Highland by Artply

I had a hunch earlier this week that I should cruise Craigslist to check out the dollhouse listings. I usually search in New York City and the Philadelphia area, and I saw this in a town not far from me:
The pictures were not great, but I could immediately tell it was something special. The price caught my eye as well: TWENTY BUCKS! I quickly realized that it was a Highland dollhouse by Artply!!! Artply is no longer in business, and this house, sold as a kit in the 1980s, is long discontinued, making it pretty collectible for a modern structure. The original catalogue shot:

Courtesy of More Minis
The seller wanted it to go to a collector or someone who would appreciate it as much as his daughters did when they were children, so he decided not to put it out on the curb (doesn't he know us collectors have been known to cruise curbs, as well??!). The price was unbeatable, which did make me a bit nervous that this might all be a sham, especially after reading Susan's heartbreaking Craigslist story.

All went well...I didn't get abducted (the guy was super nice and normal) and came home with a Highland for a cool twenty. The house needs lots of aesthetic work -- plexi is torn, dust and cobwebs abound, and wallpaper and flooring are fraying. But, that's OK, since I would want to change it all up anyway. Structurally it is completely sound; no cracks, breaks, and the only missing parts are the garage and front doors, as far as I can tell.

Some shots of my new acquisition--looks quite like a 70s haunted house!

Don't know what to say about this wallpaper choice...flooring is likely a keeper, though.

Intended as a garage...now a parking spot for cobwebs!

Much of the house's plexi looks like this, or is completely missing.

Not in love with this treatment.

Wallpapers definitely not to my liking.

Totally dig the staircase!

Kitchen is haunted, for sure!

Flooring can stay, but wallpaper has to go.

Bath in need of an upgrade!

In addition to resolving the layout of the interior spaces, my biggest dilemma is what to paint the exterior...I do not care for the humdrum brown scheme at all. What about cool greys? A muted white? Wood paneling? The dramatic rounded entryway also presents challenges! It is currently covered in grainy sand and it is not working for me. I have been looking through pictures of other Highlands, like the ones below, to see how others approached their houses.
Courtesy of the Greenleaf forum -- kinda dig this approach

Courtesy of Mini Modern's blog, from an eBay listing
A completed house by Nana's Minis
What do you think? I'd love to hear your ideas so that I can perhaps make this one of my fall projects (in addition to painting my Betsy McCall house). And please do share your own Highland adventures with me...I'd love to see even more examples of this house.

Lastly: many people have asked me how many houses I own, and the Highland makes it 15 (does my unopened Fascination Station kit count? If so, then up the number!).

STAY TUNED for an exciting GIVEAWAY that I am planning for my blog, in celebration of approaching 500 followers! I'll be offering not one, but two, awesome products! I will share more soon!

K to the 7th Power

For some reason, I have uncanny luck finding things on Craigslist when I haven't been looking for them.  That's how I found my Villa Sibi for $300.  I was searching the NYC site on Sunday for another dollhouse-related item, and saw TWO Kaleidoscope houses for sale -- unheard of!  I of course went for the one that was 1/2 the price you normally see for used ones and gave a low offer. Which was refused.  Twice.  Until I came up to the asking price. Sucker. There's still a pristine one on there for $2000, by the way.


Anyways, I only have to travel about an hour into northern NJ to pick this puppy up, unlike my odyssey across many states to pick up the Citadel.  The owner sent me some pics today so I have more of an idea of what I am getting into.  No cracks or structural flaws, and even some (somewhat broken) accessories are included.

Now...where does this house go???  I only have until Saturday to figure it out. There's a spot in our living room, but the Villa Sibi kind of dominates there. My "Mommy scary basement" room is already chock full of accessories and three houses (including the Citadel in rehab), so no room there.  Our bedroom is out of the question. Garage is, well, your typical suburban slightly smelly and dark den of motor oil, bent hula hoops, and half-inflated balls.   HELP!

In case you were wondering, this will be my 7th house, hence the title...

Birth of a Blog

I've always felt the call of the small -- miniatures and anything large-scale brought small.  My first dollhouse arrived at five, and others followed.  Houses were then replaced by display cases to organize items and create little tableau. Things were eventually packed in boxes and stored away when I headed to college.

When the Kaleidoscope dollhouse arrived on the scene, I was expecting my first child and dreaming of rationales for purchasing it at $200.  I wish I had! My daughter gravitated to Polly Pockets, which while VERY small, did not hold great appeal.  Plus, they instantly got lost and were the source of anxiety should shoes and handbags be swallowed.

My two sons followed and are suitably obsessed with trains -- small, but just not the same.

Then, this past Christmas, my dear husband purchased a Villa Sibi for me -- what a surprise:

I actually found it on Craigslist for $300, but fretted over being indulgent in purchasing such an item.  I think DH knew it was a shoo-in and it stands now as the best present ever.  I've started to buy furnishings online (the white Kaleidoscope living room set is in the photos above), and also have been keeping track of the amazing array of modernist miniatures out there.  

I've only just begun, and hope to keep up with this blog.  Three kids and a full-time job may prevent frequency of posts, but I'm sure I'll be inspired to say something.