Secondhand Victorian-style dollhouse

I’m going to come clean straight away and say this is a project I’m working on as a gift for Cora this Christmas, but it’s also 9,000% entirely for me. I am living vicariously through Cora this Christmas. And beyond. 

I had been looking on Kijiji for a dollhouse for Cora for a few months. Probably casually looking for around six months, but more seriously searching for the last two to three months. I found amazing dollhouses every few weeks but they were either too expensive, located too far away or were the bad kind of homemade that were misshapen and home to jagged edges that no amount of sandpaper or filler could fix. This would after all be a present for our curious toddler so I wanted it to be a practical, special and more importantly a safe dollhouse. 

Kijiji did not disappoint. Kijiji is a gentle creature that rewards those with an abundance of patience. You have to look and look and look and inquire and have a deal fall through and keep looking and change your search words 20 times and then right when you’re about to give up, the most perfect thing will present itself. 

I suspect many peopled passed on this dollhouse because of its lack of a front door, a window and stairs. Ha, I say. HA! You’re going to have to do a lot worse than that to deter me. Before I heard back from the owner if it was still available or not, I was already researching how to make dollhouse doors and stairs and I am up for the challenge. 

As Robert pointed out, the attic is very like the wallpaper in Adam and Barbara’s house in Beetlejuice. It’s really sweet and I might keep it for the time being. 

As for the rest, I will be changing. I’m already overwhelmed with redecorating ideas. It will mostly be for Cora’s current / my old Sylvanian Families [aka Calico Creatures in North America] collection, so it will be decorated to be sweet and adorable. I might try my hand at making some tiny wallpaper, and there will be bits of burgundy here and there, but I’ll try my best to not to impose a gothic look. I’m way too excited to start redecorating Cora’s dollhouse and I’ve even come up with a few moodboard ideas for it! I really can’t wait to start. I love a good project, especially on a scale I can handle for a few hours a night. 

But more importantly, want to know how much I paid for it?

Guess.

Go on.  

No. 

Lower.

Lower … 

$45.

p.s. Serious question – can I say I own a Victorian house now? Because I kind of do … 

Should you be interested, check out my post where I share my

Top Tips for Buying Secondhand Items Online

Spice filled curio cabinet

If you’ve been following my blog for the past few years you may remember that for my 30th birthday my parents bought me a beautiful vintage curio cabinet. After some time I decided to paint it black and hung it up in the corner of the living room in our Islandbridge Apartment in Dublin, but for a very long time I had no idea what to do with it or what to put in it. I mean like two years passed and it was completely empty. I eventually put some jars in it for the sake of putting something in it, but I was eternally haunted by having such a cute cabinet and no idea what to do with it.

When we emigrated last year and moved into our Lower Town Apartment, there was a space in our kitchen that would be absolutely perfect for my curio cabinet. And almost immediately, I knew I wanted to keep all my spices in it. Don’t tell Robert, but I packed and shipped some of my favourite tiny empty glass jars [yes, completely empty jars. I have a problem] to Canada from Ireland. Once I unpacked everything and got myself organised, I hung up the cabinet in our kitchen and decanted all the spices and herbs we use the most into secret little jars and labelled them with black labels and a gold pen.

As soon as I started arranging the jars, I was embarrassingly ecstatic. I love stuff like that; organizing and sorting and having a little project just for me that essentially makes me feel like a witch in the kitchen.

I’ve been wanting to paint over the brown in our kitchen [this shade of brown was in the hallway and is currently in our entire bedroom], but I keep getting stuck on the idea that a room should be complete before I can take photos of it. Which I know does not make sense. Our kitchen will be a work in progress for the next while, but for the moment, I am loving my tiny curio cabinet in lieu of a perfectly curated dream Pinterest pantry.

Storage bench makeover with Fusion Mineral Paint

I’m sorry. I did it again. I painted a thing. Is this get boring? Correct answer: NO.

The relentless humidity we’ve been experiencing here in Ottawa broke last weekend and in a burst of energy, I started to organize our front hallway. One of the many updates I’ve wanted to make to our hallway was to add a storage trunk of sorts that could hold our hats, mittens and scarves in the winter and store our shoes in the summer. I also wanted it to be cushioned so we could sit on it, but it could be no wider than 40 inches as that’s the exact width of the small alcove-type space in our hallway. So I did what I do best and logged in to Kijiji to see what I could find.

It took me a long time to not only find the right size storage bench, but one that hadn’t already been taken by someone with a car that could pick it up sooner than I could. I’m talking like 10 months of searching to find something, but F I N A L L Y last weekend I found a storage bench that no one wanted, that would fit our picky hallway nook and the owner offered to deliver it to me for free. Yassss.

It was a storage bench only a mother could love. It was made almost exactly 51 years ago [according to the stamp on the inside saying “October 1967”] and was covered in brown and beige faux leather material. It was pretty fugly, but I could see its potential.

It is very well made and has some heavy-duty hinges and for $40, it was a total deal in my mind. A few hours after it was delivered I was painting it with my now very reliable Fusion Mineral Paint. The storage bench isn’t going to be a major focal point in our hallway, so I wanted it to be in a dark colour that could hide the scuffs and scrapes that come with an entryway, so I painted it in Coal Black from Fusion Mineral Paint. Just like our painted tufted leather armchair!

I painted two coats of Fusion Mineral Paint’s “Coal Black” on the dark brown sections and three coats were needed to cover the lighter beige [in the photo above you can see the difference between two coats of paint on the beige vs. one coat of paint on the right. The two coats were good, but still streaky so a third coat was needed]. I took my time and left the bench for a few hours between each coat.

After the three coats were painted, I left the storage bench open overnight [so the paint on the seams wouldn’t seal shut] and by the next morning it was ready to be used.

I continue to be amazed by how well Fusion Mineral Paint works on leather [and faux leather alike]. The coverage is perfect and you honestly cannot tell it’s a piece that has been painted. I’m not just saying this because Fusion Mineral Paint sent me paint. I’m saying this because I feel more people need to know that the DIY possibilites with paint are becoming more and more endless. If you see a secondhand piece of leather [or faux leather] furniture for sale but the colour isn’t your favourite and the thought of having it reupholstered is making you gently weep, know that painting it with Fusion Mineral Paint is 9,000% an option.

Our hallway is still a WIP, so it’ll be a few weeks before I’m able to properly photograph our storage bench in its new home. But for now, I’d like to thank Fusion Mineral Paint, again, for providing me with paint to do this project [and a few more coming soon!]. It means a lot to this busy working mom who is barely holding it all together đź’•

DISCLOSURE – while this post is not sponsored, I did receive this paint free of charge from Fusion Mineral Paint in exchange for a blog post. I only work with brands that I like and of course, think you will too. Thank you for supporting the companies that support The Interior DIYer.