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Many Houses Within a Single Room

December 08, 1988|LUCILLE RENWICK

Earl Eskew single-handedly has built 20 houses in the past three years. He also painted and decorated them, and built furniture for most of them. That's not bad for a 1-man hobby. Of course, the houses are on a small scale. A Victorian-styled model, for example, is about 3-feet wide. He can crowd as many as six of them at a time into the dining-room workshop of his home on Adoree Street in Downey.

The 68-year-old retiree began building the dollhouses from kits for recreation and found that to be a lot of fun. He liked it so much that it has become a full-time hobby. He says he will continue as long as he keeps getting the urge. "It's just something I do to keep me busy--a little recreation," the bespectacled, balding man said.

Each house gets its own look and style. Intricately designed wooden chairs and upholstered couches furnish the living room of one house. Crocheted rugs, bedspreads and tablecloths cover the furniture and floors, while a working Tiffany light hangs in the living room of another house, casting a shadow on a tiny baby grand piano. Hundreds of wooden shingles--glued on one by one--make up the roofs.

Eskew has managed to make a profit from his small creations, selling a dozen of the houses he has crafted. Unfurnished models sell for $60 while fully furnished homes, with carpeting, pots, pans, dishes and mini-chandeliers, go for up to $350. Eskew does not normally advertise his work. He says people usually learn of him by word of mouth and knock on his door to place their orders.

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