There wasn't a love-at-first-sight for me with this house, but more like a really slow settling-in of a good feeling as we began to explore it, if that makes any sense at all. Neither Steve or I were incredibly optimistic about the house when we first decided to look closer, but we didn't have anything to lose and we certainly weren't having a whole lot of luck (we thought) anyway. And so we looked.
That slowly settling-in good feeling kicked in for me in this center hallway. It felt alive, strong, open and bright, and full of the (good) energy of all who may have passed through it in it's two hundred years.
And at the top of the stairs, there is this little nook. It's small, but I knew right away in that first visit that it could be the coziest of quiet play spots. And right in that first visit I daydreamed all the way through my childrens' childhoods of play here in this very spot, and right on into another generation. (I couldn't help myself. I was starting to fall in love with the house, after all.)
Quite rapidly, this space was set up and in use - even during construction time. With just one of our rugs (covering the gigantic 21" wide floor boards!), walls left empty for more dreaming, and a playsilk from the beams, I didn't "do" a lot to the space. It holds a whole host of imaginary play and dreaming tools. From dress up, to books and pillows to snug up with, and all the dollhouse/farmhouse/treehouse goods four babes could need.
It's a sunny spot, this little nook at the top of the stairs, and therefore one of the warmest places in the house right now. And it's here that I find at least one little one much of the time - in a spot that couldn't be more central to the house, and yet, has a bit of quiet and peace just right for the daydreaming that such play is usually full of.
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Well, geez. I should know better than to post photos of all those things without the appropriate sources for them! The rug is a handmade braided one (it - and the instructions to make it - are in my book Handmade Home) It was inspired by my great aunt who made many others in our home, including the wee little i-cord dollhouse rug as a child. I love that I have that early rug of hers! The playsilk hanging above is by Sarah's Silks. As for the doll and farm play, in order of the most played with (for those curious about these things): the farmhouse is by Ostheimer (as are most of the wooden farmhouse figures, with a few Kathe Kruse thrown in too); the (made in Maine) dollhouse is Seri's Dollhouse; then there is the Wooden Tree House Doll House; and the Wooden Camper (which was from Magic Cabin 8 years or so ago, and I couldn't find any maker info on it). There are many wonderful shops who carry all of these things (including many of my fine sponsors!), so I'll let you search around and find the right place for you.
And one more quick note about all that before moving on, because that was a whole lot of all that and I can't quite open the door on all of that without addresses the very real issue of cost. I'm sure I've written about this a few times over the years (once here), and quite a lot in The Creative Family. Simply, I believe that less is more with children's playthings. That quality and beauty matter. And that open ended, imaginative, nature-inspired playthings can last for years and years of varied use with just one child. As for the financial factor, when I think about how few toys I've ever had to 'throw away,' I am reminded that these choices have in fact, cost us less than (I believe) a childhood of commercially available 'disposable' toys. Our playthings have grown over a full decade now (my baby is almost ten!), with many, many birthdays and holidays for four babes in that time. We are big fans of gathering the gift-giving resources of family to share in one big and special gift, rather than lots of little things. I have no doubt that each of these dollhouses - or our playkitchen, as another example - will be around for grandchildren to enjoy - full of memories and beauty still left to discover. Less is more.
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