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Dollhouse Renovation - In Progress


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Hello!  I'm hoping that all of you with lots of doll house experience can share you great advice with me.  Over 30 years ago, my uncle built a doll house for my cousins and I to share.  It lived at my grandmother's house until she passed away last year, at which time, I inherited it.  Well, it's a little beat up so I've decided to use this opportunity to give it some upgrades, along with the repairs.  Some things that need to me addressed: 

  1. It needs new doors.  The old exterior doors are long gone, and it never had interior doors.
  2. Windows.  I really want working windows and since the current windows are missing most of the middle bars (and never had actual panes) this seems like a good thing to do.
  3. Floors.
  4. Walls
  5. Lighting (I'm going with tape wire)
  6. The biggest thing...I hate that there is no real way to access the third floor.  Is it wrong of me to want to put a staircase to go from the second to the third floor?  


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This is a beautiful house!  It is a SW Crafts Country Estate.  Otterine has some pictures on her BLOG.  I think your renovation ideas are great!  Go ahead with a staircase to the attic.  You could also open up the front attic space and hinge the roof. 

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Amy, when you have some time, do introduce yourself in the Newcomers' Forum.  I made working doors and horizontal casements in my latest build.  I traced the opening onto a piece of paper and then cut pieces of 1/8" x 1/4" strip wood to make  a box that fit flush against the inside of the outline.  I traced around that to make a pattern to cut a piece of basswood for my door.  I used some of the strip wood to make frames and scrap wood for panels for the door and installed doorknobs and sanded one edge of the door where I was going to hinge it..  Then I placed the door within the box and clamped it into my bench vise and hammered a steel dressmaker's pin through the box into the hinge edge of the door about 1/2', top and bottom, and then cut off the excess pins.  I then finished the door and box (paint, in my case; if I had wanted to stain I would have done all the pieces before gluing anything together).  Finally I glued the box assembly into the door opening and added the doorway trims.

Since the house is put together you will probably want to make templates of your floors and walls.  It looks like that front attic gable is inaccessible; if you replace the roof on it and only glue one half down and hinge the other as Matt suggests, you can finish off that room and access it.  I made a simulated trapdoor into the attic with a pull down rope.  Timberbrook used to make amazing 1:12 scale folding attic stairs, so you might check ebay and such to see if any show up.  You are going to have so much fun!

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That really is a neat house!

The windows look pretty cool- wondering if you could simply add panes and a piece of strip wood where needed?  Interior casing would help keep the panes in place.  Heck- you really wouldn't need to put the panes in if you didn't want to bother - just replace the missing crosspieces.  :)

As for interior doors....that 'incomplete' wall on the first floor- I'd cut out the doorway a bit wider to 'move it down the wall farther', then glue in a strip of wood at the back edge of the wall to create a complete doorway- large enough to fit around an interior door frame.  Check with other houses- not sure what the general space is from the back edge - - maybe an inch/inch and a half?

Stairs to the attic?  Sure- I would select a set that is for smaller houses if the standard size seems to big.  If they interfere with the doorway- I would just cut out another door opening closer to the back edge of the wall and close up the first hole with a piece of wood and spackle it well.  With wallpaper you will never know!  ;)    If that is all too overwhelming for you - maybe a spiral staircase -or even just a folding attic stairs like Holly suggested.

And hinging that front gable would totally be cool!  :D  What a cute little 'secret room' that could be!

Your shingles look in pretty good shape, actually!  I always think of repairing shingled roofs like dental work. LOL  I use the heat gun to loosen the glue, then go underneath each shingle with my xacto knife or small putty knife to loosen them...take my medical tweezers and pull the broken ones out.  Next I gently lift the shingles in the row above with my putty knife, put in a dab of glue and slide the new shingle underneath and into place.  Dental work complete!  :D  Give the roof a good cleaning with the vacuum and an old soft paintbrush.  I always suggest staining or painting the shingles in order to seal the wood.  Years later the unsealed wood can become very brittle and yukky.  (as evident in the current house I am renovating!)

Have fun!!

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On ‎1‎/‎22‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎32‎:‎26‎, kissesonlyStan said:

jbnmini, thanks for the shingle advice. That's pretty much what I was thinking about the shingles. I really like them, but they are very brittle at the edges.  

Any suggestions on the best way to match old shingles with new?

Amy- I am lucky enough to have been "gifted" with a massive amount of old stock shingles which I use for my rehabs.  Even with old shingles there is a color difference, so all of my rehabs get a re-stain/paint of the roof after it is fixed. There may still be some color variations, but it is not as noticeable.

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  • 7 years later...
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  • 4 weeks later...

i purchased a used dollhouse that is the same as this one and i feel the same about the stairs to the attic and the front space in the attic.  i was thinking about cutting out an inverted v to open this area up in the middle wall of the top floor and cutting windows for the attic.  I have absolutely no experience and wanted any expert thoughts on this idea?  thanks!  

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