“ Brand: John Crane / Type: Doll House „
When I was a little girl my dad made me a beautiful doll's house with leaded windows and all sorts of other bits and pieces. Sadly I sent it to our local children's home when I grew out of it and often wished that I had kept it! Recently, however, I have had the chance to 'play' with a superb traditional doll's house that made me wish I was a little girl again! The doll's house in question is John Crane Pintoy Wooden Marlborough Dolls House which is currently for sale at www.amazon.co.uk for £104.99. Well that was the price when I started this review but I have just been back to the Amazon site to check some facts and found that the sale is now over and the doll's house is back to its normal price of £129.99! The house is described as a 'picturesque dolls' residence to house the Pintoy family'. It has six rooms set across three storeys. The front of the house including the roof opens so that the rooms area all accessible for play. If you have a large family of Pintoy dolls the house can even be extended by adding a basement unit which currently costs £53 from Amazon. The house is 75.5cm tall, 65cm wide and 35.5cm deep and is made to a scale of 1:12 which is information that you will need when buying your furniture. Pintoy do make sets of furniture especially for the house but obviously there are many outlets both on and offline that sell all sorts of bits and pieces for doll's houses. Doll's houses are basically made as childrens' toys but there are also lots of adults who buy them, decorate and furnish them as a hobby rather than a toy. This one is not recommended for children under three years of age. This particular house is beautifully made with only the roof and the door painted red and blue respectively - the rest of the house is yours to paint and decorate. It is a substantial well built wooden house and being very nicely finished I think it would stand up to some serious playing - sadly I wasn't allowed to keep it and find out! It was lovely to see a wooden house (like mine was all those years ago) rather than the cheap looking plastic that we see so much of these days. Pintoy toys and children's furniture are made from Rubber wood, which is harvested from replenishable forests when the Rubber trees have finally reached the end of their natural cycle. Pintoy also has the environmental Thai Green Label award. The front of the house opens in two pieces to reveal the four rooms in the lower two storeys and the roof lifts off to reveal the remaining two attic rooms. This is an easy thing to do so a child could happily be left to their own devices without an adult needing to be called to keep opening and closing the rooms. As I said earlier there are many different accessory sets made especially for this and other Pintoy houses. These include sets for the bedroom, child's bedroom, bathroom, utility room, dining room, living room and study. I mention these because, if your child has the house, then friends and relatives could maybe buy the furniture and dolls as presents thus gradually building up a full set. The Pintoy brand is distributed by John Crane Limited who is a leader in the manufacture and distribution of traditional wooden toys. The company is 25 years old this year and 'happy to boast British ownership and great customer service'. So there you are - if we had the room in our cottage I would treat myself to this doll's house and relive all those happy hours from my childhood!
When I was a little girl I could spend hours playing with my dolls' house. It was a hand me down that had been lovingly made by someone's dad, with working lights and a doorbell and one day I really must relocate it in my mother's rather full loft! When I had my own daughters I suppose it was one of the first toys that I thought of buying for them, I hoped that they would get as much pleasure as I did from mine. For my first daughter I bought a wooden Toys R Us version - which was about £50 all in, furniture, dolls and all. I had seen this Pintoy version in John Lewis - they seem to have one in every store I have ever been to, but at £100 for the house itself with no furniture or dolls (additional sets are about £10-15 from John Lewis or online) it seemed like a big outlay. Fast forward a couple of years and the Toys r Us house was fairly successful, though it hadn't worn too well. My first daughter had played moderately with it, but my second seemed to really really like the idea of a dolls house - I still hankered after one of the Pintoy houses. To save future disputes I decided it was time for the family to venture into the doll house property market again. I actually ended up buying a Pintoy house second hand from ebay for about £20 - one of my best bargains ever! The house came with several sets and the family but I shall concentrate on the house itself here and hope to explain whether it is worth the outlay at the full price. Firstly, luckily for me, the house I bought was immaculate and unplayed with. Talking to other mums I think this is a key point - dolls' houses are one of those "marmite" toys. Your child will either play with it a lot or it will lie in a corner of their room looking beautiful and gathering dust and fulfilling your romantic ideas of what children should play with. Before buying be very sure that your child likes the idea of a dolls' house as much as you do! Go and look at a few, if possible in real life - the pictures online can seem very sweet but the sizes can be deceptive and I think it is good to see the build quality in the flesh so to speak. Now this is a good looking house - compared to the Toys R Us version it is more finey finished. The roof and door are painted but the rest is left plain but well finished with no rough edges. The house is satisfyingly chunky and stands up to play well. It is well built. You can add a basement on to the house to make more rooms but my daughter is perfectly happy with the 6 rooms her house has. The front opens to reveal the 4 lower rooms and the roof lifts to show 2 attic rooms - both actions can be done easily by a small child something which is not the case with the cheaper house I have. Compared to the cheaper house the rooms are more generous and it just looks a lot nicer. I own a few Pintoy items - they make furniture and toys and they are a quality brand. Most of the toys we own will be passed on at some point and some have been a total waste of money. So is this one of those toys? I am happy to report that my little girl plays with this house every single day in her room and loves putting the dolls to bed every night and playing with the mini hoover, washing machine and toilet. She doesn't put things in her mouth so I am happy for her to play with it (under 3) and I would think she will like it for a few years yet. She really treasures her house, and I think we will too - I can't see us passing this one on, the romantic in me can see us keeping this toy in the family and maybe one day having grandchildren play with it - it is a hand on to another generation toy. We have built up a few more rooms now with various birthdays, so I think actually even if I had had to buy the house at full price I still would have seen it as a worthwhile purchase. It is nice to have a traditional toy that looks so lovely and doesn't make any annoying noises - oh and is not made of plastic - if you are a parent you will know that is quite a novelty!
A picturesque dolls' residence to house the Pintoy family. 6 rooms and 3 storeys. The front fully opens, including the roof and will be extendable in future by adding a basement unit.