This has to be the second-most inventive/creepiest dollhouse I’ve ever seen (read about the undeniable best, also in Baltimore, here): a small scale replica of a Baltimore rowhouse in a, shall we say, seedy condition, complete with a DEA agent out front, guard dogs inside, and a “stoned naked guy in the tub.”
According to Virtual Dollhouse, Grace Shaw’s husband gave her a Baltimore rowhouse-themed dollhouse project for Christmas 2005. He joked that she should make it into “a crackhouse” instead of a standard, drug-free miniature environment, and Grace went to town. Unsatisfied with just one model, Grace bought another and turned it into a “house of ill repute.” When a third rowhouse kit wasn’t available, Grace built one herself, modeling it after a bar/adult bookstore.
While I admire the care, attention, and wit that went into Grace’s tongue-in-cheek interpretation of the traditional dollhouse — no doilies and tiny candlesticks here! — something about it also make me bristle a little bit. (I was all ready to dismiss the project as racist, until I noticed that half the dolls involved, like the “stoned naked guy” mentioned above, are white.) There are, after all, urgent and pressing problems facing our city; it feels kind of funny to gawk and laugh at a jokey interpretation of real poverty. Or maybe I’m taking this way too seriously?
In any case, Shaw is selling her dollhouse for $6500. For not that much more, you could buy your very own full-size vacant property…