Monday, April 3, 2017

The Joseph Angel Dollhouse - Mini Mansion of Mystery?

I have never met a dollhouse with so many weird rumors and stories surrounding it as the Victorian Times "Joseph Angel" shell.

Picture found on internet

I have talked to people who claim to have seen the real house it's based on.

I have spoken to people who say it's an entirely made up house.

Others have told me that it once WAS a real house, but it's been torn down and doesn't exist NOW. 

I have heard tales about the brave ship captain who lived in the house named for him.

I have heard it was a dollhouse created for the wife of a hamburger baron.

I don't think that even Norm, David's father, who finished the exterior of this Joseph Angel house even knew (and he knew a LOT of stuff about dollhouses and stuff!).

He had a friend looking into it, who had homed in on the Pittock House in Portland because it was owned by Joseph Angel at the time, though I can't say I really see the resemblance in that one.

So, I've researched and read and tried to put together all the sources I could find and here's what I've come up with:

There is no ONE house that is the Joseph Angel. And there never was.

The Victorian Times designers made up the house with elements taken from different houses around Oregon, possibly including:

The Poulson House in Portland, Oregon.

The Captain George Flavel House in Astoria, Oregon.

At least those are the most commonly sited inspirational houses, and I think it's pretty easy to see elements of the Joseph Angel in them.

Victorian Times is long gone. They've not been around for ages. I don't know whatever happened to Clell Boyce or Ronald Clanton.

But what I do know: There will be a Rocky Mountain Woodcrafts version of this house. We already do a historical house kit that actually IS a real house - and of course I mean the Lace House, in Blackhawk Colorado.

Norm Nielsen and a Lace House Dollhouse -  May of 1978

And it will fit right in with the grand dollhouse kits David already makes like the Seaside Villa.

And the House on the Hill

There are so many things that could be done to make the Joseph Angel AMAZING, and a kit (not an assembled shell, as they were originally sold). Things like:

  • Hinging that front bay to make those two rooms more accessible
  • Making it out of the high quality plywood David uses for all of his other houses.
  • Pieces that actually fit together.
  • Windows that don't REQUIRE the nearly $700 cast resin set the original house called for.

Oh yes, we're going to make this a kit, and our own. And it's going to be amazing. 

But we won't call it the Joseph Angel.

I don't know what we'll call it.

The Oregon Mansion?

The Seaview?

The Drama Llama?

Or maybe just the Mystery House?

I dunno. Any thoughts, I would love to hear them. :)

We've started refurbishing the one Norm started, and though it's got some challenges, it really is a beautiful house. It feels so strange to be working on something David's dad originally did. He was the master (and his son has very much followed in his footsteps) Who do I think I AM? Refurbishing the work of someone so talented. It's intimidating and exciting all at once.

 I'll keep you updated on the progress here. Slow and steady... and that's just refurbishing the outside!:)

- Wendy


  1. Hello Wendy,
    It is a fantastic dollhouse. The exterior is beautiful and it looks like the rooms will be of good size. My vote goes for the Oregon Mansion.
    Big hug

    1. Hi Giac! I'm glad you like it too! I love this house. I'm nervous about finishing it, and I hope I can do it justice (with lots of help from David). :) I like Oregon Mansion too but we'll see. The kits won't be in production for a while, so we've got some time to think about it. :)

      Thanks for stopping by an commenting! *hugs*

      - Wendy

  2. I can't wait to see pictures of your dollhouse as you renovate it! And I'm thrilled that Rocky Mountain Miniatures will be producing more dollhouse kits!!!!

    1. Thanks, Lori! I'm excited too! And it'll be a bit, the Joseph Angel is intimidating as heck! Maybe a little Buttercup first. :) *hugs*

  3. The Joseph Angel is a copyrighted design belonging to Clell Boyce. Both he and his wife Sally are alive and well, living in the northwest either Oregon or Washington. I recently purchased a Joseph Angel shell and actually corresponded with Mrs. Boyce about a piece that was missing. You might want to check with the copyright owner before bashing his house, making it into a kit and calling it your own. You can reach them through the Greenleaf forum.

    1. Ah, anonymity, the bastion of the snarky comment writer.

      It does make you a little harder to take seriously, but I will do my best.

      I am pleased to hear that the Boyces are alive and well. We would absolutely LOVE to be put in touch
      with Clell especially concerning the money/product he still owes Norm’s Dollhouse and the Nielsen Family. I can be reached at wendy at midnightinthedollhouse dot com. Considering his utter lack of communication with us on those issues previously, I cannot imagine he will be anxious to discuss the Joseph Angel and it’s “copyright” with me now. But do, please send him my way.

      While Clell left his business relationship with our dollhouse shop in an extremely poor state, that isn’t what makes us want to do a version of this house. I am not “bashing” the Joseph Angel when I say that the one I have is made of exceptionally poor quality wood, and that none of the pieces fit together. And I am not “bashing” the Joseph Angel to report that EVERY. SINGLE. ONE of these houses that I have ever seen has been the same (I’m lucky, the one I got actually had all the walls in right side up). And as you know, that is how they came: as a (poorly) assembled shell. The Joseph Angel is a beautiful house, she just has ugly bones.

      I understand this is a “grail” house for some people, and it truly can be a beautiful house. Our version of this fictional Pacific Northwestern home will ALSO be beautiful, but it will be OURS. It will not be the Joseph Angel, not just because ours will be made of high quality Baltic birch plywood and all the pieces will fit together, but because we will add our own design elements and improvements and it will be something new and amazing.

      Just as the Joseph Angel was inspired by the houses I cited in this blog entry, our house will be inspired by the Joseph Angel.

      Congratulations on your Joseph Angel purchase, and I hope it is a wonderful house for you, even with her ugly bones. :)