Tuesday, August 7, 2018

home sweet home: the making of our dream house (part 2)

Our daughter has adored playing Barbies ever since she was 18 months old.

I had some old Barbie stuff from my childhood that I was only too happy to bring out for her. I had also picked up a small folding Barbie cottage for a couple bucks, as well as a number of Barbie accessories from various thrift stores over the past few years. And so, every once in a while, we'd pull out the tote and set it up the Barbie stuff for a few days.

However, whenever I'd put everything away, the next day she'd be asking to play Barbies again. It was then I realized she was serious about her Barbies and that we needed something a little more permanent. 

The simplest DIY solution would be to put all our Barbie furniture into a large cube shelf like this. 

9 rooms, ready-made. Easy peasy. Except the cubes are a 1/2" too small and a Barbie can't stand upright inside them. That was not going to work for us. Especially with my daughter's fascination with the Barbie shower. Then I found this used shelf online for $15. After a little paint, and screwing in a scrap piece of melamine to divide the upstairs into two sections, we had the beginning of our house. 

Since that wasn't big enough for all the Barbies and their stuff, I re-arranged the shelves on an old bookshelf/night stand we already had, cut some backing from a sheet of leftover beadboard with a circular saw, and voila! We had 3 more rooms. 

But once the wheels started rolling, there was no stopping us.  I found a second bookshelf/nightstand to add a bit more space. Although my limited skills with power tools were improving, I enlisted the help of Mr. Gryce for installing a roof with his brad nailer. 

We pulled a bunch of things off our old Barbie cottage to use in the new house, including the old kitchen counter.

 Our old furniture and accessories also fit quite nicely, although I added a TV to the living room fire place nook.

However, we were still lacking some necessities like a dining table and chairs, double beds, a washer and dryer, and a bathtub. After searching thrift stores to no avail, and after checking the prices of said items on Amazon (eeks!), I asked Google for ideas on how to make our own. 

I dug out my old glue gun, and raided my rag bag and the scrap wood pile in the garage. From there I was able to piece together some pretty neat things, like this clementine crate-turned-dining table.

Another old clementine crate, paired with my 15-year-old tee shirt from cousin Carmen was re-purposed into a bed.

Some small cardboard boxes with scrapbook paper became the new washer and dryer.

We even made a mop!

And my favourite...a bedside lamp!

And now, without further ado, here's the completed main part of the house (kitchen, bedroom and office/spare room), made from that original book case:

The master bedroom and the attic storage room:

The little girls' room and the teenager room:

The bathroom/laundry room and garage below:

The 2nd bathroom and living room:

The patio and pool area (pool was a recent birthday gift from our daughter's aunt):

And a look at the entire house:

I am not the only one who is pleased by the final result. Our daughter has named all the Barbies and has already spent hours and hours playing with her new house.


FYI: you can read part 1 (all about the making of our dream house) right here.


  1. Where does the time go? Your little one is adorable, and way to go with making that beautiful play house from scratch!

    1. Thanks, Suzanne. So nice to hear from you. Been wondering how you're doing. Hope all is well with you.

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