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When a Hobby Becomes an $82,000 Obsession

Peter Riches has been a fan of models and miniatures since the young age of five. Now divorced and retired from his construction business in Hove, Sussex, he is able to dedicate every day to his hobby turned miniaturist obsession of
creating dollhouses. His first dollhouse which took him eight hours a day for fifteen years has now sold for approximately $82,000 to a Canadian dollhouse enthusiast. The only reason Peter gives for selling his miniature labor of love is that he needs more room to start his next dollhouse project. He also is planning either major world cruise or trips to see places on his bucket list including Niagara Falls, Victoria Falls and the Grand Canyon, for a little rest and relaxation based on his dollhouse earnings before diving into his next dollhouse creation.

Peter Riches traditional English style dollhouse is comprised of twenty three rooms, ten bedrooms, servant’s quarter, a games room, complete with a snooker table, a library containing more than 1,000
delicately bound books with individual pages made from newspaper, and a music room with a grand piano. When Riches began the miniature dollhouse he was still running his construction business and would put in another full day on his miniature house after working on full size homes and buildings all day. Now retired, he has continued to work a full day on his miniatures. According to Riches, his family thinks him quite mad but he contends that the pastime is “perfect for me.” “I’ve loved building it.
I have found it very therapeutic and will often stay up until 3:00 AM doing it,” said Riches. He does seem a little surprised that it took fifteen years to complete the meticulously created miniature.

Every item in the dollhouse and the dollhouse itself is created to scale – something he ensures by using a magnifying glass and measuring tools. Riches was also very imaginative and green in terms of recycling in the products he used to complete the dollhouse.
Snooker balls were created from necklace beads and each window in the dollhouse was handmade from plastic bottles that he flattened and cut. The basic shell of the house was made from plaster, and the 5,000 roof tiles were hand cut from cardboard. The 32,000 bricks in the dollhouse were all hand etched by Peter. His next project is reportedly a miniature castle from medieval times.


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