Grandma’s Dollhouse – Spokesman-Review – FEBRUARY 14, 1996
Here is an Article on the Doll House my Grandmother built, it is what inspired me as a kid to create my town and I built a replica in my Claytown.
Here is the Article
Dollhouse built on a foundation of imagination
By Cynthia Taggart
There are days LaVenia Jacobson’s imagination helps her see the tiny Pond women peering at the Atlantic Ocean from their second-story balcony, hoping to catch sight of their seafaring men.
Sealed in the cupola over their heads are the bills LaVenia paid to build their miniature three-story home in her family room.
“I never wanted to know what it all cost,” LaVenia says, shaking her head at the yellow and white dollhouse the size of a dishwasher. “I don’t know why I thought I needed another hobby.”
LaVenia’s husband, Louie, warned her he wouldn’t help after she decided in 1982 that she wanted to build this dollhouse. She didn’t care.
She couldn’t find a plan she liked so she designed her own, with a round tower and widow’s walk balcony on one side.
LaVenia had taught crafts for 17 years for the city of Coeur d’Alene. She knew needlepoint, decoupage, ceramics, china painting, quilting. This project took all her skills.
“My son once asked if I wished I’d never started this,” she says, peeking into the second-story music room. “Yes! What do you do with it? You can’t move it.
So she keeps working, a little at a time. She cross-stitches rugs and fashions crystal chandeliers, paints stained glass windows with a hypodermic needle and makes decoupaged wall panels for it.
She adds marble fireplaces and pull-away walls and windows, brass beds and decorative wainscoting. She tapers each wood roof shingle to fit and cuts in secret doors and rooms.
All for the Ponds, her ancestral family. LaVenia smiles when she speaks of the Ponds. They arrived in Boston from England in 1630, but then migrated to the Connecticut coast. In her imagination, that’s where this rambling house sits.
The family that lives in her dollhouse spans several generations, from pre-Revolutionary War to the Edison era. Hence their home’s electric lights, runaway slave hideaway (with ghost) and birthing room.
After 17 rooms, three porches and 13 years of work, LaVenia took a break a year ago to do some quilting. But the Whitman Sampler boxes filled with miniature kitchen items are waiting patiently in the cupboards under the house.
“I don’t really care about finishing it,” she says, running her finger over the ornate brass stove that’ll go in the kitchen she plans to add. “If it’s finished, then it would just be in the way.”
Here is a video of her talking about the Doll House.