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Creative Competition winner tells a tale of Tŷ Unnos

September 16th, 2011

Here it is! The house you’ve all been waiting for.
And it relates the tale of Tŷ Unnos.
What’s Tŷ Unnos you ask? Read on, dear reader…

Tŷ Unnos is The House of One Night, the story which inspired miniatures novice Emma Metcalfe to re-create a Welsh cottage from days gone by for her Snowdonia 1890 montage which has led to her wow-ing the judges and winning this year’s Creative Competition.

Dolls House Emporium Creative Competition winner 2011

Emma, aged 35, is a teacher in Cardiff who lives in Mid Glamorgan. For first prize in this very competitive year, she has won a dolls’ house kit worth up to £650 using the same garden pavilion kit as all the other entrants as her starting point. Incredibly, this project is her first crack at building a dolls’ house!

Dolls House Emporium Creative Competition winner 2011

She said: “It took me six months – the whole time the competition was running! I’ve really enjoyed working on my first dolls’ house project and learnt a lot in the process. My brother’s girlfriend started making a dolls’ house and I fancied having a go at it too. I’ve got the bug now but I’ll need a bigger workshop!”

Her inspiration for Snowdonia 1890 came from the ruined cottages which litter the Snowdonian hillsides – and she used the project to create a forgotten way of life.

Tŷ Unnos, or The House of One Night, is the Welsh tradition by which if someone could build four walls and a roof overnight, and smoke was to come out of the chimney by morning, the builder could legally squat there and claim any common land within an axe-throw of his new home. Through the generations these basic houses would be renovated and built up to become more permanent.

Emma’s depiction for the contest is one such house.

Dolls House Emporium Creative Competition winner 2011

Dolls House Emporium Creative Competition winner 2011

Dolls House Emporium Creative Competition winner 2011“To make the mountain boulder stone walls I used pieces of foam covered in modroc and filler,” she added. “This created thick walls and I then trimmed the kit’s window frames so they could be slotted into the holes and sealed with filler.

“The roof was extended so that it could cover the gable end and be slid into place and layers of cardboard above beams and walls made sags in the roof. Each slate was cut from cardboard, decreasing in size as they reached the apex, then they were covered in filler for texture and painted purple.”

Dolls House Emporium Creative Competition winner 2011Most of the furniture and all of the soft furnishings were hand-made and fimo was used for carrots, meat and Welshcakes. The range was made from black cardboard and aged with gold paint.

Dolls House Emporium Creative Competition winner 2011






The competition was a huge success and attracted more than 50 entries from across the UK and abroad, from women, men and children, showing the hobby’s universal appeal. Yesterday we featured ‘Villa Bienvenue’, from Alice Baudet, who lives in Châteaudun, overlooking the Loire river, south west of Paris. She won £350 of Dolls House Emporium vouchers. Before that we shared ‘1st Camp’, based on the recent experience of Cub and Brownie leader Claire Wright, from Abingdon, in Oxfordshire. Her prize was £200 in vouchers.

Over the coming weeks we will feature some of the other entries to keep your inspirational juices flowing! Stay tuned!






3 Comments to “Creative Competition winner tells a tale of Tŷ Unnos”

  1. beautifull and a very worthy winner. Well done Claire there seems to have been a lot of tough competition looking at winners 2nd and 3rd. Enjoy your prize I will look out for the photos :)

  2. Lis Saxtree-Ford Says:

    Absolutely love it and totally want it – Well done!!!

  3. [...] only have to look at our Creative Competition winners to see how much imagination and creativity there is in the world of miniatures.  And trying new [...]

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