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Alicewonder

Hello! Please let me know if I'm out of my mind

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Hi I'm a newbie,

 I'm a mom of two (my son turned 4 back in March and my daughter One in December). I'm full of creative ideas (seriously, I'm overflowing with them along with my Pinterest boards lol) I also have a knack for color. And I have a crazy eye for detail (got it from my mom). 

Oh my, the closest dollhouse thing I've made in the past I was a teenager turning beads , sticks and tiny bits of ribbon into apples. I've crafted lots of this mostly for our wedding including a ikea later turned tree (It turned out way cooler then it sounds) and my littles birthdays (ok Ellie has only had one so far, Q has had four though, plus my husband's , moms birthday, my nieces birthdays I seriously go crazy into details. Our son had a Dino-four party complete with prehistoric terrarium as centerpiece while pterrradaxytl's flew overhead (by monofilament lol) our daughter Ellie had a winter wonderland of snowflakes,stars and twinkle lights everywhere I could put them and joined by little animals (Q had a old fashioned picnic as his was Eastertime and his plush holding pennants and him dressed very dapper in knickerbockers and suspenders  ). I'll stop there cause I'm veering off subject.

 

I have never built or renovated a dollhouse before and my husband thinks we can do this together.

We want something special in our home for our children, supervised always though. 

Im looking into a Duracraft Marquam. It's mostly completed. I have no idea what I'd be getting into and is it sturdy or will it be fragile? 

We will have a set of little 2-3" furry animals that will reside there. Will they work with the Marquam size wise? It's a super Dark color, nothing like I invision.  Would that be very hard to cover? 

Also, I would like to change the side building into a room with a larger window maybe even a little shop front and the top a terrace (I think it's mostly removing the roof and creating the terrace/deck by adding a board on top and some railing, plus cut a doorway and add door that would lead out on to it from the building. 

Is this to much to take on? My husband thinks cause it's mostly built he is confident he can finish it and I can paint and decorate it (He's a mechanical engineer and has worked with dremels, saws before) Im good at the tedious little details. I glitter painted brush trees and glued them and vintage fuzzy little deer inside glass ornaments for my daughters first birthday favors. Recently I arranged and glued petals and butterflies to eyelet lanterns with ribbon streamers  to hang up for my mother's birthday. 

 

Thank you for sticking with me through my mess of attempt to introduce and clarify myself. Too many details see? 

 

And here is the shortcut. 

Hello, mom of 4 year old boy, one year old girl. Has a tendancy to sit and pick at *ahem I mean work on details. Husband is a mechanical engineer who thinks he can finish a dollhouse while I do the painting and decorating. My mom says dollhouse kits are fragile and to proceed with caution. We would like a pretty one in the living room or in the  tiny room off livingroom we are calling a playroom. I will decorate it for holidays either way (seriously, with me I get excited about details) 

House stats: Dura-craft Marquam. Mostly built has everything to finish , really dark color , including black trim. wood.  Want to change color to a much lighter one.   Possibly change little side building to deck. Will our 3" or so fuzzy little animals fit? 

 

Thank You in advance!

 

 

 

Edited by Alicewonder
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Hello Alice,

welcome to the forum.

I'll try to answer your questions:

1. SIze/scale: The Marquam is a 12th scale house - 1 inch = 1 foot, so your 3" furries would be 3 feet in scale. A 1/12 scale dollhouse doll would be 5.5 inches to 6 inches to fit. Will it work with your furries - they might be a bit small - sizewise you should probably be looking at 1/24 scale. There are plenty of members here that work in that scale, I'm sure one of them will pop in and can answer this question better.

2. Color/paint: You have two option: Remove and repaint, or paint over. For the first option: A lot of houses are painted with latex paint. I tend to remove it before I repaint- which involves making a huge mess. Depending on what I work on, I use stripper, blades, sanding - but that's my preference. On a small scale, paint can look globbed on really fast. If you decide to paint over, I would probably try and prime over the dark paint first before painting. Use a good primer like Zinsser - that usually pays off.

3. Changing window size: Should be no problem- I use a Dremel for that as well - easy peasy. Now, depending on whether or not you want to build the frame or buy one - if you want to use a bought window, I would suggest to buy the window first, measure and then cut. 

4. Changing architecture: see above. No problem - it's a dollhouse. You can add and change as much as you want. It's less of a problem than in real life.Now, if the house is made of plywood, make sure that if necessary floors need support (mouldings, columns, brackets and such) to stay level in case you are removing walls. That can happen over time. If using MDF it is much less probable.

5. Is it too much to take on? - No. It will be most likely be way more work and time intensive than both of you are thinking right now. That's just how it goes. The changes you want to make now, won't be the changes you end up with. That's the reality of miniatures. You will get detail obsessed, you will want more, better, different.... Mini life is endless, and once you start it never ends... but it's a fun ride.

I'd say, if the house is a good deal, go get it.

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Welcome to the little family.  Dollhouses are fragile if children are not taught how to treat lovely handmade things; the plastic inserts in the windows can be poked our and the doors can be pulled off if little hands want to reach through them to play.  The MH is 1:12 scale, meaning that 1" of dollhouse measurement = 1' of its real life counterpart; so adult people who live in a dollhouse tend to be 5"+ & up.  The 2" - 3" furry animals might be happier in a 1:24 house, such as the Fairfield; but small children don't care about things like scale at the ages of one and four, they will just spend their time letting their imaginations and furry animals cut loose.  I would also find (or, being me, make) some of the sturdy furniture sized for the critters that little hands can move around, and save the dainty things for later, when they are old enough to appreciate the delicacy.  Once the MH is in your house you will have a much better idea of how to proceed.

I wouldn't fuss over the colors for now, either; the children may or may not attempt their own redecorating...

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It depends on what the furry animals are. A 3" dog would be 3' in real life for 1/12 scale. It would be 6' in a 1/24 scale so that would be a really large dog in a small 1/24 scale house.

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Welcome to the group! Chris gave you really good advice in her earlier post.

The Maquam is a gorgeous house, but it sounds like yours is the thin plywood. That will be great when you "bash" (make changes to), your house, but it will also mean that it is more fragile than one made of MDF.

I built a DC San Franciscan for my granddaughter when she was 1 1/2. It was MDF, so it was fairly sturdy, but when I built it, I knew that things would get destroyed because she was so young. I just told the kids to save every broken part so that when she got older, I would have a pattern to go by and would be able to make it beautiful again!

Anyway, you will have lots of fun bashing your house and turning it into exactly what you envision, and it won't be that difficult. The kids, especially you son, will love watching you work on it.

Your kids will probably be like my grandchildren, and have a lifelong love of miniatures because they got started with such a beautiful house. Both of my grandsons now have houses of their own, and I'm building my granddaughter a second house now. The kids love making things for their houses and decorating them. They are 6, 9 and 11.

About scale, the kids will love putting their little animals in the house, and won't care at all if they are not quite right. For dolls, Polly Pocket and some of the little dolls like Tinker Bell, (when your daughter is old enough for those), will be fine, and she will love using fisher price type dolls while she is little. For your son, the little action figures will also work. that's what my grandsons put in their houses. Don't even worry about scale while they are so young, they will use anything that strikes their fancy, and think it's great!

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Thanks Everyone!

the animals I checked and they are actual 1/16 scale and possibly 4" . I'm including a pic of them.

 Soapz, I was really hoping to avoid stripping. Will the primer cover the deep plumb and black?  That's why I decided against a Artply Worthington that needs nasty paper stripped, carpet removed outside house entirely covered in dirty brick paper and plaster stone on trim.  Plus a huge platform that I wasn't sure could be separated. On top of that of course I'd want to remove one of the side buildings roof and make into a terrace. lol 

My husband is familiar with using a dremel so that's good. 

As far as fragility I figured children would need to be shown how to play kindly. Seriously, I was always  gentle as a child and was shocked to find out my cousins ripped off Barbies head to get an outfit on! Lol I just didn't want them to go open a door and it bust right off (I've seen a wonky built one once and the door couldn't have been opened even by a steady grown up it would of just fell off) so I was wondering how sturdy these were. 

 

image.jpg

Edited by Alicewonder
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The kids will love putting those animals in the house. It won't matter at all to them that they aren't to scale.

I'm glad you will be teaching your kids to be careful with the house. My DIL let the youngest grandson do anything he wanted to my granddaughter's house. The two older kids have always been careful, but the youngest one is a holy terror!

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Oh and they are asking $85 for it they also have electric they'll sell me I expensively and furniture but I'll probably pass on those since I don't think I'd want that with the littles. 

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That's a good price for that house. I'd take it for that.  Go with Kilz or Zinsser primer - that should cover it. Depending on how the house looks, I like the spray can primer - it covers well and makes a thinner coat if you go over the paint. I usually never need more than two coatings to cover up.

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Those Sylvan/ Calico Critters are large for 1:24; KathieB used a family of frogs to inhabit her houseboat, which she bashed into 1:24 scale.  Your little ones really won't care.

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Not only will the little ones not care about scale, they're not going to care about species or room decor. Don't be surprised to find a horse in the bathroom and the toilet in the living room. Fantasy rules. :D 

And your children may have the most delicate approach in the world, but they'll have friends that you won't be able to hover over every second. The house will be used as a ladder to get on top of a dresser, will serve as a seat for a 40-lb 2nd grader and heaven only knows what else. 

Edited: Actually, fantasy rules in all of our builds, whether homes for fantastical creatures or mini occupants who, along with their furniture and accessories, are true to their time period. And where fantasy rules, there are no rules. Relax and go with what happens. You'll all have fun. :) 

Edited by KathieB
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Oh my a ladder (I am can feel breath escaping me at the thought of a little getting hurt) wow 40 lbs?! Is it that strong?

 

 

 

i thought I read the animals were 1:16 scale? As long as it's close it won't bother me lol I figured my little ponies and little people will make there way into the house lol just not what I plan on putting in it myself lol Mr Q (my son) likes to put his inagibext Dino warriors action figures and switch on the helmets and armour if batman and superman with them (interesting to see batman wearing a tribal headdress ) riding a dinosaur! 

Oh  yes I anticipate  my son will put the potty in the living room or front porch! 

My daughter, even at one loves details. She will take her time and look things over. She has since just about right after she was born. She would star at my shirts and touch every aspect of it being a ruffle , a seem ,a dot or button.  She points out any freckles on my arms ect..

 

Is it possible to finish a house like this thru the summer or am I looking at like longer time? I know you can always add but I just mean like finish building, bashing,painting and maybe adding wallpaper. 

 

Edited by Alicewonder
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57 minutes ago, KathieB said:
1 hour ago, havanaholly said:

Those Sylvan/ Calico Critters are large for 1:24; KathieB used a family of frogs to inhabit her houseboat, which she bashed into 1:24 scale.  Your little ones really won't care.

So just for my own curiosity the 1:24 is just a bit to small? So the 1:16 is correct? And will look fine with the 1:12? 

 

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If you're going to let your very young children play with it, why not hold off until they are old enough to appreciate the changes you envision for this house?  Also, there are no time limits or deadlines on any hobby.

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I've seen a lot peeps on Instagram who have those critters and they use the Lundby houses. I'm not saying that to deter you. I've just noticed there is a pretty substantial group of collectors that like those Lundby houses with the critter families. 

Why not buy a Lundby house for the children and build a house for yourself?

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3 hours ago, Alicewonder said:

So just for my own curiosity the 1:24 is just a bit to small? So the 1:16 is correct? And will look fine with the 1:12? 

Looks don't mean anything to kids. Really, they don't. The Sylvan/Calico Critters are a bit large for 1:24 if you're going to be anal about size. I got away with it on the houseboat by not placing them near furniture.  You can see them in my Greenleaf blog post here. However, size doesn't matter to kids, so don't sweat trying to be perfect in that regard. And don't be surprised if your son's action figures and Barbie start hanging out with the critters, even if they have to bend way over to fit or a 10" Raggedy Ann manages to stuff her way inside. 

The operative word here is PLAY. Kids  play, adults admire. Big difference. Keep in mind who this house is for. :D 

(I know, Holly, some adults play, too. But I didn't want that concept cluttering up my grand pronouncement. <grin>)

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If you really are though somewhat concerned about scale, the 4" animal, being 4ft long or tall would have to be a St Bernard wouldnt it? I like to look at the size of the mini thing in real life. ie if your cat or your friends real live cat is 18" long ( 1 1/2 ft) then for scale you would make him 1 1/2" .........thats why I like 1:12 scale it is easy to figure. 2" is 2ft in real life etc. 1'' is 1 foot and so on. 

like everyone said, scale may not be important for the kids but if you are a detail person, then scale will become important to you. And I see a miniac in the making! just have fun! 

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Calico critters are the same scale as lumby. They fit nicely in the smaller Greenleaf houses. I would but the Marquam, with the electric kit and furniture it's a steal. Rehabbing a built house often takes longer than building one from a kit your kids might be old enough to take care of it by the time you finish.

I agree with others here that kids don't care about scale.

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Thanks everyone!

 I think what we will do is build from scratch. I came up with an idea to tweak this 3 story open dollhouse plan I saw.  Can make like 6 rooms per side if we want. Tons of play for them.  We will make ours smaller (as it's was intended for  Barbie)

and Im pretty sure we can add sheets of breadboard or clapboard for siding on a few sides (one would be On the bottom front as a porch and  door and the top with windows and balcony and perhaps French doors even) another in the back (not sure yet how to do that one). Thinking we can just purchase the pieces we need like the doors and windows (without the "glass" ).  I can whip up some curtains even. 

Then for the most part it's all open for multiple children to play and easy for little hands to get into. The walls are pretty straight forward so we can wallpaper and decorate as we see fit (might even use fabric if I can't find suitable wallpaper) 

I think this is something we can do over the summer vs rehabbing something which I'm thinking could take years. Plus this would be easier for the littles and we can design it to fit in the space we have lol then I'm not tripping over it all the time. 

 

i think we could even buy stairs (that's the part my husband says might be tricky) 

I was so excited telling  my mom about it last night while we were out at dinner. She said she thought it was brilliant. :) 

Edited by Alicewonder
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You are going to need more tools than just a dremel if building from scratch. 3/8" birch plywood from HD or Lowes can be cut to your dimensions at the store but cutting out windows, doors and stair openings can be very tricky unless you have a mini table saw or router. There are stair kits and many more items you will need available from miniatures.com

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9 minutes ago, Sable said:

You are going to need more tools than just a dremel if building from scratch. 3/8" birch plywood from HD or Lowes can be cut to your dimensions at the store but cutting out windows and doors can be very tricky unless you have a mini table saw or router.

My dad had some tools and my grandfather who would've loved this had all the right tools ( he was  Awsome at building ) I think my uncle has his tools, I'm pretty sure we could borrow them from him or perhaps even pay him to cut it out for us. 

I will talk to my dad. 

Edited by Alicewonder
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Sounds like it's coming together. Do keep us posted on how this project progresses.

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That sounds like a really interesting house, and it should be nice and sturdy for the kids while they are little! If you want to do the Barbie house in 1/12th scale, just do everything half size. Barbie houses are 1/6th. If you do it in 1/12th, you will find it easy to get furniture and accessories for it. (Don't even worry about the animals being out of scale, they'll be populating it with every type of doll or animal they have, no matter what scale it is, but a weird scale will be difficult for the furniture).

I hope you start an album so we can watch you build it!

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Oh yeah, about the stairs, for the scratch built house I did in the 1970's, I just followed some directions. (There are probably lots on the internet). My directions just had me cut a couple of pieces of wood or chipboad in a stairstep shape, and glue the risers and steps to that. It was really easy. I don't remember the sizes, but they said that most average houses have thirteen steps in a staircase. Anyway google it. You might be surprised at how easy it is. You can probably even just plan them out on graph paper!

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After you have done the dollhouse for your children you can turn your attention to building one (HAH!!!) for yourself.

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