THIS DOLLHOUSE OF MINE: DURING
Once the house was clean, sturdy and white, it was time for the truly fun part. I spent a lot of time browsing online for modern dollhouses and wow, Moms be busy out there. There are a lot of amazing houses put together for some very lucky girls. Like this one. And this one. And this one. And sorry, this one. Not to mention, what’s available new. Everything from Hape and Lundby made me drool… But I was on a budget. And jeez, Thora is only three afterall.
First order of business was finding the clapboard for the exterior. I knew I didn’t want anything narrow or precious, I think of this as a farm house, so I set my sights on 1/2″ reveal in 36″ long sheets, (a lot like this) which proved a challenge to find. Luckily the Berkeley Ace Hardware was able to scavenge it from a Michigan location or something and between that and what they had on hand it was just enough. Not to mention, they were running a holiday sale which made it a lot more affordable. If you don’t know, the Berkeley Ace has an amazing hobby basement. It’s a dreamy, dusty time warp.
While I waited for my siding to come in, I started strategizing all of the trim and how to replace the windows and what to do about the floors. I may have gotten a little overwhelmed, mind you I have a deadline-driven job and the aforementioned three-year old to tend, but when it has to, my mind works like tetris. Determined I whittled each detail into separate tasks, in certain order, in allotted chunks of time and bit by bit, I got it done.
I started with white paint. I used the same satin-finish Simply White by Benjamin Moore that’s all over our real house because I had it on hand. The ceilings were painted as was around all of the edges and windows. At this point, I decided to paint the roof white too. I debated shingles, but ultimately decided on a white roof. It’s a cleaner look and is less-likely to be destroyed, a la, little fingers plucking one by one. As I worked on this house, I realized the key to modernizing is—easy on the details, lady.
Next up, the windows. As I mentioned before, all of the original windows were gone and/or damaged. I tried to get fancy and went to Home Depot and purchased a pricey sheet of plexi. Got it home, cut out ALL of the panes (there were 12) and as I anxiously peeled off the protective covering my stomach ended up in my throat. It was frosted. What?? Clearly, not labeled clearly. The next day was another Home Depot adventure only to learn that they did not sell clear plexi. But great ideas are born of desperation. I made a quick trip to my beloved Michael’s and purchased a $3 poster frame. That thin, clear, plexi was/is the perfect solution. I felt a little wasteful tossing the rest of the frame, but it was minimal collateral—those thin little strips of metal. There is more packaging on any given toy at Toys R Us.
Once all of the new windows were measured and cut, it was time to place. Aleene’s Tacky Glue has been around as long as myself, so has the logo (Aleene’s, let’s talk), but don’t be mistaken, this is the perfect craft glue. You can see how how my window frames have a little inset for the plexi to sit in. A little dab of Aleene’s in each corner, and across the middle on larger windows, then set the plexi on top and let it dry. The glue dries clear, which is nice if it smushes out a bit, but that wasn’t a problem anyway.
While glue dries over here, paint dries out on the lawn. These are some of my siding pieces as well as trim for the outside of the windows and baseboards. I ended up using three different sizes for trim. I wanted the windows beefy on the outside, but less-so indoors. But the baseboard needed to be thicker than the windows, not to mention the bathroom was getting wainscoting and yadda yadda yadda, mental overload.
Anyway, I had my own little one-woman production line going on. All of the pieces required two coats of paint. I even used primer on larger items like the siding. Basically, I painted everything before I attached it to the house. This made it much easier in the long run and also gave me instant gratification every time I cut, glued and placed. As in any kind of project, efficiency is all in the prep work.
Flooring. Initially I was going to paint the floors and throw down some carpets. But then I was home for Christmas and happened upon a store I will not mention here due to recent news. And they were having a sale on dollhouse materials, specifically WOOD FLOORS. I’m sorry, this might have been overkill, but I could not pass it up. I bought every sheet they had, giggling all the while. It’s a lot like this. I bought the natural version so’s I could stain it myself. The prestained stuff is a bit mahogany for me. Putting wall-to-wall wood floors in this house is straight up dreamy. Might I add, incredibly easy to install. Easier than paint. I simply stained it with Minwax (Dark Walnut), then cut to size, smear some Aleene’s on the back and press into place. I stacked every heavy book I had in there to make sure there was no buckling. Of course, I did all of this AFTER I did the walls…
Probably the most fun I had was an afternoon at a scrapbooking store on Fourth St. I allowed myself to relax and browse casually and did my best not to get overwhelmed—because scrapbooking stores are OVERWHELMING. It took me, maybe two hours, to pick all of this out. During that time I ran through many possibly design schemes. But in the end, I landed on the above combination. The painterly flowers remind me of Rifle Co., although these are Hello Again by Kaitlin Sheaffer. The patterns were slotted for all of the back walls, while the coordinating solids would be the sides, since I had deemed them unsuitable for paint.
And back to the exterior… After window trim was placed and knowing nothing by hand is perfect and square, I touched up around the trim using the same paint as the siding. This was to hide gaps. Worked like a charm. The grey I chose was my own concoction after I unknowingly purchased a terribly flesh-like off-the-shelf version on taupe. It’s just craft paint.
All of the trim pieces were cut to size, then painted, then applied. I was sure to paint all of the cut edges as well so you wouldn’t blaringly see any of the natural wood.
As you can seem this is a very scientific process going on over here. Thin wood bends when it gets wet—either from paint or glue (same Aleene’s). While it’s drying you need to make sure it stays flat, because once it’s dry, game over.
The order of interior production went like this: paint to windows to wallpaper to flooring to baseboards to window trim to bathroom wainscoting to done! The order of exterior production: paint to windows to window trim to paint again to clapboard to done!
I can’t wait to reveal the finished house tomorrow! But dang, these posts are lengthy as it is. I could talk dollhouses all day and night. Do you think anyone would pay me to do this? Renovating a whole house in my spare time is awful rewarding.