I’m calling my first dollhouse the “Mullet House” because it’s all business in the front and a party in the back; although maybe that’s a rather crude name for this special part of my life that spans 3 generations.
I started this Dura-Craft FH 505 Farmhouse ($159.20 basic kit) in 1999 for my daughter, but only worked on it seriously for about a month before life kept marching on with soccer/vacations/job/family/etc, but ultimately I realized she grew up too fast and I was too slow. It languished in my workshop without even having hooked the walls together until 2008 when I finally surrendered and packed the pieces away feeling very badly and vowing to continue to build it later for her to enjoy with her own daughters, sons, nieces, nephews, and/or cousins; whatever the case might be in the future. As the future would have it, she did have a daughter (and then 2 sons)! I didn’t want to miss out on my second chance, so finally in 2018 I resurrected the project and in spurts and fits completed it a couple of months ago in 2020.
From the beginning, my intentions have been for this dollhouse to be played with. Based on an idea I got from somebody (peggyquade) on this forum, I flipped the interior walls around and recut floor openings so dolls could be moved through the door ways without having to reach blindly behind the stairwells. I cut off all the fancy Victorian porch/back arch supports because I thought it would be easier to get hands in and out of openings. I added bunch of electrical because I thought it would be more fun to flip lights on and off, but that really slowed me down and involved a lot of cursing. Some of the light fixtures are more expensive than some of the fixtures in my real-house. For years I didn’t have baseboard molding in parts of my real-house (and still don’t have any crown molding), but by gosh I was doing complicated miter cuts to put it this dollhouse. I messed up the brick foundation/chimney and ended up basically cutting around each droopy brick (almost all were too thick and drooped over) and repainting most mortar joints. I’m especially proud of the all brick porch steps (risers and treads) which I hadn’t seen in any of the other examples of FH 505 that I found. It took awhile to lay all the wood floor strips (including stair treads) and roof shingles and then to finish them with several coats of polyurethane/sanding (kept thinking I should be spending this same amount of effort on my real-house). I got a lot of inspiration and finishing ideas from several members on this forum, including DocGreen (his FH 505 and photography is absolutely beautiful). After I painted the bathroom and kitchen traditional real-house colors, I thought I’d better get some input from granddaughter on what colors she wanted the other rooms to be. Of course that would be pink and purple and throw in some rainbows and unicorns - hence the “party in the back”.
Oh, and I realize this is probably considered a travesty, but it goes along with the “party in the back” theme, we furnished the interior with Calico Critters. I know, I know.... but the granddaughter loves ‘em.