Self-isolating woman spends lockdown creating amazing doll's house mansion

·3-min read

Talented Alyson Billington has filled her time in lockdown by creating an amazing doll's house 'MANSION' - inspired by her favourite TV show, Escape To The Chateau.

Alyson, 66, has been self-isolating throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, having been diagnosed with lung cancer three years ago, in January 2018.

But Alyson has not been short of a lockdown activity - after buying a wooden doll's house kit at the start of last year.

She put the four-foot tall house, with its plain, light-blue facade, together last January - but soon, Alyson began to embark on a miniature DIY project of her own, which cost her around £2,000 from start to finish.

The mum-of-two, from St Albans, Herts., said she is "hooked" on Channel 4 home makeover show Escape To The Chateau - and took her inspiration from there.

She said: "It's my favourite show, I could watch it all day and all night.

"I took most of my inspiration from the show. 

"One of the first things I did was to decorate the walls along the staircases with little paper butterflies - just like Angel has on Escape To The Chateau."

Alyson's first step was to repaint the front of the doll's house so that it had a more textured facade.

But Alyson soon moved on to the interior, fitting out each room over the four floors of her own little 'chateau'.

The impressive house is filled with three bedrooms, two sitting rooms, a dining room, two bathrooms, a study, a music room, an attic, and a basement space comprising of a kitchen and a wine cellar.

Alyson said: "About 90 per cent of everything in the house is stuff that I have made, rather than craft stuff that I have gone out and bought.

"I can make stuff out of anything. The bell tower at the top of the chateau is made of old beeswax.

"I've also found that Dairy-Lea Dunkers boxes, or old McDonalds barbeque sauce or ketchup pots, make really good bathtubs.

"The whole house is wired too, with electrical lights all the way through, that I've had to run under the floorboards to hide them.

"Every room is either painted or papered, and I redid all the flooring myself so I could wire the house properly.

"It's been a big project - because once you've decorated a room you can't really go back and change it."

The whole front and back of the 3D chateau open up fully to show off Alyson's handiwork on the inside.

And Alyson has even hidden little surprises in each of the rooms - in the form of tiny models of mice.

She said: "I call the house La Maison de Souris, which means House of Mice. There's a mice in every room - but you really have to look for them."

Alyson also decorated the house for Christmas - with garlands along the main staircase, miniature wreaths hanging from the door and inside, and even tiny presents.

The whole project took her about six months, and she completed it last June - but she says she still revisits certain rooms in the house to redecorate them in a more seasonal way.

She said: "I was working on it every day for about six months to get it looking how it is now - and it was really lovely.

"It really kept me focused, and it certainly lifted my spirits. We've all got to find something to keep our minds busy and keep us going through these times."

Crafty Alyson also created a similar Georgian house a couple of years ago, which she said was her "pride and joy" until she decorated this chateau.

And she is hoping that Dick and Angel from Escape To The Chateau might even catch wind of her lockdown project - after her niece tagged them in some pictures on Twitter.

She said: "I was really surprised she had done that - but it would be wonderful if they did see it. I would love to be able to go and see their place."