking and the show costs themselves, I had spent about £500.00 just to here a few compliments I decided I had to think about making smaller items that I could sell alongside my houses at future shows.

At first I thought I would try to stick with the Tudor theme but soon realised that it would severely restrict my options and my customers if this is what I did. I therefore went into my workshop with no idea what I was going to do, after a little messing about and experimenting I decided to make a range of garden furniture to sell as finished items with the future intention of dressing them with tablecloths and food etc to sell as completed dressed items. (These will be featured on later blogs)

The first item I came up with was a standard picnic table with a bench on either side. I soon discovered however that I couldn't bring myself to just throw these pieces together and I wanted to make them to the same standards as I do my Tudor dollhouses, hence this bench has proper half housed joints and timber pegs securing all of the pieces together, so not a 5 minute job then. 

I moved on to making square tables with 4 fixed bench seats, one which has a 6" square table and a smaller one with a 4" square table, but both with the same amount of detailed work to them including their framework and also the scalloped ends to the support rafters.

For a real head scratcher I moved on to a more complicated geometric shape and made an octagonal picnic table with a continuous perimeter seat all the way around the outside of it. This made the supporting framework even more difficult to get right, but it worked out really well.

Next I tackled a gazebo style bench seat complete with hand made trellising to both sides which I am pleased with but can only see a limited way in which customers could further dress it by adding climbing plants and trailing flowers etc, so I moved on to a bigger challange.

And here it is the most difficult piece I have made so far. A 4" (4 ft) square table complete with 4 fixed high back chairs with scalloped heads. I am really pleased with how this turned out and am currently thinking of what to make next so any suggestions would be gratefully received.

Thursday, 4 October 2012




Base Size 620mm wide x 540mm deep 
Overall Size    640mm wide x 600mm deep x 1140mm high

There are a total of 17 wall lights, 2 lights hidden in chimneys, 2 hidden roof lights, 1 chandelier  with 3 bulbs and 3 lit fires.                  

This new house design, which I haven’t named yet, I came up with because I had received numerous requests to make a house which was smaller than some of the ones I had been making, so I decided to make one with 4 rooms, 1 room on each floor but they are big rooms so as to allow scope to accessorize them with loads of things without it becoming cluttered.



To give additional choices I have included 2 different ground floor access panels, one with a shop window and one with 2 smaller windows, so just by swapping them over and either hanging the signs or taking them away it can be either a shop or a house or a combination of the two.
As is the case in all of my houses the internal stairs are loose so that they can either be put in place or left out but in addition to this I have included a total of 3 decorative support posts which can either be used or left out. They come complete with magnetic support brackets so that once the posts are put in the required positions the brackets can be added to make them look permanent.


The house has as much if not more detail than some of my much larger houses including remote control lighting which can be turned on and off room by room, with the 3 working fires also wired separately. The largest room has oak panelling and an exclusive to me real stone fire surround. The ground floor room has a large fireplace with a pan hanging rail above it and 3 walls have a plate rack fitted.


A particular feature of this house is the arched window to the gable lift off access panel to the roof room which when removed provides really clear access to be able to furnish the room. This room has a 3 bulb chandelier, 2 wall lights at the rear and 2 lights high in the apex of the roof. All 3 lighting options can be controlled individually with the remote control so you can have all of the lights on or any combination of the 3 on/off. The roof room also features a dormer window and a fully timbered roof structure

The house has several mouse holes dotted around it and I can even supply a friendly mouse to come with it. There are 2 hanging signs that come with it, one rectangular one hanging centrally on the house and another square one which hangs from a gallows style bracket. You can have whatever text you want on these signs and I will make them up and send with the house.

Whoever buys the very first one of these houses can name it and that will be the name I use for it on my website and for all future sales of the house.



Saturday, 21 July 2012


I would like to post Tudor related stories/photos that other miniaturists and collectors can send me, that includes any other artisans who make Tudor items.

It could be photographs of your own house, room box and collection or something you have seen that you think would be of interest to other like minded collectors.

I am always looking for new ideas with regards to architectural features I can include on one of my houses so you could send me photos of real buildings you have come across, so I can think about including them.

Anyone who has something that they would like posted onto my blog please email me at kjbc@hotmail.co.uk and if I think it will be of interest to other enthusiasts I will post it on the blog.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Looking For A Customer For A Very Special Commission

Although all of my houses are individual and unique, I am currently looking for a customer who would like to order a commission built house that I will design from scratch specially for them.

The process would involve the customer giving me an idea of what they want the house to be, a pub, merchants house, manor house, shop, or something that I have not thought of yet. I would then discuss it with them and then sketch up a few ideas, including elevations, floor plans and sizes etc,  email them across to have them approved and make any necessary changes before starting the build.

Throughout the whole building process I would keep the customer fully informed about the build via emailed photos, and would also give them options with regards to choices they will have including window and door positions, how many lights and where they want them, colour for the stain and the walls, and various other bits and pieces. For those who might feel daunted by having to think about choices, don't worry I am happy to advise and make any decision you are not comfortable with.

When the house is complete, which the customer could name, I would like to take it to exhibit at a show before delivering it to them. It will depend on the timing as to what show I would take it to, but I would like to be able to take it to the Midland Show at the Impney Chateau in Droitwich Spa which is in November this year.

Along with the house I would deliver a CD or memory stick with all of the photos I had taken during the build, and also photos of the completed house and on the stand at the exhibition, which would provide you with a complete record for the build of your house and a lovely thing to keep as a record.

I would also like to to add the resulting design of house to my website, and also to keep updated my blog throughtout the build so hopefully other people will follow the build, you never know it might becoming a debating forum to get advice and discuss the various decisions the customer will need to make.

I have built numerous commissioned houses where I email customers with particular questions and options but never with the express intention of taking it to a show. I would be happy to give you contact details for some of these past customers so that they can reassure you that the process isn't too daunting.

The 3 photos above are of a house I built to order for a customer in America, it was the house that inspired me to build the Pilgrims Rest which I took to Dallas. I love doing commissions because quite often customers ask me for a specific feature, in this case she wanted a plate rack in the kitchen with a pot hanging rail above the fire, I designed it to suit and now have built it into all the houses I have built since.

The next 3 photos are of a customers "Tudor Rose", hence the coloured rose in the centre of the ground floor. In this house she specifically asked for a "Great Hall" so it was the house I developed the 2 storey room on the top floor with a feature window and large access panel. This is now a feature that has become the norm now, and unless I am asked otherwise I build the "Great Hall" into all of my houses. The customer sourced the weature feature to use beneath the external stairs.

The last 2 photos are of a "Market House", which I originally developed to be run as a build project in Dollhouse and Miniature Scene Magazine, which is still only part way through in the magazine. The first house went to a customer who bought it for her sister and it was shipped to New Delhi, I built another which I sold at Miniatura and was shipped to Denmark, I then received a commission to build one for a guy in Bude, Devon, for his wife's birthday.

If there is anyone out there who would like a "Smuggler's Inn", complete with slip way, beach and cave, please let me know. It is something I have been thinking about for a while but I would prefer to be building it for a customer as oppose to building it speculatively.

I would be more than happy to discuss any ideas that anyone has regarding future projects.