It All Starts Here

Sometimes our ideas flow from an existing kit to bash, a house style to scratch (aka custom) build, or from an interesting doll who needs a place to live. Our settings are always modern-day (ca. 2001 when we started this hobby). We try to create things that will make people smile and feel good.

We think that if we had to build the same house twice, we literally could not do it! Fortunately, we have very unique little people who have definite opinions and so far, no one has wanted a house “like so-and-so” has.

We work as a family unit: my wonderful husband, my beautiful sister, and I. We don't always agree as to the direction of the build, but I think that we end up with a better dollhouse because of all our grumblings -- and we do have a lot of fun!

The Purpose of this Blog

We needed a place for all we wanted to say about the background of the build and the nuts and bolts of the design and build process. Thus this blog.

All our dolls' homes have families living in them and a story is built around their personalities and lifestyles. This story is an integral part of our building process. We would like to share these stories -- actually, the little people insist upon it!

Many of our houses are located in Fredericksburg, Virginia because that is my sister's favorite place.

Also, we have started a Rouges' Gallery with photos of our little people and information about the dolls.

If you would like to start with the dollhouse that "started it all", it is the Original Rowbottom Manse; if you would like to see the scratch-built Georgian that our first build gave us the confidence (or fool-hardiness) to do, it is Sunnybrook Farm.

Let the stories begin!

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Friday, October 23, 2009

La Malcontenta, the Spanish Eclectic-Art Deco Home of Arabella & Daniel MacPherson. Georgetown, DC


Arabella Joslyn Randolph & Daniel James Macpherson: Biographical Information

A MacPherson goes to Washington:
Daniel MacPherson' s family is also descended from the Jacob MacPherson of MacPherson Farm (see MacPherson Farm writeups with biographies in MacPherson Farm- The Plantation Style Home of Anne & George MacPherson & their children Celestine & Angus; McLean, Virginia) but this branch eventually settled in Middleburg and later in Washington, DC.
Daniel’s great-grandfather James was appointed to the Foreign Service by Theodore Roosevelt in 1902. (Family members have been in the State Department ever since.) James decided that a Washington home was necessary and bought about eight acres in the outskirts of the Georgetown area of DC. There he built an elegant, but conservative, Georgian home , and he kept his farmstead, Evermore, in Middleburg as a necessary country retreat.
In the early 1930s, Daniel’s grandfather, Charles --a bit of an eclectic himself--built an elegant Spanish Eclectic-Art Deco

home on the Georgetown estate (his parents were still using the original house). Fortunately, there was enough acreage on the property to keep the house styles from clashing with each other!

When Charles retired, he gave the house to his son David who was following in the family tradition in the State Department.

David was settled at the US Embassy in Rome when he met his future wife Elsa Martinelli at a function at the Italian Embassy. Through the years, their friendship blossomed and they married at her family’s villa Bellaterra, in Tuscany.

After they married, David requested a position back in the states and David and Elsa moved into the Georgetown home. The name, La Malcontenta, which means “the disgruntled woman” in Italian, was given to it by Elsa. The name was not a disparaging one. She was having many tribulations while trying to renovate the house and thought the nickname of her favorite Palladio villa was apropos and very funny. Elsa and David have two children, Daniel and Cordelia .

David retired a short time after Daniel married. He and Elsa moved to her family villa --David had come to love Tuscany --and the Georgetown home was given to Daniel and Arabella.

How Daniel met Arabella:
The eventful day occurred when a 19-year old Daniel was at a horse show helping his Uncle George take care of the MacPherson Farm horses . Daniel was watching the horses when he realized that he was really watching a girl with flaming red hair talking with a group of friends, and that she was watching him! While watching them, he realized that there was another girl with flaming red hair and that three of the group were blonds. As the group walked over, all of sudden Daniel saw them turn into a bouquet of red roses and yellow daffodils! At this point, Daniel knew he had been put under a spell!

They introduced themselves – the Randolph sisters: Rebecca , Cecelia , and Arabella , and their brothers Thomas and Joshua . (They are the children of Grace and Graham Randolph of Charlottesville, Virginia, and Santa Fe, New Mexico where they currently have a retirement home named Casa Lobo.)

As they were chatting, Arabella (the girl who caught Daniel’s eye) and Daniel were surprised to find that they both played the cello and were part of the evening's entertainment. The Randolph siblings all played musical instruments and were a giving a group recital, while Daniel was a soloist. Adding to their feeling that fate was playing a deep hand here, was the fact that Arabella was about to enter the University of Virginia and that Daniel was already a student there, that they both were Political Science majors, and that they both loved hiking in Virginia!

Daniel liked the Randolphs, including Grace and Graham. They were a warm, casual family with a BIG plus: they had an off-beat sense of humor and could poke fun at themselves; besides, how else could a family turn out when their parents referred to themselves as "George and Gracie" -- with Graham smoking cigars and Grace playing ditsy redhead to his straight man? These traits were a relief to Daniel since this meant that the Randolphs would fit in well with the MacPhersons (bless them all) who also had a reputation for being "lovable eccentrics". Of course, eccenticites often hide feet firmly on the ground.

As they say, the rest is history-- David and Arabella received positions at the State Department as political analysts; they married; they settled at La Malcontenta in Georgetown. When they decided to make some changes to the house, they really agreed with its name!

They now have two daughters: Annabelle Grace (5) and Francesca Elsa (2) and an Old English sheepdog named Foggy. When politics get out of hand, they retreat to the MacPherson family homestead Evermore in Middleburg or the Randolph domicile Carlyon in Charlottesville and play the cello together until the wee hours of the morning.

1 comment:

  1. I just love your stories about these little people who obviously are real! This adds so much to the hobby.

    Keep up the good work