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I love toys from the early learning centre. I always find them to be a high quality so when they had a half price sale, and then another 20% off I picked up a lot of bits for my children. One of the things I purchased was this dolls house. My daughter has other dolls houses but the pure size of this one pulled me in. At 117cm tall it is more suited to Barbie sized dolls and it is actually taller than my four year old daughter. Its usual retail is a huge £180 but as I mentioned before I picked it up for around £60 on sale. To be honest these dolls houses always seem to be half price. They usually retail for around £80 -£90 (apparently half price) but ELC often run promotion codes throughout the year.
In the box
In the box you receive everything you need to build a three story dolls house (other than a screwdriver and pliers), and furniture to finish the job. Most of the furniture comes in one piece but the bed does require some legs to be added to it. You also receive fairly clear instructions on how to build the house and although I helped my husband I have to admit he did most of the work. The one thing to point out is there is no doll included. We asked a lady in the ELC shop what dolls she would recommend but she just said there were none in stock large enough, and that a Barbie doll would suit it well. We actually purchased some Disney princess dolls and my daughter has found these are perfect.
There is no doubt about it building this dolls how is very time consuming and confusing at times, but luckily you only have to do it once for hours of play. The description did say to leave an hour to build this house, but being naive we thought we could shave sometime of this. The house comes in lots of small pieces. Only the main frame of the doll's house comes in large pieces, then the rest of the house is split up into different boards for different levels. You do need a screwdriver and pliers which we had to hand after reading the instructions. To be honest I am sure he did not use the pliers, but he did need the screwdriver. Following the instructions we began to build the house up. It does suggest having two people for this job and I can understand why.
It does all fit together fairly easily but because of the amount of pieces this three story dolls house has it can take some time. We found it took us around 90 minutes to fully assemble the house. We did put it together wrong at first so had to backtrack on the first floor and rebuild it. Once the main house was built up it is time to add the furnishings. The main house is all very sturdy, but then you need to add the extras like the chandelier and stairs. Then of course it is time for the furniture to go into the house. We decided to leave this for our daughter to do, so she could organise it how she likes. This proved to be a hit and after she got over the shock of the house she noticed her lovely new furniture ready to go in.
My little girl was absolutely amazed at her new dolls house. She just kept looking at it and then at us puzzled. The house towered over her so it was fun to see her really have to inspect every single inch of this house. The details are beautiful even without any furniture inside. The outside of the house is covered in pretty detailing, as is the inside of the house. Even without the furniture the scenes is set for little one. Each room is pictured to show little one what it is supposed to be. The kitchen has an oven and over appliances detailed all over it, as does the bedroom have a wardrobe with lots of lovely clothes hung up for the doll. The attention in this house is what makes it what it is in my opinion. It is done so it is very appealing to young girls; beautiful patterns that pull your attention, but are careful to leave it open for little one to play however their imagination wishes.
The early learning centre quality really shines through with this dolls house. Each piece is made of strong wood, and it really is fantastically sturdy. I was a little worried because it was so large, but it sits firm on the floor without any movement. We do of course have this setting against the way so it does not move around while my children are using it. All of the details are done to a high standard, and the laminated wood means there is no way for it to scratch. The furniture is also made of wood and extremely durable. The pieces are still light, and very easy for small hands to hold but even after being dropped a number of times they are intact and fully usable. It can be wiped down with a cloth easily to keep it lovely and clean.
As I mentioned before my daughter mainly uses her Disney princess dolls to play in this house. She does use other dolls but finds that larger ones fit the house better. Small dolls get lost in their surroundings and my daughter seemed to be bored of them quickly. She does think it is funny to use her dolls furniture from a smaller house, and then have the dolls as giants towering over them. The dolls have plenty of room to move around without being restricted in any way. They are the perfect size to lie in the bed, sit on the chaise longue and use all of the accessories provided with the house.
As it is so big it means my daughter can play at the same time as friends, or her brothers. There is plenty of room for two children to play easily, and at times all of my eldest three children have played at the same time. The house is split up into a number of different rooms with the bathroom and kitchen at the bottom, the lounge is the middle floor and the bedroom is on the top floor. There is also a roof terrace for little one to take their doll for a stroll. This means it can be used by more than one child in different areas. My four year old little girl does find it a little more difficult to play in the top half of the house. It is not out of reach so she can use it, but when using the roof terrace as it has raised sides she finds it a little difficult. This is good in a way as it will grow with her as she gets older providing something new to explore.
It can be used while little one is standing up, but my daughter finds if she sits her chair in front of the house she is at the perfect level to reach all three levels. This saves her bending and stretching and she seems to find it more comfortable to play. It is the perfect background for imaginative play. My daughter uses her doll to live like she does in the real world. They have to get up and brush their teeth, go to work/school make dinner and have a bath. It is perfect for igniting a child's imagination, but not overly structured so it cannot run wild. My daughter has spent hours playing with this doll house, and although the fascination is wearing thin the first thing she always shoes her friends is her dolls house that is bigger than her. She finds new ways to play with it each time and always asks me questions and tells me stories relating to the doll's house.
The doll's house is fantastic but it does have a couple of downfalls. The stairs just sit in place, but they can be removed if little one pulls them out of place. This means I am forever putting the stairs back into place but it is my two year old son who does this who is younger than the age recommendation. Also the chandelier just hangs from the ceiling. Again this can be removed and we have had to make a make shift loop for it as my daughter managed to lose hers. Of course there is the building time but as this is only needed to be done once it is not too much of a pain. Other than that it really is the perfect dolls house for any child.
I would recommend this dolls house to anyone with a little girl aged over three years. I think it could maybe be lifted to four years because of the difficulties my little girl has with the roof terrace, but it does grow with little one. It is the perfect dolls house for any little girl, very pretty and very well made. It is expensive but you are paying for something that is going to be played with for years, so it is certainly worth it. You receive 12 pieces of high quality furniture which fit the house perfectly, and make it fully functional with only a doll to purchase extra. It has received so much play already, and I can see that it will be a firm favourite in years to come.