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CTYankee79

My first dollhouse is complete!

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So it took me quite a while but my first dollhouse is done! Its a haunted Orchid. Still quite a bit of decorating/furnishing/haunting to do but the hard part is done at least. I had worked on it for a few months last fall, put it away, and got it out again this past August. Quite a bit of time but to be fair I barely worked on it some weeks, other weeks I spent close to 20 hours on it.

I learned a lot but there are quite a few things I'd do differently for my next dollhouse. I'd like to share what worked and what didn't to get peoples thoughts and opinions. There are definitely some things I should have done prior to assembling the house and there are some things I should have waited to do. It was really tough having the vision to create what I wanted until it was, well, created. So I mulled and pondered and researched and planned all the colors and decisions I had to make but started getting discouraged, so I said I'm just going to work on this step by step and follow the instructions. Whats the worst that could happen, its supposed to be haunted anyway so it definitely doesn't have to be perfect. And in the end that was true.

Next time I will definitely wait to install the windows and doors until the end.  It was incredibly difficult working around them, both with construction and painting. I had to touch up all the trim after I painted the house exterior anyway since the trim was already painted. Originally I had wanted to do clapboard siding but decided I was taking on too much and had to simplify. I also had primed everything on the interior, which bit me in the end because my door and window casings I ended up wanting to stain and now I wasn't able to. Hence the sloppy gray chalk paint around the interior window casings. But, again, its haunted so who cares. I definitely should have painted the interior walls before the house was done, it was so difficult painting inside...I also should have put a skim coat of spackle or compound before I painted, you can see the brushstrokes. I used satin interior latex all around which worked pretty good, definitely important to have quality paintbrushes for larger areas. 

I also should have waited until the end to put all the gingerbread on, was unable to paint underneath it on the exterior of the house. The base and crown moulding came out pretty good, luckily any imperfections in my miters are covered up easily on such a small scale. If I was creating a masterpiece perhaps not but it worked for what I was doing. Mitering was definitely easier than coping for me. For the floorboards I snipped popsicle sticks, glued stained and polycrylic them. For the bathroom and kitchen floors I jigsawed 1/8" inch hardboard, and bought some glossy dollhouse flooring online, used Stovers glue to glue it to the hardboard. Then could insert the whole thing into the house. I bought a package of assorted dowels from walmart and used square ones for trim to separate the kicthen from the living room and the living room from the bedroom (where the staircase opening is). I probably should have swapped where the kitchen and the living room is, but it seemed strange to have stairs in the kitchen. Looking at it now though its kind of funny having such a huge kitchen and small living room lol.

I used wood glue all around and E6000 to glue the shingles. The roof was probably the biggest timesink it was very difficult cutting around the dormers and gable. But I think it came out awesome I stained it using a foam brush after the glue was dry.

The yard I used foamboard, sand, gravel, moss, and glow in the dark glass for the pond. All materials bought at Home Depot and Michaels. 

Furniture is so expensive, its hard to justify spending so much after buying a $39 dollhouse kit lol. However after researching it seemed like the Melissa and Doug sets were the most bang for the buck. They're good enough but not great. I got the bathroom set from Amazon. I had to leave out the armoire and the bathtub, house is too small. 

Oh and I forgot to paint the inside of the front door. LOL

Anyhow, I thought the house came out pretty good. Thanks for your help along the way. Please share your thoughts, comments, and  suggestions! Happy Halloween!

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The little skellies look right at home, and E. A. Poe's portrait is a nice touch (quoth she, nevermore).

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Love it! It reminds me of the black lodge in Twin Peaks.

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Good choice of colors throughout. I especially like the sparks of orange here and there. One minor suggestion would be to have a bit more contrast between the exterior walls and trim so the details would stand out more. Congrats on finishing number one! Now - - -  what's next????

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On 6/16/2020 at 10:05 PM, LarJar said:

Love it! It reminds me of the black lodge in Twin Peaks.

Yes! Good reference :)  and thank you! 

On 6/17/2020 at 4:01 PM, LeeB said:

Good choice of colors throughout. I especially like the sparks of orange here and there. One minor suggestion would be to have a bit more contrast between the exterior walls and trim so the details would stand out more. Congrats on finishing number one! Now - - -  what's next????

Thank you! I agree about the contrast, my color choices were evolving as I was building, and I realized too late that the colors were too dark/similar. 

Ok, so I got sidetracked putting together an aquarium, as well as model trains (also both very addicting hobbies), so I’ve been off of dollhouses for a bit...however, my next dollhouse I want one of the Greenleaf laser cuts, either the Tennyson or the Jefferson. I also like the RGT New England Colonial line. So it will be one of those 3! 

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Well done!  You can buy kits of furniture that furnish a whole room almost for the cost of store bought furniture already assembled.

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6 hours ago, Medieval said:

Well done!  You can buy kits of furniture that furnish a whole room almost for the cost of store bought furniture already assembled.

Thank you! Are you talking about the kits that Greenleaf sells or are there any other ones you recommend? 

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There's Chrysnbon, mostly Victorian/ early American in polystyrene; House of Miniatures, made of basswood; and Mini Mundus (made in Germany, I think), also basswood.  Other similar kits are probably out there, those are the three I can remember at present.  Once you get comfortable building the kits, feel free to invest in basswood from the hobby shop and a utility knife and build your own!

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4 hours ago, CTYankee79 said:

Thank you! Are you talking about the kits that Greenleaf sells or are there any other ones you recommend? 

Lots of places sell kits. Greenleaf does too. : - )

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On 6/19/2020 at 5:04 PM, havanaholly said:

There's Chrysnbon, mostly Victorian/ early American in polystyrene; House of Miniatures, made of basswood; and Mini Mundus (made in Germany, I think), also basswood.  Other similar kits are probably out there, those are the three I can remember at present.  Once you get comfortable building the kits, feel free to invest in basswood from the hobby shop and a utility knife and build your own!

Love those house of miniatures, lots of unopened boxes from the 70s and 80s for reasonable prices. Polystyrene might be nice too, appreciate the suggestions

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