A touch of Dutch -- the house that Anne built.
When we moved to Amsterdam in 2007 with two small children, the last thing we thought we’d come home with was a business idea. Huisje means ‘little house,’ and the idea stemmed from the iconic canal houses of our adopted city
We spent two wonderful years living in Amsterdam, when our two daughters were very young. Anyone who has travelled to Amsterdam has most likely spent some time wandering or taking a cruise along one or more of it’s many wonderful canals, marveling at the beautiful facades of those tall houses - some proud, grand and stately, others quite ramshackle – but all with their own unique character. Perhaps you were lucky enough to have seen a piece of furniture or a box of goods being hoisted up and pulled in through a window using a rope suspended from the hook attached at the top of the house – much easier than negotiating those narrow winding staircases. As we spent many happy hours wandering those canals, lulling our little girls to sleep in their pram, inspiration slowly dawned – what a great design for a dolls house…
Our focus is and always will be on sustainability; we made the first ever Huisje Design out of cardboard boxes that we collected from our local supermarket. With the prototype under our belts, we set about producing them. Made from 100% corrugated cardboard and self-adhesive vinyl that we painstakingly assembled at our kitchen table, they were gorgeous — but way too labour intensive.
As we worked to address the production process, we focused on supporting local businesses. We searched high and low to find different materials, joins, and laser cutting techniques. In 2018, we landed on the magic combination of wood, glue, and tenon joints. We were off.
Our daughters, Maya and Jasmine( that's a young version above), grew up surrounded by tiny tables and chairs, scraps of fabric, cardboard and wood samples. They were helpful product consultants throughout their young lives. And we believe that the countless hours they spent playing pretend have contributed to them becoming smart, creative, driven young women
As we watched the girls play, we realised that our product was ideal in so many scenarios, including childcare centres, play therapy, and in the home. Appealing to kids of all ages and gender-neutral, we wanted kids everywhere to be able to experience the magic of Huisje.
The tall, narrow design of our Huisje Kind dollhouse has been created to save space. We know that lots of families are making due with less space than they’d like. That’s why it’s so important to us that our playhouses pack away easily. Our Matryoshka (or ‘Russian doll’) design means that when the kids are finished playing, they can stow their playhouse and furniture neatly away.
In the spirit of “sustainability”, we have made every effort to keep Huisje Design products as eco-friendly as possible.The Play house is made from certified (Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)) poplar plywood. We’ve also sought, where possible, to source production processes and components within Australia, and especially, locally. Production occurs entirely in Melbourne, Australia, all aspects of the dolls house production are predominantly by hand - no “mass-production” in our own (and very cluttered!) home. Even the printed fabric designs are our own.
Play houses are excellent toys to help children develop, and we wanted to create a product that excites and inspires children & the child in all of us. As there is no greater joy / pleasure than getting actively involved with your child’s personal growth & development.
Huisje Design products provide children the tools to aid in developing their cognitive, motor, communication, language, nurturing and caring skills... whilst having FUN!!!
We empower children to express their thoughts, feelings and life experience through PLAY!!!
We love to see how you use your Huisje product and would love you to share some photos with us on Instagram (@huisje_dollshouse, @huisje_design).