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A story about a wee Christmas dollhouse

All things merry & bright 
even in the tiniest of houses.

I have always been a girl with a big imagination.
And playing dress up, sweeping the floor of our tiny playhouse
and playing with my imaginary friends reveling in that dream world where I could be anything I wanted to be took up a lot of time in my childhood world. 
And one of the things that I remember most was when my parents separated and then divorced.
That routine of playing house or decorating my room became a bit of a jumble each week.
 Instead one house we lived in each week- 
we went back and forth between two houses and two routines every other day. 

And it was during that bit of a bumpy road time
when my dad built a wee dollhouse for me to have at his house. 
He constructed the house and cut each shingle for the roof out of cedar.
And each little strip of pine siding.
He built the stairs and the little attic room that was my favorite that had dormer windows 
and scalloped shingles like an old victorian home.  
There were balconies and bay windows and a little back door near the kitchen. 
I remember the front door on the tiny hinges that would open and lead right to the stairs-
and how the attic with the slanted walls was my absolute favorite spot to decorate.

That little house became an escape. 
A place to retreat to for a bit and it was something I looked forward to getting lost in.
It was where I would cut fabrics and glue them to the walls for wallpaper. 
Build tiny furniture to fill each room
and sew the perfect bedding  stuffed with fiberfill for each of the tiny beds in the tiny rooms. 
I remember painting that siding and planking the floors with thin strips of wood for hardwood
and even used a bit of grasscloth wallpaper from my dads real estate office in one of the rooms.
I can remember spending hours creating that sweet little house 
for an imaginary family to live in.

It was such a strong memory for me that when I moved across the states to Montana where I met my husband- I asked him if we could load it up and bring it back with us one year when we were visiting.
That little house in a little car took up room we didn't have to spare- but he loaded it up and
brought it back.
That wee house has since traveled with us on several moves and is now missing more than a few shingles,  has broken stair banisters and rooms full of peeling fabric 'wallpaper'. 
And in our attic- that little childhood 
house sits and waits to be renovated- and brought back to life-
much like our cottage was when we found it.

It is a part of me and this house journey-and when I was writing my book-
 I wanted to include this dollhouse and the story. 

With little bottlebrush trees

and dainty little packages wrapped in fabrics
and tied with strings.

And some very special dollhouse furniture.
I was so excited that Rachel Ashwell sent over some of her Shabby Chic furniture
to decorate the dollhouse for the book. 
Her dollhouse furniture is the creation of the extremely talented (and sweet) Ben Peck Whiston
and are absolutely the most charming and detailed little pieces.

I fell in love with several of them- the little blue chair and blush bench being two of my favorites.

So much love.

Each room got a little bit of merry.

From the living room with a plate of cookies for Santa

To the bedroom with an 'antique' armoire filled with treasures
and with old worn floral fabric wall paper and curtains.

To the attic with a delicate painted bed and chippy chest of drawers
with old floral striped fabric walls and painted floors.

A childhood home wearing a bit of Christmas cheer... 

I absolutely loved working on this for my book
and of course, 
that Shabby Chic dollhouse furniture was the perfect compliment.

Find my book on Amazon HERE and in your local book stores 

and this week

and this is the last week for free shipping in time for Christmas delivery.

Coming your way- 
the rest of the attic dressed for Christmas this year.

Anyone else have a little dollhouse like this that you decorate for Christmas?

Happy Wednesday everyone!


  1. Such a sweet little house. Thank you for sharing your story!

  2. Your dollhouse and the story behind it are so very sweet - thank you for sharing. I didn't have a dollhouse when I was little (although I desperately wanted one); however, I spent many happy hours playing dollhouse with my daughters and my granddaughters. And if we still had a dollhouse around, I would absolutely decorate it for Christmas :). Also - have to admit, I would like Rachel Ashwell's dollhouse furniture (fullsize) in my house!! Merry Christmas

    1. I would too!! Such charming pieces!! Merry Christmas to you as well!

  3. Wow, this warms my heart!! For a child to have this creative outlet is really something- a true blessing! And your sweet husband to let you bring it in the car- I love that. Sounds like a good guy! Hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday! Robin

  4. Hello! !
    Today I decorated the Christmas tree. I really enjoyed it! Every year I get very excited, I decorate the Christmas tree and it begins to feel like Christmas. I think this year's Christmas tree is also very beautiful.

  5. I don't have one but I think I would love one even at 77!
    Merry Christmas

  6. There is nothing to compare to childhood memories. especially those that involve family. Your daughter will probably receive the little house one day and have her own memories. the will live......

  7. What a beautiful dollhouse and how lucky you were that your Dad built for you....My Dad built one for my daughter when she was six in 1976 in traveled down to coastal SC in 2001. We had downsized from a large house to a small cottage with a garden shed for storage..and there it sat for 15 years...My daughter had no room for
    it, our only grandaughter is a self professed tom my husband restored it and we sold it a neighbor had two grandaughters in CT....a full circle

  8. ohhh my goodness.... what a beauty.... this whole post is precious beyond words !!! Thank you so much for sharing ....... Merry Christmas !!! ....(PS: the ottoman / coffee table looks like it has a custom pleated cover from the beautiful Anita at Cedar Hill Farmhouse !! :) ..)

  9. Courtney, love your book so much! My daughter gave me a signed copy in August! She couldn't wait until Christmas! I think it was the dollhouse that she saw flipping through book that made her give it to me early. Her and I have been working on a dollhouse reno for about a year. Oh to own some of Ben's beautiful pieces ! He is amazing!

  10. Thank you for sharing. It brought back many memories for me. When I was 5 yrs old my parents divorced and I went to another state to live with my Aunt Rose. I brought with me a little doll house. I loved it and spent many hours playing with it. I don't know what happened to it. Your story touched my heart and I can relate to how tou felt too. May God Bless you and yours. PS My life has been wonderful, My dear Aunt Rose has been an angel in my life. She is now 93 yrs old.

  11. Thank You for sharing your beautiful dollhouse. It is lovely.

  12. I had a dollhouse growing up. the house would be decorated for the holidays and I made curtains,etc for it. I loved that dollhouse and would spend hours playing with it. When I got older I passed it on to my younger cousin. She didn't treat it well. Oh how I wish I had kept it.

  13. Gorgeous post, not just because it looks so pretty, but because it says something personal. You couldn’t control your family life, but you could control your miniature world.

    Takes me back to my childhood, decorating a dolls house made of tissue boxes , and much later, a beautiful wooden one for my daughter, right down to tiny DVDs, books and magazines I made for the living room.
    Will be sharing the link to this post on my blog in the near future.


  14. Several years ago, my cousin asked me if I would like to have the dollhouse that my great uncle built 75 years ago. It's huge. It's a work of art. And I love it. My mother had just died the year before, and having something that she played with as a young child warmed my heart. My granddaughter decorates it every year for Christmas. Including battery operated lights.

  15. Such a sweet story, Courtney. My sister and I did have a small doll house when we were children, but nothing as special as this hand crafted on. I'm thrilled it has remained in your keeping, treasured through the years, and continues to bring joy. I loved reading about it, and I adore your book. You are such an inspiration!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  16. The dollhouse is amazing. My vintage dollhouse is getting a shabby French farmhouse makeover for Christmas. Love yours!

  17. I just noticed that the material wall paper (green stripes with pinkish flowers) is the same material that my mother and I used to make curtains and bedding for my daughter and her doll when she was just a baby. Such sweet memories. Her younger sister, our youngest child, used the same doll bedding for her dolls and the bolster pillow that sat on big sister's bed for most of her life, now sits in mine. It was a sweet surprise to notice it today in your post.

  18. Your dad must have been a special guy and on some level known that that little house would be a stabilizing influence for you in the midst of the inner and outer chaos that comes with the break-up of a home and family. Bless his heart for building you that dollhouse. What a treasure it is and how fortunate that you still have it to love and "play" with. It's a charming little abode. Will there ever be small people to inhabit it? Or, perhaps, they will remain imaginary.

    Thanks so much for sharing your little treasure, Courtney.

  19. I love your book!
    I do have a dollhouse OK maybe 2. The one I have fully decorated is done the way I would like my house to look! I do decorate it for Christmas and this year found the perfect reindeer for the roof at target:)
    I really need to save my money for a few of Bens pieces! He is a gifted miniaturist!