Archive for the ‘houses’ Category

The Making of My First Sylvanian Village

Sycamore CottageThe Sycamore Cottage had to go.

That was my first thought when I decided to build a Sylvanian village. The cottage is pretty but too girly even for me. I actually prefer the soft blue and cream colours of the Riverside Lodge, which unfortunately has even less usable floor area in my opinion. The adult in me yearned for a Sylvanian house that could accommodate all the features of a real-life house – living room, kitchen, dining area, bedroom/s and bathroom – and its inhabitants.  I examined the Sylvanian Families displays at all the major toy stores in town to get a good idea of what would make the ideal home. Surprisingly, Willow Hall – which is 50cm deep when opened – didn’t fit the bill, despite boasting 5 rooms and having a large footprint. I found the rooms too cramped; once you put the furniture in, there’d hardly be leg room for the critters. Cedarwood Terrace (21cm deep) and Babblebrook Grange (27cm deep), same thing. Oakwood Manor, too big, period. I was going to settle for Cedarwood Terrace when I saw Larchwood Lodge.

I didn’t fancy the teal roof, but I loved how spacious it looked, and a quick check on the internet using my smartphone (because the promoter didn’t know, tsk) gave me the info I needed to make my decision: it was 34cm high, 40cm wide and 31cm deep.

Best buy ever.

(Close second being Bramble Hedgehog Baby Boy a.k.a. Bilberry Bramble, which I had found 3 days earlier at a Toys ‘r’ Us. It was looking unassuming and ridiculously cute, all by its lonesome.)

Larchwood Lodge back top view

With all that space on the upper floor, my big adult hands could  set up the rooms without knocking into pieces of furniture and fixtures.I was able to install a complete bathroom on the right and a bedroom on the left that comfortably sleeps 4: parents on the double bed and the kids on the bunk beds, with some room still for a side table and a coat stand in the corner, which I intend to substitute with a wardrobe or dresser.

Close-ups of bedroom and bathroom:

Larchwood Lodge upstairs bedroom

Larchwood Lodge bathroom

And now for a look at the ground floor. Here’s the living room:

Larchwood Lodge living roomThere’s still space to the right of the TV for a fireplace or a grandfather clock. But I’m thinking of a long dining table for dinner parties.

Here’s the kitchen:

Larchwood Lodge kitchen

I feel like I’m missing a cabinet for storing the dinnerware and dried packaged foods. But I love how the stove is positioned right under the window so that the delicious cooking smells can waft outside and entice guests and family members to come in for a meal. 🙂 And check out the staircase! There are stairs instead ladders! Win!

And finally, here’s the front view:

Larchwood Lodge front view

Home Sweet Home. 🙂

I haven’t decided who will live here. My son decided we would be the charcoal cat family, so I used them in these photos, but after seeing the baby Bilberry Bramble, he now wants us to be hedgehogs, which is fine by me because the Brambles were the first family I owned. I do think they fit better with the country look of the Lodge. The charcoal cats look too posh for it, and my family certainly isn’t the posh sort.

Plenty of time for such decisions.

How to Make a Cosy Retreat

So I went house-hunting recently.

I wanted something bigger than the Riverside Lodge, but I was limited by space. The new house had to fit into my bookcase. It couldn’t be taller than 34 cm and must have a footprint no bigger than 34 cm x 38 cm. After doing my research, I realized that the only thing that would fit into that space other than the Lodge would be the Willow Hall Conservatory Extension, a.k.a. Terrace House. Which, of course, is a smaller house.

Where’s the fun, decorating a tiny house? I asked myself. But an idea came to me. I could turn the Terrace House into a nice little holiday cottage. It wouldn’t take much effort or require a lot of furniture. In terms of story-writing, I felt that I could get ‘good mileage’  out of such a house. As a holiday cottage, it could be occupied by any Sylvanian, so I could in theory generate lots of stories with it as the setting. I was sold on the idea.

Having assembled the house and played around with different configurations, I decided to have a rooftop terrace rather than a front porch. Then I had to decide on furniture. I wanted the house to have everything that a lone occupant would need, namely:

  • a bed
  • a refrigerator
  • a television set, and
  • a cooking appliance, e.g. stove, microwave oven, grill

How difficult could it be, moving around 4 pieces of furniture? It took me 2 hours. This was the result:


The microwave oven came with a dresser which, after some frustrated attempts, I had to concede I didn’t have space for. I only needed the oven anyway, so I just had to figure out where to place it. It didn’t look right when I placed it on a coffee table. Finally, I settled for it sitting on top of the fridge, which is the set-up my mother-in-law has in her kitchen. 🙂

I went to bed, somewhat satisfied.

The next morning I discovered a problem:

There is no way the fridge door can open with the bed being so close.

So I swapped the armchair and the bedroom and turned the TV at an angle:


Not bad. My Sylvanian could now watch TV from the armchair or if he or she felt a bit lazy, in bed:

The problem was still with the fridge:

It’s great to be able to reach out and get a drink while staying seated in the armchair, but I think it’s stupid to have to jump over the armrest to get other things from the other compartments. So I left the space in the front of the fridge empty, as standing space:

I felt like a genius for having solved my interior decorating problems, and thought my experience worthy of sharing with the inspiring community of collectors at the Sylvanian Families Message Board. 🙂 I received encouraging feedback, which made me happy, and then Courtney of Sylvania Haven humbled me with a brilliant suggestion: “Maybe you could move the fridge/microwave combo to the wall where the bed was originaly [sic]?”

I almost dismissed the idea, but when I gave it more thought I saw what she meant.

Using Velvette Slydale as a tester, I found out that it is possible to open the fridge door fully if the fridge is where the bed originally was, and the bed is on the opposite wall. An adult Sylvanian would just need to scoot a little to the left to open the fridge. Yay!

The best part about this arrangement is that I now have space, where the fridge used to be, for a table and stool:


Now my Sylvanian has a dining area, which can double up as a workspace for say, an aspiring writer. The stool is absolutely necessary for getting food in and out of the microwave oven.


Another plus, the window is unblocked by furniture:


I even threw in a wastepaper basket for good measure:


As for the armchair that I chucked out, it goes up to the rooftop terrace, along with another identical armchair and a coffee table:

My little retreat is complete! What a fun project this has been.