INSIDE the formal drawing room a man is reading a newspaper in front of a fire and the lights are on.
In another room, Christmas preparations are under way, the decorated tree twinkling in a corner, the cards lined up on the mantelpiece while a couple of kittens play nearby.
It’s a grand, three-storey Victorian home with at least six good-sized rooms plus some basement space, but it could be whatever the new owner of this well-made, attractive doll’s house would like it to be.
“Your imagination can run wild on something like that,” said its creator, 46-year-old Tim Langford.
Tim, of Horse Fayre Fields in Spalding, has made the house specifically to sell to raise money to help sufferers of Parkinson’s disease, in which loss of nerve cells in the brain cause symptoms such as tremor, rigidity and slowness of movement.
He has been fundraising for the charity since his wife Lesley’s father, Jim Rutledge, died as a result of the disease just before Christmas last year. Tim feels it is one of the lesser understood diseases, although its profile has been raised with the well-publicised experiences of celebrity sufferers such as Muhammad Ali, Michael J Fox and Bob Hoskins.
Some of Tim’s fundraising events have already been reported in these newspapers, such as a 400-mile bike ride in four days in Northern Ireland with fellow Spalding Cycling Club member Chris Peel, who also lives in the town.
That fundraising has been boosted by contributions from The Fisherman’s Arms pub, which raised £1,100 over the Diamond Jubilee weekend, money raised by Lesley’s company, a donation promised by Spalding Cycling Club and static bike rides undertaken by Tim and Chris at Crowland Garden Centre and another in Peterborough.
Tim says if he had a pound for every time someone said ‘You’ll not get very far on that’ as they saw him pedalling on his static bike, he’d have raised lots of money.
As it is, the fund rests at over £6,000 with more to come in, but Tim wanted to finish off his year of fundraising with something special and has spent around 120 hours making the house.
He has turned his hand to modelling previously, making doll’s houses when daughters Caitlin (10) and Erin (7) were younger as well as a large train diorama complete with ducks swimming on ponds surrounded by reeds. However, Tim has gone a step further with the doll’s house intended for the auction as each room is individually illuminated, fireplaces glow at the flick of a switch and Tim has wired speakers into the house so he can play music inside it.
The house should be going on display shortly at Hills Furniture Store in Spalding where it can be viewed – and bids offered – in the months leading up to Christmas.
Tim emphasises that while the lights and illuminated fireplaces will remain inside the house, the furnishings and music system are not part of what is being auctioned and are there only to demonstrate to people what is possible, as he hopes whoever ends up with it will be inspired to dream up their own creative room settings.
It is possible to buy the fixtures and fittings new or second-hand on internet auction sites or at fairs, but as Tim found when he was making the house, it is also possible, with a little imagination, to come up with home-made solutions.
Having created the structure from a plan, Tim made the paved patio from modelling paste, the roof tiles from delicate slivers of brick that had to be individually glued in place, and he used proper lead flashing around the chimney.
Lesley, Caitlin and Erin got involved too, Lesley making the curtains that hang on brass rails in the glazed windows, Caitlin making the miniature Christmas cards and Erin customising the tiny books to make them look more realistic.
The house is now complete, just awaiting a new owner who feels inspired to create an ideal home of their own in miniature – while helping a worthwhile charity.