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The Lily Pad won an Honorable Mention in Hobby Builders Supply's 14th Annual Creatin' Contest.

Welcome to the Lily Pad, the home of Captain Walter Bulrush, retired from a life on the high seas as a member of the Merchant Marines, and his family: wife Lydia, and sons Algernon and baby Moses.

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When I saw the houseboat kit, it told me immediately that it wanted to be part of a fantasy, the home of a frog family, and that it wanted to have a ballroom with a two-story ceiling and a skylight. When the Bulrush family arrived from Scotland, where they'd been vacationing, they had more ideas about their new home. And thus was the Lily Pad born.

All of these demands, plus the relative size of the 1:12 scale houseboat and the family, made it clear from the beginning that this project had to be done in 1:24 scale, something totally new to me. It was my first bash of a dollhouse kit, and reducing the scale was challenging. Working on it on and off for the past 10 months or so has been a joy and a real learning experience.

Come, take a tour!

The Stern

The front door boasts a pineapple, long a symbol of hospitality. New England sea captains often brought back pineapples from their voyages to the South Pacific. When they returned home after months at sea, they would put a pineapple on the fencepost to let their neighbors know that they were welcome to stop by to see what treasures resulted from their latest trip.

Mom Lydia is checking the mail delivery. The little red and white fender, to keep the boat from bumping when tied up at a dock, is a discarded eye-drop container. All of the railings on both decks are hand made, as are the gangplanks.

The red, white, and blue deck chairs are hand made, as is the life ring (from a Fimo mold).

To suggest water, the pontoons, split in half lengthwise, were glued to the base, and a piece of red craft foam was glued over the opening, The foam helps to cushion the sheet of Plexiglas that forms the surface of the water. The upper half of the pontoons rest on the Plexiglas, and the boat appears to be floating. The red craft foam looks like a paint line on the pontoon.

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The entry, with its Chinese red rug, scrimshaw floor vase, imposing Ionic columns, and glittering artifacts makes visitors aware that they are not entering just any old houseboat. The parlor can be seen beyond the foyer, and to the left, the dining room.


Dining Room

The dining room cabinet holds some of Mom Lydia's collection of silver, and more is on display on the table. The door under the stairs leads to the kitchen. The ballroom is adjacent on the left. This makes entertaining very convenient. Thirsty guests can slip into the dining room for a bit of refreshment kept well stocked by the catering crew. The stairway leads up to the music room.



Two-story ballroom boasts a crystal and gold chandelier, faux marble walls, parquet floor, and a brass harem screen that separates it from the master bedroom. The half-inch scale Colonial chandelier from HBS is embellished with crystals and jewelry findings. The harem screen was meant to provide leaves for making mini plants but instead it serves as a way for someone in the master bedroom to peek in on the festivities below and adds airiness to both rooms. The skylight with its stained glass panels lends romance to the setting. The musician's balcony leads into the music room.

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Music Room

The piano in the music room can be rolled over to the doorway to the musician's balcony when needed for a party in the ballroom. Mom Lydia plays very well. Captain Walter is the violinist. His beloved instrument has traveled the seven seas with him. He would like Algernon to learn how to play it, but Algernon is more interesting in fishing.

The circular stairway provides access to the upper deck. It is hand made. The beautiful cinnabar floor vase is a bead. The hallway leads down to the bathroom and nursery. The near door is to the boy's room.

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Boy's Room

Algernon's room is typical of any boy's room, whether on land or afloat. Toy cars, airplanes, books, a shell collection, and an aquarium reflect his varied interests. The bed, dresser and bedside chest were made from kits and hand painted. Where is Algernon? Right now he's fishing from the bow of the Lily Pad.


Algernon is Fishing

Algernon got tired of fishing with a fly and caught a fish with a worm on his bamboo pole and bobber. He's netted the fish and is going to put it into the bucket with the other fish he caught. He doesn't realize that the lure on his fly rod has attracted some big fish from the shadows beneath the houseboat.

The ripples are glue on the Plexiglas surface. The fish are OOAK, made from Fimo and painted. They're mounted on pins stuck into the Styrofoam base, so they look as if they're suspended in the water. The hatch is the opening to the engine room. Algernon doesn't know it, but his proud father is watching him from the upper deck.

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Upper Deck – Pilot House

Captain Walter is most at home in the pilot house. Here he stands with his binoculars near the signal cannon. Inside, all is ship shape, maps and charts stored flat in the chest, and signal flags stowed away in their cubby holes. The red foghorn doesn't get blown often, now that they're nearly permanently birthed, but the Captain delights in giving it a toot for special visitors.

The children have a play area on the upper deck. The little trees keep them away from the ballroom's skylight.

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Upper Deck - Lanai

Mom Lydia insisted on a comfortable place to entertain guests informally. She loves the lanai with its comfortable table and chairs, but she also enjoys her own little quiet place tucked away behind the little shelter for the circular stairway. The shelter, including the screen door, is scratch built. A pair of gray pantyhose gave up some fabric for the screen.

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Canoe and Shoreline

The canoe is ready for an afternoon paddle. The base is constructed of contractor's foam board sprayed with stone-textured paint.

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Master Bedroom

Continue the tour on the middle deck, starboard side. The master bedroom has a view of the ballroom. It's difficult to see in the photo, but the green wallpaper repeats the leafy tracery of the brass screen. It holds more of the Captain's souvenirs from Europe and Africa. The bed and round table are made from kits. I dressed the bed. The green light on the right is the starboard running light. The far door is a closet. The near door leads into the bathroom.



The bathroom wallpaper is an image scanned from a painting by Lucien Barbarin, an artist friend of the family. I made the OOAK wire towel rack from paper-wrapped floral wire. I made the sail maker's bench from a kit. The tiny drawer opens. Captain Walter's family has a long history of seamanship, boat building, and sail making. It is a prized family heirloom. The door on the left leads into the hallway, and across the hall is the nursery.

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Nursery & Parlor

Baby Moses is waiting for Mom to come feed him breakfast. The picture of the cow jumping over the moon decorated her nursery room when she was a tadpole. The parlor is used for formal visits. The bay window holds a ship's model that Captain Walter made on one of his long voyages. The door to the right leads into the kitchen.

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Mom Lydia keeps a ship shape kitchen. She got up early this morning to bake a chocolate cake, the Captain's favorite. Friends will be coming over for tea in a little while. She set the table for them, but thinks perhaps she'll move the party up to the lanai as it's such a nice day. The door on the back wall leads to the dining room. Beyond the wall on the right is the Captain's library.

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The library is papered with a wonderful design of sailing ships. The shelves display some of the Captain's extensive collection of books and souvenirs brought back from his world travels. The door leads into the ballroom. The shelves were purchased unfinished. The rocker and library table were kits.

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Thanks for visiting. Come back, y'hear? :ohyeah:


Recommended Comments

Kathie, an incredible vieweing, THANK you for the full story of the LIly pad and its inhabitants, I loved every minute of going through the pics and read the story, and Yes I will most definitley be back matey ;)


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This is really outstanding work. Love it all, the ballroom is one of my faves. The panels are beautiful.

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Love it all, Kathie.  You've got the makings of an illustrated children's book --  a best seller I am sure.  I am serious, you should check with a few publishers.

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