Customising Sylvanian Families Buildings

Sylvanian Families Beechwood Hall customised Tokyo Toy fair

Would you recognise this building as a Sylvanian Families home? Well, it is, and it's Beechwood Hall, with a charming, weathered makeover, meticulously placed moss effect adding on years of character and turning it into a rustic, provincial villa.

This piece of Sylvanian art, a customised Beechwood Hall, appeared on display at the annual Tokyo Toy Fair a few years ago. The creativity and detailed accessories certainly weren't spared, and to great effect. 

Sylvanian Families Beechwood hall makeover vintage toy look

Sylvanian Families customisation displayed at Tokyo Toy Fair

Have you ever thought about making over your Sylvanian cottage? Would you dare to?

In this article we'd like you to meet a few collector's who enjoy customising and renovating Sylvanian Families (or Calico Critters, as they're known in USA) buildings as a hobby. It's certainly one way to make your village unique with your own personal creative touch!

A Sylvanian village with matching rooftops

Susan, from NSW, Australia, decided that her Sylvanian buildings, Cedar Terrace and Cosy Cottage, needed a change of colour to visually blend better into their Sylvanian village.  For a simple change-of-colour-fix, Susan used acrylic paint on the roof and window frames.

Sylvanian Families Cedar Terrace makeover

 A village made to match

Susan and her grand-daughters didn't particularly like the original terracotta coloured rooves that the buildings came with, so instead opted for various shades of green, creating a village full of houses with matching rooftops.

Sylvanian Familes customised painted buildings

A second Cedar Terrace was painted pink, with purple window frames (to match the Village boutique, that it's seen here stacked above) and a Sylvanian Families Lighthouse was painted a different shade of pink to blend in. With a little customisation, like Susan's, every Sylvanian village can be unique!

Sylvanian Families buildings colour blended to pink


From Conservatory to Beach Cottage

Inge, from the Netherlands, enjoys anything that involves being creative with Sylvanian Families and even makes her own beach, pavement, ponds etc. This includes redecorating the Sylvanian Families Willow Hall conservatory, which originally looked like this:

Sylvanian Families Willow Hall conservatory

The original Sylvanian Families conservatory building

Sylvanian Families Inges Toys makeover

The incredible finished results!

This was Inge's first building renovation she had undertaken and she was glad that the building was small, as it took quite a bit of time to paint the building and to create a beach-style roof, but the end results perfectly reflects her love of white houses and the beach, in fabulous style!

And here are the results! It's a definite "Yes" from me! The cabana-style roof is stunning!

You can see more of Inge's creations on her Instagram account -

The clothing is also handmade by Inge.

Sylvanian Families beach hut makeover Inges Toys


Olde World charm - Sylvanian Families style

Rachel, a collector from the UK, loves to renovate old Sylvanian Families buildings and her goal is to renovate a complete "olde world" Sylvanian village, and she's well on the way! Here is the redecorated and refurbished Sylvanian Copper Kettle Tea Room, once upon a time a Sylvanian Families Department store in it's past life.

Originally a Sylvanian Families Department store, now The Copper Kettle Tea Room.

Sylvanian Families makeover The Copper kettle tearoom

Rachel tends to look for bargains to do up, such as faded or broken houses . She says that the nice thing about Sylvanian families is there is no scale as such. "So there's not lots of maths and working out. I just measure what I want and make it."

Sylvanian Families department store done up

"It's still very much a work in progress. I am also working on a pub and hope to have a plant/flower shop, haberdashery and maybe a salon. This will be years of work and will keep me busy."

The Sylvanian customised apothecary

Sylvanian FAmilies pub habadashery


Rachel's Sylvanian Families Riverside Lodge below, painted grey, with added moss effects.

Sylvanian Families Riverside Lodge makeover

Rachel's main tip is, "Just give it a go. And enjoy it. If it goes wrong you can always paint over it or make something different."

Below is Rachel's fabulous Cosy Cottage makeover!  She created the amazing, realistic, stucco effect by using a combination of grout filler mixed with paint and fine sand.

Cosy cottage renovated with a stucco effect

Sylvanian Families Cosy Cottage makeover


A Trash to Treasure story

It all began when Eva, from USA, and her daughter, Keilah, were driving a friend home from knitting class one day and they couldn't believe their luck when they spied this Sylvanian Families Beechwood Hall building left out for trash collection. 

"It was in good condition but severely faded.  So we thought, "Hey, lets paint it and redecorate it!"

Sylvanian Families Beechwood Hall painted and customised

Eva and her daughter repainted the home, and here are the results! 

"It took us one week and was the most fun, especially since we were working on it while we were waiting for the furniture and dolls that we had ordered! Let's just say the Christmas came early this year!"

Here's a peek at the renovated and decorated bedroom....

Sylvanian FAmilies bedroom redecorated

"We used a mix of interior house paint from Home Depot and acrylic craft paint. Then we used mod podge over it for sealing. The wallpaper is made of place mats, which we put up with tacky craft glue after measuring and cutting out the windows. The furniture is all Calico Critters original. The carpet in the living room is a fabric cocktail napkin."

And the living area....

Sylvanian Families Calico Critters customied kitchen home


Usually Eva's line of creative interest is in making ornaments, painting figurines, painting canvas pictures, making jewellery, and knitting. As she explains, they make items to give things away as gifts or raffle them off for their local library.

Sylvanian Families Calico Critters Rabbit Father in customised living room

More of the living area. Love Father rabbit's spectacles!!

This was Keilah (age 12) and Eva’s first ever Calico Critter (Sylvanian Families) building, but it definitely won't be their last. "We will definitely continue to collect and redecorate more from this collection!"

The Front door painted.

Sylvanian Families Calico Critters house front door painted

Recycle, reduce and re-use

Eva just started a Facebook page (Our Eco choices Facebook page) and a Blog about being more ecologically conscious. "I'm trying to reduce our carbon footprint. It's called our Eco choices. I'm doing a lot of research as to non-plastic ecologically sustainable alternatives to all the daily products that we use and usually throw away. I'm trying to get rid of the whole recycle option... reduce and reuse! "

 Calico Critters Cloverleaf Corner Manor revamped

Thanks to Susan, Rachel, Inge and Eva and Keilah for sharing their wonderful Sylvanian Families/Calico Critters remodelling projects, tips and the story behind them!

Maybe seeing the finished products of their efforts will inspire you to pick up the paintbrush and  have a go at recycling Sylvanian-style too! Now I can't wait to find an old buildings and try it myself!

Welcome to add comments or ask questions in the comments below. We'd love to know about your Sylvanian Families projects and crafts too.

Sylvanian FAmilies Specialty STore

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