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Van Buren Restoration


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I just started restoring my mother's beloved Van Buren dollhouse that her father made for her in the 70s. It has seen some VERY hard times, including a hurricane during the last attempt at restoration, but I'm making some progress on bringing it back to life.

I have one concern though, the front door has gone missing, and the opening seems larger than typical dollhouse doors. I'm a total novice at this, and was wondering if anyone had any advice as to what I should do. I know they don't make Van Buren pieces anymore, so does anyone have any other suggestions?

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I made new doors for the Laurel I rehabbed using 1'8" basswood, and I'm making all working doors for the Washington 2.0 kit I'm presently building. I traced the door opening onto a sheet of 1/4" graph paper and built a perimeter box within the dimensions of that opening using stripwood 3/16" (or so) wide. Then I traced around the interior of the box to get the dimensions for the door (For the Pierce I replaced the douple door with a single door with sidelights, but I did double doors for the diningroom and for the additions I was bashing into the blank end wall, before it was demolished). This way the doors can be pinhinged to the box and inserted into the door opening (for the Pierce I was still using the chamois strips to hinge). Doors are extremely easy to make.

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Hi Page, and welcome to the Greenleaf family. I can relate to your story because my father built my first dollhouse in 1979, and my second (and last) dollhouse was also in a hurricane during its restoration process. It was at my friend's house when Hurricane Irene struck New Jersey and flooded her basement in 2011, and I am now making arrangements to have the house professionally wallpapered, etc.

I therefore think it is wonderful that you are restoring a family heirloom, and I am hoping you will post pictures of your progress. I am not a builder, but I don't believe a door would be that difficult to re-create. There are a lot of talented people on this site who will be glad to help you out.

Thanks for joining us, and good luck with your project.

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Hi Page,

I have a Van Buren too! :) I'm sure it's seen better days; http://www.greenleafdollhouses.com/forum/index.php?app=gallery&album=6026

The front doors/balcony seem to be the biggest problem with this house-the old one's being rehabbed anyway. Counting me, you are the third person I've talked to missing some of those doors. I'm missing one of the 2nd floor balcony french doors, and half the balcony. ><

I'm just going to figure out how to make new doors and other replacement pieces for mine. If you're not up to that yet, I would try eBay.

Greenleaf did re-release the Van Buren, but it's only in half scale.

If you are specifically looking for the Van Buren doors, they match the house's original trim. I did find someone's old Greenleaf blog post showing off theirs. So at least you can see what they're supposed to look like; http://www.greenleafdollhouses.com/forum/index.php?app=blog&module=display&section=blog&blogid=33&showentry=959

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