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My Little Corner of the Net

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sketchbook House

I came across one of my old sketchbooks while doing some spring cleaning.  When my daughter was around 5 or 6 years old, I decided that I would like to build a dollhouse with her. Not just any house, but something incredible.  Something that would be fun and educational at the same time. 

We sat down and discussed what rooms would be fun to design and have in a miniature house.  Here is our initial list of rooms in no particular order:

Entry Hall, Kitchen, Ballroom, Library, Girl's Bedroom, Boy's Bedroom, Master Bedroom, Craft Room, Tree House, Swimming Pool, Ice Rink, Computer Room, Trophy Room, Play Room, Bowling Alley, Observatory, Balcony, Fish Tanks with Dolphins, Living Room, Dining Room, Music Room w/Stage, Bathroom, Spa, Reading Room, Green House,Pet Room, Laundry Room, Chapel, Theater Room, Game Room.

The house evolved in sketches over the next few years while we worked on a smaller "starter" house.  This rear elevation shows the entrance hall, with a grand stair case up to the ballroom.  We decided the ballroom would have a glass floor and a glass ceiling and balconies.  It also shows the swimming pool (shaded area) in the basement and the tree house.   Keep in mind she loved to watch Beauty and the Beast and we had visited the Biltmore Estate. We were also inspired by Colleen Moore's Dollhouse.  Click HERE to see Carolyn's house that we were working on during this time.  

I toyed with the idea of making the Entry Hall a time machine of sorts, decorated with different motifs of time including seasons and steam punk clock gears.  The ceiling of the entry hall was the glass dance floor above, it could be embellished with zodiac signs and the glass dome above could be decorated with constellations and a beautiful chandelier.
We discussed themes that we could use for different rooms. These included:  Ballet, Outer Space, Egypt, Insects, Flowers, Disney, Animals, Nursery Rhymes, Victorian, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Craftsman, Contemporary, 1950's, Modern, Gothic, Medieval, Arts & Crafts, 1960's. & Oceanic.  (this was part of the education part)

Here is a later version of the different floor plans.  Level one (ground level) consisted of a formal garden entry into the great hall.  The great hall would have two giant staircases and an opening in the floor to the swimming pool below with an art glass railing.  There was a two story library to the left and an elevator and a secret passage behind the book shelves.  To the right of the entry hall was the formal dining room, a back stair case, the kitchen and a green house.

This is a sketch of the second floor.  The center section is the glass dance floor, to the left is the second floor of the library and either a guest bedroom and bathroom or this area would become a 2 story living room.  There is a bridge from the library to the tree house at this level.  To the right of the entry hall was the stage/music room and then the master bedroom and bathroom.  The tiny inset sketch above shows how the ceiling might be low above the front door and serve as the stair landing where the two stair cases joined in the middle.  It also shows the railing at the hole in the middle of the floor open to the pool below.

This is the third floor plan.  This level consisted of the glass dome over the ballroom in the middle with small flat roof sections at each corner.  The left wing had the boy's and girl's bedroom with another bridge to the treehouse.  We didn't decide if the elevator would go to this level or not.  The opposite wing had a nursery, the maid's bedroom and a craft room.   It also had a continuation of the back staircase to the observatory.  The sketch at top right  and dashed lines show the idea of a mansard roof.

The basement level had a large swimming pool in the center.  This would have doors over a section that would be partially outside.  This stems from a hotel stay with an indoor/outdoor pool that she loved.  The left wing had a game room which had a ticket booth entrance to the theater and bowling alley.  The secret passage also came out at this level and we discussed having a secret area under the tree for a treasure room!  The other wing had a jacuzzi, the back stairs, and a complete spa/exercise room.  The rear of the house also had an informal Monet inspired garden with a large tree for the tree house.
Another idea was a grotto in the pool area that became a cave.

Here are some sketches of the tree house.  I guess I should explain that the tree house played a big part in my kiddo's lives.  I would make up stories each night at bedtime about a little boy and girl who had a talking cat and a tree house.

This was a sketch of the front elevation at top, a roof plan in the middle with a crooked elevation of the ball room and dome and some ideas for windows below.  This kind of shows how the wings could be divided into 3 sections in case we had to transport it.

This sketch showed the left wing, including the two story library and bridges to the tree house. The top sketch also shows the bowling alley, movie theater, and ticket booth in the basement.  The sketch below shows how a 2 story living room might work next to the two story library.  It was important to have rolling ladder in the library and a window seat for reading.  

My daughter and I also became members of the Tulsa Miniature club during this time. 

Here is an old picture of one of the club projects back in 2006.  You can see some other pictures of this project by clicking HERE

While the Sketchbook house is not built, it was fun coming up with the concepts and ideas with my daughter.  Maybe it will materialize someday!


  1. Hello Troy,
    What great plans! It is certainly a very grand house. It looks like a huge project, but maybe one day...What a great way to spend time with your daughter.
    Big hug

  2. awww, that was a very sweet story I hope the house does come alive one day


  3. It looks like it would be gorgeous! Love your sketches.

  4. I think that it is Marvelous that you and your daughter were totally involved in the planning of this Magical Dwelling. It may not have materialized, but those shared hours with your little girl were Precious and Very Real. :)


  5. What Wonderful sketches and plans you made!!! They are so full of Dreams and imagination! Your daughter is lucky to have had such a "draftsman" at hand! Thank you for sharing! I hope someday it will become real!

  6. Me parece un proyecto fantástico,hay tantos detalles en los bocetos!!

  7. What inspiring and creative ideas! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Hi, Troy - The plans for the Sketchbook House are fabulous! So many wishes and dreams are involved - and I'll add my own wish that if the house ever materializes, I'll be on the invitation list to come see it! I love all the room ideas, but I'd especially want to see the tree house (with or without the talking cat) and the observatory. Drawing up the plans must have been almost as much fun as actually building it, so you and your daughter win either way! (Does your daughter still look so much like you?) Thanks for sharing.

  9. Hi Troy! You and your daughter had a wonderful idea. It's so cute! I also like to remember my son's childhood, but he liked to build garages for cars only))
    Hugs, Julia