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BananaRC

San Francisco 550 Refurb - Advice

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Hi! I am new here and on a whim bought an assembled 550 for $40 at a yard sale. I have had a look and the bones are good but it needs a fair bit of work - in particular I think it has been painted twice, poorly, and some of the baseboards etc have been installed very poorly so I'd like to remove them. I also think I might like to remove the stairs in order to finish the floors and walls properly but the adhesive used seems super strength and I don't want to damage the walls! Any advice on refurbs and where to get replacement trim etc would be much appreciate it - a quick google seems to show that these are discontinued so I guess I will be making some stuff myself? 

I am kind of a newbie at this, so any advice would be much appreciated :)

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Dura-Craft has been out of business for several years. 

When I built the SF555 (the next version after yours) I substituted some of the laser-cut millwork from Hobby Builders' Supply  You might check This-to-that, a website all about adhesives, to see if you can figure out what was originally used.

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Dura-Craft has been out of business for several years. 

When I built the SF555 (the next version after yours) I substituted some of the laser-cut millwork from Hobby Builders' Supply  You might check This-to-that, a website all about adhesives, to see if you can figure out what was originally used.

Thank you so much! I think I've given myself quite the challenge for a first house. I plan to give this one to my daughter so I guess something for 'play' is a good opportunity to learn before investing in a kit to build from scratch :)

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Technically building from a kit isn't building "from scratch".  We have several immensely talented scratch-builders who draw up their plans and cut the pieces and build completely from an idea to finished product.  Several more of us are kit-bashers, making changes of various kinds to the basic kits to suit some inner vision.  Then there are all the gifted kit builders.  And there are the rehabbers (like you and, lately, I) who take poor unloved, unlovely dollhouses and refurbish them into something pretty.  My preference to rehab are the Greenleaf kits that the original builders followed the kit instructions and built them with hot glue and they are either falling apart or covered in unsightly globs of glue, because hot glue I easily removed with a heat gun and a putty knife, and I can take the kit totally apart and rebuild it, bashing as I go,  I that' what the kit wants.

Do not despair or worry if you find the house begins to talk to you and tell you what it wants.  I used to think it was just the kits that did that, but I find that the rehab houses do it too.

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Only to be used outside and if you plan on rewallpapering, you can use Xylene to remove the glued trim. Wallpaper can be removed with vinegar and water assuming it was pasted on, not glued on.

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A heat gun will soften some types of glue. Scraping and sanding will follow of course. You can spackle and sand the walls afterwards if they don't seem smooth enough to you. 

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Hi! I am new here and on a whim bought an assembled 550 for $40 at a yard sale. I have had a look and the bones are good but it needs a fair bit of work - in particular I think it has been painted twice, poorly, and some of the baseboards etc have been installed very poorly so I'd like to remove them. I also think I might like to remove the stairs in order to finish the floors and walls properly but the adhesive used seems super strength and I don't want to damage the walls! Any advice on refurbs and where to get replacement trim etc would be much appreciate it - a quick google seems to show that these are discontinued so I guess I will be making some stuff myself? 

I am kind of a newbie at this, so any advice would be much appreciated :)

Hi Hannah,

A couple of years ago there was San Franciscan 555 in rough shape on Craigslist that I wanted so I could refurbish it and my daughter surprised me with it for Christmas.  I needed to remove all the trim inside and out. The glue was pretty strong stuff but a heat gun did the job on the outside but it was tough to reach some of the inside trim with it so I used a hot knife to remove all inside trim and it worked better than I thought it would. Hope this helps.

 

Have fun with the refurb, hope we get to see before and after pics :)

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Thank you so much for all the advice! I am planning to blog the whole process so will definitely put updates in here. I have endless questions including whether what I have is a 550 or a different 'model' of the house. 

Has anyone ever just left the stairs out of a dollhouse? I am thinking the extra space might be very nice to have from a decor perspective!

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Somewhere pictures of the three versions of the SF were linked, but I don't remember where.  We have had the discussion about stairs.  IMO it's perfectly alright to fill in the stair holes and let the stairs be in the invisible back half of the house.  I personally have fun making stairs, so I generally leave them in; but if a house doesn't come with stairs (like the Buttercup & Sugarplum) I don't put them in.

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