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Dollhouse for children in need

Local retirees complete dollhouse, will donate it to a worthy cause

Created date

December 25th, 2012

In March 2012, residents at Wind Crest began work on an incomplete dollhouse. Wind Crest employee Georgina Ham had donated it to the Erickson Living community in Highlands Ranch, Colo., knowing they would complete the project she began with her late husband years before. She donated it with two stipulations that it would be completed and displayed somewhere meaningful so others could enjoy it. Residents finished the dollhouse in November 2012 and, to the joy of others, put it on display at Wind Crest for the holidays adjacent to the annual train display. Now, they re searching for a new home for the dollhouse.

Under construction

Three residents worked on the dollhouse at different times and in different stages. First, Jim Bartlett constructed and painted the exterior. He painted it immaculately, says Len Hilgartner, fellow dollhouse aficionado. Jim used tape in every corner so the paint wouldn t go where it wasn t supposed to. Next, Judy Thornberry worked on the interior laying carpet and installing wallpaper. She even electrically wired the entire house with working lights, chandeliers, porch lights, even tiny outlets to plug in working lamps. Once Judy had finished, the dollhouse made its way to Len, who helped to hide the wiring and constructed a wooden base and a plexiglass frame to protect the dollhouse. Ham was pleased with the result, and she knew it was the perfect way to honor her husband. The most challenging piece of the project was keeping the cost down, Len says. And the most rewarding was seeing faces full of wonder and amazement in those who saw the completed house. This is why I love woodworking so much, says Len, who moved five years ago to Wind Crest specifically for its woodshop. He knew it was a place to not only foster but also continue his 35-year-old passion for woodworking.

Next steps

Now that the holiday season has passed, the woodshop hopes to find a permanent home for the dollhouse. They would like to have it displayed at the new Children s Hospital, currently under construction about a quarter mile from Wind Crest off Plaza Drive. While the hospital opening is still one year away, they hope the original Children s Hospital, in downtown Denver, will display it until the new one opens. It s so important, but we want to keep this in the extended community, as close as possible, Len says. If that doesn t work out, they ll pursue Shriners International, a group dedicated to caring for sick children, or St. Jude s Hospital, in Memphis, Tenn. Though he wants to keep it close by, Len knows the dollhouse will go where it s needed where it can bring joy to kids at a time when they need it most.