Monday, April 7, 2008

Latest rennovations on my dollhouse

Over the past few months, I made some progress on rennovating my childhood dollhouse. The first thing I started with was selecting a color scheme. I felt that grey and pink would look good on this house, especially since pink is my favorite color. Well, when I tried the pink and grey, what a disaster!

The grey was too dark for the pink and it looked horrendous. I also didn't like the two-color combination on the door.

So, after thinking about it, looking at some different colors and asking for opinions, I chose Burgandy! I really love the new color scheme. Not only does it look striking on the house, it also somewhat matches the drapes in my living room (which you can see on the right side of the pic).

In the picture, the burgandy looks more purplish then it does in reality, the true color is Benjamin Moore Color Samples "Vintage Claret" and Timber Wolf for the grey. The shutters were resting on the windowsills for pictures, they're not attached yet. The one window you see is a prototype for the windows I'm making. The shutters were very hard to find since I needed very narrow shutters. Most of the common shutters are wider then these and wouldn't fit the area I had. As you can see from the picture, I have very little space between the shutters now.

I used and highly recommend Benjamin Moore Color Samples. If you have an Ace Hardware near you, check to see if they sell the color samples. Not all Ace Hardware stores do. If they do, consider yourself lucky. For about $3.99 you can get a small jar of house-quality, satin finish latex paint. It's so much more economical then buying a quart of paint in a custom mixed color.
One jar of Timber Wolf Grey paint did the entire house with just enough left over for touchups. The satin finish is perfect for dollhouses - not too glossy, not too flat. It's house quality latex paint so you know it's going to last for years and years without yellowing or peeling. Also, the jars are perfect for reusing when finish to store other mini items in.

What's even better, if you go to Benjamin Moore's website, they have a color picker program you can play with to find the colors you like then take that list to the store and get the colors you want.

For the door, I painted it a solid color and used miniature wainscotting that I glued on for the panels. Then added the doorknocker, mailslot and doorknob for details. The door will get attached to the hinges when I'm done working with that front panel so I don't accidentially knock the door off.

This is a closeup of the window I made for this house. I couldn't find replacements for the silkscreened windows so decided to roll up my sleeves and make my own. I started with skinny sticks I picked up in a package from Walmart. If you don't have these, you must pick up a package, (or two, or three). They are so useful and versatile for everything.

For example, you can use skinny sticks to make the beams on the outside of a tudor style house. Cut them in half to make door saddles inside the door. They make excellent baseboards or ceiling molding also. The package is under $5 and I think you get something like 100 in the package. You can also pick them up at Michaels and probably AC Moore (whatever is near you).

I used the skinny sticks for the frame of the window. I just cut them to size, mitered the corners and glued them together. I'm going to paint the trim white when I'm done working with the window just before I install it.

For the mullions, I used mini craft sticks. They look like match sticks and I also got them in Walmart right next to the package of skinny sticks. These came in a package of I think 500 for a few bucks. I spray painted them white and after they were dry, cut and glued them onto clear transparencies. I got the clear transparency in an office supply store. They're the kind used for persentations and can be run through a laser or inkjet printer.

Overall, this is a very labor intensive method of making the windows. However, as you can see from the picture, I think it gives the greatest sense of realism and really looks the best.

That's all the updates I have for now. Some of the future plans for the house, include bricking the chimney's and putting on an asphalt roof. I'm also going to do flagstone around the entire foundation.

In the meantime, I'm trying to decide what rooms will be what, and what color schemes I want to do for the inside. I do know I want to do this house in a nice Americana country style with country-style furniture and accessories and the like.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Let the Rennovations Begin...

It's been a very busy few months with the holidays and family visiting. Things have calmed down and now I can begin to working on rennovating my dollhouse.

It's a good thing too, because I was getting really tired and annoyed looking at the poor thing with it's yellow windows and peeling wallpaper. Even more so since the dollhouse is in a prominent place in our living room and actually, one of the first things you see as you enter the room.

I took some pictures of the dollhouse in it's present state. If you click the pictures to enlarge them, you can see the details. I figure these pictures will be great "before" and "after" pics.

As you see in the pictures, I really have my work cut out for me, but it's a challenge I'm looking forward to! My dollhouse has a front removable panel for access to the front rooms that don't go all the way through. In the second picture above, you see the back of the front removable panel.

One of the shutters fell off during the move. I have the shutter and could glue it on, but I don't like the shutters so I'm going to replace them. The old shutters are too plain, and I'd have to scrape off the butterfly decals and repaint them. Instead, I bought new shutters - half of which arrived, half of which were on backorder and should come in a week or so. What a job I had finding new shutters! As you can see from some of the other pictures, the front windows are very close together which meant that I couldn't get standard size shutters. I had to find ones that were less then 1 1/4" or go with two different types/sizes of shutters. Fortunately, I found some from Timberbrook which I ordered through one of their dealers. They are the right size and should work perfectly!

This is a close up of the front of the house. You can see the tabs that hold the front panel on. One of the windows also fell out during the move since they were stapled in on the inside. I have the window, but, like with the shutters, I'm going to replace all the windows. I'm going to make mullions out of balsa wood and attach them to the plastic panes. This picture shows what I mean about the shutters being so close together. The new shutters I got are narrower then the ones up there so when I install them, I'll actually have a bit more room between shutters which will look much nicer!

This is the former dining room. It's the worst room in the house. I installed a Houseworks Brand hardwood floor but must have used rubber cement or put the glue on in splotches because the floor did not come up nicely (as you can see). As a result, I'm going to have to keep scraping away at the glue/paper residue and probably end up sanding the floor and applying a new coat of polyurethane.

The blue dots are left over blue-tack sticky stuff that I used to attach pictures, curtains, etc. That came right off but left some stains on the door frame. It doesn't matter though, the door frame is getting repainted.

There are many more pictures in my gallery. If you click the link on the left that says "First Dollhouse - Before" you can see closeups of the other rooms.

In my next post, I'll talk about the ideas I have for rennovations and post some pictures of my progress.