History of the Visalian dollhouse

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I recently started working on a Seaside Villa, which is designed after the Visalian dollhouse that was available in the early 1980s. The Visalian was based on a real house in Visalia, California, that burned down in 1983.

When I first posted on my blog about my Seaside Villa, a former Visalia resident and miniature shop owner reached out to me with some info she'd dug up about the real house. She told me it was okay to share, and I've put together a blog post about the history of both the real house and the dollhouse: http://www.emilymorganti.com/blog/?p=14399

 

hilliard-house-sm.jpg

visalian-gazette-sm.jpg

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I loved reading the blog post. Good job!

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Thanks Emily, this is really awesome! I have a Visalian dollhouse. I have the 1:12 version.

I am currently converting it into a semi-tree house. (Yes, I know this will make some people cringe, but I am making it my own.)

I have some pictures in my gallery of what the house looked like when I found it on Craigslist. My blog has pictures of the slow conversion to a tree house.

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1 hour ago, KoalaSam said:

Thanks Emily, this is really awesome! I have a Visalian dollhouse. I have the 1:12 version.

I am currently converting it into a semi-tree house. (Yes, I know this will make some people cringe, but I am making it my own.)

I have some pictures in my gallery of what the house looked like when I found it on Craigslist. My blog has pictures of the slow conversion to a tree house.

I saw the pictures on your blog, so cool! I'll be interested to see how it turns out.

Just curious, do you have access to the tower from the third floor? How about a staircase hole leading to the third floor? I was chatting with @Qubanqtee about her Visalian and in hers there's no staircase hole and the attic wall is closed off (rather than having a doorway to the attic), I'm wondering if that's true in all Visalians or not.

 

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4 hours ago, fov said:

I saw the pictures on your blog, so cool! I'll be interested to see how it turns out.

Just curious, do you have access to the tower from the third floor? How about a staircase hole leading to the third floor? I was chatting with @Qubanqtee about her Visalian and in hers there's no staircase hole and the attic wall is closed off (rather than having a doorway to the attic), I'm wondering if that's true in all Visalians or not.

 

Thanks Emily. 

Just like Qubanqtee's Visalian, mine has no stair opening from the second floor to the third. The attic is very small and there is no access to the tower either. The only way to get into the tower room is to take the roof off!

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Thanks for the background Emily. Love what you are doing with the house.

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4 hours ago, KoalaSam said:

Thanks Emily. 

Just like Qubanqtee's Visalian, mine has no stair opening from the second floor to the third. The attic is very small and there is no access to the tower either. The only way to get into the tower room is to take the roof off!

so I am no alone and not crazy! (well, that may be debatable) BUT am relieved to know that my house isn't the only one....very interesting....I found an attic ladder on Tuesday at a Sacramento Dollhouse Store and snagged it for the Visalian - the attic will have access somewhere...the tower room, I guess will be a mysterious room for the sentinel of the area. (rubs hands feverishly together)

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That was great. I feel sad for Mrs. Strobridge and the house fire! That blog post makes me like the house more now...thank you for posting!

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16 hours ago, Qubanqtee said:

so I am no alone and not crazy! (well, that may be debatable) BUT am relieved to know that my house isn't the only one....very interesting....I found an attic ladder on Tuesday at a Sacramento Dollhouse Store and snagged it for the Visalian - the attic will have access somewhere...the tower room, I guess will be a mysterious room for the sentinel of the area. (rubs hands feverishly together)

Why not install a (non-working) trapdoor in the ceiling under the tower room and rungs and railing up the wall to simulate access to it?

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6 hours ago, havanaholly said:

Why not install a (non-working) trapdoor in the ceiling under the tower room and rungs and railing up the wall to simulate access to it?

I like that idea. You don't have to lose floor space to a staircase, and you don't have to spend the forty bucks for pull-down attic stairs. I knew I'd seen a tutorial on that, and lo and behold it's right here on the Greenleaf forums.

http://www.greenleafdollhouses.com/dollhouse_news/MAR2009/dollhouse-door.html

Thank you for posting that FOV. I didn't know the Seaside Villa / Visalian was based on an actual house, and I've certainly never seen pictures of the real house before. Interesting!

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7 hours ago, havanaholly said:

Why not install a (non-working) trapdoor in the ceiling under the tower room and rungs and railing up the wall to simulate access to it?

unfortunately the tower room sits right above the staircase to below so if I were to install a trap door, false or not it would open onto the staircase and it would almost occupy the entire floor of the tower - it's a strange room - the trap door though can be placed on either side of the attics from a room and still look authentic.

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I would be sorely tempted to do what I did with the Failrfield's tower and add extensions to two walls to join it into the attic.

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9 hours ago, havanaholly said:

I would be sorely tempted to do what I did with the Failrfield's tower and add extensions to two walls to join it into the attic.

I know right?  I keep looking at it but it's just not showing itself to make that happen.  We shall see, I'm still some time away from restoring that one.

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In this case you wouldn't need to add an extension, just to cut away part of the third floor ceiling and cut a doorway in one of the tower walls. But that would probably be hard to do in an assembled house unless you can take the roof off.

seaside02.jpg

 

The Seaside Villa does have a staircase hole leading up to the attic, but it's in the ceiling room to the right of the hallway, which make that room unusable as a bedroom or a bathroom. I'm planning to close up that hole and add a hole right above the first one so the two staircases will be one above the other. It will come up into the tower, so I won't be able to use the tower room for anything else, but I don't have other ideas for it so I'm okay with that.

 

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