Thursday, July 21, 2011

Orchard House

As many people know by now I am completely obsessed with Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. I own approximately 13 different copies of this novel including a 2 volume set, first edition second printing. I have read practically everything I can find about Louisa Alcott and watched all film adaptations of this novel, my favorite being the 1995 version with Wynona Ryder followed by the 1933 version starring Katherine Hepburn. The colors used in the 1995 version is how I envision the March house each time I read it and every year I read this novel at least once. There is something so wonderfully inviting about the March family. No matter how I'm feeling, reading this novel sends a calm feeling of nostalgia over me.

For the past few years I have dreamt about creating a dollhouse replica of the real Orchard House in Concord Mass. where Louisa wrote and based Little Women. I have searched extensively online for anybody who has attempted this before or for kits that would work. I even attempted one from foam core last year in desperation to have my dream come true, however this didn't work out and it was trashed. Yesterday, while browsing, I came across a saltbox dollhouse in 2 different scales, 1/12 and 1/2. The website picture is very blurry and hard to tell anything about it so I contacted the wonderful staff and they sent me additional pictures of the 1/2 scale completed display in their store (which I hope they don't mind me sharing here). With 3 modifications I would have Orchard House. This kit is fully enclosed so any landscaping would have to be well thought out so that the inside would be accessible. I am thinking strong magnetic closures instead of hinges on the front and back wall openings so landscaping wouldn't be an huge issue.

This first picture is the kit front, needing a gabled attic window and front "mud room" extension of the front door entrance:

Followed by the side view, one side will need a small extension, which in the pictures of the real house online contained part of the dining room and back staircase I believe:

Interior front:

Interior back:

And finally the real Orchard House:

I am beyond ecstatic. I'm thinking with space constraints my best route will be the 1/2 scale version. I realize that there is still a limited amount of non-bank-breaking supplies, furniture and accessories for this scale but I think I will be better able to create as close as possible replica. I have seen pictures of Orchard House as it is now and however much I love the "bones" of the structure the rest leaves much to be desired. This weekend (fingers crossed) I plan to start my homework. I will pop my 1995 version into my PC and begin the task of taking screen shots of as much of Orchard House rooms etc. as I can and filing it away for future reference. As well as searching online for the real house interior photos for additional room layout ideas and structural detailing. It will be awhile before I save for this kit but in the meantime I will gather as much to start as possible and know that there is something I can work for.


  1. You are a very interesting person, Kabrina... And this project will be interesting to watch :)

  2. What a wonderful idea! I LOVE Little Women, one of my top 5 favorite books of all time! I read it the first time as a girl, and again many times since. I will probably read it another thousand times. I have 3 sisters and always related to the book so well.

    I imagined their house like the older movie, not the Wionna Ryder one. Your idea for the Orchard is awesome!!! I can't wait to see what you come up with!

    Nice blog! As a inexperienced dollhouse maker, I love reading blogs like this.

  3. How are the plans coming along?

  4. Plans are good, just have to save the money now LOL. Any excuse to watch Little Women over and over again ; )

  5. Thanks Stephanie! The house in the Winona Ryder one is based off of the real Orchard house that Louisa May Alcott based and wrote Little Women in. Only difference is the movie interior colors versus real life. Otherwise it's pretty much the same.