Jump to content

What An Obnoxious Book!


Lynette Smith

Recommended Posts

I raided the library last night looking for inspiration for my houses. One book, The Complete Guide To Remodeling & Expanding Your Dollhouse by Nola Theiss had an appealing cover, and I've been interested in trying my hand at bashing.

Early in the first chapter it discusses three types of dollhouse kits: the dollhouse toy, the happy medium, and collector dollhouses. Under the heading Dollhouse Toys it says:

"The cheapest kits are made of 1/8" plywood or even heavy fiberboard. These kits usually are assembled with slots and tabs. Many of these kits are very well designed with a choice of architectural styles and interesting details. While they will usually withstand the play of a child, the basic building materials are rather flimsy and the slot-and-tab assembly is not very sturdy. IN general, these dollhouses are toys; by the time your child has outgrown them, they will be ready to be trashed. But they are relatively inexpensive: between $40 and $100 for a kit, about the cost of a good pair of shoes."

It goes on to tell about the Happy Medium, which are quick builds, and personally I found dull and a cheat!

It goes on to "collector" dollhouses:

"The term "collector dollhouse" is used to describe a dollhouse made of 1/4" to 3/8" cabinet grade plywood. These are dollhouses meant for the serious miniature collector or person who intends to build and decorate one dollhouse for the rest of his life or until he or she "needs" another one.

"Their very size makes them special. Depending on the style, they measure 20" to 24" deep, 32" to 38" wide, and 28" to 43" tall. The kits alone weigh 30 to 60 pounds. They have four to ten rooms..."

Hmm... Don't those last two paragraphs remind you of anyone and their kits?

I went to read the beginning because the book only had RGT and Walmer houses pictured. There wasn't anything about customizing a house beyond buying the various additions the two companies offer. There was no mention of Greenleaf anywhere.

I've read a lot of posts where members say they wouldn't get a RGT house because they are too heavy. To me they look like they came out of a cut and paste photoshop, they are mostly the same, but move the elements around, leave them off of some, and expand on others.

If I had bought this book on ebay I'd be really mad. As it is, I'm annoyed at the bias a neophyte to miniatures will encounter.

Most everybody on the forum when deciding on a house for a young child recommend one of the modest houses, and save the good stuff for when they are old enough to appreciate it. I don't know of any recommendations to give a Garfield to a 4 year old, not to mention that the Garfield is slightly more than $40 and $100.

I'm not going to bother looking at the book any more. You'd think it was a paid advertisement!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 54
  • Created
  • Last Reply

You all know that I like the RGT farmhouse I have. I will probably be working on it, the rest of my life. But to me, Greenleaf houses are the collector houses! . More detail, more style, and easier to alter and individualize. I would not give a small child a Greenleaf house that I had spent hours and hours adding tiny spindles, trim, stained glass windows to. My DIL has a DuraCraft San Fran, that we won't give her daughter until she's older. Too much time and love, too many tiny details. A child needs a sturdy house that they can play with, without someone constantly reminding them to 'be careful'. This book may have been written by a RGT employee. You just never know. But there may be some good ideas in it, so don't give up-get the good out and ignore the bad.

That's just my opinion. But as a pre-school teacher of many years, I know that children are rough on toys. They need something that is build to stand up to being banged on, sat on, even occasionally kicked. RGT houses suit that purpose, as do the houses built by several educational companies. That's what I got for my granddaughter, and her brother likes to throw all the furniture out and sit in it! she may not like it, but at least he can't break it-so far!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I'm just glad I still like playing with "toys" :D

I'd say this lady who wrote the book is a "serious pain in the neck" and wouldn't know a decent dollhouse if it landed on her. <cackle cackle>

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Greenleaf gets treated like a red-headed stepchild in the majority of the miniature world. Inexpensive does not equate junk. I think that Greenleaf fills a need for people like me who can only afford the reasonable prices that Greenleaf manages to hold on their products. Those "fancier" and definitely "more expensive" houses are, in my opinion, also colder. They just don't seem to come alive like a Greenleaf does. I have yet to build a Greenleaf product that does not look lifelike and has warmth and that's what is important to me. I want people to look at what I have done and marvel that it is as realistic as it is. And, no, Greenleaf has not paid me for this comment other than giving me the pleasure of having created something that I can be proud of and just sit for hours and look at.

Elicia

LLonSSinSC

Link to post
Share on other sites

The book title is at the top of the thread. As for usefulness, I think I can figure out how to add the addition kit to the main kit, if I felt inclined to get one of those kits. The only one that speaks to me is the Queen Anne, way out of my budget and I don't think I'll find one of those around here for $50 or under.

To me the toy houses are what the author calls the happy medium. They are usually predecorated quick builds with no personality whatsoever.

I gave my niece a Sweetheart cottage I found at the thrift store for $3.00 when she was quite young. A year ago it fell apart (ahh, the hot glue blues!) and she put it back together perfectly with no instructions of guidance. The next niece had a mishap with the Harrison I gave because she lost her balance and fell into it. It's not beyond repair and we are planning to decorate it.

Who can look at the Beacon Hill, Garfield, Vineyard, or Willowcrest and not recognize how beautifully detailed they are?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I read this book too, also in a library. Talk about being biased! I ventured into the "world" of those other guys...and really didn't like the house. Looked like boxes stacked on top of each other, and way heavy. I'll stick with Greenleaf, with an occasional venture into a Houseworks roombox.

Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a second book I got at the library on customizing kits: Creative Dollhouses From Kits by Robert Scleicher. It presents a much more balanced view on kits. He has also built kits for nearly 50 years (at time of printing), so he has good, useful information.

In the section on die cut houses (much better designation than Dollhouse Toy) it says:

"The die-cutting process allows the manufacturer to make some truly complex dollhouses at a relatively low cost. In fact, you would spend about $2000 to duplicate a $200 Greenleaf with a conventional 3/8" plywood dollhouse. IN terms of size and style per dollar, these kits are incredible bargains."

He does point out that the die cut houses will take more time to construct than the more expensive ones, so you can have price or convenience.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hear,hear...I too think that Greenleaf RULES..It was my first choice when I discovered the world of Dollhouses.I purchased The Laurel and Primerose.I was delighted at the price, the quality, the ease of directions/construction,AND it was American made!!!!!

I do have three recent purchases of MDF houses and they are heavey.boxey. They are

in the boxes under my bed to be worked on later.I'm concentrating on the Sugarplum and Madison I just got last week. Both excellent!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Llyn, the Sugarplum is soooooo cute...I'm still working on mine...it's a beach cottage up on stilts and I just smile everytime I see it...have fun!!!!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

As I've said before, and will again, there's a market for each type of house. I love the Greenleaf houses too, and think they're beautiful. That doesn't mean I'm a bad person if I like the RGT houses too, or that RGTs are 'bad', or 'junk' . I've built two of those, 2 puzzle houses, a Duracraft, and have 2 Greenleaf houses just waiting for me to get my craft room back and start on them. I will also be ordering a Brimbles as soon as it is available. Each one of these houses fit the purpose or style I needed, and I am glad there is a variety of types and styles of houses out there. It makes the miniature world more interesting and appealing to a larger audience.

I don't mind putting the hours into a Duracraft, or a Greenleaf. They are well worth the extra effort. Not everyone wants to do that, and it's good that there are 'toy' house kits out there for them to build.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I love Greenleaf houses! They are not heavy-detail like no other-and the price is to good to ever pass up. Greenleaf you are the best!!!!!!!!!Maybe our Tracy could write a book for Greenleaf showing all her designs (I would buy it!)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I love the Greenleaf line. I bought the Beacon Hill as my first build and I am still building it a year and a half later. It is the little details that make it wonderful to me. You cannot get those little details with a RGT house. Also almost all the houses that I have been building since I started have been Greenleaf or Dura Craft. I cannot afford the RGT, they are nice to drool over (Foxhall Manor will someday be mine) but not as perfectly detailed as the Greenleaf houses. Also I can lift my Beacon Hill with one hand. I don't think I would be able to say that about a RGT house.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have anything against the other house manufacturers beyond the fact that I can't afford them! Somebody mentioned Earth and Tree and I had a look at their houses, which I could really get into. And many have the plans available for sale if you want to save some money and do it yourself. There was one in particular...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Everyone mentions "cabinet grade" dollhouses - but some of those houses end up like big heavy particle board cabinets. I might as well buy a vintage bookshelf with doors from Goodwill...and call it a cabinet grade dollhouse - it would be higher quality than the particle board.

That said, I have the RGT Federal Manor and I love it...but oddly enough it is unfinished (inside) after 10 years, during which I have built and finished the Glencroft and collected other houses...

I love the all the variation in Greenleaf's kits and floorplans - and all the details.

It really depends on who builds it, no?

I assume this author never played with or built a Greenleaf house properly.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually bought that book some years ago and too did not like the way the Greenleaf houses were described. Please note that several (Actually more than that) Artisans who are Currently IGMA Artisans and Fellows Own Greenleaf Dollhouses and say that is the only brand they like to build for themselves. June Clinkscales of http://www.miniaturesbyjune.com/gallery.html Built the Willowcrest and is working on another Greenleaf house (She told me she wish she had more time to spend on it cause she gets so many orders) Jo Bevilacqua of http://www.spencersnook.com/ has been working on a Beacon hill for about 5 years now. Rik Pierce has made and created several different Greenleaf houses. His next one will be a Glencroft kit (I gave him the kit about 3 years ago because he mentioned that after seeing mine, he wants to bash one now, You KNOW I was flattered to have created a house that inspired HIM. we do keep in touch and he & his wife are just Amazing people). These are 2 of is Rik bashed Buttercups http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/album/27840639QLdpoYZxyK http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/album/27840062ZcjMFCpIvy There are many others who LOVE Greenleaf kits and these artisans told me they love them because they are true to scale and offer the variety of rooms widths and sizes just as a real scaled house does. They like the challenge of finding or making items to fit the spaces just like they do in there real houses and to me (Of Course) I think they are right :blink: There are others who I have talked to at the Chicago Bishop show who recognize my name and say "hey you are the Greenleaf Forum person, aren't you" LOL and then I stop, talk & Chat and they tell me the story of their favorite greenleaf house that they have or had built and sold. One lady brought me her photo album of her Beacon Hill & Pierce the year Lynette & Linda took a class with me in Chicago. She did not have pictures online.

Those true statements made by recognized IGMA Artisans & Fellows tells me that Greenleaf has a Top Notch product. Even Alice Zinn did the contest house last year!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Sherry. There is room in this world for all kinds of dollhouses because there are all kinds of dollhouse builders, and all kinds of reasons for buying a particular dollhouse.

And, if truth be known, I am somewhat miffed by some of the comments in the responses in this thread. I build all kinds of houses including 3/8 inch scratch-built and RGT and Earth & Tree kits. I do not consider these houses of mine "boxy" and unappealing. A house is what your creativity makes of it. I am also not put out by the opinions of the author of the book in question; it's just her opinion as this response is mine. Now that I know what is in her book, I certainly would not buy it, but I would borrow it from the library.

As for houses made of heavier wood than 1/8" plywood, and possibly considered somewhat "boxy", does anyone here not like the houses of Mulvany & Rodgers?

The thing I always liked about this forum (and I go back a number of years) is the open-mindedness of the members and the different brands of house kits the members build. I never felt like an odd-ball because I bash every house I build and I prefer 3/8" plywood and MDF houses, but I think for the moment now that I do.

Sorry to make this post so long-winded but I just wanted to offer my "humble opinion" as the saying goes. I will go away now.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What I'm trying to say is that I do love the Greenleaf houses and I deeply appreciate Greenleaf for providing this forum, as well as all the other things that go along with Greenleaf houses.

But watch a commercial about cars sometime. Does Ford make a commercial saying Chrysler is bad and ugly? Does Frigidaire claim that Whirlpool is junk? No, they don't, they just say that theirs is better made, safer, gets better mileage. They don't put others down, and I don't think Dean feels that you ought to spit on every RGT house you pass by, in order to be a member of this forum. He just doesn't want you to come on here and advertise other companies or claim that they are better than his product. The fact that he lets us discuss other brands on here is proof that his attitude toward them is very professional, as it should be. He is secure in knowing that he offers an excellent product at an excellent price, and doesn't have to feel threatened by RGT houses.

But when you come on here and talk about how ugly, boxy, ordinary, other houses are, you are hurting the feelings of other members who have put their heart into building one of those houses, and there's no reason to do that, either. This world has room for differences in taste, differences in houses, and differences in personalities.

If feeling this way, wanting to be fair to everyone and treat everyone with respect-including the makers of RGT and the people who build their houses, means I can't be a member here, just let me know. I'll leave, albeit with great sadness.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this thread has taken a bad turn. Comparing and arguing the merits of various manufacturing styles, materials, designs ... it's like comparing apples and oranges, or apples and pineapples, or Camaros and Hummers. Besides being an exercise in futility, it's not what this thread started out to be. This isn't a debate to determine what the "best" house is. It's a commentary on the content of a particular book.

I think what Lynette is saying in her original post is that the author in question is preaching from a distinct point of view, one that she doesn't happen to agree with. That's okay. Freedom of speech, you know. I appreciate Lynette's review as I would a review of any book that might be of interest to me. It's a helpful tool that tells me what's in the book. Period.

Thank you, Lynette.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have Greenleaf and other brand houses and just like all of us they are different and I like different things about each house. Lynette was just reviewing a book. I love to read about books that I am considering on buying. One forum I go to discusses books all the time and we apprciate (sp) everyones view. I might read a book and get a whole different take on it. I learn from others view points. That's life. Different people different views. I am just glad that I have this forum to go to and have friends on here. Greenleaf (Dean) gives us a place to meet and have fun discussing our houses. I don't think anyone meant to step on anyones toes. I am glad that we are all different. It would get kind of boring if we all built the same house. (besides contests of course) LOL. It is what we do to them that make them special. :blink:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...