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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My Dollhouse: Working on Details

I’ve been spending much of the past couple of weeks working on all the details of the dollhouse. Sometimes when I get up and see the house, it makes me think of moving into a real new house… trying to get boxes unpacked, putting my touch and making the house unique and reflective of my personality. Trying new stuff and techniques, and just plain having fun.

Nothing big to report, but wanted to show you some of my progress. I finished installing the stair cases and the railings. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but working in the 1:12 miniature can sometimes be majorly frustrating. And on occasion when I look to recreate something in miniature, it can be extremely frustrating! Trying any number of different ways to approach and not having any luck. But so much more has been a positive experience.

Just inside the double doors from the porch, is a curved white staircase.DSCN4906I love the way it plays with the black and white tile. If it weren’t for the lantern sitting there, doesn’t this totally look like a full sized house? And I have to laugh that there is a bathtub in the entry way! In our house in California, there was a few days when during the master bathroom remodel, we had a bathtub sitting in the living room. 🙂DSCN4903At the top of the curved staircase, we arrive at the second floor hallway. The floor is actually Popsicle sticks, trimmed and laid in a variety of lengths and then stained and the coated with two layers of polyurethane. If you follow the hall towards the front of the house, you will be met with the next set of stairs.DSCN4902You’ve now arrived in the home office. Work is still going on here, but the floor has been laid (coffee stir sticks) and the work top has been placed; it rests on two small cabinets, one on either side of the wall. A center shelf has been place to have access to a printer and other necessities. You can also see the wood blinds have been installed with a natural valance. Taking advantage of the light in the dormer makes working in this room delightful.

DSCN4905This is the boy’s bedroom, including it to show you that the floor has been finished – just this room and the master bedroom have carpeting – and that the baseboards have been installed. It seems that so much has been done, but yet so much remains to be done!DSCN4904A shot of the master bathroom. I laid the tile floor early on in the project, and that’s about where it has been for some time. I recently purchased a second bathroom set, as I was not really excited about the original set… but not sure that this is the direction I want to go either. I’d like to do a chest with a bowl set on top, I think. The shower pan – seen in this shot – is going to be surrounded by tiled walls, which it seems I’ve also been working on forever.DSCN4900Using this grout, I finally completed that chore for the walls. I figured it would be easier to lay the tile (on a background of paper) and do the grouting and finishing and then install it.DSCN4899This are the walls grouted, just need to wait until it completely dries and then install it. I have the shower head and controls somewhere in this mess… I know it looks organized, but trust me, it is an organized mess!

Okay, that’s about it for today. I hope you will come back to see progress as it goes forward and gets closer and closer to be completed. I promised myself not to start or work on anything else until this is done. And I saw a fantastic piece on CraigsList today that I would have loved to grab… but I swore an oath to this dollhouse! LOL

julie

Minor Updates Can Make a Big Difference

So much going on these past few days that it doesn’t seem that I’ve had time to do anything but work. Which is ironic, since today was my last day at my current contract position. I work in IT and very often do between 3 months and a year’s worth of work for a company and then just be done. It can be tough sometimes, just about the time I feel comfortable in the commute and start to really make some friends, it’s time to move on. I think the worst part is the looking for the next contract, which is almost constant, and I am getting to the point where I think I might like to settle into a company and stay a while.

Anyway, enough about that. Been just doing some long neglected chores around the house. The first was to re-caulk the floor tile in my master bedroom. When we first bought the house – new, almost ten years ago – there were a few things that I didn’t like and knew would have to be changed. This is in sharp contrast to the fact that I fell in LOVE with this house almost immediately and changed – or wanted to change – very little.

But the master bedroom bathroom was one thing that I had to change. Apart from the size and layout, almost everything else I disliked. From the builder grade fixtures and cabinets to the blah color of the walls and tile, this was a room that would require change. The very first thing was the fact that the main area of the bathroom was carpeted. CARPETED. Like you would have to step out of the shower or bath tub onto CARPET carpeted. Who does that? Want to talk about the perfect environment for mold and mildew? Carpet in the bathroom. Gah.

Unfortunately, find tile to match what was already in there was going to be tough. This is one time I almost wished they would have used white tile, at least finding something to match would have been easy. I still have about 15 samples of tile colors that I hoped would match but didn’t. I really wanted to rip everything out and start the whole thing over, but we did just buy the house and had already spent big bucks changing the layout of the dining room into the home office (I still need to write a blog about that), adding a new decks leading out the new french doors from the master bedroom and finishing the entire basement (nearly 1500 square feet), not to mention that everything in the bathroom was brand new. Seemed really tough to just rip all that out and throw it away.

So, I endured and finally stumbled onto a tile – being discounted and discontinued – that matched almost perfectly. I had done a fair amount of tiling in my other house in California and felt comfortable with this small area, so I ripped out the carpet and laid the tile. And since the tile was priced so right, that we bought enough for an area of the basement that would benefit from a nonporous surface.

Something wasn’t right though, and before long the grout started cracking. Kept getting worse, until I got fed up and removed it all and replaced it with caulking. Much more flexible and seemed to stay white longer. But over time, and this time more like 5 years, it did peel in a few places and wear. And it was getting dirty looking. So, all of it was scraped out and once again replaced. Only this time, it was done mostly by The Kid, since my knees don’t do so well with the arthritis.

DSCN2193But it is back to looking shiny and new again, so I can stand to look at it again. Until I get to the point where I get so fed up with it that I start ripping it out myself. That might be a while though, as I want a whole new look with subway tiles and a clawfoot tub and some beautiful old vanity to use as a cabinet. I have some wonderful ideas, but now with the contract ended, it is time to reign in the spending for a while.

DSCN2192The other thing that has driven me a little nuts was the kitchen sink. Actually, the upstairs bathtub (in The Kid’s bathroom) too. You see, they are not cast iron, but those fiberglass or plastic pieces. I am sure they are cheaper, easier to install since they are so light and initially they are pretty nice looking. But my experience is that they don’t stay nice looking long… especially if you use chemical cleaners and scrubbing pads to clean them. It seems like you take off the nice, white top layer and then it takes way too much effort to keep it looking clean. It is a little difficult to really see what I am talking about, but here is a photo of the old sink:

 

DSCN2182When it came to the kitchen sink, it was used so much that it didn’t take long for it to start looking dingy. I really wanted a farmhouse sink, but that would have taken some cabinet modification as well as counter top change. It is my intention to install new counters, but again, what I have in mind is just a little too expensive right now.

An avid Craigslist watcher, about six weeks ago I saw a cast iron sink listed – for free. I called up The Kid and had him go over and pick it up. Initially, I was thinking I’d snag it for the sink I wanted to put in the garage, but after cleaning it up, I realized that this particular sink was flawless. No porcelain chips, no stains or rust… it was incredible.

DSCN2196So, it was slated for the kitchen. Actually just a couple of weeks later, I picked up another sink, this time with a steel cabinet that will be perfect for the garage.

Well, I finally got husband and The Kid to install the sink. There are times, like this, that it is an advantage to be married to a plumber. 🙂

DSCN2195It might not seem like much, but to me, it is like night and day to me. It just gleams! I think it is just beautiful. The downside? Now every flaw that I used to be able to overlook is now front and center when I walk into the kitchen. Its that old conundrum that once you start updating something, everything next to it needs it now. I suppose that now that we’re approaching the ten year mark, things are in need of updating and changing. I have a mental list going… the house needs painting, I want to replace the two decks with a single, wider deck and a new staircase, kitchen cabinets need replaced or refaced and I want new counters. I hear this knocking from the washer and I am just holding my breath that the heating and A/C unit holds out another year or so. But first, gotta get back to work.

julie

 

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