The Heirloom Collection in brief
Our Heirloom Collection are a unique range of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian designs that are built to order.
All handmade, including hardwood windows, doors, stairs and architectural mouldings as standard, moving away from laser cut mdf windows and plastic components.
Georgian side window with bespoke panelling
Position in the market
First of all, you need to know we do things differently here at DHCW. And I will start by highlighting the negatives, an absolute no no in business, but to me, it is all about being upfront and honest with our customers, frankly, values that have been long forgotten elsewhere.
- Lead time; For many years now, our order book has fluctuated between twelve & eighteen months, and at the time of writing this blog (July 2023) the next completion date will be in about fourteen months' time.
- Price; We are not situated amongst the cheap and cheerful end of the market. That is for the quick CNC and laser cutting companies, that can produce a complete dolls house in a fraction of the time we can offer.
Now to explain why these two negative points had to be highlighted, and, how in some way you might consider they are not so negative at all.
It should be obvious that when each component is carefully handmade, time and money will always play a huge roll in the end result. Also, I would ask you to consider the fact, that a waiting list of this length, shows our customers are patient enough to wait for the quality we have a reputation for producing.
So, back to their position in the market.
This range of houses and shops had originally been compiled for the seasoned hobbyist, that's to say, someone who had already dipped their toe into the hobby, and decided they was ready for a special design with all the handmade features we could offer.
However, this has not actually proven to be solely the customer base we thought they would attract.
In-fact, it is more or less a 50 50 split between the seasoned hobbyist, and a first timer. Why is this ?
As already mentioned, the seasoned hobbyist wanted a design that offered higher quality components than perhaps their previous project, simple enough to understand.
But why would someone choose to buy a dolls houses from this collection, without having a go with a simpler model first.
It turns out in most cases, they were thinking more about only having enough space for just one design, that would be a main feature in their living room or hallway. Also, in the same way that people buy their forever home, they considered one special dolls house would be a steady project for years to come, rather than moving from one to another.
Hand cutting a facia for Dale Rise
Quality over quantity
Simply put, mass production and supplying the trade is not for ourselves. Back in 2006 we offered half a dozen shops, spread around the UK, an opportunity to sell our houses. From memory, we only had feedback from one, and it was not what we hoped for. Their view was, “if were struggling to sell cheap houses, how are we likely to sell yours” My answer was, “you are competing with every other dolls house shop that is trying to sell the same brand, maybe it is time to try another make, with no competitors in your area”. But it was a flat no, so we decided that it was best to concentrate on the method we already knew, individually making and selling them ourselves. As we all know, everything happens for a reason, and it has turned out to be the best outcome for ourselves and our customers, knowing they are not buying a dolls house that thousands of other people own.
Picture above shows Derwent Heights back panel with a simple jig set up, to router the floor grooves.
Pictures below are a mixture of old and new, with one or two curtesy of our customers.
Each house can also be found on our website with much more detailed descriptions.
Picture taken in 2006 when we updated the bay windows and porch.
This Victorian house has occasionally seen some design adjustments to suit our customers needs and ideas. From small changes that incorporated Edwardian features, to larger alterations inside and out, creating a shop with living accommodation in the version we call Bloomsbury View. However, the overall footprint and shape (silhouette) has remained the same. When a design is as unique as this, how can we even consider a complete re-design.
No17 Market Place
This design has it's origins in the right hand side of Trent View. Here you will also see where the idea for Bloomsbury View came from, merging Trent View and No17 Market Place.
Our flagship Georgian dolls house. This is a four storey building with six large main rooms, plus two attic rooms, an impressive hall and landings. The hall and landings boast an elaborate hardwood staircase with a double bull-nose step and two specially made spindles per tread. The house has lots of potential, especially if you are also looking to add the accompanying basement.
Not the usual basement design of others. Two large rooms, plus one front middle and one hidden back middle room, also a small pantry area sat underneath the trade entrance stairs, seen to the right of the pictures. The height of the doors, will offer a clue as to how tall these basement rooms are (twelve inches, 300mm). Solid brass railings and gate surround the trade entrance steps. Truly an impressive and unique design.
Dale Rise front porch, customer image.
Dale rise is again a four storey house with six main rooms plus two attic rooms, a hall and landings.
As with all our houses, a detailed hardwood staircase links all floors and landings together.
This is one of our latest designs, and one that offers a great deal of architectural detail. The double gable and two different bay windows are lovely features. Side windows of course, so all the interest isn't restricted to the front. They also add external light to the back of each room. That said, a customer that ordered one of these just a couple of weeks ago, has requested we do not cut an opening for one ground floor side window, as she would prefer more wall space, an option we are happy to cater for.
I hope this blog has offered an insight into the Heirloom collection, along with our commitment to detail and quality.
As with all the blogs I write, no doubt I will be adding more information and images along the way, so it is always worth revisiting to look for updates.
It is difficult to see the full potential of each house or shop, without seeing them in person. But this is always an option for anyone who would like to visit our showroom.
However, please remember to contact customer services to arrange an appointment before travelling. This will also be an opportunity to check the current lead time, as mentioned it is always fluctuating.
Unfortunately there is no option that allows me to directly respond to comments on this page.
I will however personally reply by email to every comment that are posted.