So, there I was, very early this past Monday morning at our local auction house with my dear husband, waiting for the auction to begin. As I wandered around, trying to stay warm and wake up while re-examining the various lots of stuff, I nearly tripped over a large stereo system with massive speakers -- you know the kind...so big that "wall of sound" takes on a whole new meaning. As I looked past the behemoth, I could see what appeared to be an old, very sad doll house tucked behind the speakers. I looked closer. The trim on the corners of the house triggered something in my mind...a particular style of doll house that I'd seen in a few books and on some websites. It reminded me of the trim that was used exclusively on what were dubbed the "Mystery Houses" made for FAO Schwarz in the late 19th century, but I really wasn't sure. A few minutes later the auction began. The first lot, the massive stereo system, passed with no bids, restoring my belief in auction-buying society. The next lot up was the dollhouse. The auctioneer started at $20...dropped to $10...dropped to $5...and I put up my hand. Any other bids? Nope. The house was mine.
Hubby looked at me a little curiously, but as soon as the crowd moved down to the next lot, he helped me pull the old house back out of the way. It was massive -- easily 3 feet wide by at least as high. It was missing one of its two doors, and some of the trim and windows were gone. Most unfortunately, part of one of the second floors was missing, and was covered with pink shag pile carpeting. I still wasn't sure it was what I thought it was until I looked more carefully at the filthy floors. There, under layers of dirt, were the telltale "parquet" floors. It was, indeed, a very rare Mystery House. I was floored. I've always wanted one of these houses, ever since I saw pictures of one on Ann Meehan's website, but given the prices I'd seen on them (usually well into the thousands), I figured it was one of those things that would have to wait until we hit the ever-elusive lottery. But there it was, sitting in front of me, and I'd bought it for the remarkable sum of five dollars.
It was a struggle getting the house into our car along with the rest of our auction purchases -- mostly trains and diecast cars, but also a lot of vintage Star Wars toys, and some other assorted eBay-bound stuff. Honestly, I wasn't sure it was going to fit, but after some repacking, rearranging, and tossing of boxes, and a liberal sprinkling of curses, we managed to get it all into the HHR. The house is now sitting in the middle of my kitchen, distracting the cats. I have to find a place to put it so I can start working on it, and then I have to figure out where to start. I think cleaning will be the first step -- after I get rid of that awful shag carpet. I'm hoping to get pictures taken tomorrow -- I'll need to get it up off the floor and onto a table for that, with my husband's help, of course. Fortunately my husband is thrilled that I'm so happy with the house, and is generally supportive of all of my hobbies, as I am of his. Now if I can just get the cats to sign a non-aggression pact, we'll all be a lot happier. Especially since I had to set up a fortress in front of the house after Misha-the-still-a-kitten got stuck in one of the empty windows yesterday and took off a bit of window trim in his panic. Cats. Can't live with them, can't kill them without figuring out what to do with their bodies...
And so it begins.