This is what Doll Splinter read:
Completed in 1998 by Elizabeth Moya, Ewan House was built very slowly and intermittently over a ten year period. It’s structural origins however date back a further sixteen years.
Elizabeth Moya,aka Liz Lumley-Smith, decided. following the births of her two sons, Ross in 1985 and Ewan in 1987, that she would make them a doll’s house.This was something that she’d long wanted to do even before te arrival of her beloved sons.
Liz knew, based on previous experience, that realising her dream of making the perfect miniature house would seriously hinder her ever getting started on the project. She also knew that Ross and Ewan, if at all interested, would much prefer a rough and ready house in which they could let their imaginations run riot without fear of breaking or upsetting anything in their Mother’s precious little house.
She therefore embarked on an exploration of Bristol’s second hand furniture and junk shops. What she had hoped to find was a bedside cupboard or similar sized piece of human furniture, the proportions of which would be adaptable to the making of a doll’s house. That is to say, Liz would start her project with an almost ready made shell of a little house that would be a twelfth the size of a human one.
Her plan was to cut out windows in the door of the human sized cupboard, install a floor, stairs and also a roof. Hey presto, there would be a’ rough and ready’ little house for Ross and Ewan and for their Mum too of course.
One day Liz found a second hand furniture shop in the Old Market area of Bristol. It had three very large rooms ,one behind the other, each piled high with all manner of old furniture and junk. She walked quite quickly through the three rooms looking for that particular sized cupboard to suit a twelfth scale conversion. Not finding it anywhere amongst all that stuff she returned disappointed to the front of the shop.
Liz was about to leave when the man at the desk expressed surprise at how quickly she had completed her search. When she told him what she was looking for he became interested and invited her to follow him back into the dark interior of his emporium.
From behind a high mass of furniture hidden in a corner, he drew out some discoloured old sheets of plywood in different shapes and sizes. Liz could see immediately the rough cut outs for the shell of a three storey little house in one twelfth scale. There was a front with openings for windows and a door, two sides, a plain back and some floor pieces. There was no provision or plan however for a stairway or chimney.
The man explained that he had begun making this doll’s house for his daughter sixteen years earlier but had never got further than making these preliminary cut outs.
Liz felt sad that his child never got to see her father’s intended present but she was excited,this could be the kick start that she needed towards achieving her own aim. She did the deal and went home very happily with the rough plywood foundations.
Having two very young children meant that progress on making the house was initially very slow. To begin with Liz needed to think about how to adapt the man’s design to include a staircase and make a roof. She wanted it to reflect the same period as the Georgian town house in Montpelier, Bristol, in which she, her partner Stan and their two sons lived.
In 1989 the saddest of all possible things happened. Liz and Stan’s son and Ross’ brother Ewan died very suddenly when he was 18 months old. Life was never to be the same again and for a long time the making of the little house was forgotten.