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My McKinley Restoration (and modification)

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So, back in 2002, I bought a pre-built display McKinley from Country Store miniatures in Vancouver WA. That store is now closed. At the time, the McKinley was discontinued, so I was desperate to have it, in spite of not really having time or space for it. Fast forward 16 years and the dollhouse crossed the US twice, lived in a humid attic and was turned into a squat house for some Douglass squirrels. This past year, my husband built me a little 'she shed' for my authoring and for my crafting and minis business, and I was able to take the McKinley down from the attic, clean out the nests of foam and moss and whatever else the squirrels filled it with, and begin to restore this poor, dilapidated house. 

I have a really specific idea what I am going to do to it, and it's going to no longer be a Victorian house. It will be a Georgian/Regency style townhouse. The gables will be taken off (most of the ply has delaminated anyway, and install a hip roof. All the trim was either destroyed or disappeared along the years, so I figured since I'm a regency nut anyway, why not? So this is my project so far. I will keep adding as I go along. To follow my other progress pages, you can also keep an eye on my Feffie's Cottage page on Facebook, or my Pinterest page. I will provide links below.

Some 'background' on what this McKinley will be:  This McKinley will become "Huxley House". The home for a seer, sorceress and medium, Miss Violet Huxley. It will have all the proper Regency things going on, but will have a gaslampy, fantasy twist (because that is what I write as an author... Regency with a 'twist'. So, the house will eventually have some supernatural things going on, but it will still be pretty and inviting, and functional for a Regency sorceress. :D

So here is the poor thrashed McKinley in all her faded glory. But fear not. She will be lovely again!


As you can see, there are already some kitchen cabinets made up in there. I made those in 2003. They were pretty thrashed too, and needed to be restored. I'm a bit of a 'built-in' addict, and I love to make custom cabinetry for my dollhouses. My Feffie's Cottage miniature business will eventually offer up some kits custom made to fit particular houses. And since I pretty much only do Greenleaf, you can count on some of them being customized for the GL line. Anyhoo... Let me zoom in on the kitchen to start, since that room is the furthest along.


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42875358602_53b3be8bc4_z.jpg.bea837cf80642924066951_2035203d91_z.jpg.dd6faba395229052098178_fb7a2e77a3_z.jpg.219fce9d697 So the kitchen has already got cabinets. They suffered a little from warping and such, but it's such a shame to toss them. So I decided to keep them and try to clean them up a little. I really liked the spice drawer feature from my Beacon Hill (now sold), so I repeated them, and added a (non-working) flour dispenser to the baking cupboard.


I wanted a sink in the bay window, so I started building that. I also made some working windows in the kitchen, and tried and failed an experiment with liquid sculpy for stained glass. That's been since removed and I'm going with a different idea to achieve the stained glass look I want.



I got some tiny ceramic tiles for the floor and some super small nano tiles to tile around the sink and the edge of the room.


I had to use a mirror to do the tiling on the near side since I glued the bay back in before I tiled. Derp.


All finished tiling. 

So then it's time to grout. The mini tiles come with their own grout powder that is made for teeny tiny fills. :) The floor cost me a whopping $15


I finally go to fixing that torn out wall corner, and I added a little wainscot. All that's left is wall and ceiling to do, but that will have to wait until I get my electricity set up in there, which might be a while. So onto the living/dining room area!




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OMG, you are off to such a good job.  I hope, though, that you will put these and the rest of your photos into an album in the gallery; you will run out of bandwidth to post photos directly in your posts, but once they are in the gallery you can link to them or you can directly copy and paste them into your posts to illustrate what you're doing.  I'd love you to do tutorials on your working windows and on that butcher block table & knives.

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Now the living/dining room was a bit of a challenge. The whole stairway and fireplace assembly was not space-economic enough for me, and I like a little character and unusuality. I also wanted a working stairway. So, first, I ordered an ordinary stairway off of Amazon, and had my husband shear off a full inch of it, making a 1.5 inch wide staircase. While I waited for that to arrive and all that, I started my little built-in odyssey. Since I was trying to save space, I figured that the imaginary chimney stack would be flush with the sidewall, and possibly jutting into the next townhouse, because I was unwilling to relinquish space for the inclusion of a stack otherwise.

I drew out a general design on paper, as I usually do, and let the basswood talk to me. I had an old fireplace kit which I pillaged for molding and milled wood, and made a small fireplace. One of my friends thought it was an elevator at first. I just stuck split wood in the back, because I was going to 'brick' it with egg carton anyway. 


A small set of drawers, a little cabinet with mullioned door, and a fireplace with an infinity symbol over it just because. :)



Because the china collection I had was taking up too much room in the kitchen, I made a little china cabinet too. Mind you, I am lacking proper wood tools, so these are a little flawed. But don't they say there's authenticity in imperfection?

Now to make it all fit under the stairway.



Bingo bango bongo. It's not perfect. A might crooked on the china cabinet side. But oh well. Adds character. The stairs will be trimmed out and stained along with the railing and balusters once they arrive. I will be installing 'glass' in the cabinet doors. 


I used egg carton to make each little brick (and the stone skirt) too. A little paint and voila. It'll look really cute once I stick a flickering fire unit in there. I just staged some of my stored minis to see what it would look like in there. I found that my victorian sideboard was way too wide and clunky. So I made a custom sideboard for the room. 


It is currently drying from being stained and polyed, so I'll post pics when it's finished. 

Lastly, I've made a little test railing for the front of the house. It will be more Georgian/regency in style, so it will be simplified and made a little more Romanesque/Grecian. The railing was designed after some from Beacon Hill in Boston. I will probably attack the third floor roof next, after I finish up the stairs. The 'divining room' has most of the built-ins done. It's just a matter of fixing the window situation and doing the walls, ceilings, floors and lighting. 


Once I fix those ugly finials, I'll paint it all in black iron paint. It should be pretty cute.

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20 minutes ago, havanaholly said:

OMG, you are off to such a good job.  I hope, though, that you will put these and the rest of your photos into an album in the gallery; you will run out of bandwidth to post photos directly in your posts, but once they are in the gallery you can link to them or you can directly copy and paste them into your posts to illustrate what you're doing.  I'd love you to do tutorials on your working windows and on that butcher block table & knives.

That is good advice. I haven't been on the forum in so long, I forgot how things were done. :)

I actually have some of those butcher blocks for sale on my Feffie's Cottage page on Facebook and Etsy. I do not have the knife rack on there though. The knives are a special minis-show purchase I made from a specialized artist. They were not cheap. LOL. I treasure them. 

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I've got a McKinley kit i just started.  I might steal some of your ideas. :)

I especially like the kitchen sink in the bay window.

All brilliant work!! :clap:


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Okay... I'm here slogging away.  I tore the roof off my house this past weekend.  One side literally shredded like straw.  It had to go.  I will be installing a hip roof in its stead to maximize the space.  As Greenleafs go... you sacrifice room size for their superior aesthetics. 


I have gone as far as I can on the living and dining area for now.  I need to figure out minor details like I dunno... the floor and ceiling.  But here is progress as it stands: 


As I said... this McKinley is going Georgian/Regency. I installed a narrow door from the kitchen. I just bought the houseworks one, tore off the frame and installed it directly into the opening. Perfect fit.

I added some delicate pilasters to the staircase to finish that project.  I am extremely pleased with the way the staircase assembly came together,  frankly.  


I stained the interior of the front door and painted the trim.  I'm considering getting some panels for the bay window from northeast... so that remains unfinished.  I will be shrinking down some no.6 plastic take out containers to create the working windows for the front room.  I will post my process as requested.  


So far, so good.

In the kitchen... i soldered together a pot/ hanging rack. I'll post a pic when it's painted.  I also decided to go with gallery glass came for the windows.  I'm on the fence as to whether I want to paint it white. I have used the gallery glass product to 'stain' the panes. Pics to come. 


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I do hope you will put all these photos you've posted so far into your album, as well as any further photos, before you use up all the allowable bandwidth for posting photos directly.

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3 minutes ago, havanaholly said:

I do hope you will put all these photos you've posted so far into your album, as well as any further photos, before you use up all the allowable bandwidth for posting photos directly.

I've been having a bit of a struggle with the forum gallery and my mobile. For some reason it won't upload to the gallery. I have to go figure it out on my desktop. But I will.  The photos I've attached to this post have been reduced in size for faster loading.  But yes... I'm working on it. My phone just doesn't much like the gallery album setup. 

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I just wanted to thank you for the link to the source of your tiles. I'm going to try some in at least one of my projects, possibly more!

And your work is incredible. I am so impressed with the detail.

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