Taplin's and Callahan's decision to build the new house was spurred by Hurricane Andrew: The roots of a nearby sapodilla tree crashed into the dollhouse during the storm, briefly lifting it off its foundation and leaving cracks in the floors and walls. The owners spent a few months designing their spacious new $200,000 home, in which everything except the bathrooms is walled with windows. Though they broke ground on the new house a year ago, Callahan says construction has been "a nightmare," owing to frequent disputes with county inspectors. At press time, the owners still had not received a certificate of occupancy; when the papers come through (perhaps as soon as next week) the dollhouse will be transformed into a fond reminiscence.
"The memory will always be there," Callahan remarks. But he's clearly looking to the future. The new home, he vows, "will make Architectural Digest for sure.