Dollhouse Project – The Hyland House
One day, when Leslie and her big sister Julie were little girls, their grandparents showed up at their house with a special gift. One by one, their grandmother “R.R.” and their grandfather “Pop” started unloading, piece-by-piece, a magnificent dollhouse that Pop had made for his granddaughters. With a rush of excitement, Leslie and Julie ran back and forth, following R.R. and Pop from their car outside in the driveway to their playroom upstairs.
Pop had cleverly created the dollhouse so that each room was a separate modular piece. Not only did his design make loading and unloading the entire dollhouse into his Cadillac a little easier, it made it possible for Leslie and Julie to stack and restack and arrange and rearrange the rooms in a multitude of ways. One by one, the rooms of the dollhouse emerged from the Cadillac and up to the playroom in Pop’s loving hands: a kitchen and a laundry room, a dining room, a game room, a living room, a bathroom and four different bedrooms, followed by a swimming pool, horse stables and a windmill!
“I know you girls like playing with your Barbie dolls so I thought the size of this house would be just perfect for them,” Pop said as he puffed on his cigar and smiled at the girls with a twinkle in his deep blue eyes. Not only did Pop make everything in a slightly larger scale than most dollhouses so that the girls’ Barbie dolls would feel right at home, he made everything out of sturdy walnut so that it was built to last.
Named after their beloved grandparents, Jack and Ora Hyland (“R.R” and “Pop”), Hyland House remains one of Leslie and Julie’s most cherished heirlooms. Slowly but surely, Leslie is in the process of working with volunteers to renovate the dollhouse so that it can be displayed for others to enjoy. While its permanent home has yet to be determined, the plan is for the dollhouse to go on tour and brighten up hospitals and other care centers in the years to come.
When she was a child, Leslie wrote a story about the dollhouse. She has revised it as a children’s book and is in the process of illustrating it, as well. The book will accompany the dollhouse once the restoration of Hyland House is complete.