The girls’ small play space has recently become overrun with doll stuff, specifically American Girl dolls. We’ve had a Bitty Baby or an American Girl doll in the house since 2008 and we’ve gotten by with minimal minimal doll accessories that could be stored away in a few storage bins. Until now.
Recently, Tessa (7) has been watching a lot of AG videos on YouTube. Her interest sparked the other girls, me included, to become interested in their dolls again. They each have one American Girl doll: Mallory – McKenna, Chelsea – Isabelle, Tessa – Caroline (purchased from Mallory), plus we have two Bitty Babies and a pair of Bitty Twins. Aside from clothes, collectively the girls have an AG dining table and chairs, McKenna’s gymnastics set, Isabelle’s dance bar, an Our Generation wardrobe/closet thing, the OG Camper and OG Jeep. That amount of doll *stuff* has been fairly easy to contain.
Since the renewed interest, the girls pooled their money and bought the “Journey Girls” kitchen and lounge (sectional couch + coffee table) sets. Then they each bought a doll desk and doll papasan chairs from the Walmart “My Life As” doll line. I then happened upon a Craigslist ad for Kit’s Treehouse and that was the catalyst of our *doll stuff* explosion. When we went to pick up the Treehouse, the seller had a few other AG things that came home with us too: Kit’s bed set, Kit’s scooter, lots of AG clothes, plus a few AG odds and ends. Shortly after that, the girls bought themselves a Wellie Wisher each and Jonathan surprised me with my very first AG doll, the Wellie Wisher Emerson.
We discovered that playing dolls with furniture takes up a LOT of space. I created doll rooms on the floor with foam-board walls taped together. I really tried to make that set-up work but it looked messy and wasn’t pretty as a whole. I wasn’t happy with that configuration so began brainstorming doll house ideas.
BACKGROUND: When we moved a couple years ago, I used the game room spaace as my sewing/craft room. The “loft” (half the size of a typical bedroom) became the girls playroom. You can see in the pictures of the loft below that the room has a decent amount of storage for its size, but it also doesn’t have a lot of wall space.
For a dollhouse solution, we could have used two IKEA Pax wardrobe frames, placed on the one available wall, to create six doll rooms on shelves (with two of those doll rooms being unreachable for the girls).
With three girls (plus me!), I knew we’d want a dollhouse with many rooms because, in the very least, we’d want three doll bedrooms, a kitchen, a family room, a school room, and a bathroom. I also wanted a doll house that three girls could interact with at the same time without being in each others’ way. With those stipulations, the IKEA Pax solution wasn’t going to work for us because we didn’t have enough wall space for a third unit.
I then began searching online for doll house ideas… I searched and searched. I didn’t really know what I was looking for I just knew what I was finding wouldn’t work. And then I found this image:
I have no idea whose image this is (if you know the source, let me know and I’ll gladly give proper credit!). I hadn’t thought of doing an open concept middle-of-the-room doll house but seeing it made me think it would be a great solution for us. The girls can play on all sides without interfering with each other. Perfect! Now to plan out the design…