Almost Done: The Dollhouse Project

Today, in the mail, the final piece that I had been waiting for came. The dining room table and four chairs. I spent last night gluing all of the pieces into place with the exception of the dining room. So, upon its delivery, the pieces were assembled and then glued into place as well.

This, officially, means that I have finished the interior of the house. I have to fix a few shingles on the roof and replace the “tar paper” on the roof and I am hoping to still purchase shutters and do some decorating on the front outside of the house. Been looking into how to craft a porch chandelier, something like the one that hangs in front of my real house.

Also, the plan is to take a bazillions of photos and I’d like to do it outside for really good lighting and access to all angles. I want to take pictures through windows and use a mirror to a good view to all of the rooms. So wouldn’t you know it that the day it is ready for photos of the interior, the heavens opened up with a thunderstorm!

IMG_4161So, rather than spoiling the surprise – you can see how dark it is in the house (the real one and the miniature one!), which doesn’t lend to good photos. Instead, I am going to work on the porch, primarily working on the porch light.

Come back soon for a myriad of photos… and send good thoughts about the weather!

julie

Dollhouse Flooring: Lots of Options

In the process of completing my dollhouse, I found that there are many options when it comes to flooring. I think that my Dad’s intent is that all of the rooms would have wood floors, but then when he originally built the house it was supposed to be a early 1800’s house (complete with servants’ quarters). I, of course, updated the style of the house to be contemporary; I likened it to actually remodeling a real house to standards of the day (bathrooms, running water, electricity and a modern kitchen).

One thing I learned the hard way was the doors and door trim. I think even before the flooring goes in the doors should go up. I did it the hard way and now with trying to get the pre-made doors installed, I am finding that the openings are being blocked by high floors – especially where I used miniature tile. Thankfully, The Kid is tackling this job for me.

So back to floors. I have used a wide range of flooring options and even created a few that I didn’t use. Originally, the kitchen was to be a pale shade of yellow, as I had purchased this awesome fifties’ style dining table and yellow chairs.IMG_4157As you can see, there were a number of flooring options, including the checkerboard pattern in yellow. In the end, I used a red and white checkerboard pattern, which is reminiscent of the entry way and living room black and white.IMG_4155The kitchen is laid with samples that I ordered from WilsonArt’s website, but the black and white is actually individual tiles that I got from Home Depot.IMG_4153For the ‘sewing room’ I also picked up some green variegated tile samples and cutting to squares and then laying them in the checkerboard pattern.

I meant to mention this wonderful person’s name that I met in Home Depot and am just now getting around to writing the post. If you’re ever in the Kansas City area, look for Cheryl Lupton, who spent time with me brainstorming about ideas for flooring. She had inexhaustible enthusiasm for the challenge and loved the time we spent together! (Hi Cheryl! Sorry it took me so long!).IMG_3930Anywho, Cheryl was the one who showed me the tile samples that they keep in the store. These are about 2″ x 3″ rectangles and I just cut them into squares and then adhered them with E-6000 glue. I was going to visit several Home Depots so that I didn’t take all the samples displayed, but wonderful Cheryl told me to take all I wanted! Yea! Saved a bunch of time, driving and effort.IMG_3929She was also the one who told me I could order samples of the laminate online as well. And I am going to share that with you here: http://www.wilsonart.com. Just browse through all of the different types of laminate and once you find something that interests you, click the link to order samples.IMG_6154There is a limit of some of the colors or styles and you can only order 50 samples at a time. I think I went a little overboard when I found out, and ordered way more than I could ever use. (I am still trying to come up with a project that will use them!) I had ordered lots of pink samples and one in particular had a woven appearance and the right shade of pink. So, two of the laminate samples made up the nursery floor.IMG_4147So, laminate samples for the kitchen, living room/entry way, sewing room and baby’s room. Somewhere along the way, I had a package of “real wood” miniature flooring from HouseWorks. IMG_4085I wanted the dining room to have a beautiful wood floor and after taking the largest piece for the dining room, there was enough left to piece together for the attic home office. Sort of makes sense that one would do a patchwork of what is available for the floor in the attic. It turned out pretty good, I think!IMG_4149So, for the two bathrooms, they got tile. Some time back, I ran across these large packages of assorted colors of mini tiles to be used for making stepping stones. By buying three of them, after sorting I ended up with a nice selection of colors and about half of it was white.IMG_3967So in one bathroom, the floor and the shower walls are actual tile! Blue and white went on the floor in an everyday checkerboard pattern with a white row of tiles around the edges.IMG_4151

Now, the other bathroom, which is also the laundry room, is done in green and white tiles. I didn’t have enough of any one shade of green, so I used three different shades of green alternating with white. Viola!IMG_9260You have no idea how difficult it is tiling with 3/8″ tile! I had some issues keeping them level and straight!

Okay, that takes care of eight of the 12 rooms. For the boy’s bedroom and the master bedroom, it was always in my mind to use carpeting. Again, I had some packages of dollhouse miniature carpeting from a company called ‘MiniGraphics’ that had been purchased somewhere in the past 25 years. When I purchased it, it was for the living room along with some light blue sofas, so it must have been sometime in the 90’s. I had also made curtains, blue and yellow plaid over sheers. So much different than what I ultimately decided to use.

IMG_4156So, off to one of my many jaunts to JoAnns. I knew what I was looking for but not sure if I would find it. But of course, I did, and the tight weave and low plush made it the perfect faux carpeting. A deep grey color would work as a perfect neutral, although I only needed it for the two bedrooms. Bought enough to carpet every floor in the dollhouse!

IMG_4150So, we’re up to ten of the 12 rooms with the flooring complete. The hallway in the upstairs was one that I hadn’t planned for and the floor plan change ended up with quite a bit of square footage (inch-age?). This was a chance for me to experiment a little and having watched an online video about using Popsicle sticks and so set off to implement this for the hallway. I cut different lengths and then laid them down using the E-6000 glue, then staggered the lengths and used a wood putty to fill in any spaces. I then stained them using a medium oak color and then put two coats of clear polyurethane to seal the color. Turned out better than I expected. If I did this again, I think I would buy coffee stir sticks – they are a bit more narrow and would fit the scale better.IMG_4152(What do you think of my little clip board? Also made from laminate!!)

The last room is actually a storage space in the attic and it will remain without a finished floor, much like real attics.

So, there it is. I hope that this has helped in some way. Sometimes you just gotta jump in and do it and figure it out as you go.

Thanks for stopping by! Come back when I am finished and unveil it! It’ll be soon!

julie

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Dollhouse: Getting Closer to Being Done

I seem to spend more time on the dollhouse rather then writing about the work being done. Much of the work seems pretty routine and, well, obvious, so I am not writing about everything I do. If you ever have questions about something that I’ve done, please ask and I will elaborate. Sometimes what seems straightforward to me is confusing to someone else. And vice-versa.

So much of the work done over the past couple of weeks has been about getting the basics done so the furniture can go in. Of course, the kitchen is primarily “basic”, so a lot of work has been done there. I’ve also done a lot of prep for the doors, floors and trim. I can see the light at the end of this tunnel!IMG_4078The greatest amount of work (and fun!) was the kitchen. I had ordered all of the cabinetry in kits, that is, I had to assemble it all. To make sure it all fit correctly, I made templates for both the walls and floor so that it would fit in like a puzzle.

I used pieces of laminate that I had ordered from Wilson (ordering info further down the page). The way it worked out, that back piece acted as a “plate” that the cabinets could be glued to and then placed into the house. And as a bonus, it became the backsplash, a jaunty little fiftie’s motif in red, white and turquoise.

IMG_4102This was the short “stove” wall… The Kid created the range hood from stainless steel. Initially it was a little short, so I added the little cap at the top.DSCN4896A shot of the long wall with kitchen sink and ‘fridge. I still had to cut the section for the window.IMG_9853The floor is actually another pattern of laminate sample. The only issue I had working with it was weighting the flooring down as it dried. You can kind of get the sense of the air pocket under the floor in the photo above.

IMG_4125With much of the dollhouse complete, I finally moved it off the kitchen island back in front of the fireplace. Much of the window treatments are done, furniture found and purchased, and lots of little details being worked on.

One thing I goofed on was adding the baseboards before installing the doors. I was waiting on the purchased hardware to arrive and just got ahead of myself. Now that it has arrived (and changed from brass to silver finish), I’ve prepared all the doors for installation. I think this is going to be a bigger deal that it should, considering that I think I will need to trim the baseboards to fit the doors.IMG_4124Larger than most starter dollhouses, it requires quite a few doors (and the two IMG_4123inside/outside doors are already installed)! Here I was adding the door knobs. As I mentioned, the pre-purchased door handles were all brass colored. Laying them onto a sheet of poster board and securing them for painting with a glue stick.

You can also see a few of the miniature trivets that I purchased off the internet. Since the kitchen is red and white with a pop of turquoise, some of the trivets had to be sprayed painted.IMG_4128

The doors between the dining room and kitchen were designed to open together, instead of knobs, I made push plates. I cut these from metal-look laminate as well. I had several selections to choose from, here are a couple of the sample tiles.

They really look like metal!

While I was at it, I cut kick plates for the front door as well (to be installed at a later date).IMG_4126Things are progressing and am quite close to adding the details. And then a gigantic photo shoot will occur to show off the whole thing.

Down the road a little ways, I am planning to add clear plexiglass doors to keep the house from getting dusty. Initially I thought I wanted to finish it and then never touch it again, but instead of a single sheet on the back of the house, I decided to construct two larger doors for adjustments or so new items can be added. I am also going to place a clear “wall” onto the back of the boys’ room.

When I started the project of completing this dollhouse, I vowed to work on nothing else so as to not distract me from the task at hand. I have a little bit of crafting ADHD and tend to easily get drawn into other projects and consequently end up with a lot of unfinished projects. Now it seems that I should be finishing up the house at about the same time I will be going back to work! I will work furiously to get all the little details written about in the next couple of weeks.

And please! I love to share my projects and the way I went about doing things. But I love to hear from others as well… comments and questions are the icing on the creative cake!

julie

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