How it all started, or The Timberframed House

Eversince my Mother In Law (further known as Nolda) was a child she wanted a doll's house. But you know how lives sometimes go... At the age of 60 that dream was still alive. One day, when the subject arose, she said to be displeased as she couldn't find the right house. "What are you looking for then?" I asked. A typical Zaans timberframed house, was her answer. And, as she said that, I knew there was only one solution; to build that -Ooh! so wanted house- for her.

First a bit of history. Our family lives in the Zaanstreek, closeby the famous Dutch tourist destination The Zaanse Schans. Because of the wood-processing industrie in the 17th and 18th century here (hence all the windmills) most houses were made of wood. It was widely available and cheap. Another advantage was that the boggie soil, common in this region, couldn't take the weight of building stones, so wood was the lightweight alternative. All of these reasons resulted in a type of timbreframed house, which is nowhere else to be found. And that is the type of house Nolda wanted.

Our love for architecture and local historie made research a lot of fun. Ideas came and went. So we did a lot of drawings and after some discussion (how practical is thàt?) Nolda finaly approved the plans. Building could commence...

and this is the result

the front and...


From left to right: a detail of the sideplanking. In the middle the toppost. A structualy needed element but decorated depending on the wealth and money of the owner. On the right a socalled buurshoekje. At that time (say 1800) you had to pay taxes in proportion to the amount of glas you had in your frontelevation. If you could reduce that amount by placing it at an angle and thus saving money, the avaricious Dutch would not hesitate.

From start to finish it took me 6 months. During the build I stumbled into all sorts of hick-ups as I had never build a dolls house before. For instance, access to the house... A drawing is nice, but I just had to take it as a guideline.

To give it all a sence of realisme and just because it was a lot of fun to do, I made a memorial stone and let our daughter Emma, the grandchild of commissionair, place it between the bricks. We made a little ceremony out of it and we all had a big laugh

Just befor Christmas 2006 we moved the house from our shed to their home. Those ten minutes in the car where realy realy scary, I can tell ya. From then on it was her house, but I was hooked; the minivirus had cought me ;-) But that's another story for another time. And so is what Nolda as the interior decorator has done to the inside of the house.

ps. You can click on all the pics to enlarge them and get a better view


  1. Sorry about the funny lay-out, but blogger still doesn't do what I want with the pics, even though I try to dig HTML :-))

  2. OOOHHHH it is a nice story and a beautiful house. Will Nolda show us the inside?

  3. Debs, I love this house and everything that you wrote in this much history making this farmhouse the "richest" I have ever seen. Your skills are just beyond words..the angled glass window?? JUst a little twist and the house is a cut above the rest. Nolda has great taste and like Rosanna, I can't wait to see the inside or read the rest of your mini stories.

  4. hi debbie, thanks for coming over to visit my blog. i love dolls houses and all things tiny! this wee house is beautiful

  5. Thanks for your lovely comments. Ofcourse I'll let you all in and show the inside of Nolda's house Nolda doesn't blog but we have a sort of joint venture. A bit weird one sometimes but she's a great partner in crime.

    Ruthie, same to you! My love for miniatures doesn't stop at dolls houses. Just like you I love all tiny creatures and things that surround as. Your blog is an ode to that. Thats how I found you!

  6. Debby, I am enjoying my visit to your blog. You have done a fantastic job, I would never have guessed you were a first time dollhouse builder.

    The story of the window on an angle to save taxes is very familiar. In the eastern parts of the USA there is a style known as Dutch Colonial where the upper story of the house was located under a gambrel roof that allowed lots of head room. This type of structure was favored because there was a tax for every story on a house but if the upper rooms were in an attic it did not count for additional taxes. Now I know they called it a Dutch colonial. Clever folks who were law abiding but hated taxes.

  7. much detail and I can't believe it was your first one. Well done !


  8. Karin and Tallulah-Belle, Thanks a lot! As I build it for someone else I was more or less oblidged to make haste. But so pleased the way it turned out to be. And what fun to do!

    "Clever folks who were law abiding but hated taxes" haha, I'm not always proud to be a dutch... as they have this name to uphold. But in this case it has give us a some lovely architectual features. Even in the States ;-)

  9. Oh my, six months for an entire house? I've spent a year on two unfinished rooms! This is just amazing work. Did you make the toppost yourself, as well? If so, how did you do it? I second others' requests for pictures of the inside, too!

  10. Texas Belle, Your question made me decide to do a piece on 'torsen'. It's the dutch word for the swirling thechnique on wooden poles. I've set it up in dutch as my technical englisch is still unsufficent, sorry! I'm struggeling on a decent translation but for now you can check my dutch blog as pics can say a thousand words:

  11. He llegado a tu blog por casualidad y ha merecido la pena. Me ha encantado todo lo que haces, tienes muy buen gusto en decorar y hacer las miniaturas. Me alegro mucho de haberte encontrado.

  12. @Sionchi, Thank you and welcome in this little corner of the world wide web.


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