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Saturday, 4 December 2010

A work of art

Today I am going to show you a beautiful house in Peebles, one that has only been seen by a few lucky people.  It was constructed in the last decade in the style of a Georgian house, and has been furnished by a remarkable couple I know as Marjory and Peter .

The house is situated in their lounge, in an equally lovely house on the south side of town, and stands 4 storeys high, including basement and attic.   MFDH houseThe main part of the house was built from a kit, with the left side planned and built by Peter.   It has had skirting boards and cornices added; been wallpapered and had floors laid, piece by piece, in the drawing room and kitchen, for example.  The exterior has been bricked and painted; homemade slates laid on the roof; guttering and drainpipes added.  Every detail has been carefully contemplated and executed.

MFdh open

MFDH kitchen



The basement is the servants quarters, with gate in the railings to access the “downstairs” front door.    There you will find the cook busy in the kitchen,  with all her accoutrements.  I love the tiny mincer attached to the table end.  Reminds me of one we had in our house when I was growing up.  Then there are the copper  jelly moulds, the balance scales and tiny weights, the baskets of fruit and potatoes, the roast ham cooling on the table – not all made by Peter and Marjorie, but chosen with care from dolls’ house  exhibitions.

MFDH washhouseNext door is the washhouse, with its built in corner copper wash tub and a splendid red and green mangle.  The store cupboard at the back contains foodstuffs: a jar of pickled gherkins, a bowl of eggs, a tin of coffee, a bread bin and a terracotta bowl of oranges….  On the floor beside the copper is a flat iron.

The “family” live above.  Entering the front door at the top of the steps, the hall leads to a staircase .  MFDH drawing room To the right is the drawing room with its turquoise blue suite.  Marjorie is stitching a very fine carpet to match; to the left  is the dining room. MFDH dining room



Take note of all the silverware, right down to the napkin rings on the dining table.  Everything in this house  is 1/12th scale: 1 inch to 1 foot.

MFDH bedroomFrom the upstairs landing the door to the right leads to the master bedroom, mfdh bathroom while on the left a bath room has been “added” , MFDH sewing room dividing it from the sewing room, with its treadle sewing machine and tailor’s dummy. 

MFDH In the attic are the nursery and nanny’s roomMFDH nurse room.  Can you believe that quilt was handmade, 300 tiny hexagons all the size of a pencil top?  MFDH sewing box




Most of the furniture in the house has been made by Peter, mostly from scratch, but some things from kits.  Both he and Marjorie were engineers throughout their working lives and are very precise and accurate in details.   He spends hours lovingly working on each tiny piece, like this exquisite lady’s sewing box with marquetry top, whether it be in wood or metal, while Marjory stitches rugs and carpets and knits or crochets tiny pieces of lace.   It was one of their daughters who stitched the quilt, so it is truly a family affair.

MFDH1908 pram I love looking at the house, every time seeing something I haven’t noticed before.  There are a few pieces still to be added to the house but it is almost complete now, including a small garden in front where the baby sleeps in its 1908 perambulator.

Isn’t it wonderful!  All my own doll’s house furniture and bits and pieces are still wrapped up and packed in a box up in my attic, where they have been since I moved here 8 years ago.  It was always my idea to have my own doll’s house, but somehow it has never happened.  Mine was to be a highland crofter’s house, set in the 1930s, its  occupants  Donald Angus and his wife Peggy – Margaret Anne - though they’d never be seen in the room you are looking at.   It would seem that they have just gone out, she leaving her jam-making in the kitchen, he abandoning his fiddle on the top of the piano…. 

Maybe one day!

Talk again soon.

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