Putting Your House on the Market? Put Your Dolls Away!

dollhouse collection-family room

I grew up liking dolls as much as the next girl, but there’s something about seeing them in a real estate listing that can strike a house hunter as odd–or even a little bit creepy.

dollhouse-fireplace(Thanks to Katie for sending me this listing.)

Ellen DeGeneres showed this room (below) on her show, saying, “It’s from a house in Australia that comes with four bedrooms, two baths, and nightmares.”

doll room-Australia-Ellen

Ugly House Photos has an entire category devoted to dolls in real estate photos. He found this “Creepy Dutch Doll in the Netherlands” (Yikes! Even the dog looks startled):

creepy Dutch doll

When I showed you a Victorian home in New York for sale (here), this “doll room” freaked a lot of you out. So much so, that some of you said you wouldn’t buy the house, no matter how great the rest of it was:


You may love your doll collection, but chances are buyers won’t. This goes for collections of other things, too, as we saw in the “Trophy Room” and the “Animal House.”

Have you ever looked at a house for sale and been turned off by something the owners collected?

Check my Bad MLS Photos page to see more, like the Hoarder’s House and the House of China Cabinets.

guy in living rm-MO listing
I'm always baffled when real estate agents photograph people inside the rooms that they're trying to sell. This is a prime example. Who is that…
Hope my readers in the States are having a great holiday weekend. Just please remember to decorate responsibly. (When I posted this on my Facebook…

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  1. says

    I’m with the person who commented on the previous post, I wouldn’t buy the house with THAT doll collection sitting there! Creepy to be sure. The only thing I’ve been put off by when house hunting is a large family portrait hanging prominently in the house, after seeing them “in the house” I couldn’t imagine my family in the house! I then got when real estate agents say put away the personal photos!
    .-= Janell Beals´s last blog ..Seating Ideas For The Master Bedroom Redesign =-.

  2. says

    Those photos are funny and creepy at the same time. The collections thing is a real problem. I have seen it first hand. I may even be related to someone by marriage who has “collection overload”. There may or may not be many conversations about what the heck to do when said person has to move or gets sick or God forbid, dies. It’s not a good situation.

    .-= Nichole´s last blog ..Progress =-.

  3. Melanie says

    In the first house, at least they will be taking the dolls with them. That bullseye textured ceiling however…

    The creapiest thing about the room on Ellen is that the dolls appear to be looking at you. Like they all turned their heads when you walked in the room.

  4. says

    More than a little creepy. Triple shudder. I think it is the sheer number of the little creepsters that really does it, like a little Chucky army. I would walk right out of any of these houses, I wouldn’t even look at the rest, seriously.
    .-= hip hip gin gin´s last blog ..Savoury Cupcake =-.

  5. says

    The last collection creeps me out the most, not sure why. Maybe because they look like they are hoping to be rescued? EEEKK! When we were actively househunting, we looked at a house where every single wall was covered in built in cabinets. Even the smallest space between two windows had floor to ceiling shelves. In the kitchen, every inch of wall space was salt and pepper shakers. I felt so claustrophobic, I couldn’t wait to leave.

    Lately, the only thing I seem to be collecting is… dust :)
    .-= rosie´s last blog ..The pile gets smaller for now =-.

  6. Dean says

    Oh, how I wish my Dad read your blog. My parent’s home is decorated very tastefully, but my Dad has developed this obsession with collecting Majolica ceramics. While each piece can be beautiful and unusual, imagine a breakfast room piled sky-high with the stuff. It’s like eating in an antique shop. When I broached the subject of them selling their house and the potential for disaster with this room, my Dad’s response was “Hey, it’s got that lived-in look. People like that.” Oh well…

  7. Laurie says

    Okay, I confess. I cringe upon seeing the homeowners’ exercise equipment when I tour their house. I hate seeing those hulking black machines in a spare bedroom or basement, spewing out potential grease or dirt on the floor, while its owner is huffing and puffing and sweating away in my potential house! Accckkkk!!!

  8. says

    This is so funny! I once decorated for a short film and one of the rooms had to be covered in doll parts. We hung them from the ceiling – it was the creepiest set. No one wanted to step foot in that space, even in broad daylight!
    Why is it that there is something so inherently creepy about dolls? Too many Chucky movies?
    .-= Kelly, Arte Styling´s last blog ..Interior Design Trend 1965- Dress Like Your Windows =-.

  9. says

    And now I will have nightmares tonight. I think I need to visit that Cute blog….what’s the name of it again? Cute Kittens, Cute Puppies, Cute Everywhere? Have to get the doll images out of my mind.
    Thanks for the laugh this morning! :-) Best, H
    .-= Heather Bullard´s last blog ..My Latest Obsession =-.

  10. says

    SO creepy! I probably wouldn’t even continue to look at the house…

    We didn’t find any creepy collections when looking at houses persay, but our worst run in was the Hilter related books seen in one home – along with a swastika and a list of names(!) painted on the wall. Needless to say, we were out of there pretty quick… refusing to look at the basement.
    .-= Shannon @ It’s All B&S´s last blog ..Craigslist- Friend or Foe =-.

  11. says

    Creepy!!! Reminds me of when my parents were looking to buy the house they currently live in. They took us kids ( I was 7 at the time, with younger brothers) to see the potential new house. We walked into the room that is now the family room but was added on by the previous owners as a “game room.” And I’m not talking pool- I’m talking stuffed game animals. It freaked all of us out completely!
    .-= Emily´s last blog ..Curb Appeal =-.

  12. says

    Oooh, creepy! I am putting my house up for sale in a few days and have to remove a lot of photos throughout the house. Not looking forward to that, but I know it has to be done because it bothers some people. I, on the other hand, love to see photos even in houses that I am looking at. Tells me a lot about who lives there… but, that’s just me.
    .-= Pam @diy Design Fanatic´s last blog ..Home Tour =-.

  13. says

    I remember seeing that Ellen show!! I SO want to do something with the Madame Alexander dolls I have in the curio cabinet in our Dining room. I bought the cabinet when we first moved into the house and didn’t really have any furniture. I felt bad for leaving all those dolls in boxes (they were bday/Christmas gifts). :s Now they just weird me out and take up space. I don’t really have a place to store them…maybe I can get T to build a shelf in one of the girls’ rooms for them…..
    .-= Amanda @ Serenity Now´s last blog ..Red- White- and Blue Outdoor Makeover =-.

  14. says

    My mom has had a HUGE doll collection when I was little and now. When we were about 4 she had some dolls that were as tall as me/my little sister and we were terrified of those things! I had nightmares about her dolls sometimes. Her house now looks like some of those pics above, although a little less scary now. :)
    .-= Kelly D.´s last blog ..1866 Victorian- Marietta- GA =-.

  15. says

    I know that Tori Spelling says her own doll collection scared her!! Her mom loved the dolls and had a whole room of them in the Spelling mansion. At the Grimm House, my youngest son, put his My Buddy doll in the closet after watching the movie, Chucky on TV. We still tease him about that and he is 26!
    .-= Arlene @At Home with the Grimms´s last blog ..My To Do List =-.

  16. says

    Is there a sign on the door that says “You have now entered the Twilight Zone”? That is kind of creepy. Not half as bad as others that we have seen though. My husband was transferred to LA a few years ago. The company flew us out there (we had been there before though) to look around on their dime. We saw 37 different homes from Orange County up to Calabasas in one week. We had a blast, and saw some amazing real estate, however, we also saw some seriously frightening stuff. In the end, they kept us here in Jersey instead…we were happy with that decision, but would have been happy in California as well.
    .-= Black Eyed Susans Kitchen´s last blog ..A WEEKENDS WORTH OF PARTY PICTURES =-.

  17. Jane says

    I guess I have a way of seeing the potential in those creepy houses. Every house that I’ve owned was on the market for ages before I bought it at a bargain price because of bad decor. And every home I have had has sold within the first month. Two sold the very first day they were shown.

  18. says

    My husband is a real estate agent, and he has a client who has stuffed animals everywhere! When it came to time to sign the listing he said he had a few suggestions to make in order for the house to show better. The client said before he could even finish “Don’t even think about moving my stuffies!”. Crazy! Now he has to try to sell a house with teddy bears EVERYWHERE!
    .-= Jacqueline Corea´s last blog ..Designer’s Own Home =-.

  19. Kim says

    Ug, these are horrible and freaky. I would run out of the room, if I was visiting or viewing the house. Why don’t the realtors tell these homeowners to put their collections away? I mean they can go and rent a storage unit. That way the collections don’t scare people away.

    I don’t like it when people have way too many photos on the wall. We want to be able to envision our family living in a house, not the homeowners.

  20. says

    I had to click on this and see it for myself–my partner and I were very careful with a home owner we were working with to stage her home to be sold…and she had dolls of all shapes and sizes in every single room of the house!
    We simply told her that while the doll collection was lovely ( ok I lied), the purpose of staging a home was to show the architectural details of the home itself, and not her collections. And besides, she could pack those dolls up, ready for her new home.
    She was a little emotional, but in two days’ time, we got those dolls packed up and put away!
    Love the pictures!!
    .-= Dawn´s last blog ..The Mountains Are Calling =-.

  21. says

    Oh dear heavens, the terror! I listed a house once that was full of porcelain clowns. CLOWNS! They scared the beejeebers out of me. Fortunately the owner was quite willing to pack them up so we could move the house quickly. I was terrified of that place and made excuses not to go back until they had all the creepy clowns packed away.
    .-= Mom in High Heels´s last blog ..Quick- easy- patriotic cup cake paper wreath =-.

  22. Kate says

    When I bought my current home, one of the houses I looked at was owned by a Home Interiors Party rep. I swear, every single square inch of wall space had something hanging on it. All I could think about was how long it would take someone to patch all those holes!

  23. says

    Personally, dolls don’t freak me out- I don’t watch scary movies about dolls, or any very scary movies for that matter. (I did watch an Alfred Hitchcock or two, but skipped some of the freaky parts. ha)
    However, when selling a house, anything that detracts attention from the house, like a huge collection, is not in good taste and a bad idea.
    I do have 4 dolls displayed in our house, but not more than 1 or 2 per room.;-)
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..A Few Christmas-Winter Touches In Our House – =-.

  24. says

    Eeww! We never saw any weird collections when we were house-hunting last year, but my parents stayed in a Bed & Breakfast several years ago where the owners collected clowns. The pictures my mom took were so disturbing – I could not have slept there!
    .-= Nikki´s last blog ..Shes Home- =-.

  25. says

    What is wrong with these realtors?? Quick, someone send them a link to Hooked on Houses so they figure out that creepy doll collections, Freddy Krueger statues and carpeted toilet seats do not sell houses!!
    .-= Jenny´s last blog ..Baggo Fun =-.

  26. E. George says

    Chucky wants to play – sorry Julia I just could not resist – somehow I never looked at dolls in the same way after that movie and when we were kids my dolls always got their eyes pulled out by my younger brother so I never became a doll person. Hope you are doing well…Regards Esther from Sydney (we had the coldest morning in 60 years) brrrrrrr….

  27. says

    That’s just strange. All of those dolls remind me of that Twilight Zone episode with the freaky talking doll. I don’t think I’d be able to purchase any of those homes.
    .-= Deidra´s last blog ..My People =-.

  28. Marianne says

    The ceiling in the first pics totally freaked my out and that is harder to remove than the dolls. I don’t understand why people can’t see through things like a collection, ugly curtains, or family photo’s. You are buying the house, not their belongings.

  29. says

    This headline came up on my RSS feed but I never imagined photos as bad as these!
    These houses will probably be bargain purchases for the only buyer who can mentally get past all these little bodies!
    .-= Struggler´s last blog ..Console Shopping Compared =-.

  30. Lee Blue says

    Wow…when I read the post heading, I was like, “Dolls, whatever…” But these are actually really frightening! And it seems like, according to one realtor who posted, the people who have these things in their home are those types who refuse to listen to anybody about anything, so they’d just tell the realtor, “NO!” when told to declutter. I imagine them having personalities similar to those people on “Hoarders.”

  31. says

    My husband and I looked at dozens of houses before finding our soulmate house, and saw a LOT of creep-o and weird-o stuff — but nothing that would be a deal breaker if we loved the house.

    But . . . Deer trophies? Specimens in glass jars? A wall of framed dead bugs? Tile mosaic of the Virgin Mary covering one kitchen wall? Hospital beds in 2 bedrooms, including one still occupied by a sleeping (we hope) Granny? Enormous barn doors on the master bedroom closet? Giant VERY anatomically correct nude lady paintings everywhere? Thick cork on walls AND ceilings? (Can you say – padded room that smells funny?)

    We saw ALL of these, and more, in our searching. But the oddest thing we saw? DOLLS, hundreds of dolls, of every size up to life-size, in every room of a big split level, all in homemade outfits with lots of crochet work, and all with clear plastic bags over their heads, rubber-banded around their necks. They looked like HOSTAGES. Carefully dressed, suffocating hostages.

    BUT if we’d loved the house, we’d have gotten it. None of that is permanent.

    This cavalier attitude about what was IN a house before we bought it is probably how we ended up in a house with ghosts. :-)

    Have a happy 4th!
    .-= Cass at That Old House´s last blog ..Summer Inspirations =-.

  32. says

    How is it that I am just now seeing this post?! I will admit, the dolls in these photographs look kind of creepy. But I wonder if part of that is because of the really bad cameras those pictures were taken with – i.e. dark and dingy and grey. Because I have to confess, when I was a little girl, owner of several beloved American Girl dolls, I probably would have gone gaga over some of those rooms. I’m surprised by reading the comments and seeing how many people are traumatized by dolls! Weird. Maybe it’s just because I have a lot of good memories about being allowed to play with my mom’s childhood dolls at my grandmother’s house, and playing with my own dolls. That being said…not sure how I would feel about walking to a huge house full of them!
    .-= Kate (Little Beach Bum)´s last blog ..Beach Twisters- =-.

  33. Elspeth says

    I once cleaned houses with a friend for a living, and one home owner had dolls EVERYWHERE. They were on shelves, on the sofa, in chairs sitting at the table….the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen. One got the impression that it was THEIR house and the human woman was renting a room there. We’d swear as we drove up or left that the dolls were looking out the windows at us…