My Sindy dolls house is my best remembered toy from childhood. It was handmade by my Dad, and I have very fond memories of the hours I used to spend playing with it. I adored my Sindy dolls (so much better than Barbie!), and I used to get very wrapped up in my make-believe storylines, which always centred round their house. I remember my sister giving me a Sindy toilet for the house one year, and it was easily my favourite present!
I’ve held off getting Little I a dolls house, as I wanted to wait until she was definitely old enough for it. So many of her friends have beautiful dolls houses in their bedrooms which are largely un-played with, and so I didn’t want her to have one until I knew she would appreciate it properly, just as I did.
I decided this Christmas she was ready, but online research proved a little disappointing. While there are some beautiful, wooden (and some very expensive) options out there, they seemed to be intended for younger girls, around the age of three. The alternatives were bright plastic monstrosities, which weren’t really what I had in mind; or specialist collector dolls houses which would be a big undertaking to assemble.
So when Hobbies came forward with its Starter House kit, it seemed the perfect option for a five-year-old. It’s in kit form, and undecorated, but as its name suggests, it is intended for the ‘beginner’ and meant to be easy to assemble.
I enlisted the help of my Dad, as I knew there was no way I could take on a secret project like this at home, with a nosey five-year-old lurking about!
The kit comes with handy instructions, but on reviewing them my Dad realised he’d need to use a bit of his own judgement too. Although it’s a beginner house, it probably helps to have a bit of DIY know-how, particularly for making decisions about the best order to do things. There were a few occasions where my Dad decided to depart from the instructions, and for example, paint a section before assembling it. He also felt it would have been helpful if each piece of the kit had been numbered, to assist with assembly.
But these observations are not meant to distract from the quality of the Starter House. Each section is precision cut and routed in MDF panels for extra strength, and the various pieces fitted together perfectly. The house consists of four rooms and a hinged roof with loft room divider providing a further two rooms. There are two stairways going from front to back in the centre. My favourite feature is the stunning windows, which are separate components and need to be individually decorated, and are full of detail. They really do add that beautiful finishing touch.
It is obviously up to you how you decorate, and depending on the amount of time you have to spend on it, you really could go to town. Or you could just use up the bits of leftover paint and wallpaper that you have around the house, and still do a wonderful job.
Costing £64.50, it’s very reasonably priced for the substantial, high-quality dolls house you have at the end. It should certainly stand the test of time, and I am hoping it will be loved for many years to come.