What to look for when buying a childrens dolls house.
The material the house is made from is crucial,these can be described as wood, wooden,mdf.etc.,
Wood houses are the easiest to repair,re-model decorate,customise etc., they can be sanded to remove marks so usually no problems with buying used houses as they can be restored easily.
Types of wood Manufacturers are using are Rubberwood and Plywood.
ELC& Plan houses were made using rubberwood which is a sustainable hardwood, very sturdy,but can be heavy,and the furniture is of the same quality.If you want a very robust house,this one fits the bill,I do not think they make this house anymore so you usually have to look for used.The one feature of these houses as they are for the younger child and therefore open plan,I usually add sliding walls,roofs etc.,to enhance the house for the older child.
Plywood houses in the main are Ladybird,Toys R Us, some Chad Valley,you can see they are plywood because usually not all the house is painted by the Manufacturer,they usually paint the roof ,cills doors etc.,so you can see the plywood.Plywood is made by glueing sheets of veneer together to form sheets of wood.These houses are much lighter than the rubber wood,but are strengthened by the addition of a thick wooden surround,so no problems with the stability of the house.Because they are wood they have all of the properties of the rubberwood so can be sanded,screwed etc.,
Some houses are made from mdf (medium density fibreboard) which is manufactured using low grade wood chippings,branches etc.,I have no doubt there are different qualities in using mdf,but in my opinion they can dent if knocked,and you must avoid getting them wet as they almost dissolve.These houses are usually painted fully on the outside I think to hide the fact they are mdf.They can also be very heavy.but they do look very attractive when new.I can only relate my experience with mdf.I bought stairs made from mdf tried to make them narrower by sawing and they just collapsed into dust,and they do not really sand .Anyone who had tried modern flat pack furniture will know exactly what I mean about the properties of mdf. A word of caution mdf can be described as wooden as of course chippings of wood are used in its manufacture so do not assume it is what I would describe as wood.
I have many collectors houses made from mdf and they are very detailed and appealing and theyare still in pristine condition.so I do not doubt that mdf can be a successful material,just be aware of what can happen to mdf,and my houses were not bought as a childs dolls house.
It depends of course what you want from a dolls house is it a toy for now,or a house that will grow with your child and could last many years,if the latter I would always recommend going for wood.
Dolls houses come in scales of 1/12 the modern sizing used now,in the past Tri-ang etc used 1/16.the scales of 1/24 and 1/48 are usually collectors houses,Beware when buying furniture for your house as some people do not specify the scale and the 1/24 is not suitable for the childs house.The furniture is too detailed and too small for the childrens house.
The price you will pay does not always reflect the quality of the house you buy,so be aware you do not always get what you pay for,but if you do your research and know what you are buying then you can end up with exactly what you want.
Happy hunting for your childs house,and I hope this guide has helped.