Dollhouse Reveal: More of the Exterior

One of the things I forgot to add to the first post of the dollhouse reveal was some of the original photographs.

I had asked my Dad for a dollhouse ever since I can remember. I was the seventh child and of the six before me, four were boys (and two more following). Lots of little boys in this house. It was kind of unusual for my Dad to have to do ‘girl’s toys’ but I kept asking. Finally, about the time I got married, my Dad finally got the time and energy to build a dollhouse. It took him quite a few years and I had moved away from my parents (in Iowa) all the way to California. When Dad finished the dollhouse, I guess he couldn’t figure a safe and affordable way to get the house to me, so instead, he gave it to my oldest sister (she is 11 years older than me) and who lived in the same town.

Well, fast forward about ten, maybe fifteen years and the dollhouse sat almost untouched – some of her children and grandchildren messed with it and broke a few things – and to my sister’s credit, she did buy a lot of stuff for the house. But then came the time my sister and her family decided to move to Colorado and no longer had a place for the house. Time for it come to me! Believe it or not, my folks drove the house out to me in their van!!

Let me show you some of the early pictures:

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Isn’t it grand? A few things that happened during this transition was the base of the of the house was lost along with the railings and stairs on the porch.

Another issue that I felt needed to be changed was the fact that the kitchen had its own staircase to a secluded room above it – which just happened to be the “servants quarters”. Now I know this is supposed to be one of those broad sweeping houses from the old south, but this layout didn’t settle well with me. And as with anyone who buys a house, they want to make it their own – well, I wanted to make some changes to make this house my own as well.

So, out went the kitchen stairs – and an old fashioned kitchen – replaced with a gleaming and sophisticated red and white kitchen (reveal later). I opened the wall between the kitchen and the dining room and placed double doors for easier access. Next, a hallway was opened up so that the former servants quarters could be accessed and it became a nursery.

I also had to open the attic floor to allow a staircase up, added a wall to create another space and doors between the rooms to allow passage from one to another. Since I was having to invest in doors for the new rooms, I opted to replace all the doors for a more cohesive look. This also went for the addition of the stairs and I had previously purchased a gentle curved staircase, so out went the originals including handrails. All of these additions and changes not only created extra cost, most of the time it also created more work in widening and heightened to accommodate the new doors. This was really tricky with the sloped ceilings in the attic.

Then both the exterior and interiors were painted white. Lots and lots of cans of white spray paint. Remind me to tell you the lesson I learned about using spray paint in the same space as your red sports car. ūüė¶

The house was turned upside down and I used this “ceiling texture repair” to give all of the ceilings a nice finish. Now it was finally ready for decorating to begin:

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The house was moved up to the living room for easier access (no running up and down the stairs to the basement) and eventually all the supplies and tools were relocated to this area. I am so lucky that I live with people who are accommodating!

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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From Pink to Black! A Dresser Makeover

Second only to the pink ombr√© color scheme, is my favorite color black. It is actually called “Deep Space” and has just a hint of blue in it. In the semi-gloss finish, it just makes pieces absolutely stunning!

I first used this when we re-decorated The Kid’s room. The room had been first decorated when we moved here from California. At that time, being nine and all, he was fascinated by everything to do with the military service, but aren’t most little boys? Two walls (and a closet wall) were painted with camouflage¬† in three colors over the base coat of tan. But about the time of his 16th birthday, he had grown tired of the scheme and wanted something more “grown up”. Thus was born the “industrial chic” look.

DSCN0828I really loved the way this turned out. We used pipe fittings for the handles of this converted sideboard, effectively making it a great entertainment center. He has flat panels for gaming systems as well as television. The drawers and cabinets provide a lot of room for the games and controllers and manuals. The point of all of this was to show you the beauty of this color. (If you’d like to see more and the final reveal, you can The Kid’s Room Unveiling.)

Recently, I ran across an ad on Craigslist listing some free furniture. We were quick to head over there.

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Looks like some good stuff, right? Well, it was, in fact it got better after we got there. Some of these pieces were already gone, but I did get the chair and the side table (the two most left pieces). But as we pulled up, the woman living next door came out to meet us and told us that she was coordinating the removal of everything from the house, as the renter that lived there had died.

She escorted us into the house and we were able to get an old 50’s blonde dresser with mirror and a blonde desk (which the chair in the picture above accompanied). I was trying not to be too greedy, as there had been someone else who was returning for other pieces. We didn’t have room for everything in a single trip, so we agreed to return the next day. I figured by then we could probably have whatever was left!

So, here is the dresser as we picked it up:

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It was in absolutely great shape for its age… although the drawer tracks needed a little work. Oh, and there was some damage to the back where the mirror was supposed to be attached; it looked as if this piece didn’t originally have a mirror due to the damage. Glue, sanding and priming were the first order of business.

It sat a while as I tried to decide what to do with it, although really not long at all. As I was arranging and taking inventory of what paint colors I had available, I found a brand new, unopened can of the “Deep Space” black. It was like lightning had struck!

DSCN3703Didn’t that turn out beautifully? We had originally wanted to re-insert the metal decoration but found that the space for them had too much paint to accommodate them. We spent a little time trying to clear the channels, but in the end it was going to completely too much work. I added fairly simple knobs in a silver finish as the final touch. And in the end, I love the clean way it presents.

This is another of “those colors” that just don’t photograph to show the true depth of the color. In person, this is just majestic! The same with my son’s piece.

I was almost finished working on this piece, got the photos and writing the text when it occurred to me that I forgot to show the mirror! Its a wonderful frame-less mirror with rounded corners, which attaches to the back of the dresser. I am thinking now, that I don’t think I will include the mirror. I suspect that this would most likely sell to a man and am pretty sure the mirror would just be unnecessary. Maybe I will hang onto it for a future piece.

I am on the last steps to several projects, so this week the blog posts will occur with more frequency.

Goodnight!

julie

A New Direction for a Dresser: A Doll Dresser

Finally making some real headway on the myriad of projects that I have been working on. Finished a couple tonight and have a few more that are but details from completing.

This first project described tonight is kind of fun and only time will tell if it is successful in selling. I had seen something similar on Pinterest, but in a smaller scale. The project was to turn a dresser into a doll house/storage.dresser-to-barbie-house-after

This one, like I mentioned, is a smaller scale, intended for Barbie size or 1:6 scale. It has been a while since I’ve been around little girls to really know just how popular Barbie and her friends still are, but my own experience with my grand-nieces (ages 6 & 10) is that the American Girl dolls have taken a solid lead in little girls’ favorite playthings.

I spent a few weeks over the summer sewing clothes and bed linens for these adorable 18″ dolls. I found that I really liked sewing clothes for this size much more than the 11″ doll size. Being larger in size, they are easier to piece and they have a much nicer flow/hang on the doll. And the girls (my grandnieces) absolutely loved them. I think that being larger makes them much easier to dress and play with.

So, as I said, the project was intended to be a dresser converted into a doll house. Something like this photo. So, I started looking for dressers that might work. I knew it would have to be a bit bigger than most of the dressers that I’ve been working with, but didn’t want to go too big, like a entertainment center. After all, it was supposed to be for a little girl/girls and didn’t want to make the top half of it unreachable.Grandview MO

And then as fate may have it, I stumbled across the posting for this dresser, ready for a transformation because it was already missing a drawer. But overall, it was a beautiful piece of furniture and I wouldn’t feel bad for transforming it by ripping most of its interior out of it.

Happily, the drawer above them missing one was the same size and fit into the opening. Then it was a matter of sawing out the horizontal supports and sanding it done nice and evenly. DSCN0948

Here is where my inability to take enough pictures kicks in. I think I get on a roll with working on a project and just forget to stop occasionally and take a photo! But I built a large box out of a decent plywood to fit into the remaining space. This is easier said than done. It took a few attempts to get it just right and even at that I had some space at the top. But rather than rebuild the whole thing (I was running out of wood), I opted to leave it and just put a trim piece around the edge. I really like how it turned out.  AG Doll Dresser3

The shelf sits at 22 inches, which is about 4 inches higher than the height of the dolls. That left an awkward size at the top, but wanted at least one space that reflected an accurate height for the dolls. In hindsight, I probably should have removed the bottom drawer, but did like the concept of having it there to store the myriad pieces that come with playing with dolls.

Next order of business was a couple of coats of primer, considering that this was a very dark finish, followed by two coats of pale pink. The inner trim around the box and the interior was finished with a off-white color, something that would be very neutral for the future owner to be able to decorate. A nice blank canvas.AG Doll Dresser

For the pictures, though, I wanted to be able to accurately depict the height of the space. Since I don’t have any of this scale doll furniture (I only have one knock-off doll for clothes fittings and a great little clothes rack I made), I went with the second best idea, props. Searched Google for the right image of kitchen furniture and scaled it for the 1:3 ration of the dolls and printed it out. I then glued it onto poster board and set it aside to let the glue dry. I also printed out some checkerboard in black and white to represent the floor. Looks pretty cool, huh?AG Doll Dresser2

I’ve been watching a new series on Netflix (thank God for Netflix!!), so I opted to watch while I sewed. easy enough to create a cut little quilt, pillow and sheet ensemble for the cardboard box bed with headboard. I think the top section will make excellent place to store a doll or two.

Added ceramic handles to the drawer and this piece is ready for some little girl to enjoy this Christmas. So you don’t have to scroll back and forth to compare, here is a handy ‘before & after’ photo:

Doll Dresser B&A

I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out… and I hope at least one other person thinks so too (so they buy it!).

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Crafting Y’All!

julie

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