Wednesday, November 18, 2015

My Alpine House Box Collection

I've always been a bit of a collector, possibly influenced by my interest in museums. As a result, I've ended up with lots of small collections of unusual things. They are all fairly invaluable, I just collect them because I like them and I find them interesting. I thought I'd start sharing my little collections on the blog, and I'm starting with my alpine house box collection.

I have three alpine house boxes, which all came from charity shops. They were all very cheap, between £1 and £2. They are extremely kitsch and old fashioned, and not to everyone's taste, but I think that's part of their charm. 

This is the smallest box, and it is just a tiny box, lined with red fabric. I like how much detail it has despite the small size, with the little window boxes and window panes. 
I think one of the reasons I like these boxes is because I was obsessed with the book Heidi when I was growing up. Her life in the mountains sounded so idyllic and I loved the idea of living in a wooden chalet, tending goats and walking through wild flower meadows on the mountainside. These boxes are a little reminder of those daydreams.

This is the medium sized box, which is in the best condition of the three. It has hardly any space inside because it is a music box, so most of the inside of the house is taken up by the mechanism. The mechanism still works and it plays a pretty, tinkling tune when you open the lid.

The music box mechanism says "Swiss made", and a little internet research revealed that these boxes were tourist souvenirs from Switzerland in the 1960s and 1970s. I love finding out the stories behind the things I collect. You can still buy very similar music boxes as souvenirs today. I like that mine have a bit of history to them, though.

This is the biggest of the boxes, and it is also a music box. A past owner has overwound the mechanism though, so it doesn't work very well. This box has the most room inside, and it looks like there used to be a drawer in the side of the house too, although that's missing now. I might try to get a replacement made, as this would make a good jewellery box. This is the only one of my little houses to have an upstairs window, and a chimney. I especially like the little log pile at the front, and the shingled detail on the roof. 

These houses remind me a little of dolls houses, and the Playmobil chalet I had growing up. I think a lot of people get a kind of childlike wonder over miniature versions of real life things, and I definitely have that with these! They aren't particularly useful but they make me happy to look at, and I like that I have enough now to make a cute little village on my shelf. I don't think I'll be collecting any more alpine houses though, unless I get a considerably bigger house myself!

Do you collect anything?


  1. Ahh I have one of these! My nan gave it to me years ago, I had no idea they were swiss made. I'll have to dig it out now... thanks for your post!


  2. Very cute little houses. I collect whatever catches my interest. Decorative pins, coins and tokens, glass bottles and vases, a couple cookie tins and boxes and recently strands of rock chip necklaces which go well with my rock collection I've been working on for years but isn't very impressive.

  3. We bought one of these as a souvenir when we visited Switzerland and Austria. I expect we paid more than £2 for it!!

  4. These are divine! My grandma had one when I was a kid, and I loved looking at it and imagining that it was full-size and that I lived in it. I have no idea where it is now.
    xx Katie.