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Chicago Newbie Rehabbing a Sweetheart & Looking to Scratch-Build Next


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Hi!

I've been lurking in the forums for a few weeks now, soaking up all the info I can from all you knowledgeable folks, but I've finally got some specific questions to ask, so I figured I better introduce myself first.

I'm a thirty-six-year-old college professor who lives and works in Chicago. For as long as I can remember, I've loved miniatures--always adored cut-away house views in my picture books and became totally obsessed when I first saw the Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute on a school trip. After much begging, my dad put together a dollhouse for me when I was about nine, a DuraCraft Sweetheart. I played with that little house non-stop, eventually expanding into a bookcase when my ambitions outgrew those four wee rooms. I never had much in the way of store-bought accessories/furniture, so I made things out of bits and bobs and even taught myself to sew so I could have dolls and bedding and curtains. In college, I started off as an interior architecture major and the model-building aspect was by far my favorite component, but then I switched majors and ended up following a completely different career path and hadn't really thought about miniatures and dollhouses since.

Then a few months back, life started to get really stressful, and I found myself seeking more escapism in my off-hours. Something inspired me to look up dollhouses on Pinterest (no idea why it had never occurred to me to seek this stuff out online before) and my childhood obsession came back big-time. I started telling my husband all about that little dollhouse I had as a kid and how frustrated I'd been that it never got finished properly (Dad glued the shell together and called it a day) and how much I'd always wanted a less babyish, 'serious' dollhouse. In the middle of my wistful whining, it occurred to me that, hey, I'm a grown-up now with money to spend how I please and nobody forbidding me from using sharp tools--if I want to build a big ole 'serious' dollhouse, I totally can. Woo!

So here I am now, way down the rabbit hole. I had my eyes set on building The Harrison (so many rooms! so many bay windows!), but decided that rehabbing my old Sweetheart and finishing it properly might be a smarter place to start and learn some skills first. I've been working on that but in the process noticed that the scale of the house seems off and store-bought items don't really look right inside. To solve this issue, I started building better-fitting furniture myself and, holy moly, do I love building and designing from scratch! 

While continuing to work on the Sweetheart, I've been filling a notebook with designs for future builds, and I'm starting to suspect my next project after the Sweetheart rehab might be a custom build. I have some design/planning experience from college, but we only ever worked with foamcore models, so wood is a whole new ball game. I just placed an order for a Dremel and have SO many questions, but I'll save those for later posts.

This forum is such a great repository of useful info, and you all seem like such friendly, helpful folks--just wanted to say hello and thanks for creating such a neat little resource and community on the web!

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Welcome to the family of addicted dollhouse builders. You have come to the right place for you.  The members here have a wealth of information and they are some of the best builders of dollhouses.  No question can be asked here, that can't and won't be answered.  Welcome aboard for adventure of a lifetime.

I am a newer member, just building my 3rd house.  So, I am a relative newby, but will help you out when I can.

 

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Hi Nan, welcome! :wave:

We are all right with you on your miniature obsession... you have found your "safe place" :)

There are some amazing scratch build houses in the gallery. Myangela's Charleston house immediately comes to mind. But also there are some great bashes (minor or major modifications to kit built dollhouses) that can be great sources of information. 

Some of the most fun I have comes from scratch building or modifying furniture and accessories. It assuages my inner interior designer.. :D
 

 

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Welcome to the little family, Nam.  I got started building dollhouse kits at age 50 to de-stress from nursing school clinicals.  I also make most of my furnishings, dolls & accessories.  I like 1/8" plywood because I can cut it with a utility knife.  If I want to cut something with a power saw I either use my itty table saw from Harbor Freight or else DH's bandsaw; I only use my Dremel Trio to cut doors & windows with.

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Hi Nan and welcome!

Starting with a smaller house is a good idea, and rehabing your childhood house is a great place to start! I also had some model building experience from uni with foamcore, I must say working with wood is a lot more fun! The knowledge and practise does come in handy, I find myself often doing extra "research" on architectural styles and structures to get ideas for my builds.

Wish you lots of fun and hope you share some of your work with us, I love custom made furniture! :)

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:wave: Hi Nan!  Welcome to our little family!

I do mostly rehabs. I don't make furniture, so I just admire everyone else's wonderful creations. Looking forward to seeing all of your building projects!

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  • 2 years later...

This thread got bumped up by a spammer and is still showing up at the top of the forum even after I banned and deleted the spam account, which is driving me nuts! I'm going to lock it so we don't get a bunch of replies to a two year old intro thread.

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