Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Hi, all!

I have built my own kid-friendly dollhouses in the past out of old wood. I finally decided to graduate to my first kit.

I recently bought a Hofco Federal Victorian House Kit for $150. It included bedroom furniture, bathroom furniture, Christmas decorations, a complete lighting kit, etc. The kit itself is complete and in great shape - which is impressive for its age. 

When I opened the kit, I was so impressed by its details. The doors, the windows, everything. There was a marble fireplace buried deep in the box. Clearly, this is way too nice for me. I needed something I wouldn’t feel bad messing up! 

So here we are. I was wondering what advice you would give a first timer who is way in over their head. I plan on building this with my mother and she already insists we throw out the instructions. 

And lastly, Victorian era decor or modern decor?  

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't throw out the instructions! If you ever resell the house, the new buyer will want them.

Personally, I'd keep the house. It's a nice house and it's not that difficult to put together if you can hammer some nails in. You won't mess it up. And in terms of money, you really got a bargain. Most kits using 3/8" wood cost more than what you paid and then you have to buy the doors, windows, and staircases separately. 

First thing is to see if there is a list of parts with the house. If there is, just go carefully through the parts and label them with a pencil. You can also use duct tape to put your house together without gluing or nailing it first. That will allow you to see any future problem areas and give you an idea of what rooms there are and what size they are. Just take it one step at a time. Remember, if you put your house together slowly, by the time you get towards the middle, you'll be very familiar with the parts and there will be a lot less of them as you go along. 

As for decor, you can do any decor you want. How about making it an updated Victorian? You can have all the Victorian trimmings you want and still have some modern things in it as well. I would personally want to have a 1950s house for my own dollhouse, but I'd make sure I also had a computer. People do style like that today. 


Good luck!


  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, Lauren; my mother would have thrown out the instructions, too, and then whine about how the house wasn't going together as pretty as she wanted.  I find when building kits that they will tell me what they want, how they want to look, etc.  When I do the dry fit I use masking or painters' tape (the blue stuff), rather than duct tape.

Link to post
Share on other sites

hi Lauren!

I also vote that you keep the kit and tackle it one step at a time. I am now working on my first kit assembly. I also second the advice not to throw out the instructions. It is good to become very familiar with them and then decide which parts you want to follow and which parts you want to customize. I would guess you will need to keep to the basics of the original structural design and then add, subtract, or change details after the main structure is in place. 

As to the question of Victorian or modern décor - do whatever you like. the first dollhouse I decorated was already assembled. I wanted to respect the style of the Victorian architecture, but not be slavishly restricted to authentic period wallpaper, furnishings, and accessories (which is also likely to be more expensive and difficult.) I decided to use an eclectic mix - as I do in my own home. We enjoy mixing various periods of antiques with contemporary pieces. So our philosophy is to make the whole thing look like something we'd like to live in. We have a modern stove and fridge but old-fashioned wooden and upholstered pieces. It's a little fantasy - so have fun with it! 

Looking forward to seeing some progress photos as you go along!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Carolyn Robinson
      I haven't 'been able to work on my dollhouse for the last week or two and getting itchy! But the issue is I've been in an RA flare for the past two weeks and my doc put me on some medication last night in the hopes it will take affect. I was curious to hear how others with RA work with their miniatures. Do you have any tips, advice, or suggestions?
      Thanks for your time!
      Carolyn Robinson
    • By TimothyHH
      Hello everyone,
      I have a question about the old Hofco kits. Did they come with windows, doors, stairs, trim, etc? 
    • By Cynderellie
      Happy Thursday!  As I am brand new to this hobby, I thought it would fun to show you all the only dollhouse I have ever owned (before January 1 of this year).  Does anyone remember this?  Fisher Price, 1979.  Although I didn't make this and there were few to any ways to individualze it, this is what I consider my first doll house.  My fascination with this led to my Mom taking me to the Smithsonian to see their display of the American History Dollhouse.  Many (mannnny) years later here I am: building my first from the ground up.

    • By oldcodger
      Hi, I'm an old codger with a mini problem.
      I've inherited - rather my granddaughter has inherited for me to assemble - a Hofco Americana 242 in mostly box state. However, there are no assembly instructions. Does anyone know where they or a good copy exists that could be made available to me? First time builder, and not sure where all the parts go, nor really the best process to follow to assemble.
      Thanks for any help.
    • By RockawayRose
      After working on it off and on for two years, including a move from NYC to Florida, illness, a family death et al, it is basically complete!  Have put it up for sale but if it doesn't sell right away I think I will rework the 2nd floor porch railings with the Real Good Toys porch railings or something along those lines.
      I find the uploading process here frustrating, so if you don't mind heading over to my blog, here's the link.  Would love to know what you think!  I visioned it as a Key West house, music-oriented, and wanted to have the color come from the furniture and artwork so have intentionally left the walls white.   Flooring is all removable template.  Feel so relieved to finally have this done!
      and happy holidays to everyone from sunny Miami Beach!
  • Create New...