more articles like this
I Like Small Things And I Cannot Lie
updated: Sep 01, 2012, 2:00 PM
By Nicole Buchanan Freire
So, right out of the gate, I'd like to confess that I have not gotten off the couch yet to run. I know you're
all incredibly disappointed. Me too! If I could transcribe and publish the constant machinations my mind
goes through to keep me from lacing those shoes and stepping outside my house you would be
shocked. Or maybe not? The human brain can procrastinate forever.
I do however, have an excuse. (Don't I always?) Last weekend, while moving some things, I dropped a
house on my big toe and it did unspeakable things to my toenail. I will not go into detail, mostly
because it's gross, but suffice to say that I will not be getting a pedicure for a while because the thought
of someone touching my foot in any fashion will make me queasy.
But what's this, you say? A house? You dropped a house? Yeah, I dropped a house. A house with a spiral
staircase, three floors, an attic, a large wraparound porch, two bedrooms, a living room, dining room,
and a kitchen with built in cabinets. Hardwood floors, a fireplace, a round dormer, a shingled roof, lots
of windows, brick chimney, a gorgeous front door, and old fashioned sash windows.
It's got good bones but is definitely a fixer-upper. The outside suffers from a terrible paint job. Its roof
is missing shingles. There is some unfortunate gingerbread detailing on the front porch and second
floor balcony. In the living room, hardwood planks are missing from a section of the floor. And the dirt
and dust! The place is filthy.
It's a dollhouse. A DOLLHOUSE. One that at its highest point comes up about my mid-thigh. About 3 or
4 feet wide. (Which is why it hurt so badly when I dropped it on my toe. It's big for a small house.)
Now, before you roll your eyes into the back of your head and consign me to a lonely life populated only
by creepy dolls and awkward men who build model railroads that take up their entire backyards let me
just say this: I simply like small things. I realize admitting that, at age 43 I have a dollhouse in my living
room is not the sexiest of hobbies.
Not just small things like kittens and babies, everyone likes those. And I'm not declaring an affectation
for wee tufted Victorian-era fainting couches the size of my palm. (Although Sweet Baby Jesus, if one
exists, how cute would that be?)
I'm not interested in playing with a dollhouse. I have no desire to quilt miniature blankets or make dolls
have pretend conversations. I guess what I really like are small worlds. And a dollhouse is a small world.
I had a dollhouse as a child. Still do, somewhere in the dark corners of my parent's garage. It came
mostly unfurnished. The dollhouse currently taking up a large amount of floor space in my living room
is utterly devoid of furniture, and I like it that way. Just dusty empty rooms.
I didn't play with my dollhouse in the manner most people think of. I did not dress up tiny dolls and
have them sit around a tiny table, drinking tea out of thimbles. Mostly I enjoyed taking everything OUT
of the dollhouse, turning over and over the few small pieces of furniture I eventually received in my
hands, marveling at the tiny details, and staring into the empty rooms. I also did this with matchbox
cars, lest I fall into some pit of gender driven toy assignment.
Raise your hand if you were a little heartbroken when Cracker Jacks stopped putting tiny prizes in the
boxes and switched over to crappy stickers and other lame offerings which were not prizes. They were
lesser choking hazards perhaps, but no prize.
I'm drawn to small things like magpies to shiny objects. It's why I love the small Swiss Army knife that I
carry on my key ring. I'm not acting out tiny knife fights in my purse; I'm contentedly using the tiny
sharp scissors. I'm enchanted when I see those tiny screwdrivers that come in eyeglass repair kits. I can't
stop buying those miniature Altoid tins, even though Altoids burn my tongue. I'm the kind of iPhone
user that will watch an entire movie via the Netflix app, even though the screen is barely three inches
across. (By the way, the best way to do this is in bed, scrunched down under the covers, with the iPhone
propped on a pillow. In the dark.)
There are not many things in this world that I am bigger than, but I feel tremendously powerful when I'm
looking at a doorknob that is smaller than a pencil eraser. I feel like Alice in Wonderland, peering at that
tiny door at the bottom of the rabbit hole and daring to drink unknown concoctions just to be small
enough to walk through it.
I do, however, want to find out more about this small house. It's obviously custom built, not a kit.
Someone took the time to lay down hardwood flooring the size of coffee stir sticks. Someone also did a
hack job with the fireplace, but I think I can rip that out. But researching this sort of thing means I have
to venture into the world of miniatures, and deeply. There is also math involved, which gives me serious
pause. The whole dollhouse universe (just like model trains) rests on the concept of scale.
Look at this! There are enough
numbers and math on that page to give me the willies! I am not going to expend energy (or time)
measuring things to determine what scale this house is built in. We all know how I feel about math.
Mostly what I'm going to do is clean this dollhouse up. Enjoy the sight of Tigerlily standing on top of the
house and pretending she's Godzilla and the house is the Empire State building. And continue to take
mildly creepy pictures of empty rooms. Like these!
Then..............well, I haven't gotten there yet. Sell it? Donate it? Use it to freak out house guests?
I'll probably continue to stare at it. I suppose I could use it as a carrot of sorts. Run/walk for 30 minutes
in order to spend 10 minutes using the macro lens of my camera to take pictures of tiny doorknobs.
Which isn't weird at all. Right?
Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)
2012-09-01 02:26 PM
There's nothing weird about that Nicole SNOT at all I have a Godzilla about 2 feet tall that's not weird my friends like it..They think the 80 Stuffed animals in big clear plastic bags in the corner of my studio is alittle strange but that don't bother me. I don't think it's weird at all that a single 54 year old man has a pile of teddy bears in the corner of his room..Do You?
2012-09-01 02:38 PM
Very cool! Love the Godzilla Cat! nice article & pics, Nicole.
2012-09-02 06:37 AM
more photos...b/w series with some tweaking?
2012-09-02 08:38 AM
I LOVE dollhouses! my father made one for my sister and myself, had four rooms, two down and two upstairs. YEars and years later I made one for my daughter and we had fun furnishing it -- have no idea where it's gone to now ....
2012-09-02 11:17 AM
I am 71, and finally have the dollhouse of my dreams since I was a child and knew I could not have one. I look forward to furnishing it, a piece at a time. It is a basic Victorian, blue two-story with just a few rooms and a staircase. It was hand-crafted by another Cambrian, and I am so happy!
2012-09-02 07:34 PM
I LOVE this dollhouse. Would love to see more pictures. In fact, if I could see more shots of interior and exterior, I might be able to help you find out who made the dollhouse (unless, of course, you already know). Thanks.
2012-11-12 11:27 PM
Nicole, are you ever coming back? I had just "met" you here, and have enjoyed your writing so much. I loved the stories about the way you met your cat and this one about the miniature house (a favorite thing for me, too)...and now you have been gone for quite some time.
I just wanted to let you know how much I, and probably many others, enjoy reading your writing. I do hope you will return in time.
43% of comments on this page were made by Edhat Community Members.