Tomy Smaller Homes Dollhouse

The Tomy Smaller Homes dollhouse (also known as “Smaller Home and Garden”) is a split-level ranch that looks a lot like the Brady Bunch house from the outside, with a distinctive 1970s style to it. I never had one of these as a kid and don’t remember any of friends having one, either. In fact, I didn’t learn about this house until around 2002, when I saw it and some of the furniture that went with it on eBay.

That’s when I realized that I had some Tomy furniture — a sectional sofa, coffee table, lamp, and entertainment center with a removable television, given to me by my grandmother as a birthday gift. I’d been using the furniture in my first dollhouse for years, but it was slightly too small (3/4″ scale, I later learned) so all but the TV, lamp, and an end table had been relegated to my “spare parts” bin.

When I learned there was a house out there that went with my living room, as well as several other gloriously groovy furniture sets, I became borderline obsessed. The stuff sold for high prices on eBay and I was sure I’d be able to find it cheaper than that, maybe at a garage sale or thrift store. I started scouring Craigslist and Goodwill stores.

In 2003, after I’d been looking for a year or so, I lucked out… or so I thought. Someone on Craiglist was selling a Tomy house plus furniture for a good price. She said she and her sister had played with the dollhouse as children and she recently found it in the closet at her mom’s house and wanted it to go to a good home. She was about an hour’s drive away, but I was willing to make the drive. I planned to pick it up over the weekend.

The next day I received an apologetic email from the seller. Her sister had found out she was planning to sell the dollhouse and wanted it. On the one hand, I could relate — if it had been my toy as a child and I found out my sister was selling it for a measly fifteen dollars, I would have been annoyed, too. But I was disappointed, because I really wanted that house.

(The house pictured above is the one I thought I was going to get. I held onto the picture, even after the seller told me she was letting her sister keep it. From time to time I’d look at it and feel bummed that it hadn’t worked out.)

More time passed. I made a few bids for Tomy houses on eBay but the auctions always went higher than I wanted to spend — $150 to $200 for houses with broken pieces, etc. I wanted it, but not that badly, plus I still had a hunch that someday I would find this house locally. My busy job had taken me away from minis for a while so I wasn’t looking as hard, but occasionally I would troll Craigslist, and lo and behold, in the summer of 2007 I came across an ad posted by a couple who was selling off their daughter’s old Tomy house for $15. Again, it was about an hour’s drive away, but I wasn’t going to miss out on another opportunity. I went down there a few days later and bought the house. They told me they’d already sold the furniture separately, but I figured I could pick that up on eBay, since the furniture tended to be easier to find (and cheaper) than the house itself.

The house had a bit of structural damage. In particular, the wall with the chimney was cracked. A few of the windows were damaged, too. Nothing I couldn’t fix. I brought the house home and…. it sat on my office floor, untouched, for a year. Really. I had some ideas for it, but didn’t have the motivation at that point to start working on it. (I wasn’t really working on any minis at the time, so this wasn’t too unusual.) I got so used to walking around it, I think I sort of forgot it was there…

I did keep watching eBay, though, and the following summer I won an auction for a bunch of Tomy furniture and spare parts. The auction included the bedroom, kitchen, another living room set, bathroom, some odds and ends, plus several walls and windows. I got it all for $35, and half of that was shipping. Another good deal…

When the new furniture and spare parts arrived, I finally got to work on the house. I stripped the house down to the studs, re-carpeted the living room, and replaced some of the pieces with the spare parts from eBay.

Here’s the new wall, next to the one with the crack in it. Some of the parts had been super glued and took some muscle to pull apart!

It really didn’t need a lot of work. I replaced the cracked side wall and a few of the windows. The second floor was sagging (very common in these houses) so I got Geoff’s help cutting a new one from plywood. I redid all of the wallpaper and flooring. I toyed with the idea of redoing the exterior of the house, which is papered to look like it has stucco and wood paneling, with actual stucco and wood paneling. Maybe someday I’ll do that. But maybe not. The front of the house is in good shape and it looks pretty nice the way it is.

The eBay auction included the living room set I already had, plus the stereo cabinet, which I didn’t. So the furniture in this room is a mix of “old” and “new”.

I repapered the walls with tan scrapbook paper and replaced the carpet. This is my favorite room in the house.

Even though I replaced the second floor, my replacement also started to sag, so I added a pillar to hold it up. (I plan to stain it eventually.)

I removed the stairs to make some extra space in the kitchen. The flooring and wallpaper are new.

The Tomy furniture sets have varying degrees of realism. The living room and bathroom sets are very modern and realistic. The kitchen is kind of borderline and the bedroom furniture looks very much like toys. I wanted to use the authentic Tomy furniture but also wanted a realistic house, which meant making a few modifications.

One of these modifications was to paint the ugly orange kitchen chairs a dark brown, to better match the brown table. I used Testors model paint, which worked very well on the plastic. I haven’t painted the bar stools yet but plan to. I may also end up painting the cabinets.

The bathroom. I might add a shower curtain at some point.

I’m using the extra entertainment center as a “bed” right now. (Not too comfy for the little people who live here!) I’d like to get or make a real bed that matches the decor.

My very own Tomy Smaller Homes dollhouse. Finally!


  1. Julia Mellin

    Hello, I stumbled across your “Tomy Smaller Homes Dollhouse” blog when I was researching Tomy dollhouses online. I just wanted to tell you I enjoyed it so much! I just purchased one on ebay. It hasn’t arrived yet and I am so so anxious to get it. I had one as a child and spent countless hours playing with it. Loved it so much! My family can’t remember what happened to that one. But I found this one on ebay that was in Iowa I think. So it’s probably not the same one I had. The one I just bought needs some work too so I was very interested to see your pictures of all the work you did on your house! I might need to replace the living room & kitchen flooring. Not sure if the old carpeting would withstand being removed, cleaned, then reinstalled. It is pretty badly stained & looks like it needs a bath! :) Do you have any recommendations about that (if you think it would withstand being cleaned like that)? May I ask where you found your replacement flooring? I love how your house turned out. I didn’t even think of painting the chairs but I like how it looks, especially with your wallpaper and new kitchen flooring. I just noticed that it looks like you took the stairs out? Cool idea but I will probably leave mine in since my daughter will probably enjoy having the dolls walk up the stairs. I would not have even known that the bed was not really a bed if you hadn’t said so, haha. It looks great! Great idea to put a pillar in because I remember the dollhouse I had growing up also had a sagging second story. Interesting to hear that that’s a common problem, not just mine! I’d be interested to see a picture if you put a shower curtain in the bathroom. And such a cute idea to have a car parked next to the house! In your blog you said something about being borderline obsessed and that is how I’m feeling right now! I never even knew what brand this dollhouse was or how to find one until last week when I typed in “1970’s dollhouse” on ebay and it popped up! I proceeded to cry because I hadn’t seen it since I was a kid and loved it so much. So now I’m trolling ebay searching for furniture :) oh also, awesome commercial too! This dollhouse makes me feel like I’m back in the 80’s (when I used to play with it) and that is a great feeling! Thanks for posting this awesome blog!

  2. Emily

    Thanks for your comment! It wouldn’t be possible to remove the flooring, clean it, and put it back in, it’s basically paper and will rip when you pull it out. The “carpet” I used in the living room is suede scrapbook paper, which is harder to find now than it used to be, but try a craft store like Michaels or Joanns. In the bedroom I used regular dollhouse carpeting. You could also try velour fabric for carpet. The kitchen floor is a Houseworks hardwood flooring sheet.

    I replaced the second floor with a piece of plywood, and opted to leave out the stairs. If your floor needs to be replaced you can do the same, you’ll just need to cut a hole for the stairs.

    My Tomy house has actually had some damage since these pictures were taken — I think a mouse was living in there for a while! :o And I’ve also added some more furniture and accessories, not Tomy stuff, but it goes with the 70s decor. I’ll post another blog soon with new pictures.

    Oh, I never did add a shower curtain, but I have some ideas for making a surround out of plexiglass.

  3. Aunt Flossie's Collectibles

    I had fun looking at the work you did to your Tomy smaller home. I got mine at an Estate Sale and I need the upstairs floor. I have the steps but no floor. I have extra parts too. I sell them on ebay. enjoyed your story a lot. I may find the time to redo mine.

  4. Sandra

    This is great! As an adult (pre internet) I told my mom it was okay to through away my old dollhouse since the floor sagged and it was plastic. However, I saved all the furniture and just today took it out to let my 6 year old play with it. I just went online to learn more and found your blog. Needless to say I wish I didn’t throw away the house! Both a happy and sad day.

  5. Audra

    I had this house as a kid. Actually 2 – lost the first one (and everything else) in a house fire. My family replaced it for me.

  6. Megan

    Do you think the kitchen would work for calico critters?

  7. Gina Smith

    So glad to see this! Have had the kitchen for awhile in my Petite Princess dollhouse, also 3/4 scale, but just bought one of these awesome houses on ebay. Your living room is perfection!

  8. Julie

    How fun! I was just looking this afternoon at remodeling houses for my daughters for Christmas: a Tomy and a Lisa of Denmark. Is there a key to figuring out the scale? I have a bunch of Tomy furniture (mostly kitchen) but no people. I’ve toyed with the idea of just selling it all but the AstroTurf keeps pulling me back!

    • Emily

      The Tomy house and the Lundby houses are roughly the same scale, but not quite. One is 1:16 and one is 1:18 but I always get confused about which is which. They’re more or less 3/4″ scale (in between 1:12, which is the typical dollhouse scale, and 1:24, which is my personal favorite). If you’re looking for furniture to put in those houses, this is a good resource: https://modernminihouses.blogspot.com/p/where-to-buy-modern-minis.html#small

  9. LENI

    Thank you for sharing so much detail about your Tomy House remodel. Like other commentators, I too have just bought a house on Ebay with the idea I will need to do some fix ups on floors and walls. Found your ideas and tips very helpful. Love your kitchen wall paper! All the improvements you made have really added character to the home. It was a toss up of whether to go for a Tomy or Lundby house this spring but glad I went for the Tomy this time.

  10. Elysa Hendricks

    Love your blog. I just picked up a large lot of Tomy furniture. I remember seeing it (or maybe it was the Petite Princess) when I was younger, but couldn’t afford it. It was what spurred my interest in miniatures. Even though it’s plastic, I love the detail. Now I’m on the hunt for the “house.”

    • Emily

      Good luck, I hope you find it! They seem to turn up on eBay a lot.

  11. Mercedes

    Hi: Where did you get the pillar to prop up the second floor?

  12. Cynthia E Johnson

    Hi! I bought a box of random dollhouse furniture today at a yard sale. Maybe you can tell me. Does the Tomy trademark have a triangle with 2 children in it? Thanks for your help!

    • Emily

      I think the logo on the Smaller Homes furniture is just the word TOMY, but if you Google “Tomy logo”, there is a version with a boy and a girl: http://logos.wikia.com/wiki/Tomy

  13. Alicia

    Hi! Just saw your lovely blog! I have an old Tomy dollhouse, with some of the furniture intact. Regret I didn’t keep the doll because it was scruffy. Now I can’t find a similar sized Tomy doll figure for my daughter. I can’t remember the name of the doll. I thought it was Licca-Chan but the proportions seem too big (9 inch). Would you have any leads? thanks so much!

    • Emily

      Lundby dollhouses are close to the same size as the Tomy house and they have dolls, so you could try those. Also there were Barbie-like fashion dolls in the 80s that are about the right height, Glamour Girls and Dazzle Dolls. (And their clothing is the right vintage for the Tomy house!) You can find them on eBay.

      • Alicia

        Thank you for the reply!

  14. Kat

    Can someone pls give me measurements for tomy dollhouse furniture? The fridge? I’m looking at some on ebay for my son’s doll house but no one posts measurements.
    Thank you!!

    • Emily

      The Tomy fridge is 4 1/8″ tall. It’s 3/4″ scale, which isn’t a standard dollhouse size. The kitchen ceiling height in the Tomy house is about 6 1/4″. If your ceilings are closer to 8-10 inches then you’ll want to look for a 1″ scale (also called 1:12 scale) fridge.

  15. Sara

    Hi there! I’m working on a similar remodel and need to know how to remove the same wall panel you referenced (with the fireplace)?

    You mentioned it was difficult because someone had glued it, but I’m not sure if that’s the case with my house or if I just can’t figure out the proper way to pull it out. It looks like there are two tabs underneath but I’ve tried pushing them and don’t want to risk damaging.

    Any thoughts on this? Have not been able to find the info anywhere else. Thanks!!

    • Emily

      I think you do have to release the tabs, but they break off easily. If I recall correctly mine was glued because the tabs had broken off. I’ll take a look at it and see if I can figure it out again.

    • Nichole

      Hello, I see this post is several years old, but I’ve been lugging around a NIB full house and furniture set of the 1970s TOMY Smaller Home & Garden for about a decade now. All of it sealed and NIB except for some reason the family which is used. I bought the set to replace my own from the 70s that my mom bought me, but have never opened it past confirming parts. Let me know if you’re still interested in acquiring this.

  16. Amy

    I am absolutely thrilled to have found this house online!!??? I had this when I was a kid and my mom eventually got rid of it later on. Now I am 46 years old and feel like I found my whole childhood in one picture. I want very badly to buy this house back, I still have some pieces of the furniture and hope to buy all the rest! ????

    • Emily

      Check eBay!

  17. Margaret

    I enjoyed your story. My mom got me this for Christmas in the early 80s.
    It was in storage for 3 years when we were stationed over seas. Probably in 1988/89 I gave to a kid I baby sat. Now with 3 girls of my own I regret doing that. I hope to find one reasonably priced too.

  18. Larry

    I recently purchased one of these houses at charity outlet store. I got it because of my interest in the home designs of the 60’s and 70’s. It is in very nice condition except a missing front door. Do you have any idea where I could find one?

    • Emily

      People sell spare parts on eBay. I don’t see any doors there now, but you could set up a saved search for it.

  19. Pamela

    I have this house and probably all the entire furniture set and family. Is there an interest in these old doll houses?

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