Let’s embark on a dollhouse renovation project, shall we? This vintage 60’s Brio has been sitting in my house for about a year, and now I’m finally getting around to making it over! I haven’t set any specific design theme for it, except I know I’d like the project to be fairly easy, so I’ll probably be using printables to cover up the surfaces instead of painting or laying down wood sticks.
The Good ~ What I like about vintage Brio dollhouse
I must admit that I’m often disappointed by the lack of availability and variety of 1:16 dollhouses in the US, so when this vintage Brio was offered for sale, I jumped at it! In fact, I was the lone bidder… how lucky!
What I love about Brio is the bathroom under the stairs. It reminds me of my sister’s old townhome that has a powder room under the stairs. Also, I never know how to decorate a bathroom, so the room being tiny means I don’t have to think about it so much.
The Bad ~ Some condition issues with easy fixes
After all was done and the house arrived did I realize why nobody else bid. The house wasn’t in the best condition, at least not as I expected. It was my fault though… my excitement of getting a Brio clouded my ability to objectively review the house. This one. Let’s go through the condition issues together.
The roof had some damage on one end, possibly from shipping. The crack/bend is more obvious against a solid, shiny black roof. Adding textures on the roof should camouflage the damage somewhat.
Whoever painted the walls didn’t take care to go around the outlets, so those got painted too.
The floor I believe is still original, but it’s diarrhea-colored. It’s got to go!
Some interior trims were missing or bowed, like this one just outside the bathroom. This particular area looks the worst. The stairs have come loose so I’ll need to reattach it.
The wire covering on the back was peeling so I tore it off. I’ll need to clean it up and cover it somehow, making sure the wires don’t touch. What should I use here… masking tape? Paper?
I couldn’t find the outlet to which the transformer would connect, to power up the house. Paging Lundby Lovers… do you know?
The Ugly ~ How in the world am I going to fix this?
If there is a lesson to be learned here, it’s that if it looks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. The duck being a bowed wall, in this case. If you look toward the right side of the next picture, you’ll see the lower wall is bowed. I did see it on the listing picture, but chalked it off to optical illusion. I have no idea how to fix this without replacing the entire wall. Someone recommended steaming the heck out of the wood to soften it up, then putting heavy weights to straighten it out. Another alternative is to leave it as is and beef up the trim, so it looks straight. Any suggestions?
One of the things I learn from the Lundby Lovers Facebook group (one of my favorites!) is that a vintage dollhouse retains its collectible value as long as it (especially the paper surfaces) is still in good, original condition. Since this particular dollhouse has been altered, I don’t feel too guilty about doing it up.
Stay tuned as I start with the exterior of the house!
Are you working on your own dollhouse renovation? Drop me a link/IG so I can follow the progress!
5 thoughts on “Vintage Brio Dollhouse Renovation: In the Beginning”
I have an old dollhouse just like this one you rebovated. Where would be the best place to sell it in its as-is conditiin?
Hi Vicky, I’d say try FB Marketplace, Craigslist, and Offerup. I’d mention that this scale fits well with Calico Critters and also mention Lundby. eBay is great for reaching a much bigger audience, but packing/shipping can be a hassle/expensive (although eBay has discounted pricing for Fedex/UPS, compared to if you go to the counter).
Hi. I have a 1968 Brio dollhouse that I’ve had since I was a little girl. I actually thought it was a Lundby dollhouse until today. Do you know how I can a value on it or where to look? I can’t find much information on it. Thank you so much.
Hi Alice, you’re right, Brio is not as common as Lundby, especially in the US. The value may range widely, because it’s very subjective. It depends on the condition, age, if it’s a collectible piece or if it’s a candidate for fixing up. If you have Facebook, I recommend you join the group Lundby Lovers and they may be able to help.
Hi! As I am from Sweden I can say that Brio is not that common here….. the prices on furniture to these houses can go skyhigh in dream sums that is ridicolous….. but i love them so I save and buy….