Canal House

As not all of you will be familiar with the dollshouse I am working on, I will share some pictures of it with you over the next few weeks.

This is my dollshouse six years ago, after I had just bought it. In the bottom right hand corner you can just see my son, who had started off my interest in miniatures when he asked for a miniature Christmas village to put up under the Christmas tree.

With no knowledge about miniatures or techniques I started work on the canal house. I get a lot of enjoyment out of figuring out how to do something within my limitations, for a lot of times I don't have the right materials at hand, or the right tools or the right skills!

Although I might do some things differently now, I like to see the work I did on the house in those earlier years. It's all part of the process.

I decided my dollshouse would be situated on one of Amsterdam's famous canals, the Singel. Many canal houses were built in the 17th century and were often changed after the latest fashions through the centuries.

Here's a drawing I made of how my house may have looked at the beginning of the 18th century.
The detailed drawings of the stoop are actual architectural drawings which I found in the Amsterdam archives.

So this is where I let the story of my house begin: In 1742 the house is bought by a wealthy widow, Martha van Grootheest de Kleijne, who made her fortune in the tea trade. The 17th century canal house was remodelled by Martha after the latest 18th century fashion when she had Rococo style elements added to the house. In Holland the expression of the Rococo style was not as abundant as in France, where the style originated.

Even though I do a lot of research on things like the architectural and social history of the time, and I try to tie together facts and the fiction of my house, I am not trying to be historically correct. I'm just having fun.


  1. You really give me a hope. I'm planning to build a Genoise house from scratch and, although I have not your abilities, your project makes me think that it could be possible. Please show us something more ot it.

  2. That is absolutely stunning. I am reading a book now which is about the Dutch settlers in South Africa and there is a lot of mention of Amsterdam and the canal houses.


  3. Oh Rosanna that sounds exciting! I'm sure you can do it! Your abilities are fine, and will grow as you go along. I think that's all part of the fun, the process... Is Mr. van der Bursen going to live there? ;)

  4. Thanks Jayne! I love some of the architecture in South Africa, so much Dutch influence. I've visited a few beautiful properties close to Cape Town, Dutch architecture in a different setting. The surrounding countryside is absolutely stunning! I think the architecture was the only nice thing the Dutch brought to South Africa...

  5. Oh, what fun! That's one thing I love about miniatures . . . the stories we make up for them! Your house is beautiful . . . I'm enjoying going through your blog and admiring all the photos of your house. Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. You're welcome. I've only just started the blog last month, so ther aren't that many photo's of the house on here. But there will be!

  7. Your canal dollhouse is beautiful, I have a friend that wants me to build one. Would you have plans of your canal dollhouse you could share with me or know where I might get plans of a canal dollhouse?
    Thank you for ant help you could give me, Rick Maccione
    Dollhouse Mansions, Woodbury, CT

    1. Hi Rick, thank you for your compliment! Sorry it took me so long to publish your comment and to respond. I'm afraid I don't have plans of my canal house, I bought it as you see it in the first photo. I don't know of any plans for a canal house available at the moment. There has been one in the past, more than 20 years ago. That is rather a nice one too. But where to get the plans, I don't know. Plus the plans would be in Dutch, although I suppose you'd get pretty far with just the drawings.
      Sorry I can't be of more help Rick! I hope you'll find some plans somewhere.


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