the dollhouse diaries

Once upon a time, Barbie and Ken were looking for a new home.

Literally. They were out in their pink corvette, perusing the town.

Their old apartment was infested by Lego Men and they had no place to go.

barbie_crusin

When they came upon this house. It had been empty for a while. The contractor never finished said house, because things got crazy in this horrible market when he built it last summer, so it sat abandoned for months.

barbie_dream_house

It was just their luck, because it had great bones, and they fell in love, instantly.

dollhouse

Barbie and Ken had been renting for a few years (and had a nice nest egg in savings) so they moved immediately into their new abode, rolled up their sleeves and got to work.

barbie_dollhouseOr at least Barbie did, anyway.

ken

Ken did too, after he finished his tea.

Yes, he has a weird propensity for prep school tux/pink tie combos.

But we won’t hold that against him.dollhouse

They tackled the kitchen first: It had great potential, so they brought in Barbie’s mom’s old vintage furniture. Then they contrasted a fun graphic pattern with their white washed brick walls, fun peacock blue cabinets, and vintage Frigidaire.

dollhouse_kitchen_cabinets

They drink their chamomile tea here in the mornings after their couples’ yoga class.

vintage_barbie_furniture

dollhouse_cabinets

handmade_mini_chandelier

The second level holds the living room and study.

dollhouse_second_floor

Where they decided to DIY a few projects of their own, from the curtains to the rugs and wallpaper that they scored thrifting at the local flea market.

dollhouse_living_room

living_room_furnitureThey love their granny chic/global modern combos vibe.

dollhouse_coffee_table

chandelier

Barbie is a freelance writer, while Ken does the city scene during the day. So she needed a space to work, while finding the time to write her first novel.

handmade_dollhouse_study

When they’re not doing their side hobbies, anyway. You know… the usual stuff: polo and synchronized swimming lessons.

barbie_dream_house-studio

dollhouse_ghost_chair_and_desk

dollhouse_study_bookshelvesdollhouse_study

The third level is their master suite.

dollhouse_bedroom_and_bathroom

Their serene bedroom + bath… the ultimate retreat.

dollhouse_art

Ken painted this abstract watercolor for Barbie on their second anniversary. It’s symbolic of his undying, ever evolving love for her.

dollhouse_bathroom dollhouse_bedroom

dollhouse_master-bedroom

dollhouse_chandelier

Barbie finished off the top space when she was expecting the twins. {Doll life spans are way different than humans, so this happened within a week. Tada!}

They’ve kept her so busy, the novel is now on hold for ten years. At least.

dollhouse_loft

Their room has fun polkadot floors, complete with a loft, and sweet colors on the ceiling.

dollhouse_bunkbed

dollhouse_childs_roomA local artist named Emerson painted an old chest and gave it new life. It’s the twins’ favorite thing. Next to Chloe the dog, of course.

dollhouse_kids_room

Barbie even threw in some vintage maps, star charts, and alphabet art because she plans to home school. At least for now, it’s a perfectly good excuse to collect cool vintage things.

And she stalks Ebay.

decorating_a_dollhouse happily_ever_after

They’re looking a bit more frazzled these days, but Barbie and Ken are super happy. Right where they are.

(Barbie’s eye makeup = a little over the top to compensate for sleep depravation, along with Ken’s perpetual bed head from driving to the city in their new minivan-they had to trade in the pink vette when the kiddos were born because hey, you can’t have it all…)

dollhouse_attic

The twins are happy too.

Even though one has blue legs.

dollhouse_family

And they all lived happily ever after.

When they’re not pondering why Ken prefers tuxes with no socks, or tough questions like their oddly proportioned bodies… of course.

dollhouse_finished

As you can see, we just finished up Emerson’s dollhouse. Today is her birthday (6! – It feels like just yesterday she was the screaming, colicky baby – don’t blink) and it was a really fun project we did together with her.

I think this is one of those things I’ve always had on my list when I knew I was having a little girl. Our grandkids will probably play with this and make comments about how retro fab it is. It’s our dream, anyway.

dollhouse_handmade

I’m pretty sure it’s a big hit… though I’m not too clear on who had more fun with this.

Can I have that table and chairs in real life?

dollhouse_barbies

When we decided to create the inside of this little dollhouse, we were at a loss for great, stylish and affordable options in those in the Barbie variety. Said options were either plastic, or super expensive. So we thought we would share this fun little project as an idea for something to take on with your little ones.

We wanted the size to be right for Barbie but flexible in case Emerson wanted to use another doll with it. So with the exception of a few small purchases, we took the handmade route using mostly things around our home (with little girl as the art director, of course).

It pays to be a craft hoarder. Yes, I did just write that.

Shhhhh.

Let us know if you have any questions – We’ll have a few tutorials coming soon, if you’re interested!

the_dollhouse_daries

{To see more of Emerson’s room, click here.}

To see the rest of the Dollhouse Diaries, Click here!

Have an inspired day!


This entry was posted in bungalow revamps, dollhouse diaries, for kids. Bookmark the permalink.

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87 Responses to the dollhouse diaries

  1. Love this!! We just purchased a wooden dollhouse kit for our daughter. I’m pretty sure it’s going to sit in the box for at least 5 years!!

  2. Kathleen W. says:

    Coolest Barbie house ever ! I’m sure you had a great time creating and decorating. Thanks for sharing !

  3. Kyla F says:

    Parents of the YEAR! Y’all are the best. If we can make this life-size for me to live in, I will come to Alabama and pay you in yummy food and craft supplies. This is probably my favorite project that you’ve shared yet because it showcases so many Barbie-sized-versions of pieces that capture the style of your own home. Happy Birthday Emerson, you are a blessed little lady! Enjoy 6! :)

    Ashley/designer-extraordinaire: where might I find the gorgeous paper that lines the ceiling?

  4. Elizabeth says:

    OH.MY.GOODNESS!!!! That is so stinking cute! Great job, you guys!

  5. I LOVE it! And I love even more that this dollhouse reflects your own family’s personal style so perfectly.

  6. Tommie Hart says:

    This is amazing!!! We were given a wooden dollhouse for our little 8 month old and I have been wanting to redo and decorate it for her for her first birthday!!! Cant wait to see the tutorials! This is definitely inspiring!

  7. April says:

    Oh Emm Gee!! That is amazing! It totally looks like a real house that you would see in a magazine! I am so glad you got pictures of all the little details to keep forever. Have you ever posted about how you made the doll house itself? I would love to see that!

  8. Angela R says:

    OMG can I move in there? It is gorgeous! Or how about you just come to my house and do everything exactly the same in my size? Pretty please?

  9. Lee Vinson says:

    That is the cutest thing ever!!!! Love the chandeliers the most!

  10. this is UNBELIEVABLE Ashley! If I buy you a ticket, will you just hang out at Fieldstone Hill until you can’t DIY it any longer???? #takeitoutonmyhousenext

    that is the single most amazing dollhouse EV-AH

  11. BJ says:

    Fabulous! My three girls would LOVE something like this!

  12. Lucy says:

    Growing up in the 1970s, my favorite toy was my Lundby dollhouse. The furniture was wonderful and it kept me and my sister entertained for hours. My cat would even try to “occupy” an entire room from time to time. Being the mother of two boys, it now resides with my nieces in California.

  13. This post is precious! I love the way the dollhouse turned out, but I enjoyed your narrative in the post even more :)

  14. Susan Lambrix says:

    I would love to see the tutorials. My dad built my daughter a beautiful dollhouse 25 years ago and didn’t quite finish it before he died. It was overwhelming to me so I sent it to a dollhouse repair place in So. Calif. It should be back next week and I am dying to see it. It would be fun to make some furniture with my 7 year old grand daughter!
    Thank you for sharing.

  15. omigosh. so. much. goodness. First of all, love Barbie’s outfits and Ken’s eyebrows! I wish that I could blow this house up and live in it. It’s just gorgeous. Annnnd now I want a dollhouse. Just so I can decorate!

  16. Sara says:

    Most fabulous dollhouse ever! Our barbies live in the hood that was handed down from barbie’s mom. Maybe it is time for a reno! Thanks for the inspiration (as usual)!

  17. Tina says:

    Utterly amazing. Love, love, love everything about it. Your artistic talent shines through in everything you touch. My parents built and very creatively decorated a barbie house for me when I was little and it meant so very much to me. I still have it and all of the little things they made to go inside it. This will be a treasure for your sweet Emerson for sure.

  18. Love Barbie’s flare for home design! Too cute!

  19. Ashley says:

    Amazing! I want to go to there! Sooo looking forward to the tutorials-mostly just wondering where you found everything!!!

  20. Kitty says:

    Adorable!!! B & K are livin’ the dream!

  21. Haley says:

    This is simply awesome. A true labor of love. So sweet.

  22. Penny says:

    Love the house!!! I’ve been working on getting things together to do a house as well for my daughter! Love everything! You guys did an amazing job! Question about the little maps and the alphabet sign in the twins room…where did you get them? Also the birdcage and the awesome pink chair by the desk? Can’t wait for tutorials!

    • Hey Penny! Thanks so much! The images were simple google searches, and it didn’t matter that they weren’t the best quality, because their size was so small you can’t even tell. They actually look great. I just used words like vintage map, etc. Then cut them out and added stained pieces of wood for the “pull-down-chart” looks. The bird cage was from Hobby Lobby and it was in their spring section for half off – I think we paid a dollar. The chair was one of our two splurges, and I found it on ebay. Just search for Barbie ghost chair. I think we paid about fifteen-twenty for it. I had to have that one. Still cheaper than most of the furniture available out there – the nice stuff anyway… which is why we opted to make most everything else ;} HA! I hope that helps! We’ll be breaking each room down with simple solutions – so stay tuned! ;}

  23. Amy W says:

    Honestly, you have got to be kidding me. Is it bad, I’d totally move into Barbie’s house!?!! Ha. That is so fun and gorgeous and dreamy and creative. I adore it. Thank you, thank you for sharing with us. I’m sharing this on my Facebook page because I can hardly handle how adorable it is!! (and your commentary is hilarious!)

    Amy @ http://www.delineateyourdwelling.com

  24. Desi says:

    It’s so nice to see a Barbie house that’s not full of tacky plastic furniture. I especially love the master bed. I hope you’ll do a tutorial on it

  25. Donna Burkle says:

    Just love it! The chandeliers are my favorite! Such imagination!

  26. Angela says:

    This is the best thing I’ve seen all year and we don’t even own a barbie. Great job and the intro story…hilarious.

  27. karlee says:

    What an awesome dollhouse! Did you find a lot on ebay? Um…I’m 27 but I want one! Haha

  28. Tennille Mykula says:

    Wow! Very inspiring. That looks like it took a lot of work and might have been a tad tedious. So many tiny details. Can’t wait to read the tutorials. Also, if you hit ikea they have a fun, yes plastic, but still fun furniture set. Cheap too. Got for my daughter for Christmas. She seems to be enjoying it. here’s the link: http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/50263150/

  29. Summer Hogan says:

    I don’t have any words, that is AMAZING! I wish my own home look that awesome! You are one patient lady :) Love it!!!

  30. Samara says:

    Awesome! And sadly, it is nicer than my house… Great work:)

  31. Beth M. says:

    I have no words other than GORGEOUS and AMAZING! I hope this dollhouse lasts for generations. What a labor of love!

  32. What an adorable house, I wanna live there!

  33. Jackie Lee says:

    You bet I’m interested in more, more, more on how you made this delightful dollhouse!!! I have a 3 year old granddaughter who adores her dolls, so this would be a labor of love to make for/with her!!! It’s a low cost way to decorate a house from top to bottom! Lol!

  34. Lucy says:

    Wow. Took my breath away… this is absolutely gorgeous and made with so much love! Please do share– with a little luck and a lot of time to figure this out, maybe I can make something like this for my little girl! Great job!

  35. patricia says:

    yes please post tutorials!!!!! gorgeous doll house!!!!

  36. Erin says:

    Oh my goodness! I can’t even begin to explain how much I LOVE this! I would have DIED for a dollhouse like that! Heck, I want my REAL house to look like that. You are insanely talented. I can’t wait to share this with my doll house-loving friends– they are going to faint!

  37. Nicole says:

    If love is spelled t.i.m.e., then you’ve got one LOVED little gal! And speaking of time, where do you find it for projects like these?!

    • HA! It takes us a very long time to get anything done around here. This dollhouse, for instance, I started planning it last January. So we finally built said dollhouse this summer, and then it was another six to seven months before we got around to the inside. Doing in the inside took a few weeks to pull together, even though it was small. It was one of those things we worked on as we could. We plan ahead for things financially and time-wise, but most spaces take quite a few months to knock out. I know a lot of bloggers who can throw things together in no time at all, and that’s amazing. Sometimes I’m a little jealous, if I’m honest. It takes us a while, and it’s the phase of life we’re in, because we plan to enjoy life as well. It’s what works for us. Good things come to those who wait… and who work steadily towards it. This is the story of my life. ;} I hope that helps!

  38. Shelley says:

    Shut up!!!! This is so much more stylish than my real house. I want to live here! What a fun project. There is only one problem – my 5 year old daughter was sitting next to me when I went through this post and now guess what she wants???

  39. Saw this earlier but didn’t have time to leave a note. This is incredibly fab! I’ve always had a dollhouse image in my mind too. With lots of little wallpaper. Yours takes the cake though! We currently have a plastic version that Lacey has had since age 2 so maybe next year we will create a new one for a fun project. I doubt we will agree on anything though. She gets mad now because I rearrange the furniture.

    It rocks, girl! Unbelievably awesome.

  40. Thanks to you, I will now need to wear a bib and tie a kerchief around my chin to keep my jaw closed and sop up the drool.

    Ah-mazing, Ashley! You never cease to blow my mind with your creativity and just general all-around kick-butt awesomeness. I am now hiding my laptop, so my 3-year-old ultra-girl doesn’t see it. It’s going to take me until she’s 6 to pull this off! :)

  41. Whitney M says:

    This is seriously one of the cutest, most stylish dollhouses I’ve ever seen. I shouldn’t say one–it is the best. Adorable story too. :)

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  43. O. M. G.

    This was the most delightful thing I’ve ever seen in all my days. The whole back story, the super-fab style of Barbie and Ken, their magazine-worthy styling (the shoes, by the bed? With one standing up and one laying down? I DIED.)

    PS: The same things happened to me after we had kids. I just keep piling on the eye makeup and bright pink lipstick as an attempt to look like I’m trying. I hear ya, Barbie. I hear ya.

  44. antiquechase says:

    This is the most of the most of the most!! I just want to come over and play… It’s soooo amazing! Great Great job! What a lucky girl!
    marcy

  45. This is quite possibly the cutest thing ever. Is it even possible to be envious of Barbie and Ken’s house!?!? So lovely. Luckiest little girl ever.

  46. Oh my word… never have I seen a cooler dollhouse interior! Caught you on Nesting Place… this is magnificent!

  47. Mary says:

    Doll houses are awesome! I was just at the hobby store yesterday trying to find out how to replace the windows in the doll house my grandfather made for me. (The irony is that my real house needs so much work :) )

    My dollhouse is the same design as yours. And it will be used for many years to come. After a long period in a spare bedroom at my parents house – I had only boys – I decided the doll house is going to add a whimsical twist to our dining room. Why not? It makes me happy!

  48. Jaw on the floor! That was the cutest thing I’ve read all week…totally pinning. Adorable and love all of the little touches!

    ~Sarah

  49. amber says:

    I love this sooooo much! I was totally a barbie girl and would have adored this dollhouse. Such a cute and funny story too. Just darling!

  50. The best dollhouse I’ve ever seen in my life! You took all the risks I am personally afraid of taking when I decorate my own house (like wallpapering the accent walls and ceilings). And you showed us that’s what makes a house unique and beautiful. Thank you for the inspiration and Happy 6th Birthday Emerson!

  51. JoAnn says:

    Cute!! What a wonderful gift to give your daughter and the story you wrote very enjoyable to read!!

  52. Dawn says:

    Priceless! Awesome job on the house and the narrative. Hilarious!

  53. Brittany Rae says:

    THAT is awesome. I have always wanted a doll house. I may have to revisit those dreams :-)

  54. Camille says:

    Oh.My.Gosh! I just died!

  55. amber peters says:

    that is way too cute! awesome job! I think Barbie needs a blog.

  56. This mom of four boys absolutely enjoyed the last few minutes of reading this post. Love it!

  57. Misty says:

    My husband is almost finished building our dollhouse, thanks to your awesome plans. How did you add the room dividers? Love the decorations….i am so excited to decorate ours for our little Sadie!

    • Hey misty! How exciting! You will have to send pics! We used a super thin MDF that you can get at your local home improvement store. Just cut the little groove to make space in the back, and a doorway in one of them. I left them a little shorter in depth so the “walls” don’t come all the way out. I hope that helps! ;}

      • Misty says:

        Thanks for the tip on the walls. I just started making furniture for it. In fact, tonight I made a braided rug that is so adorable! I posted a picture in the Reader’s Gallery of the front of the dollhouse.

  58. Seriously, the cutest! Can I live there??

  59. Bonnie C says:

    OMGosh! You found a doll sized wonky mirror ball!! So. Cool. I’m debating showing this to my 9yo… I would LOVE to do a dollhouse with her, but… she’ll have *opinions* on how it should go together when she should simply accept my wisdom and nod sagely and say, “Excellent choice, mom, I couldn’t have done it better.” Sigh. ;p

    Super cute!

  60. tara says:

    i love it…yep, it’ll be around for years to come.

  61. Lisa says:

    I LOVE this!! The story and the photos are so well done. And I love Barbie’s house and want to live there. Absolutely stunning. This should be a children’s book, if Mattel would let you.

  62. kim langevin says:

    wow that’s exactly what I wanted to do with that mattel doll house I pick up from the garbage. But my big girl turned 6 and it’s still in the garage. I can’t figure how to do it without spending to much on wood. Can’t wait to see tutorials about that!

  63. kara says:

    Oh My, the tiny casters!!! where did you find those? I love this doll house and can not wait for the tutorial!

  64. Kim says:

    This is over the top cute!

  65. kristen pare says:

    Oh my gosh! You brought back so many fun memories for me. I literally spent hours redecorating my doll house. My grandpa had an upholstery business and its currently in pink velvet heaven from when I last touched it in the 1970’s. I just spent $12 bucks on the biggest box ever to pack that delicate baby for our move next week. I found the glue is starting to disintegrate so I plan with my little one to ‘re-decorate’ that sweet huge Victorian dollhouse with her. She said Mom, those colors Ugh :) awhh…so much fun. Thanks for sharing!

  66. This is so amazing! I can’t get over y’all’s attention to every little detail. That truly is the most stylish dollhouse of all time.

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  68. HILARIOUS! Seriously dying over here! Maybe it was the realtor in me that thought the first part was so funny, but by the end I was seriously laughing out loud. Thank you for sharing!

  69. Pingback: how to make a dollhouse kitchen | the handmade home

  70. humixanime says:

    THIS IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!
    i can not believe you guys made started this idea and actually FINISHED it!! :D
    it’s givin’ be an idea for my little sis. thanks for uploading :3

  71. Mindy says:

    Amazing. I love the designs on the inside.

  72. Pingback: how to build a dollhouse loft | the handmade home

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  74. Amanda says:

    I can’t wait to see the tutorials. This is the cutest mother/daughter project. I love it!

  75. Pingback: the dollhouse diaries: floors, windows + walls | the handmade home