Last week I finally got an occasion to visit Windsor and see the famous Queen Mary's dollhouse. It is of course awsome, and I have made some mental notes about certain practical matters. But, frankly, if you have unlimited resources, engage three hundred best artists in the country, import any materials you need and commission any factory you need, I am not all that impressed. It is pointless to compete with Queen Mary's house because it is a unique piece of art. I am more impressed by myself making everything I have made so far, all on my own, and almost all from recycled materials.
It seems, however, that I am no longer the only owner of the "new" Downton Manor. One more is for sale now, fully furbished, for £25,000. And while Queen Mary's house took all those hundreds of people three years to complete, Walton Park has been finished in three months. And I think you can tell.
Take the exterior. It's rather dull. They didn't even bother to paint the quoins. The roof is the same grey, no tiles. It seems that banisters have not been sanded properly to make them round and soft.
On the inside, there may be parquet flooring, but I am certainly not impressed by the fact that it took 14 hours to make. Just 14 hours? That's hasty work. There may be fancy wallpaper, but they haven't done anything on the inside of the front panels which are painted in the same dull grey. Silk curtains don't save it. They didn't bother about the secret corridors. The ceilings are not decorated at all (and there are all those fancy ceiling roses to buy!). Everything looks great at first sight, but when you start looking carefully for those tiny finishing touches, they just aren't there.
There is very little furniture, and of course all of it is from expensive shops. The ad says "immaculate attention to detail", but I don't think there is. The rooms feel bare. The left room of the basement, where I have my best kitchen, is an empty garage with a fancy car. The joy of Queen Mary's house are all those thousands of tiny objects, all with a purpose, all in the right place. And, sadly, I believe that someone who pays £25,000 for a dollhouse is not going to work any further on it. Maybe add some more expensive trinkets.
Ten years ago, I would have been full of admiration. Now I see what is lacking. I see the difference between a commersial gimmick and a passionate miniature-maker's project. My Facebook friends make much more interesting and sophisticated houses. We all know that it is easy to spend hundreds of pounds on dollhouse stuff. But there is no soul in this house, no love. And it is not meant to be loved. Like so much 1:1 property, it is an investment.