Hancock County

DIY masterpiece : Kiln couple brings basic doll house to life for 'funky' 5-year-old

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Video: ‘This is the best Christmas ever’ as child sees DIY doll house

Preslee Giveans of Kiln loved the renovated doll house her parents asked Santa to bring her on Christmas morning.
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Preslee Giveans of Kiln loved the renovated doll house her parents asked Santa to bring her on Christmas morning.

KILN -- When your 5-year-old is as funky and silly as Preslee Giveans is, it's a given that Santa couldn't leave anything typical under the tree on Christmas morning.

And Preslee's doll house looked as though it came from the pages of an interior design magazine or an episode of an HGTV redesign challenge.

Preslee "has her own quirky, silly personality," her mother, Emma Giveans, said.

The fashion-forward Waveland Elementary School kindergartner is a huge fan of Taylor Swift, and mom and dad often catch her having dance parties in her car seat when "Blank Space" -- or any other of the singer's hits -- comes on the radio. She's very vocal and has a flair for the dramatic.

Preslee Giveans of Kiln loved the renovated doll house her parents asked Santa to bring her on Christmas morning.

And she loves to express herself. Giveans said her mother usually lets of her grandchildren paint together when they come to visit, and Preslee's masterpiece is always the most distinctive and colorful.

"Any time that they paint, she always knows which one Preslee did because there's no pattern to it. There's no specific picture to it," Giveans said. "She just slaps on as much as she can and thinks it's amazing."

When Giveans was shopping for 2-year-old son Ramsey's birthday party in October, she saw a traditional doll house for sale, and she got a "wild hair" and called her husband, Drew Giveans, to ask if he was up for a Christmas project.

A Barbie dreamhouse was on Preslee's list to Santa, as well as a skateboard and a girl reindeer wearing a bow.

"I wanted to give her something with a little more meaning that will never be too kiddish for her bedroom," Giveans said. "The display model and the pictures on the box were very outdated and old-school, so it made me have to really imagine what I could possibly do to make it more 'Preslee.'"

The doll house retailed for $125 but she had a coupon for 40 percent off. She got the doll house for $53.

Then the real work began.

"We pretty much got started right away, working it on most nights after the kids went to bed," Giveans said. "The assembly process was pretty time consuming because it was lots of gluing and waiting to dry before you could move to the next step," she said. "We have worked on it weekly since October."

And when Preslee turned her doll house around on Christmas morning, it was easy to tell she was very happy with what Santa brought her.

"This is the best Christmas ever!" she said. Her mom caught the moment on video.

The basic, faux-wood walls were painted, each room a different theme. The top floor of the house has a master bedroom with a ceiling painted in horizontal stripes of pink, blue, gold and white.

"Hello Sunshine" is the perfect pop of wall art in the room. The bed sits on a pallet frame. The master bathroom has an antique mirror. The second bedroom has a fur rug and white dresser. The baby's room, equipped with a white crib and antique high chair, has contrasting-patterned pink wallpaper. The living room has a sleeping cat, Preslee's favorite part of the doll house.

The kitchen has a pink china cabinet and crocheted rug.

Emma and Drew Giveans made most of the furniture and accessories by hand.

"Drew's mom and grandmother did contribute some of the furniture, and his grandma even crocheted some rugs that were perfect," Emma Giveans said. "The interior was inspired by Preslee's wild, silly and colorful personality, and maybe a little bit of my love for pops of color, pattern and textures."

They spent about $100 on the interior. But Giveans said she isn't finished.

"Drew even asked if I was going to play with it just as much as Preslee, and I couldn't do anything but smile because I already have so many ideas for tiny furniture and decor that I plan to throw together," she said.

Preslee loves her doll house, and even begged to stay home rather than go see family on Christmas so she could play.

"We are so excited and so proud of it," Emma Giveans said. "Seeing her light up over it made every bit of the work worth it."

The Giveanses love do-it-yourself projects, and every piece of furniture in their home was a family hand-me-down they refinished or repurposed.

"That's the only thing Santa really brought her, other than a few clothes. With that, I feel like Santa didn't really need to bring her anything else."

The doll house, Emma Giveans said, was the first keepsake the couple had created. They hope their daughter won't be embarrassed to showcase it in her room when she's 16.

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