Altes Haus Dollhouse
I began this project in 1989 - and finished it only in 2004, fifteen years later. The original is a still-extant 1358 building, the Altes Haus, in Bacharach, Germany. I worked only from a single xerox of an old photo of the exterior, plus a book of museum replicas of German renaissance rooms.
This is what I started with, xeroxed from a book of the early 1920s.
Built in 1368 and still in use as a restaurant. I have never been there, but this is an Internet photo from 2008.
Photo by UCLA photographer Reed Hutchinson
The finished dollhouse in 2004
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The original and the dollhouse. My interpretation is folk art, not a scale model.
Now for the tour.
The entry way. The sign, in German Script, reads Yakov's Gasthaus. Yakov is my imaginary inkeeper.
The fellow standing by the door is advertising Wein, Speisehaus, and Zimmer -- Wine, Restaurant, and Rooms. I found him in an antique store in Ventura. He began life as a Christmas tree ornament.
That's a statue of a jester inside in the entry way.
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Main room of the inn. The inkeeper (left) is a German doll. The fellow in the cloak I had made by a London dollmaker in 1500s German costume. The armor is a replica of a 16th century German original.
I made the fireplace from scratch. The ceiling art is from a book of medieval French illuminated manuscripts.
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I am including my floorplans to help you locate the rooms. This is the ground floor.
Second floor.
Third floor. Each floor above the first extends further from the building, a German style.
Fourth floor and fifth floor balcony/loft.
Painting of Bacharach's Altes Haus
On with the tour
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Looking in from a front window. Note the stained glass window in the back behind the bar, only visible from this point.
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The kitchen, to serve the guests, is the other principal room on the ground floor.
The tiles above the fireplace were hand set and grouted.
Hallway between back door and serving area of main hall.
Second floor: at the top of the stairs is the inkeeper's office.
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The large window lets him keep track of his guests in the main room below.
Here he keeps his accounts, and has a flintlock pistol handy just in case.
Bathroom. Rarelyl seen, as it has no panel to the outside, only a small window.
Of course the inn had to have a library.
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Notice the ceiling mural.
We have arrived at the lower of the two tower rooms. This is a game room for the guests.
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We have returned to the inkeeper's office and mounted the stairs to the third floor. The first room is the warming room where guests can gather and have tea and read.
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I first saw the stove (left) on which mine is modeled in 1996 in the Museum of Art and History in Geneva. It was built in 1688-89 by David Pfau II. It is 10 feet tall. Most of the ceramic tiles on my stove are photo copies of the original, but when I ran out of examples I used Tarot cards to fill in.
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To the left from the warming room is the room for the inkeeper and his family. Note the wall bed.
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From the warming room headed to the front of the building we come to the guest room for well-paying guests.
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This doll, like the cloaked figures in the main hall, was made for this dollhouse by a London dollmaker, in period German costume from around 1600.
From the good guest room a short staircase leads to the upper tower room, which is a music room, reserved for special guests.
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A staircase between the guest bedroom and the warming room leads to the fourth floor, opening on a large storage area.
The light in the doorway at the far back leads to a small bedroom generally rented to students.
The student garrett bedroom.
To the left of the storage area are three sleeping alcoves with mattresses on the floor. These are for very poor travelers.
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Above the fourth floor there is a storage loft. Goods and provisions are brought into the house by a hoist to the street at the loft level, then lowered to the fourth floor on a wooden platform.
Here is the loft lifting mechanism, copies from examples in books on German Renaissance architecture.
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This is the rear top gable of the inn. A hoist is used from here to bring up goods from the street below.
This is the view directly into the gable in the previous picture.
View of the storage loft at the top of the building.
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