Elizabeth Anne VanderPutten - My Sister Jean's Doll House

These notes follow-up to the doll house article below.

Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2006

I just wanted you to know that in addition to the dollhouse that we are getting next week another woman brought over a miniature bakery that her 88 year old aunt had built many years ago. It seems she wanted to get rid of it to make way for a computer! Isn't that great! It is adorable and I will spruce it up and try to sell it for the Lupus Alliance-it is too small to offer for a raffle. -Jean

Subject: your internet site
Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2006 11:05
From: "Pollack, Jean"

Brian: I received a telephone call from an upstate woman who saw the article about the dollhouse while researching local papers. She has a dollhouse that her 33 year old daughter played with as a child that they don't need because she only has grandsons and she wanted to know if I could use it. She liked the idea that I would be fixing it up and giving it to charity. She and her husband will be on Long Island on October 15th. They are staying at the Marriott near the Coliseum and they will drop it off at our house. My miniature real estate holdings are growing. Soon I won't have any more room. I now will have three dollhouses to fix up. I'm presently working on one that I will keep. It will be a miniature Christmas store that I will display during the holidays. I'm working on it in all my spare time to have it ready for this Christmas.

Yes, I do feel good about this and I'm having a lot of fun with it. If I could only find a sponsor to help defray some of the costs then it would be perfect.

AUGUST 3-9, 2006

Your neighborhood is our world

Bellmore Woman A Real Doll

Bellmore dollhouse designer Jean Pollack decided to donate her creation to Lupus for a raffle, inspired by her young grandniece who has the disease.


Dollhouses with their miniature rooms and tiny furnishings have always fascinated Jean Pollack of Bellmore. When decorating a dollhouse, she says, “It can take you wherever your imagination wants to go.” 

Recently, her imagination went to a very good place as she created her latest dollhouse. She decided to donate it to the Lupus Alliance of America, Long Island/Queens Affiliate located in Bellmore for a raffle. Pollack is a longstanding supporter of the organization because her niece J.C. Bonner works there. Pollack says she was inspired by her 17-year-old grandniece Carole-Anne Bonner, J.C.’s daughter, who has the disease, to make her dollhouse donation. 

IN FRONT OF THE HANDCRAFTED DOLLHOUSE donated to the Lupus Alliance for a fund-raising raffle are, from left, J.C. Bonner, her daughter Carole-Anne, who has lupus, and Carole-Anne's grand-aunt, dollhouse designer Jean Pollack.

An Inspired Donation “I’m happy to donate this dollhouse to help,” she said. With no children of her own, Pollack has been particularly concerned about her grandniece’s illness. She said she has seen Carole-Anne suffer with the disease since she was first diagnosed at age 12. She hopes the dollhouse raffle will raise funds and awareness of the seriousness of the affliction. “It can affect major organs, sometimes the kidneys,” she explains. “Chemotherapy is often needed, sometimes dialysis.”

There is no known cure for lupus, a chronic auto-immune disorder that can affect various parts of the body, especially the skin, joints, blood, and kidneys. More than 16,000 Americans are diagnosed with the ailment each year.

“All proceeds from the raffle will go to the Lupus Alliance’s direct patient support programs,” Bonner said. These include a children’s support group program and financial assistance for often exorbitant medical bills for medications, chemotherapy and other treatment. “Sometimes the cost of treatment is as much as $10,000 a month,” Bonner said. She knows well the pain and suffering that lupus and treatments for it can cause, having witnessed daughter Carole-Anne struggle with the illness and the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy and medications.

Designing the Dollhouse

THE HANDCRAFTED dollhouse being raffled off to raise money for the Lupus Alliance

Pollack, a senior technologist in the mycology lab at NYU Medical Center, says she decorated her first dollhouse years ago right after she got married. Her husband bought it for her as a gift, she said, knowing that she always wanted to put one together. Since then, she has designed several others, giving them away to the children of family and friends. “I’m not good at constructing the actual dollhouses,” she said. She hopes to find another structure to decorate and donate again next year “if this raffle works out,” she said.
This year’s dollhouse is valued at $1500. “I bought it at a flea market at the Bellmore train station,” Pollack said. “It’s unusual. It’s hand-made.” At that point, the house was basically just a wooden shell, but Pollack felt it had potential. She spent months refurbishing it and decorating it. Pollack painstakingly redid the house by hand, inside and out.

The dollhouse has two-stories plus a narrow front porch and a rooftop patio. It contains five, fully furnished rooms — a living room, kitchen and small bath on the first level and a master bedroom and a nursery on the second level. The fine quality of the house comes through most in its many unique details. These include realistic-looking siding and roofing, decorative wallpaper, draperies on every window, a carpeted staircase, and a variety of miniatures such as a fireplace, garden furniture on the patio, a rocking horse in the baby’s room and even a pint-sized model dog.

One detail that Pollack’s niece is quick to call attention to is a miniature painting of a butterfly hanging on the living room wall. “The butterfly is the symbol for lupus,” Bonner points out.

Raffle Ticket Sales

Raffle tickets cost $5.00 each, six for $20.00, and will be on sale through December 1 when the winner will be announced. The hope is that the timing of the drawing will attract collectors and parents interested in the dollhouse as a holiday gift. “I am adding holiday decorations for the season,” Pollack said, which will include miniature strings of lights on the outside.  

The dollhouse will be on display at the 13th Annual Walk Along for Lupus fund-raiser being held on October 15 in Eisenhower Park. Raffle tickets will be on sale at the walk and at a Blue Knights NY Poker Run for Lupus motorcycle event on September 24 also at the park. They can also be purchased at the Lupus Alliance booth at October’s Bellmore Street Festival, at the Dollhouse Alley in Wantagh and the Miniature Manor in Garden City, and at the Lupus Alliance headquarters at 2255 Centre Avenue (corner of Sunrise Highway) in Bellmore.

Schools that would like to sell the tickets as part of a community service program are asked to call the Lupus Alliance at 516-783-3370 or e-mail them at info@lupusliqueens.org for more information.