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please help.... first house... a few questions


becpen
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hi, I purchased my first kit (the coventry cottage) and have had it sitting in it's box for almost 6 months. I've been feeling a little daunted by the whole project (even though it's probably one of the simplist designs) but figure it's time to just jump in and get started ! I wondered if anyone could help me with a few questions before I begin....

1. I was wanting to add siding to the kit and wondered how difficult this was ... is it too big a task for a 'newbie' like me?

2. I live in Australia and wondered if any forum members, also from AUS, could advise of any good on-line retailers for dollhouse supplies.

3. I've read that its best to prime the pieces prior to assemby, and possibly wallpaper. What about the final coat of paint on the interior walls. Will I be able to reach in there and paint properly? that probably sounds like such a silly question to all of you, but I have no idea how big/accessible this thing will be once its constructed.

4. I was thinking about putting what we call 'decking' here in Australia on the porch - basically hardwood planks. Do you think this would look ok?

my goodness, questions, questions, questions!! thanks so much for your time - no doubt I'll have plenty more once I get started.

thanks again,

Bec

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hi, I purchased my first kit (the coventry cottage) and have had it sitting in it's box for almost 6 months. I've been feeling a little daunted by the whole project (even though it's probably one of the simplist designs) but figure it's time to just jump in and get started ! I wondered if anyone could help me with a few questions before I begin....

1. I was wanting to add siding to the kit and wondered how difficult this was ... is it too big a task for a 'newbie' like me? My first house is the Coventry Cottage too. I'm also adding siding. Check out my gallery.

2. I live in Australia and wondered if any forum members, also from AUS, could advise of any good on-line retailers for dollhouse supplies. Can't help you here...live in the states.

3. I've read that its best to prime the pieces prior to assemby, and possibly wallpaper. What about the final coat of paint on the interior walls. Will I be able to reach in there and paint properly? that probably sounds like such a silly question to all of you, but I have no idea how big/accessible this thing will be once its constructed. I sanded, painted, and resanded everything before assembling anything. Not sure I'll do this on the next one...yes the next one...I have three more in boxes...minis are addicting and the multiply like rabbits...lol

4. I was thinking about putting what we call 'decking' here in Australia on the porch - basically hardwood planks. Do you think this would look ok? I think it would look great! Whatever you choose to do, I suggest dry fitting and laying things out to see what they will look like before gluing in place. Some wise forum member told me there is nothing spackle, putty, paint, or wallpaper can't fix :monkeydance:

my goodness, questions, questions, questions!! thanks so much for your time - no doubt I'll have plenty more once I get started. Ask away...this forum is fantastic it has a lot of experience and people are so willing to share what they know!!!!! And welcome to the forum :nana:

thanks again,

Bec

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Thank you so much for referring me to your pictures - they are so helpful. I love the floor you've selected for your kitchen! May I ask, if I do apply the siding, do you measure and cut to the exact template, ie allowing for doors and windows, or do you apply it all first and then somehow cut out the holes? gosh, even as i'm re-reading that it sounds ridiculous, as you can see I have absolutely NO idea :monkeydance:

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hi, I purchased my first kit (the coventry cottage) and have had it sitting in it's box for almost 6 months. I've been feeling a little daunted by the whole project (even though it's probably one of the simplist designs) but figure it's time to just jump in and get started ! I wondered if anyone could help me with a few questions before I begin....

1. I was wanting to add siding to the kit and wondered how difficult this was ... is it too big a task for a 'newbie' like me?

2. I live in Australia and wondered if any forum members, also from AUS, could advise of any good on-line retailers for dollhouse supplies.

3. I've read that its best to prime the pieces prior to assemby, and possibly wallpaper. What about the final coat of paint on the interior walls. Will I be able to reach in there and paint properly? that probably sounds like such a silly question to all of you, but I have no idea how big/accessible this thing will be once its constructed.

4. I was thinking about putting what we call 'decking' here in Australia on the porch - basically hardwood planks. Do you think this would look ok?

my goodness, questions, questions, questions!! thanks so much for your time - no doubt I'll have plenty more once I get started.

thanks again,

Bec

Hi, and welcome to our mini-world! :nana:

I can't help with your Australia question, as I live here in the US, but there are a couple of folks here from your country, so I hope they'll see this..

But for the rest of it -- relax! There's very little that you really can do wrong that can't be undone and re-done to suit you. And that's the important thing -- it's your house, you can finish it any way you want it to!

The first thing is -- get started! :) Open the box, take out the instruction sheets and layout sheets for all the parts, and read them carefully. Then set them aside and read them again...and maybe again...before you start removing parts!

Once you think you're ready for actual construction to begin, arm yourself with a soft pencil (to write on the parts what they are, and what sheet they come from), and masking tape. What you'll do is use the masking tape to "dry fit" -- or fit together the parts without gluing them. You can do this in small steps as you go, or "dry fit" the entire house.

The reason for dry fitting? You can see how the house goes together, and then make decisions about whether you want to decorate (either paint or wallpaper the walls, stain or tile the floors, put in electricity, all that) before or after you actually start gluing stuff together.

I've not built the Coventry, so don't know how the instructions read, but generally if they say "use hot glue", DON'T! Many of the modern hot glues aren't strong enough to really hold your house together well over the long term, and most folks here use some variations of wood glue!

Anyway -- don't be afraid to pull out those sheets, start putting stuff together with tape, and see how it goes. You're likely to find it much less daunting than it appears, all lying there in the box! :wacko:

The Garfield -- Greenleaf's biggest and possibly most complicated house -- was my first build. I've got 2 more houses done, a third nearly done, two more under my bed, plans for at least one more...

yes, it is addictive, and they do seem to multiply like rabbits! :monkeydance:

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Dry fitting is a great place to start. It will give you a better idea of how the house goes together and what you will and won't be able to reach after it's together. You can also mark out the rooms so if you do decorate before hand you know where to start and stop the paint or paper.

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hi, I purchased my first kit (the coventry cottage) and have had it sitting in it's box for almost 6 months. I've been feeling a little daunted by the whole project (even though it's probably one of the simplist designs) but figure it's time to just jump in and get started ! I wondered if anyone could help me with a few questions before I begin....

1. I was wanting to add siding to the kit and wondered how difficult this was ... is it too big a task for a 'newbie' like me?

2. I live in Australia and wondered if any forum members, also from AUS, could advise of any good on-line retailers for dollhouse supplies.

3. I've read that its best to prime the pieces prior to assemby, and possibly wallpaper. What about the final coat of paint on the interior walls. Will I be able to reach in there and paint properly? that probably sounds like such a silly question to all of you, but I have no idea how big/accessible this thing will be once its constructed.

4. I was thinking about putting what we call 'decking' here in Australia on the porch - basically hardwood planks. Do you think this would look ok?

my goodness, questions, questions, questions!! thanks so much for your time - no doubt I'll have plenty more once I get started.

thanks again,

Bec

First of all you might want to read the Team Coventry Cottage blog? to answer some of your questions. It's not "the simplest" design, but fairly easy to figure out that yes, you have to twist it and tweak it to get it together initially. It's a straightforward build and an elegant design.

1. No part of building and finishing a kit is too big a task for a newbie like you or like me or like anyone else who starts out with their first kit. Take it easy and take it slow and remember there is no "oops" that cannot be bashed or covered up.

2. Can't help, I live in the US; but we have so many members here from Oz I'm sure you'll get your answer soon.

3. I reached in there and painted the interior with osteoarthritis. I did leave off the roof, since I wanted to make the upstairs interior walls beadboard and I glued siding strips vertically over the interior upstairs walls. Do paint the window trims and parts before assembling the windows, so as not to get paint on the plastic window inserts, and attach them to the house last thing. I lay the window & door trims over the openings they go around and trace around them with a pencil. After the house is together and I'm ready to put on the siding I butt the side edge of the siding piece against the pencil line and cut it flush with the edge of the wall it goes to. If there's fancy bits of window trim I let the corners stick out over the siding strip if it's flat. An EZ Cutter is a lovely tool for cutting siding strips, especially if you need to angle the ends to fit around window pediments.

4. I made the hardwood floors throughout my Coventry by marking the board lines' spacing with pencil and using a steel straightedge and holding my utility knife upside down to scribe the "boards" directly into the bare (unprimed, unstained, unpainted) plywood of the kit, used an awl for nailholes in the board ends, and then stained & sanded the floors.

Ask all the questions you need to ask, the primary purpose of this forum is to answer questions and to provide whatever other assistance a kit builder needs. Do go ahead and introduce yourself in the Newcomer's Forum, as well. We're glad you're here.

BTW, dry fitting is assembling the kit without glue using painter's masking tape to help hold things together until you figure out potential decorating addess problems, room assignments and features you may wish to change. To achieve the look I was going for I needed an extra room upstairs and was able to make a dividing wall for it.

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Thank you so much for referring me to your pictures - they are so helpful. I love the floor you've selected for your kitchen! May I ask, if I do apply the siding, do you measure and cut to the exact template, ie allowing for doors and windows, or do you apply it all first and then somehow cut out the holes? gosh, even as i'm re-reading that it sounds ridiculous, as you can see I have absolutely NO idea :monkeydance:

Don't feel alone, I had no idea when I started either. As for the siding, I actually had the shell put together before the siding arrived and I was too excited to make templates...next one (the Garfield) I plan to make templates but it is a more complicated house. For this one I measured and dry fitted and taped the siding to the house. In fact it is still just taped. I plan to cut out the window areas before gluing. Because of the rounded window tops I needed to buy a jeweler's jigsaw (which I now have). I might even cut out the area for the window trim I haven't decided that yet and will probably get out the trim and see what look I like the best.

One thing I have learned in reading through this forum is the only RIGHT way to do things is YOUR way. See what works for YOU. Good luck and don't be afraid to jump in and get started.

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I'm working on my first house too, Shar, and thought I'd give you the perspective of someone who's still learning.

Things I'm so glad I learned before starting my build:

  • Not to use hot glue. It just doesn't hold up in the long run.
  • The importance of the dry fit. This is really a crucial first step and pays dividends in being able to plan before the pieces are glued together.
  • That I can use my own common sense in the order of assembly (for instance, not installing the windows until later in the build.)
  • That no question is too small or too silly to ask here in the Forum. These great people have a wealth of information and are incredibly generous in sharing.


    • Making templates of the pieces. I'm REALLY sorry I didn't do this.
    • Making a wiring diagram ahead of time so I wouldn't have a hodgepodge of electrical tapewire running every which way.

    And, maybe the comment that made the biggest impression on me (I think it might have been from havanaholly): Keep in mind that it's wood you're working with, and there's nothing you can do to it that can't be fixed or covered up.

    Have fun!

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(I think it might have been from havanaholly): Keep in mind that it's wood you're working with, and there's nothing you can do to it that can't be fixed or covered up.

Have fun!

I don't know if that's an exact quote from me, but mini of us say the same thing. There's a reason WE are building the kit, and not the other way 'round. And it's not rocket science. The instructions are a guide, not Gospel.
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You've all been so very helpful - thank you! I'm glad I found this forum as I definately wouldnt have thought to dry fit first, or even number my pieces - that was a great idea.

Ok, now i'm excited - I just need to get my little girl down for a nap and i'm going to get into that box

thank you all again - no doubt i'll be back in a day or so with more questions :lol:

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I don't know if that's an exact quote from me

Think it's pretty safe to say that wasn't an exact quote, Holly, :lol: but it sure worked for me. Once I shook off my fear of messing things up I was able to start having fun instead.

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Another tip - for the small pieces that come apart while you are taking the bigger pieces out...put them in a gallon sized (or any size large enough) zip lock baggy and mark the sheat number on the bag rather than all those little pieces. I also have one marked "firewood" for all the scrap I MIGHT need at some later date...lol I guess I just hate to throw things away...lol

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Another tip - for the small pieces that come apart while you are taking the bigger pieces out...put them in a gallon sized (or any size large enough) zip lock baggy and mark the sheat number on the bag rather than all those little pieces. I also have one marked "firewood" for all the scrap I MIGHT need at some later date...lol I guess I just hate to throw things away...lol

I've got bags marked "scraps", too! :lol: And you'd be surprised how often I've dipped in to them to find bits -- not necessarily parts that were thrown away accidentally, but pieces that could be used to replace a part that broke, or that could be used to add trim where it didn't originally occur, or to reinforce something, or.....

If the "scrap" looks big enough to turn into something else, some day, it gets saved! :wub:

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Another tip - for the small pieces that come apart while you are taking the bigger pieces out...put them in a gallon sized (or any size large enough) zip lock baggy and mark the sheat number on the bag rather than all those little pieces.

When the small pieces fall out I punch out any remaining pieces that would complete that particular area, such as, "front door frame," or "kitchen window frame," and store each separately in those little snack-sized ziplock baggies. And I have a baggie with scrap pieces too.

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I am working on my first house too. Mine is not from scratch though. I inherited mine from my grandmother who passed away twenty years ago. It is the Harrison house. I was able to get the instructions and schematics from a fellow forum member and figured out what pieces I am missing. I have to purchase 9 sheets of wood from Greenleaf. Once I get them, I will hopefully be able to continue building the house. I can't wait....I keep coming up with more and more ideas for the house but cannot do anything until it is built.

Mary

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