D.I.Y. Dollhouses

Furnish your kids’ playroom with a one-of-a-kind custom dollhouse, created by you. We found tips for a simple built-in option and a full-blown designer dollhouse.

By Jessica Covert | Photos by Kevin O'Riley

May 2014

Local Interior Designer Kimberlee Stockwell-Braasch built a custom Colonial-style designer dollhouse for her granddaughter Mallory.

Customizing your home is nothing new, but giving your daughter a custom dollhouse is a growing trend. Local interior designer Kimberlee Stockwell-Braasch of Kimberlee Designs (417-693-3259, built one from scratch for her granddaughter, and local homeowner Amy Boyd created one using an existing bookshelf in her home. Stockwell-Braasch and Boyd share a few tips for readers who are ready to tackle their own dollhouse project.

1. Decide how you want your dollhouse to look. Stockwell-Braasch says she chose to create and design a dollhouse scaled to Barbie’s size, and she built a four-foot-wide and five-foot-tall Colonial style house from scratch. Boyd took a different approach and divided an existing bookshelf into six rooms. 

2. Browse Pinterest for ideas and inspiration. Both Boyd and Stockwell-Braasch used Pinterest to find ideas for colors, wallpapers and furniture. Boyd says she found a number of bookshelf dollhouses similar to hers, and Stockwell-Braasch says browsing projects on the popular site helped her find creative ways to design an original house. 

3. Choose colors. Because the dollhouse she designed was for her granddaughter Mallory, Stockwell-Braasch says she based the color schemes of some rooms on ones in Mallory’s own room, and each of the floors has its own color scheme. 

4. Make use of wood and paper scraps, and repurpose old materials. Since Boyd decided to use a bookshelf, she was able to use scraps of wrapping and contact paper she had on hand. She also used furniture her kids had collected over the years. Stockwell-Braasch says she used new lumber as well as scraps of plywood to build the house. She repurposed old doll furniture and made her own beds, draperies and area rugs for the interior. 

5. Visit a variety of craft stores. You may have to hunt for certain materials. Stockwell-Braasch says Barbie-related items are hard to find, so she visited a number of stores to find what she needed, including Relics Antique Mall in Springfield. “You just have to hunt for stuff that works,” she says. 

6. Start small. Whether you’re creating a dollhouse from scratch or making one out of items you already have, you might want to test things out first. Boyd suggests creating a single room out of a shoebox where you can test out color schemes, wallpapers and furniture.

7. But what will it cost and how long will it take to make it? The cost of making your custom dollhouse will depend on how elaborate you want it to be. Boyd kept her costs low by using the existing bookshelf and other items she already had. Stockwell-Braasch’s dollhouse was more elaborate, and she says she spent around $150 and six weeks to do the entire project.

Local mom Amy Boyd built her daughter a custom dollhouse out of an old bookshelf. Fun wallpaper designs and furnishings bring the space to life.