My collection currently numbers thirteen nine dolls' houses - I used to have over forty houses but have been steadily streamlining the collection and in over the last eight years I have sold off all my commerical antique and vintage houses but two.My primary focus is now restricted to artisan dollhouse miniatures with a few exceptions here and there.Gretchen's son found me on the Internet when he read my comments on this site recounting my introduction to Gretchen's inspiring collection back in 1976.
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Many of my houses are displayed in one room where I painted a Rufus Porter-style mural around three sides of the room.
One wall is copied from the mural that appears in the Tynietoy mansion while the other walls feature scenes from the Delaware Valley landscape, where I live with my husband and troublesome cat on the north side of the Musconetcong Mountain.
Another issue stemmed from Gretchen's smoking habit.
All the acetate windows and the lace curtains were brown from exposure to smoke.
The day after Christmas, my husband and I drove up to Sturbridge, Massachusetts for dinner at the Publick House and the next day we journeyed on to her son's house outside Worcester.
The house was still completely furnished but had been much jostled since its move from Gretchen's last home in New Canaan, CT.I made it clear to her son that I intended to respect Gretchen's memory and honor her personal qualities when the house came home with me.He understood that I would redecorate it to my own taste and might part with some of the furnishings, but that I would always treasure it as Gretchen's house.Her son also gave me her set of photographs and slides of her collection - they brought back an avalanche of warm memories for me!But the first job when we got it home was removing the contents and giving the house a comprehensive cleaning that was rather desperately needed.The loosening of several window shutters demonstrated the degree to which the exterior painted surfaces had been yellowed. The house is three stories tall and it sat on a large base with a four inch high foundation where bulky wiring terminated.