Wood Dollhouse Kits, The
Martin Doll House Collection,
and more great Heirlooms by
Frank Martin that are Built with Pride by our family for your
Price increase for 2013 Price
increase is expected in 2014. Note: All products come pre-sanded &
Made in America
Heirloom dollhouses — South Jordan man builds it; buyer personalizes it.
Deseret Morning News
SOUTH JORDAN — Not many grown men play with dolls, and Frank Martin
wouldn't know a Cabbage Patch Kid from a Polly Pocket.
But Martin knows an anchor bolt from a joist hanger. And he knows
even small, inanimate "people" need adequate housing — at prices their owners
Martin, who founded Nu-Cut Wood Products 15 years ago, specializes in
building Barbie-size dollhouses. Before
retiring from his federal government job four years ago, it was a sideline
business. But now it's his full-time obsession.
"I can't imagine the day I stop doing this," Martin said.
Martin's wife, Bobbie, said she has been helping him since 1990. She
finishes the dollhouses that they have on
display for customers to look at for ideas on how to finish their own. "They're a lot of fun — it piques my creative interest and is
therapeutic," she said.
Martin sells a vanishing art to the public.
"Handcrafted items are a lost art due to our fast pace and throw-away
lifestyle," Martin said. "My dollhouses
are designed to last the test of time — heirlooms are forever."
Martin begins the creation of a possible family treasure. He builds the
frame of the dollhouses and does all the
After Martin adds the finishing touches to the dollhouse, he offers
accessory items such as shingles, siding, windows, loft railing and hand
crafted functional furniture designed specifically for his dollhouses.
"They customize their dollhouse to their individual taste," Martin said.
"I like to approach each dollhouse like an artist — I provide the canvas with
a custom picture frame, and the customer paints the picture."
The 59-year-old Martin said making a rocking horse for his daughter
in 1976 is what got him started in the business of making children's
wooden-heirloom toys. His wife refers to him as a renaissance man. He also
works with copper and brick, is an accomplished welder and even does some
general contracting work.
"I do a little bit of everything, but my time is more devoted to
dollhouses," he said. They can be as big as 51 inches high
by 48 inches wide and as small as 43 inches high by 32 inches wide. Martin
said they fit a standard Barbie doll. Martin signs and dates his dollhouses. Although buying a fully decorated dollhouse is an option, Martin
encourages his customers to buy the basic framework so they can design it
themselves. Martin said sometimes people are unsure of their abilities to design the
dollhouse, but once they get started it becomes their masterpiece. "Customers are excited to share their finishing experiences and their
appreciation for good quality products," he said. Martin added parents tell him that of all the toys their children
receive, the dollhouse is the one kids constantly play with. "It just makes this whole thing that much more rewarding," he said. Nu-Cut Wood Products is not a year-round business. The busiest times are
from September to December.
Martin works six days a week, putting in 10- to 12-hour days. "Since I put so much demand on quality, it requires me to work longer
hours," he said. He starts preparing next year's stock the day after Christmas.
Martin's quality dollhouses are
well-known throughout the nation and the world. He said he has had offers from back east
and from China to
mass produce his products for resale. So far he has refused to do so. Martin does not discuss how many dollhouses
he produces each year.
"I don't like to talk about quantities because I don't want to jinx
myself," he said. Martin believes once he starts talking about it he'll have to set a
quota and match or beat it each year. Since each dollhouse is like a "one of a kind," he concentrates on the
quality rather than the quantity and builds a limited edition each year. As much as Martin enjoys building the
dollhouses, there have been times when he's wanted to give up the
business so he and his wife can do more traveling. What keeps him from
quitting is the smile on little girls' faces when they see the dollhouse of
their dreams. "I'm not doing this out of necessity — I do this because I have enjoyed
making people happy," Martin said.
Rod Katwyk, a tile contractor, was one customer Martin helped to give
his children an unforgettable gift. Katwyk bought a dollhouse for his 5- and
3-year-old daughters this past Christmas. "They're into Barbie's, but we wanted more of an heirloom, not just a
plastic throw-away deal," he said. "It's just the way my wife is. She buys
things that will last. And if we were going to get a dollhouse, it was going
to last forever." The Katwyks put hours of work into the house to make it the treasure
they imagined it to be. Katwyk's wife, Ambra, is in the interior design business. By combining
their talents, she and her husband created an heirloom dollhouse. "We really blinged this baby out," Rod Katwyk said. Ambra Katwyk said their daughters love and respect the dollhouse. "They recognize the quality there, and they
respect that because they know they'll have it forever," she said.
Grandmother Gena Pulsipher purchased her first two
dollhouses about six years ago for her
granddaughters, who are now 12 and 10. This year she bought two for two other
granddaughters. She said she wanted to do something for her grandchildren that would
last. And as they have gotten older they have gained a greater appreciation
for the dollhouses. "My 12-year-old granddaughter plans to keep hers until she has her own
family — hopefully she'll have a daughter," Pulsipher said. Part of what makes Pulsipher's dollhouses
unique is the application of her folk-ark painting talents when she designs
and applies her art work to the dollhouse. Like Martin, Pulsipher signs and dates the dollhouse after she's
completed it. It has become a project of pride, not just a children's toy.
In a city that brims with the new, one South Jordan resident is trying to
some of the good ol' days. Frank Martin began building all-wooden
toys for his
young daughters more than 25 years ago. Now, the Department of
jokingly says he does it for therapy.
Martin specializes in building hand-crafted, solid-wood doll houses that
aren't just toys, but heirlooms.
"People will pass these on to their children's children," he said.
His massive wood shop contains dozens of pieces of wood in various stages
the building process. On the top of his shelves, he displays the first toy he built for
his daughter -- a rocking horse. He also has a wooden stick horse that he plans to
put wheels on so kids can drag it around with them.
"Wood toys are something that we've lost. I grew up with this stuff, and I
every toy I had, and I want others to experience that," he said. "We've kind of lost
the roots of our country."
Martin sells the homes unfinished, allowing buyers to add their own
Gina Pulsipher has purchased four doll houses from Martin to give as
presents to her granddaughters, who range in age from 4 to 6. She said
being the one to finish the houses.
"I was glad to be able to do it how I wanted. I really loved doing it
myself," she said.
Martin signs and dates the back of each of his houses, and Pulsipher adds
to the back as well.
"These are really cute things, and kids can play with them for a long
time, and then
their parents can store them until their grandkids can play with
them. They really
are an heirloom," Pulsipher said.
Martin sells functional furniture packages for the houses as well --
toilet seats lift and knobs turn.
He also caters to boys with his Action Figure City. The four-level,
features an alleyway, a subway, water mains and sewer level.
The backdrops are
sketched in, but it's up to buyers to paint in all of the
"You can really make this icky and fun for boys," he said, which is
Pulsipher did for her 6-year-old grandson this past Christmas.
Martin refuses to tell anyone how many doll houses he sells, and instead
to call it a "limited edition" each year, and when he runs out of houses, he stops
selling them for the year. Martin doesn't depend on selling his
work to make a living,
so he is able to sell them to everyone at wholesale prices.
Martin takes a great deal of pride in his work -- he makes everything by
"I'm such a micromanager that I'd be standing over people who were making
houses instead of getting my own work done," he said.
Though the busiest time for him begins in September and promptly ends Dec.
he works throughout the off-season to build up his stock. He also made the
and cupola on his home, and he makes cupolas for construction companies
for the homes they build.
Although he makes other wooden products, it's the toys that he likes most.
"I've made a lot of kids happy in this valley and all over the world ," he said.
alter home's appearance Carpenter crafts
Location, location, location.
Those are the first three important aspects to success in
real estate. The fourth is curbside appeal, which refers to the
first impression passers-by have of a home.
If your house resembles a city dump, a condemned building or
neglected wood shed, there's lots of inexpensive ways to turn it
from neighborhood eyesore into something everyone can enjoy.
Just ask Frank Martin, owner and operator of Nu-Cut Wood
Products. The signature shutters the South
Jordan resident crafts in his home are especially eye-catching.
"I believe my house is the only house in the world with
shutters that change throughout the year, giving my house a
whole new look,"
Martin says. "And I do believe even the smallest of changes
can make a house look totally different."
Martin recently changed his shutter design from
a golden slotted unique design to a burgundy three panel
He loves creating and the challenge of making or modifying an
item that will make life easier. That was his motivation for
making changeable shutters that change with the seasons.
Fascination, mostly. Martin always has been intrigued with
things made of wood, including shutters. Originally created in
the 17th century, shutters open up a world of possibilities.
They provide privacy, security, control glare, regulate interior
temperature and prevent sunlight damage to furniture plus their
just beautiful and add that finishing touch to any home. Shutters
to include decorative "Shutter Dogs"
are also popular decorative items for spicing up windows on
new design, plain or
"It's amazing how different things look just by making this
one simple change," Martin says.
Martin first chose gold brown-slat shutters for the home. The next
set he hung were burgundy raised-panel shutters. He soon plans to
change to beautiful forest green wing slatted shutters with original carvings and other
eye-catching embellishments. There's a plethora of
"I will just keep building and building," he says. "No matter
what I see, I believe I can build it and then I do."
When his eldest daughter was 4 years old, he believed he
could make her a better wooden rocking horse than the ones he
saw in magazines and stores, so he did. That horse now adorns
his production room to remind him that any dream is within
But Martin does more than make shutters and rocking horses.
For 26 years, he has designed everything from a
mechanical-driven lawn aerator to a handy conveyor belt that
conveys his projects upstairs from his downstairs production
room. He further fashions intricate dollhouses and
"I believe a lot in the saying: 'Necessity is the mother of
invention,' " Martin says.
So is neatness.
Walking into his workshop is like walking into the intensive
care unit of a hospital. It is immaculate and orderly, with
machines that beep and buzz and upcoming projects lined up in
order - simple pieces of wood he will turn into future
"I sign and date each piece I make for this purpose," Martin
Old brick lends a historical ambience to the exterior of
Martin's home. When he and his wife, Bobbie, decided to build
the house 15 years ago, they desired a brick exterior - not just
any bricks, but historical ones.
Historical bricks are not easy to find, but Martin eventually
found what he was looking for on the east side where he found a
demolished historical building over 100 years old.
"If you think modular brick is hard to lay, you should
try laying original solid brick," Martin says. "Modular bricks
have holes in the center for easy placement.
Historical brick is solid all the way through, so to get it to
lay just right can be quite a task."
Mr. Martin is a dying breed. A true renaissance man with