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Newish Rehabber Taking on a Model Homes 1060 Mini-Mansion


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Hi, All.

I recently acquired a Model Homes 1060 Mini-Mansion that's amazing but in terrible shape. The owner started building it for his daughter in the '70s and never finished it, and though I seem to have all the parts listed in the instructions, a lot are broken or warped. I'm pretty overwhelmed trying to figure out if I can even find replacement parts that will work, given the odd way this house is constructed, or if it's even as salvageable as I want to believe it is. My only previous experience is rehabbing my childhood DuraCraft Sweetheart and that was in way better shape and about 1/16th the size. But, god help me, I've fallen in love with this ridiculous house and am determined to bring it back to life (That turret! Swoon!).

I have a million questions, but I'll save those for a separate post in the appropriate forum. For now I just wanted to say hello and thank you all for putting so much tremendously helpful knowledge (and INCREDIBLE talent) in one place!

Nan

P.S. I'm not the greatest at navigating this site yet, but there doesn't appear to be much about this particular model. I'm attaching a picture of the house from the first page of the instructions since there don't seem to be any images of it online. I can scan the full instructions and take a few shots of my interior if anyone's interested (the instructions only include floor plan drawings, no interior photos). Fair warning, though--in its current state, the house looks like something from London after the Blitz.

P.P.S. It also came with a Model Homes 1030 Room Addition which makes this not-so-mini mansion even bigger plus a full Model Homes electrical kit that I'm terrified to try. I still remember how disappointed I was as a kid when I asked for a dollhouse for Christmas after seeing all these giant, beautiful display ones at Lolly's Dollhouse Shop and got a tiny, unfinished Sweetheart shell instead. I feel so bad for the little girl who got all this cool stuff I would've killed for and never even got to play with it. :(    

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Welcome to the little family, Nan.  What an awesome house!  If pieces of the shell are broken or warped you might try flattening them out and tracing them onto poster board to make patterns to cut new ones from plywood.  If you don't have access to saws, make the acquaintance of the local vocational school teachers and ask if the wood shop guy could cut you new pieces and supply then a sheet of plywood to match what you have in the kit.

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Welcome Nan.  You mention Lolly’s, do you mean the Lollys in Illinois?  If so then we are neighbors.  I’m in the NW burbs, if we’re close I would be willing to cut some new pieces if you need them. 

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Hi Nan!

You have a great house there, even in the London blitz condition.  Model Homes kits were/are great houses to build and rehab.  The construction techniques is individual milled clapboard panels 3" high, and cut to specific lengths for the house.  You would stack them via tongue and groove edges, and then insert the completed panels into the grooved corner posts.  I am currently building the Cape May model and have two more of their kits, including the add-a-room kit, in my stash.  As you said, there is a floor plan and exterior photos, but no interior photos in the instructions.

Feel free to ask questions on the kit as you rebuild/deconstruct it.  I learned a lot in building mine on this style of kit build.

Have fun rehabbing and welcome to the forum!

Matt

 

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12 minutes ago, madtex1967 said:

...Model Homes kits... construction techniques is individual milled clapboard panels 3" high, and cut to specific lengths for the house.  You would stack them via tongue and groove edges, and then insert the completed panels into the grooved corner posts...

Holy Dura-Craft, Matt Man!

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Hi Nan! I literally gasped out loud when I saw your picture. I can see why you fell in love, I would have too! :drool2:

As Mid-life Madness (Carrie) would say, I think you caught a dodo bird. That house is long extinct and in my extensive trolling the internet for everything dollhouse related (it’s a sickness :bounce:) I can say I have never seen it before.... but now I will be on the hunt, because...... I want one! :D 

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On 2/15/2019, 7:34:49, havanaholly said:

If pieces of the shell are broken or warped you might try flattening them out and tracing them onto poster board to make patterns to cut new ones from plywood.  If you don't have access to saws, make the acquaintance of the local vocational school teachers and ask if the wood shop guy could cut you new pieces and supply then a sheet of plywood to match what you have in the kit.

Hi, Holly! This is exactly what I was thinking I might need to do--glad to see this isn't a totally out-there idea. I have a friend who does woodworking as a hobby, and I think I might take advantage of his offer to help since I only own a jeweler's saw and am kind of terrified of using any power tools bigger than a Dremel, lol. Thanks for the advice and the warm welcome.

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On 2/15/2019, 8:08:03, Keifer said:

Welcome Nan.  You mention Lolly’s, do you mean the Lollys in Illinois?  If so then we are neighbors.  I’m in the NW burbs, if we’re close I would be willing to cut some new pieces if you need them. 

Oh, we definitely are neighbors--I grew up near Elgin and live on the northwest side of Chicago now. It might be a while before I reach the actual cutting stage, but I'm going to keep your generous offer in mind. I have a friend who's offered to help me cutting any big wood pieces, but he doesn't have dollhouse experience, so I could definitely use a more experienced consult when it comes to planning the pieces and how best to cut them. Thank you SO much.

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On 2/15/2019, 9:18:41, Mid-life madness said:

Hello and welcome to the forum Nan.:wave:

What a gorgeous house, I can see why you fell in love with it.

Thanks for the warm welcome, Carrie. It's definitely a neat house. I hope to get some pictures of the interior up soon--it's even cooler inside with the tower/turret rooms and the bump-out rooms toward the front. So much potential for interesting room layouts :)

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On 2/15/2019, 10:07:54, mesp2k said:

Hey Nan

Hi, Mike! Thanks for the warm welcome. If I can scan the instructions for the Model Homes 1060 Mini-Mansion as a PDF, could I DM them to you? Your post with all the links to different instructions is such a helpful resource--I'd love to be able to contribute for other future builders who might happen across this model.

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On 2/15/2019, 12:10:43, madtex1967 said:

Hi Nan!

You have a great house there, even in the London blitz condition.  Model Homes kits were/are great houses to build and rehab.  The construction techniques is individual milled clapboard panels 3" high, and cut to specific lengths for the house.  You would stack them via tongue and groove edges, and then insert the completed panels into the grooved corner posts.  I am currently building the Cape May model and have two more of their kits, including the add-a-room kit, in my stash.  As you said, there is a floor plan and exterior photos, but no interior photos in the instructions.

Feel free to ask questions on the kit as you rebuild/deconstruct it.  I learned a lot in building mine on this style of kit build.

Have fun rehabbing and welcome to the forum!

Matt

 

large.il_340x270.1122210409_s4iu.jpg.359f1c3e40e41da4a1812f1d0366316f.jpg

Hi, Matt! I have to confess that I've actually been stalking your Cape May album for a while as it's pretty much the only information about Model Homes construction on the Internet, and so, so helpful. Even just reading your description of the wall construction here clarified a lot for me, since the kit instructions are pretty minimal and I was having a hard time visualizing what the wall pieces looked like before the original owner glued them together and covered the insides with wallpaper. So thank you so much for being such a wealth of information. (Also, your Cape May is one of my favorite dollhouses I've seen online)

I'm sure I'm going to have a lot more questions for you as I go along, but for now I'd love to pick your brain on just one if you don't mind. I had been hoping to find a second kit I could use to replace the broken/warped walls, but since that's not likely to be an option, do you think I would be able to find milled clapboard pieces like this from dollhouse parts suppliers that I could cut to fit the dimensions for my house pieces? I've found clapboard/siding pieces in different sizes, but I can't quite tell from the descriptions whether these would work as direct wall replacements or whether I would have to cut a basswood wall piece first and then glue a clapboard pieces to one side. This is probably a dumb newbie question, but I'd love to hear any insight you might have given the Model Homes wall construction. 

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13 hours ago, Samusa said:

Hi Nan! I literally gasped out loud when I saw your picture. I can see why you fell in love, I would have too! :drool2:

As Mid-life Madness (Carrie) would say, I think you caught a dodo bird. That house is long extinct and in my extensive trolling the internet for everything dollhouse related (it’s a sickness :bounce:) I can say I have never seen it before.... but now I will be on the hunt, because...... I want one! :D 

Hi, Samantha! I'm so glad to hear this actually is a rarer dollhouse model because I was convinced I was just an idiot for not being able to find anything about it online. I wonder if it's because the house is so big (32"w X 20"d X 35"h not including the 9X12 addition) that they didn't sell many of this model? I imagine it was pretty expensive for the time and not many folks had the floor space for it. Whatever the case, I do hope you can eventually find one for yourself since it really is a neat house with so much potential (hopefully I can post some pictures of the interior soon). I think it's going to keep me busy for years even after the construction phase since there's so many rooms to decorate and build furniture for. Such fun!

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16 minutes ago, Wonky Woo said:

or whether I would have to cut a basswood wall piece first and then glue a clapboard pieces to one side. This is probably a dumb newbie question, but I'd love to hear any insight you might have given the Model Homes wall construction. 

Oops, I meant "plywood" instead of "basswood." Can't figure out how to edit on here yet :(

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Nan, I believe there's an Ebay seller who deals in Dura-Craft kit replacement parts; someone on here may remember who that is.  When you do make those walls, before you paper them you might consider taking spackle or joint compound and filling those joins with it and laying a thin coat over the wall, scrape it smooth and sand it when dry.

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On 2/16/2019, 1:47:25, Wonky Woo said:

Hi, Matt! I have to confess that I've actually been stalking your Cape May album for a while as it's pretty much the only information about Model Homes construction on the Internet, and so, so helpful. Even just reading your description of the wall construction here clarified a lot for me, since the kit instructions are pretty minimal and I was having a hard time visualizing what the wall pieces looked like before the original owner glued them together and covered the insides with wallpaper. So thank you so much for being such a wealth of information. (Also, your Cape May is one of my favorite dollhouses I've seen online)

I'm sure I'm going to have a lot more questions for you as I go along, but for now I'd love to pick your brain on just one if you don't mind. I had been hoping to find a second kit I could use to replace the broken/warped walls, but since that's not likely to be an option, do you think I would be able to find milled clapboard pieces like this from dollhouse parts suppliers that I could cut to fit the dimensions for my house pieces? I've found clapboard/siding pieces in different sizes, but I can't quite tell from the descriptions whether these would work as direct wall replacements or whether I would have to cut a basswood wall piece first and then glue a clapboard pieces to one side. This is probably a dumb newbie question, but I'd love to hear any insight you might have given the Model Homes wall construction. 

Hi Nan,

I am guessing from Holly's reference, that Dura-Craft used the same building technique (I've never built a DC kit).  I also know that Plaid Enterprises used the same building technique as well from their plan books.  If you can get the panels from the Dura-Craft person on eBay, that might be an option. 

One option, since you have a friend who does work with plywood, you could buy the clapboard panels, and with the plywood, match them with the thickness of the original walls.  I believe the walls are 1/4" thick, so with a 1/16" siding sheet you could use 3/16" plywood (1/16" + 3/16" = 1/4").  I hope this makes sense!

Also, watch on eBay, from time to time a kit does show up (mine came from eBay).  Right now there is a room addition kit out there that might work to fill in missing pieces - but it is a bit pricey IMO. 

I am here to help and I know so many other people here will too!  We love to watch new builds and be updated on progress.  I badly need to get back to my Cape May, but real life house projects seem to be taking up my time, and then I am also working on the Vineyard Cottage.

Matt

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The first two Dura-Craft kits I built were the San Franciscan and the Cambridge, and their walls were the milled tongue & groove pieces.  I haven't opened my Newburg to build yet, but someone here mentioned its walls are solid plywood pieces.

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On 2/16/2019, 2:18:10, Wonky Woo said:

 If I can scan the instructions for the Model Homes 1060 Mini-Mansion as a PDF, could I DM them to you? Your post with all the links to different instructions is such a helpful resource--I'd love to be able to contribute for other future builders who might happen across this model.

You can scan the pages, then upload the images to your Greanleaf Album. Let me know if you do this & I'll add a link to your instructions.

Thanks, Mike.

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