ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Painted Lady Dollhouse

Updated on November 4, 2012

A Victorian Painted Lady Dollhouse in the Making

Never let it be said that I passed up a $6.50 dollhouse kit. There it was at Value Village, a Crestview -- half price no less. It appeared complete except for the directions (and, hey, someone is selling instructions for $5.00, for moments such as these).

This page is detailing its journey from sheets of die-cut plywood pieces and bags of shingles to... well, the problem is I live in a very small space, and while one large dollhouse makes an imposing centerpiece, I don't want to grow a village in here in 12:1 scale. I plan to to finish the dollhouse kit inside and out (flooring, walls, shingles) and then -- unsure -- it may be sent on the next leg of its journey as a finished dollhouse kit. (Conversely, I could try to get it assembled and look for a local charity auction.)

I have been more or less prepared for years. I have micro-thin plywood, paints, glazes, fine polish and, upholstery fabric, as well as the basics like wood filler.

This is an in-process project. You can follow me in the process, beginning with choosing materials and color schemes. The picture you see is one of my inspirations: a real Painted Lady house from my Seattle neighborhood. It's not actually a dollhouse, though it rather looks like one. I've got a dozen or so pictures assembled for reference. When it comes to painting a miniature Painted Lady, there's a world of options -- so it's best not to limit oneself to looking at miniatures and kits.

If You're Making a Dollhouse, Finish First

... Or rather do the finishing. Even if you have plenty of space, it's easier to floor a dollhouse if you do it before it's assembled.

Some of my Materials

Some of my Materials
Some of my Materials

What's a Painted Lady, Anyway?

Some of those 'glamorous' older houses can be described by any of a number of terms. Victorian refers to the era in which many of them were built (though some Painted Ladies are Edwardian). Queen Anne refers to the style of architecture. A painted lady is often, but not always, a Queen Anne -- a fancy Victorian style that often includes towers and cupolas. What's unique to the Painted Lady is that it is painted in three or more colors in a way that sets off the architectural details.

Often, we think of San Francisco when we think of Painted Lady houses, but they are here and there. I see them around me in Seattle. Many have lacy gingerbread trim that is known as Eastlake styling. (Yes, some houses can be described with many terms indeed!)

Some Words on Choosing a Dollhouse Kit

Dollhouses -- and kits -- are fashioned in different materials, and this is part of the reason for differences in price. Mine (the Crestview pictured here) is punch out plywood, which puts it at the lower end of the price range, at least when it comes to kits that are designed for adult collectors. The Painted Lady kit in the sidebar is made of medium density fiberboard -- a mid-priced kit. The most expensive kits and houses are usually made of cabinet-grade plywood.

Another thing that can add to the price is finishing. Most kits come unpainted, and without flooring, shingles etc. There are some exceptions, though. Keep in mind that finishing is not the same as assembling. An assembled dollhouse can carry a hefty price tag, and can be difficult to ship.

Constructing a Dollhouse from a Finished Kit

This is a different model than mine, but it's also a Painted Lady. It has been bought pre-finished which, in the world of dollhouses, is not an oxymoron. It's finished in a style appropriate for an older child (a fair amount of realism, but a bit less than an adult collector might favor).

Picking a Color Scheme and Getting Started

Flooring your Dolllhouse - Part of Finishing

You have several choices for wood dollhouse flooring. You can cut it yourself from veneer, you can purchase it already cut, backed, and ready-to-go, or you can use a paper that simulates dollhouse flooring. (If you choose this last option, you'll want to varnish it well.)

It's also an option to carpet your dollhouse floor -- at least if you are going for a relatively modern look. Just because the architectural style dates back to the Victorian era, it doesn't mean your house has to be set in that era. (Those Painted Ladies are still around in the 2000s). You can use upholstery fabric from Jo-Anns as carpeting.

Painted Lady Dollhouse Kits

These dollhouse kits aren't all labeled painted lady,but that's what they are -- or what they'll become once you take to them with three contrasting colors of acrylic. There are architectural details that are typical of Victorian Painted Lady houses. The houses are built somewhat vertically (more or less); this may not be part of the definition of Painted Lady, but which is part of the image we call to mind.

The Melissa and Doug Victorian dollhouse has a recommended age range of 6 to 10. It's a durable press board with a laminate finish. It comes finished in a bright pink; this means there's less work for Santa, but as a reviewer notes, it might limit its value for older collectors.

The San Franciscan is indeed a Painted Lady (though it's named after the city and not the style). It's a potential collector's piece. And the Real Good Toys Painted Lady? This one has very lavish detailing, and is the sort of house that is favored by both collectors and older children.

And share your thoughts.

Sit Down on the Porch... - ...have a miniature lemonade...

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • KarenTBTEN profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @carol-weide: I have only seen it sold in kit form. It can be painted any color, but the way they show it on the website, it looks like most of it is done in a blue that's a little lighter than royal blue -- maybe somewhere between baby blue and royal blue. It looks like it's got an ivory or buttermilk color in that big triangular area on the top floor, and a little bit of a deep yellow... mustard, maybe?... as an accent.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Can anyone tell me the colors ( Blue/Purple) of the Painted lady, by Real Good Toys, What are the Paint names? I have looked all over,

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I bought a Victorian dollhouse kit about 25 years ago with all the intentions of creating a house with all the trimmings. I carried it around from place to place. Finally 3 years ago I said it's now or never. I pulled out all the pieces and separated them and was ready to jump into the construction work when I was forced to make a move. What to do with all those little pieces? I gave it away for the next home builder to finish the job.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Nice lens! I never tire of looking at the painted lady style.

    • jlshernandez profile image


      7 years ago

      I had always wanted a dollhouse when I was a little girl. The closest thing I got to see a dollhouse in all its splendor with miniature chandeliers and a working tv was at Frontierland in Southern California across from Disneyland. But that was ages ago and I don't know if the miniature museum is still there. Thanks for sharing.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)