Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dollhouse Found!

Dear Jeanette:
I'm so excited to have found you and to share with you all the things about the dollhouse!

I don't have Facebook, so Olivia and Norman (and you might hear from my best friend, Kim Strazis soon, too...) had to do the tracking..

BTW -- I'm Kathleen Gilbert, and my daughter, Olivia has a room in the attic at the porch end that's hers... It has a filigree "O" at the window thing. And my son Wesley has the one on the other side with the "W" on it... My dad's room is next to Olivia's (above the pool on the 1st floor), and my mom's suite is at the opposite end (under the "bell tower"-- I didn't know what to call that thing- that's as good a name as any!). Between Mom's and Dad's is a kitchen studio for Mom's painting and eating. The bridal suite was next to mom's, with a fireplace and access to the elevator (I was all into ergonomics at the time, and made it wheel chair accessible). My suite was between the Roman Bath (of the bridal suite) and Wesley's room. Of course my room had a bathroom that was enormous. And with Monet wallpaper... That top floor was mainly unfinished, as I wanted the family's input. The other floors were for the income from the guests so it was important to have them finished (tongue in cheek...)

The Gilbert Mansion as it is known now, had been named by me as the "Westerly Byrd Inn." Olivia's middle name is Byrd...

There's a family crest of 4 birds in "The Florida Room" by the driveway under the porch. Each bird has one of our initials: O, W, K, and D (their dad's name is Doug).

I've attached 2 pictures of rooms on the main floor my mom took with a special lens of the interior before the top 2 floors were added. One of the pictures, of the library has a map that was a Christmas card my husband received and saved for me, and I built the desk in there around that card. The other picture shows the foyer stairs as they're seen by looking through the Florida room, where guests would be received. The maps on the Florida room wall are of my favorite places in the world at the time: The NC mountains, Vancouver Island in BC Canada, I think, and I can't remember the other two. Maybe Newfoundland was another one...
The 3rd picture is the rendering of the Florida room before it was built. I had done renderings of every one of the 33 rooms. They were like children to me at that point and that's why the house is so big. It's like they already existed, and after the cardboard mockup was done, and my husband thought that maybe that was far enough, or that I should make it smaller, I had decided that there was no way I could leave out any of the 33 babies...

I have to tell you the story about the museum. Or not the museum. It KIND of was in a museum. The Omniplex is a science museum in Oklahoma City, and they used to have some local stuff and Oklahoma historic stuff, and at one time had a dollhouse collection that was moved out a year or so before I sold this dollhouse in 2004. There was a Titanic exhibit there in late 2003, and I called them about the dollhouse I had, and an excited and bubbly girl in the Curator's office said they'd love to have it shown with the Titanic exhibit. But the exhibit was nearly finished (it was a traveling one), and they didn't know how or when they would use it, but she wanted it. Well, I was so relieved because I had been trying for YEARS to find a home for it. It didn't fit in my working single mother lifestyle or home anymore, and it was heartbreaking. I hauled the thing over there, and in a couple of months the bubbly girl's boss said I needed to come and get it, because they had a new curator and were going all science now. I said there was no way. I had been trying YEARS, etc....

And after a year of them threatening to put it on the curb (but not really), my mother convinced me try selling it on eBay with a friend of hers that knows how to sell things on eBay...

Well, anyway, I'll have to finish all this and MORE (I'm so excited to find you and it!) after this week. Right now I'm in finals at school, and covered up. But next week when I get home, I'll gather more stuff and borrow Norman's internet and email you everything I can think of and what I have. I'm also thinking of starting my career as an elf soon and making some smaller dollhouses- like limited editions, and some bat houses (for the mosquitos in Oklahoma!) that are decorated of course, and some beehive mansions...

All my best, and thank you for putting your care into the dollhouse...

PS- there's a "pass-through" between the kitchen on the main floor and the conference room next to the kitchen, that slides up and is disguised as a painting.... And I've made two rugs: There's one finished for the conference room, but even though I matched the threads to the colors in the William Morris-styled wall painting, the color looks a bit off a little bit when it was in the room. And the second rug is almost finished (after 13 years!), is a much finer stitch, and is meant as a runner to go around the banister hole in the floor of the library... And there used to be a 2-storey light-ed Christmas tree that stood in the music room and went through that hole into the library, and I have to tell about the lights..And I have to do my homework! Take Care -- K

...And when my son saw where I had first found the dollhouse online (posted on a nice lady's blog who helped me find you by sending a shout out to her bloggers...), he'd remembered that we used to put orange peels in the rooms to keep the kittens from setting up camp in the rooms! They loved it in there, ... and I see no one as of yet has solved the window issue. I really feel bad I hadn't put windows in it-- I have some ideas about them now-- It haunts you like a mental illness..
OK. I really have to go now...

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Much Anticipated Reply

Hello Olivia,

Yes, I still own it. At the moment I have been trying to figure out how to wire it for LED lights to replace the Christmas lights. How exciting it is to receive your message. I always wondered about the artist of this wonderful mansion! I have so many plans for it. It will be storing all my prized miniatures I have collected over the years. Of course your mother is very welcome to contact me!
Again a pleasure to meet you.

Jeanette Fruge

Found It On Facebook!


Olivia found the link to the Facebook of the owner of the dollhouse, and has posted a comment at the bottom of the picture she has of it...

So, hopefully I'll hear from her soon!
Love, Kath

Here's the link to the photo with the owner in it. Below are all the comments people have made on it!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Gilbert Mansion

Kathleen Gilbert, the creator of the Gilbert Mansion, has been trying to track down this dollhouse. If you have seen it anywhere, please contact her at kathleengilbe62@hotmail.com

This grand mansion by Kathleen Gilbert was last spotted on eBay in 2007. It is a mammoth of a dollhouse, four stories high and consisting of 33 rooms. The Gilbert Mansion is almost 7 ft. long, by over 6 ft. tall, and about 30 in. wide.

The music and billiard club room has amazing wood paneling up to within a foot of the ceiling, with plaster-formed "marble" relief at the uppermost foot. This room was designed around a baby grand piano. This rooms French doors and long windows look out to another wrap around porch. This room also features the beautiful sliding doors that are incredibly impressive!

The exterior design was taken from several European and Canadian manors and castles; the roof is "verdigris" "copper" standing seam metal, just like the parliament buildings in Ottawa. The exterior walls are weathered limestone, with some relief work.