Loving dad spends 14 months renovating doll's house for his daughters' Christmas present

A composite image of two young girls playing with a doll's house (left) and a Christmas-themed doll's house (right).(Caters)
A father has transformed an ordinary doll's house into a Christmas-themed creation for his young daughters. (Caters)

One doting dad might pick up the title of 'father of the year” after he spent 14 months and £500 renovating a doll's house for his two daughters for Christmas.

Tim Downward, 29, bought the second-hand frame for just £15 and subsequently began the expensive renovations, hiding the multi-storey doll’s house in his garage.

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Downward chose a Christmas theme for the Victorian-esque house, and included modern trinkets such as a miniature TV Times on the table and small lights wired into the walls.

“I’ve always loved making things and thought it’d be amazing to make a Christmas-themed house with little bits linked to memories of my childhood,” Downward said.

A composite image of a plain doll's house (left) and a sketch of a doll's house (right). (Caters)
The doll's house when it was bought (left) and Downward's sketch to transform it (right). (Caters)

“The TV Times on the table is something my dad had every year – I wanted to include things that I could talk about with my girls as they play with it.”

In the kitchen, there’s a turkey dinner with all the trimmings set out and upstairs the children’s bedroom showcases traditional wooden toys.

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Downward estimates that he spent about 10 hours per week working on the house inside his “freezing” garage.

“The roof in itself was a huge project,” he continued. “I wanted it to have a real tile roof, so I used little lollipop sticks, individually cut, to make over 3,000 individual tiles.

A composite image showing inside Tim Downward's doll's house (left) and a selfie of him and his partner, Ellis Robbins (right). (Caters)
Inside the doll's house (left). Tim Downward and his partner, Ellis Robbins (right). (Caters)

“I’d say it took six months to do the roof alone. It was a methodical and labour-intensive project. It took a lot of working out and there were a few little errors here and there, for instance, the first fireplace was far too big, but it was trial and error.”

He said that he made a lot of the furniture from scratch as he hadn’t realised the cost of purchasing doll’s furniture.

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“The fireplace and the kitchen brickwork hob is a perfect replica of a friend’s real kitchen hob,” he added.

“My favourite part of the project has to be the old lamp posts outside the house, they are very Christmassy. I love the period look of them.

“The big window at the top is a window I used to see on Christmas trips to Chester during my childhood and as the girls are still young, I’ll write them a little letter and date it so they know the meaning behind the detail.”

A composite image shows the inside of a Christmas-themed doll's house. (Caters)
The doll's house includes miniature toys, furniture and even a TV Times. (Caters)

Downward said his daughters, who are aged four and two, were “thrilled” with the early Christmas gift and immediately began playing with it.

“Our youngest is a little too heavy-handed still, but I made it, so I can fix it if it breaks,” he explained.

“We’ve had a Peppa Pig tea party and Frozen dolls in there already. It was made to be played with, not just looked at.”

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