Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Calico Critter House Flip

A few months ago, while digging through the Goodwill Outlet Center bins, I found a vintage Calico Critter house from the 1980's!  Yaaaaaaay!  Unfortunately, it was beat up and missing some parts...like the stairs, a few doors...the base of the house....nothing big, right?  As I dragged my treasure into our apartment, my husband's jaw dropped.

    "What is that piece of crap?" he asked in horror.
    "Its a vintage Calico Critter house!  It even says 'Calico Critters' above the door, isn't this such a great find?" I replied holding it up (a window fell off as I did this).
     "Um... its broken and filthy and where is the bottom?  What are you gong to do with it and where do you plan to keep that thing?" He shook his head, obviously not as excited as I was.
     "I'm going to fix it.  I like a good challenge," I told him as I lugged it into my studio.


And after much work, I did fix it!  I flipped this broken Calico Critter house and I'm pretty impressed with myself.  After doing a little research, I discovered that its called the Charming Country Home, originally manufactured in 1985 by EPOCH.

<---- This is how my little house looked when it went on the market, pre-children and Goodwill Outlet Center.

When I found this little gem, the base, doors, fences, railings, and staircase where long gone.  Here's what I started with:



Not very impressive, huh?  I started the house flipping process by cleaning every surface and removing the scuffs from the floor.  Some spots on the floor look a little melted (as if the previous owner hot glued furniture in place).
Using an X-Acto knife and sand paper, I carefully removed the bumps and fittings that once held a staircase in place.  In my last Calico Critter haul from Goodwill was a brick colored ladder (from this vintage House) that just happens to fit perfectly where the stairs belong.  When I found the bag of furniture, I actually thought, "What the heck will I do with this random ladder?"  Not only is the ladder also made by EPOCH for Calico Critters, it coordinates with the color of the roof.
Because the staircase railing was also missing, I had to construct a new one.  I found a very nice caramel colored plastic railing (possibly from a Playmobil set) and carefully sawed it in half with the X-Acto knife. With a little super glue - and a lot of patience - the stairwell has a well fitted new railing matching the style of the house.
Next, I slashed apart an ivory colored plastic basket to create new doors for the balcony and a bay window in the front of the house.  When I found the house, I assumed pieces were missing due to a giant hole in the front, but later discovered that it was produced and sold that way. I'm guessing the hole was created for children to stick their hands in while playing.  Personally, I don't like the way it looks (like a garage with no door), so I fitted the space with a big pretty window.
The new front door is made of wood.  I cut out the windows (this was waaaay more work than I anticipated), added a knob and painted it a milk chocolate brown.  For the replacement balcony railing, I carefully cut apart an old plastic magazine holder, sanded the pieces, and glued in place.  I cannot get over how well this worked.  It looks great, too.
The new base of the house is made of MDF board.  Inside the house, the floor is painted a rich deep brown, outside, its covered in a fresh green layer of pretend grass (is this called Astro-turf?) with a patio area.  The patio tiles are actually made from scrabble tiles glued face down.

Finally, I painted tiny stones on the walkway for a charming cottage feel.

Cute, right?  It seemed very forest-y.
Because every house needs a kitchen area, I found an authentic EPOCH kitchen sink from the 1980's for sale on Etsy in butter cream yellow with a white counter and a cute green design.  I love the little storage spaces in this kitchen area. I very much want to keep it for myself.
To inhabit the house, I have a gray Calico Critter bunny, also vintage.  He is wearing plaid pants with red suspenders and yellow buttons.
For the balcony, I made a tiny potted plant and two flower beds (the bases are blocks from the game Jenga) of sweet pink roses to set in front of the house.
Here is the finished product!
...and here's the house with some of my handmade furniture sets in. I love it :)
I am very sad to part with it, but decided to list the house for sale in my ETSY shop.  If you are interested in giving it a new home, check it out.

6 comments:

  1. I guess you really did a good job. It looks great and new. And it is a good thing that it is you who found this stuff. You really make a good restoration on this Calico Critter House.
    EliteToyStore.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Can I ask how the door into the slots? I bought the manor house on CL and two of the doors have broken pegs so they don't stay on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was complicated. I put a nail in the top edge of the door, then snipped it off with wire cutter leaving about a quarter inch nub. The door was by far the most difficult piece to fix.

      Delete
  3. Hello. I love this project. I have a similar situation but with less repair to do. My main question is what paint to use on the paper-like red roof of the smaller, older Calico Critters houses. I bought one for $8 and only need to repaint the roof and floor inside. Both areas seem to have almost a cardboard-like coating on them. I don't want to use something that is too thick that will leave brush lines. I also don't think spray paint for plastic is necessary because the areas aren't plastic. What do you think? Just a regular spray and tape off plastic frame?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Because the staircase railing was also missing, I had to construct a new one. I found a very nice caramel colored plastic railing (possibly from a Playmobil set) and carefully sawed it in half with the X-Acto knife. With a little super glue - and a lot of patience - the stairwell has a well fitted new railing matching the style of the house.house flipper

    ReplyDelete