Through the Keyhole, a Dallas Institution, Closes Forever

Tiny things are cute.

It might surprise you that I don’t know much about dollhouses. But I do know someone who knows a lot about dollhouses. Katy Koenig not only knows stuff about dollhouses, she creates the most elaborate Elf on a Shelf tableaux in the Western Hemisphere. Her secret: a dollhousery in the Preston Forest Shopping Center called Through the Keyhole. Sadly TTK is closing its doors this weekend after being in business for 40 years. I asked Katy to tell us about the joint, because it felt like its passing deserved note. From Katy:

Needless to say, I am heartbroken. Not only because this was a store full of miniature versions of virtually everything known to man, but also because it is a shop owned and run by a sweet mother and daughter since 1974. Gayle and her mother, Dorothy (who is in her 90s), have been the smiling faces customers see when they walk in the store, along with their little shop dog who is always there, too. If they cannot be there, then they would just put a sign on the door and close it. No one else ever worked there. Just them. Such a throwback.

They know all the customers. In fact, they know virtually every dollhouse in the DFW area. About five years ago, I bought a large, old dollhouse at the Highland Park United Methodist Church yard sale for our daughter. (Really, it was for me. My mom never got me one, and I am scarred for life because of it.) When I went into the shop to ask them about making the lighting work, I had a picture of the dollhouse with me to show her what I needed. Gayle said, “Oh, sure. I remember that one.” She had worked on it with the previous owners many years before I bought it. Anyone with a traditional old dollhouse has been to this store, so they know them all. It feels like Mayberry when you are in there.

They announced their closing before Christmas. I nearly cried when I first heard. It really is a special place. No kidding. They put everything on sale after the first of the year and will officially close their doors on Saturday. I have probably been in there at least a half a dozen times since they announced the closing, and every time, Gayle is close to tears when people comment on how sad they are that the store is closing. She often says she just cannot talk about it. It is just too sad for her. They do not want to close but have been losing money every month for a long time now. With the availability of miniatures online and fewer little girls interested in owning a traditional old dollhouse, they just can’t stay open. There was a little write up in our Preston Hollow Advocate magazine about the store’s closing recently.

As for Nicky the Elf, she is surely sad, too. She has really benefited from all the tiny things I have bought there over the years. Fortunately, I have plenty of tiny items I have bought at 75 percent off over the past few weeks. Nicky, like you, is also very interested in local news. So today I purchased these for her to enjoy when December rolls around.