We're Inside the Hot Pink House Answering the Question, What is a Nesting Doll?

Halfway to Poughkeepsie (from Newburgh) there is a bright pink house. I know you’ve seen it, passed by a million times. Maybe you even vaguely recollect the 30-year-period when the bright pink house was painted brown and read "Baskets" instead. It was once such a store, a popular wicker and basket showroom. But, what is going on in there now? If curiosity has already lead you in, you know that what lies in waiting here is something unique and different and very special.

Halina Denchenko knows it, too. The retired teacher hung up her Russian language cap after 30 years at Arlington high school and now spends her time tending to, importing and doting on her Nesting Dolls.

starter-kit set-of-three $4.95

Nesting Dolls are a traditional Russian toy often seen in this style called matryoshka. The origin of the dolls can be traced back as far as 1890. Rumored to be a derivation from a doll picked up in travel somewhere in Japan (early designs often reflect a samurai), the dolls are a source of national pride. Variations are widely seen now from independent villages across the country.


The metaphorical concept of the doll is a design paradigm known as ”similar-object-within-an-object”— a principle like that of the onion. Think peeling back layers of ‘same’. The dolls are loved around the world for their unique design and spectacular hand-crafting. Each set is cut from a solid block of wood, usually a Linden tree aged at least three years. They traditionally come as a set of five, but have been seen up to as many as 75 pieces.

this set has upwards of twenty dolls

It's a success story with an interwoven romantic subtext. Halina’s husband Frank is the man behind the baskets. The husband and wife team - having switched modes to the dolls - are enjoying their 8th season (in addition to 30 years of baskets). The couple traveled frequently to Russia over the years (Arlington alumni may remember school trips to the Federation orchestrated by Halina).  Many of the store selections are recollections of their travels. The store contains a wide variety of novelty dolls to include 'do-it-yourself nesting dolls'—a great gift idea for the little painter in your life. There are measuring cup nesting dolls, snowman nesting dolls, lady bug nesting dolls and so much more. Her items range from a few dollars to several hundred, so there really is something for everyone!

Do-It-Yourself Dolls

There are also fun bonus finds like hand-carved wood whistles, jeweled boxes and wooden puzzle boxes just to name a few.  It is the kind of store you really need to experience first hand.  The cozy room emanates with the essence of Russia and is therefor a great alternative to booking a flight to Moscow.


Stop by and visit Halina at the Nesting Doll store for great gift ideas. You can find her there Thursday-Sunday.

Nesting Dolls by Halina

Rte. 9D & New Hamburg Rd. Hughsonville, NY 12537 (845) 297-0877