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Hi everyone!

First, a little about me. I'm 61, male and recently retired from a local electric utility company (PSE&G) after 37 years. I started my first house around 1990 for my daughter and figured by the time it would be done, she'd be old enough to appreciate it. It was a RGT Green Acres model. It came out really nice, I was very proud of it. I knew I would like doing the exterior but what surprised me was how much I liked designing the interior. I never would've thought that I'd get into picking out wallpaper, carpeting, curtains, flooring etc. And then all the furnishings! My go to store was a place called The Dollhouse Factory in Whitehouse NJ. I don't remember their names but I believe a husband and wife owned it, it saddened me when I heard of its closing a while back. They were always so nice and helpful, she literally spent hours helping me decide on what fabrics/colors to use for all the rooms. It took me, working on and off, about 4 years to complete it. My daughter was now 9 and knew it was not something to "play" with, she had another house for that. She loved going to stores and miniature shows with me to pick things out for it. It was our  "thing" we did together.

30 years later...

I now have a 9 year old granddaughter and I've decided to build another one! I found a 1984 (date on the Deed) Hofco Victorian Classic kit on Craigslist yesterday and picked it up this morning. It's partially put together, basically the 3 walls and floors. The seller said her parents gave it to her over 30 years ago and its been sitting like that in the basement since. She ended up having all boys and never bothered to finished it. I told her I'd stay in touch and send her pictures as things progress. She was thrilled! I'm really glad I found this old kit and I'm excited to get working on it! I'm hoping to learn from all of you and see what products/tools techniques etc. are popular now. It seems like a friendly and knowledgeable place. 

So, that's what brought me here. Thanks for having me!

Duane, Bucks County PA

 

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Welcome to the little family, Duane.  Take pictures of your progress as you work on your (granddaughter's) house and when you have made five posts you can put them in an album in the Gallery and refer the seller to the Forum to follow along your progress.  And don't wait another 30 years to build more houses, there are lots of children out there whose grandpas don't build them dollhouses, and your daughter might want another grown-up's dollhouse to play with.

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Hi Duane! :wave:  Hofco houses are wonderful to work with!  Will look forward to hearing more of your new build adventure with your granddaughter - and seeing pics!

Lancaster County, PA here  :) 

 

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On 8/9/2020 at 4:29 PM, havanaholly said:

Welcome to the little family, Duane.  Take pictures of your progress as you work on your (granddaughter's) house and when you have made five posts you can put them in an album in the Gallery and refer the seller to the Forum to follow along your progress.  And don't wait another 30 years to build more houses, there are lots of children out there whose grandpas don't build them dollhouses, and your daughter might want another grown-up's dollhouse to play with.

Hi, thanks for the tips! I guess that’s why I couldn’t post any pics- not enough posts.

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1 hour ago, jbnmini said:

Hi Duane! :wave:  Hofco houses are wonderful to work with!  Will look forward to hearing more of your new build adventure with your granddaughter - and seeing pics!

Lancaster County, PA here  :) 

 

Hi! It is a nice kit. Seems identical to the RGT I did all those years ago except there’s no siding pieces or shingles included. Maybe they were included and mine just got lost. It was in various boxes in someone’s basement for over 30 years so who knows!

Do you know of any good stores in my area? Where do you go? I don’t mind driving a ways. I’m checking out a couple in northern NJ on Friday.

Duane

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Welcome! Great story. So lovely to hear about the memories of time spent with your daughter collecting treasures for the house and now you have the opportunity to do it again with your granddaughter. I look forward to seeing photos!

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20 hours ago, MiniMac said:

Do you know of any good stores in my area? Where do you go? I don’t mind driving a ways. I’m checking out a couple in northern NJ on Friday.

 

My first suggestion would be Circus Circus Dollhouse shop- 445 NJ-23, Pompton Plains NJ  but maybe that is where you are going!?  :) 

Another one nearer to your end of PA might be Fingertip Fantasy Dollhouse shop - 401 Main St, Clayton DE

There may be others, but I am not sure. I go to dollhouse miniature shows several times a year and find a lot of my "special" items, and you will DEF have to visit the Philadelphia Miniaturia show when it comes back next year!  SO sad that they all have been cancelled this year.  :(  

I do most of my buying online- there are a couple of PA stores (Pittsburgh area) that I like to peruse, and of course, miniatures.com  

Have fun!

Jackie

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Yup, that’s where I’m going. I’ll probably stop at Karen’s Dollhouse Shop in Basking Ridge too, it’s on the way home. I was on Fingertip Fantasy website last night. I used to love going to the shows, it’s unbelievable what people make! Thanks Jackie

Duane

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On 8/13/2020 at 9:55 AM, jbnmini said:

Another one nearer to your end of PA might be Fingertip Fantasy Dollhouse shop - 401 Main St, Clayton DE

Jackie, have you been to Fingertip Fantasies ever? I've considered making the drive down there from Philly. Is it worth the 1.5 hours drive time? I think there are stores in Jersey that are closer, but I try to avoid driving in Jersey. I've driven all over Delaware so it's more familiar to me, plus there's the added perk of no sales tax. 

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Timothy, if you can drive around Philly, why not NJ?  Just curious; the hubs & I did our first retirement road trip up the Atlantic coastline pulling a 27' RV through Delaware, Philadelphia and New Jersey; Delaware was doable, but we won't repeat the trip.

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Had a good day yesterday! My first stop was Circus Circus Dollhouse in Pompton Plains NJ, took just about 1.5 hours to get there and was an easy ride from PA. Met the owner, Marilyn who's been in business 41 years. She told me what's changed in the industry and what hasn't. I told her that I recently acquired an old Hofco kit and she said how she always enjoyed building them. She told me how the Hofco Co. owner's father would drive up from MD in a truck loaded with inventory and stop at all the dollhouse stores to see if they needed anything. He would call ahead and even if she said she didn't need anything, he'd come anyway. They would talk and she always ended up buying something. "That's when salesmen were salesmen!" she commented. I spent about 1.5 hours there chatting with her and asking advice, it was fun. I bought some tools, wallpaper and other supplies and told her I'd be back.

My next stop, which was on my way home, was Karen's Dollhouse store located in Basking Ridge NJ. A smaller store, which took up 1/2 of the first floor of an old house with a hair salon on the other side. It was small but she sure had a lot of inventory. A great selection of miniatures, a lot of nice things! It's run by a husband and wife, and their daughter works there as well. I spoke with Karen a bit and told her who I dealt with 30+ years ago, she knew the place and owners well. Even though I'm no where ready for them, I bought some really nice drapes that came with a cornice. I'll definitely be going back there too!

Duane

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1 hour ago, TimothyHH said:

Jackie, have you been to Fingertip Fantasies ever? I've considered making the drive down there from Philly. Is it worth the 1.5 hours drive time? I think there are stores in Jersey that are closer, but I try to avoid driving in Jersey. I've driven all over Delaware so it's more familiar to me, plus there's the added perk of no sales tax. 

Hi Tim! Are there any stores you frequent in Philly or South Jersey area? I'm about 35 minutes north of Philly up I-95 (last exit before NJ) 

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On 8/16/2020 at 5:48 PM, havanaholly said:

Timothy, if you can drive around Philly, why not NJ?  Just curious; the hubs & I did our first retirement road trip up the Atlantic coastline pulling a 27' RV through Delaware, Philadelphia and New Jersey; Delaware was doable, but we won't repeat the trip.

Holly, unless I'm driving a straight shot down to the Jersey beaches I just always seems to get turned around and frustrated driving in the towny parts of NJ. All the roundabouts and overpasses in NJ confuse my GPS. Delaware just always seems easier to me, maybe because it seems like everything is either off I-95 or Route 1. Plus no bridge tolls.

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On 8/16/2020 at 7:07 PM, MiniMac said:

Hi Tim! Are there any stores you frequent in Philly or South Jersey area? I'm about 35 minutes north of Philly up I-95 (last exit before NJ) 

Duane, unfortunately no. There used to be one in Flourtown and another in New Hope, but they've both been closed for decades. I order everything online, which is sometimes frustrating because I end up ordering several examples of the same thing (flooring, wallpaper, etc) trying to find what I really want. There are some things that I wish I could see in person. Thanks for your report on the NJ stores. I may have to go to Circus Circus someday.

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Tim, I suggest learning to read & use paper maps; GPS is nice but not always accurate, as our #2 son learned the first time he came for a visit and ignored my instructions, followed his GPS and wound up at a huge wire fence the folks in the subdivision next to us put up to prevent people from coming through their neighborhood to get to ours (we have no HOA and are considered outre by everyone else in Seminole).

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On 8/13/2020 at 9:55 AM, jbnmini said:
10 hours ago, TimothyHH said:

Duane, unfortunately no. There used to be one in Flourtown and another in New Hope, but they've both been closed for decades. I order everything online, which is sometimes frustrating because I end up ordering several examples of the same thing (flooring, wallpaper, etc) trying to find what I really want. There are some things that I wish I could see in person. Thanks for your report on the NJ stores. I may have to go to Circus Circus someday.

I liked both stores, both owners we’re very helpful. Karen’s in Basking Ridge is a bit closer and cheaper. Even though it’s a smaller space, she had a bigger selection of miniatures. I found the ride very easy. Took Rt. 202 North into NJ,  then Rt. 287 North. Both stores are just a few minutes off 287. I’ll definitely return to both.

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There used to be a lovely shop in Skippack, PA, which sadly isn't there anymore. I also remember a wonderful shop in New Hope when I was young. I saved up and bought some artisan pieces that I still have today. I'm looking forward to getting back into miniatures when I retire. Until then, projects are few and far between.

Someday, I hope to get to Circus Circus and Karen's Dollhouse. I visited Fingertip Fantasies several times before they moved to Delaware.

Philadelphia Miniaturia is a wonderful show and I plan to go again in 2021.

I agree that its so much better to pick out things 'in person.'

Edited by barbg
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  • 4 weeks later...
On 8/16/2020 at 5:17 PM, TimothyHH said:

Jackie, have you been to Fingertip Fantasies ever? I've considered making the drive down there from Philly. Is it worth the 1.5 hours drive time? I think there are stores in Jersey that are closer, but I try to avoid driving in Jersey. I've driven all over Delaware so it's more familiar to me, plus there's the added perk of no sales tax. 

I have only ordered from them online.  Someday - when I have a few days off - I may take a little cross-country trip to hit several of these shops.  :)  What fun that would be!

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