2018-01-01 / Arts & Entertainment

Custom barns, dollhouses come from a gift idea

By Kathy O’Flinn


Rob Kircher designed his handcrafted barns with multiple access points for little hands to move horses. Rob Kircher designed his handcrafted barns with multiple access points for little hands to move horses. A self-described workaholic who thrives on very little sleep, Rob Kircher of Bonita Springs spends his waking hours in multiple creative pursuits.

A television producer by trade, he has produced two television shows locally about health and wellness, and a new show he is working on now, “Great Neighborhood Cooks,” which will start this month.

Kircher always has had a keen interest in woodworking, specifically making custom furniture for friends. His latest creations – handcrafted barns and dollhouses – were prompted by a request from his accountant.

“He wanted to do something special for his grandchildren this Christmas,” said Kircher. They discussed several ideas, then finally settled on dollhouses for the girls and barns for the boys.

The project then took on a life of its own, said Kircher. He promised three barns and three dollhouses for the grandchildren. Soon friends’ and neighbors’ requests followed when they saw the works in progress.


Kirchner’s handcrafted dollhouse living room has maple flooring and a fireplace. Kirchner’s handcrafted dollhouse living room has maple flooring and a fireplace. In his garage, he is surrounded by his tools of the trade: table saw, planer, joiner, router, all on wheels so he can move them where and when they are needed. The barns and dollhouses are his own design, sketched out on foam core to create his patterns then cut onto half-inch plywood.

“I wanted to have something that would have a big statement architec­turally,” said Kircher. The barns painted red on the outside with windows outlined in white provide pop. Handsome dormers and a cupola top the roofline. Hinges along the roof allow access into the barn from above where a hayloft and several horse stalls are visible. Several doors provide additional access for little hands to move horses in and out.

One of the final touches includes the shingles. Kircher’s wife, Barbara, who is his able assistant, refers to them as the dreaded shingles. There are 2,000 cedar shingles per barn. It’s the only thing they buy precut and each is separately glued to the roof providing a true handcrafted appearance that darkens over time.

Inside his home, Kircher proudly showed off one of his completed dollhouses – a Southern-style home painted pale yellow with blue trim and a porch wrapped around the front and side of the house. Double hung windows with shutters on the front and sides of the house provide a view of the rooms indoors. From the open back is a clear view of the wallpapered and painted rooms, with real walnut flooring and a fireplace in the living room. One floor was also lovingly stenciled by Barbara Kircher.

Both designs, barn and dollhouse, are very labor intensive, explained the Kirchers. Completing each takes more than 2½ weeks of long days¬ – days that for Rob Kircher start as early as 2:30 a.m.

Either the barn or the dollhouse can be customized for that special young boy or girl for $3,900. This past Christmas six young grandchil­dren had the surprise of their lives when Santa, who is an accountant by day, personally delivered their barns and dollhouses.

Kircher can be reached at robkircher@gmail.com.

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