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Unsure of background on house or where to begin


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2 hours ago, KatFord said:

Hello. 

I too am starting on my house. One thing that helped me finally decide on what direction to take it was to figure out the "story". So I have a young American couple (sorry, I'm American so that's where my mind goes) transferred to France. They bought an old country house in serious need of work. The wife is an interior designer. She has spent the better part of 4 or 5 years slowly fixing the inside now they are moving to fix up the outside. Then I headed over to Pinterest and created a board for this house and found furniture, room ideas, outside looks, kitchens... everything that looked like it would make me happy. I found an amazing bunk bed that I absolutely must have so, they now have twin boys. I have a problem with not having "all" the rooms as well. My solution is to close the stairs going up to the third floor and make a false staircase in the living room (you'll only be able to see part of it) and then a false door at the top of the third floor. Presto! a back staircase, and another room that will become wife's studio. I'm planning a bathroom and laundry room with barn doors and open doorways to create the illusion of more rooms. 

Just have fun! I like to make things distressed and worn and I'm going to have fun making the outside look worn with old doors and windows and then the inside nicely updated. 

Enjoy! 

Kim 

What a great idea! I love your story, too. I'm going to think of one. It will definitely have a tiny dog in it. Each of my cigar boxes has an animal living in it - a very elegant animal. I had a Maltese dog for 16 years and now have a Persian mix cat. I used to run a luxury hotel in my home for boarding toy breed dogs, too. You are getting me thinking . . . Thank you!

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Curious. Has anyone here worked with LEDs for lighting a dollhouse? I have used them for my cigar box rooms and like them. But I have not mastered them by any means. I found these instructions and thought I would share / get opinions and ask whether anyone has tried this: https://evandesigns.com/pages/how-to-install-leds

Thanks!

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@Tinyroomartist

I have used the lights you have reference, but only in small settings. Those nano lights are surprisingly bright. They are pretty straight forward, just make sure to connect red with red and black with black.

I recommend you check out https://cr2s.com/

Don't let his site overwhelm you. He has some great instructional videos. I was fortunate to take one of his classes at the Dallas mini show. If you order from him and have questions, he actually answers the phone.

Edited by Mid-life madness
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Super helpful! Thank you. I think the 1/8" mini LEDs may have solved my cigar box problem that I have been working on for months!!! I am going to try them. I loved the demo video which shows how to solder the LEDs. I'm going to see if I can get hold of a soldering iron. It would be great to learn to work with the tape in exact lengths! I also love the idea of mixing incandescent light and LEDs. I have never used incandescent light and don't know how to create that type of fixture. Always more to find out - thank you again!

 

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1 hour ago, Mid-life madness said:

Amazon has some great prices on Soldering irons for under $20..you could probably find them at Walmart or Lowes etc...

Search for "soldering irons for electronics" ... much smaller than the irons used by plumbers and other trades.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Diane @Tinyroomartist.  It's so much fun reading about others getting into the art of miniatures.  It's a dying breed out here and I wish others lived closer to me in SW Fla who share the same passion

I FULLY AGREE with @Keifer with making a dollhouse your own.  That's what it's all about, from the time you open a new kit, or drive someone else's unfinished house to be renovated and transformed into your own fantasy.  You wonder where to place your rooms in retrospect to a life size home.  I've seen hundreds of dollhouses online with no stairs, but each room with it's own cozy design.  Lot's of people choose that way of displaying their dollhouse.

For me, I'm much like @Felthen where my dollhouse MUST seem real.  I've personally lived in homes where I've questioned the layout and wondered what they were thinking....or drinking(?)....when they designed it?  For me, It would have to be closer to what I'd look for, if I were shopping for a real home.  A half bathroom on the main floor is important to me.  I haven't tried it yet.  I've done it on floors above.  My issue now, is having more rooms in it than I need(?), therefore, I have NO IDEA what to place in them.

Good luck with your build!  I'm learning soooo much from ALL the talented people on this site.  You WILL likely copy or come close to someone else's idea that you've seen.  It's a way of admiring their work, but I'd always give kudos to that person's work as mentioned by @Keifer

I miss New York.  Lived in Harlem for 20 years and in Brooklyn for 7.  Be safe and stay warm

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Hi - I am so totally new to dollhouses and surprised at how much goes into each step! The dollhouse I am renovating does not have stairs. It has a tab and slot construction. I am reluctant to disassemble it, because it is old and feels delicate. I am working on it intact, assembled. At first, I thought I would build a staircase and attic stairs. Now after doing more research, I think that is just too much to "bite off" at this stage. I do not even know how to measure the house to purchase the correct size staircase or how to visualize how staircases will look! So funny. I would love an elegant curved staircase but am not sure that is practical for this house. And why is the stair opening only 2" wide? Are the width of real stairs only 2 feet wide? Have I not noticed this? Or do I misunderstand the scale of the dollhouse? The ceilings are 9 1/2", so I thought the house was 1:12. Also, does tab and slot construction imply that it is a kit house or could it be a hand built? So, so confused and eager to get going! I've been staring at the house and "fantasy" dollhouses for way too long. Lol!

The first photo is the downstairs hallway, with the stair opening shown in the ceiling and the front doors to the house at the end of the hall.

The second photo is the upstairs view of the same hallway, with the stair landing showing. 

The third photo is the hallway showing at the front of the house, where the attic stairs will go.

In a perfect world, I would like to be able to create a grand entrance hallway. Can the opening for the stairs be enlarged to the right so more of the downstairs is visible when one stands upstairs and looks down? What is the safest/easiest way to cut the floor open without damaging the house?

With gratitude for any help / advice! Diane

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I'm no help, Diane, because when I rehab a tab & slot house the first thing I do is carefully take it apart as much as possible, since any new openings or enlargements I'm going to cut will be with the piece lying flat on a cutting mat with my box-cutter utility knife.

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14 minutes ago, Tinyroomartist said:

Hi - I am so totally new to dollhouses and surprised at how much goes into each step! The dollhouse I am renovating does not have stairs. It has a tab and slot construction. I am reluctant to disassemble it, because it is old and feels delicate. If I were you, I would reconsider. This is a fairly simple house. Taking it apart and putting it back together will not be difficult. The advantage is twofold: one, when reassembled and glued with a good wood glue, it will not longer feel delicate, and two, as Holly points out, it will be easier to enlarge the stair openings to fit premade stairs and/or your dream of a grand entrance.  

I would love an elegant curved staircase but am not sure that is practical for this house.  There does not appear to be enough room in the entry hall for a curved staircase.  See the staircases at mniatures.com for measurements.  Any staircase may need to be adjusted to fit perfectly -- that is, cut off a slice of the bottom step if it is too long or add a shim if it is a tad too short.

And why is the stair opening only 2" wide? Are the width of real stairs only 2 feet wide? This is the approximate wide of a premade staircase.  Again, look at the dimensions given on the miniatures.com page. You may have to enlarge the opening.

Or do I misunderstand the scale of the dollhouse? The ceilings are 9 1/2", so I thought the house was 1:12. It is 1:12.  When the height measurement of the staircase says 11-1/2" long (or similar), that's the length of the run from top to bottom, not ceiling height.

Also, does tab and slot construction imply that it is a kit house or could it be a hand built? Probably a kit. I'm sure someone here can identify it. 

The third photo is the hallway showing at the front of the house, where the attic stairs will go. Not much room for stairs. You may want to consider disappearing attic stairs so as not to take up too much space in the hallway.  It's unlikely a real house would have a solid staircase to access an attic space that's not tall enough to stand up in.

In a perfect world, I would like to be able to create a grand entrance hallway. Can the opening for the stairs be enlarged to the right so more of the downstairs is visible when one stands upstairs and looks down? Sure. If you can  imagine it, you can probably create it. You may have to add some reinforcement. It would help if you have the staircase before you start cutting away the floor!  :) 

What is the safest/easiest way to cut the floor open without damaging the house? Once again, take the house apart so you can do the cutting flat on a cutting mat. 

 

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There was no way I'd have had room for real mini attic stairs in the Washington 2.0 farmhouse, so I faked an attic door in the second floor ceiling:

hall & bathroom.JPG

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1 hour ago, KathieB said:

 

Thank you both! Wow. Taking a deep breath. The roof is already shingled and the wood seems pretty dry. Is the verdict still to try to disassemble the house? If yes, hints for dissolving any glue? This is super exciting for me and I so much appreciate your taking the time to provide advice. I am amazed at the kindness of this community! Hopefully when I learn how to do things, I will be able to share , too.

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Try dampening a small test seam with white vinegar and a blow dryer for gentle heat and either an old table knife (think thrift store) or metal putty knife/ paint scraper.

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I'm new to minis and dollhouse building as well. But I would say that the sky's the limit! You can do anything you want, and even if you make a wrong cut, you can glue it back together. There really is no wrong way to go about something in a Dollhouse. That's what I love about it. So my newbie advice is to do whatever makes you happy with it!

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On 2/21/2021 at 4:28 PM, KathieB said:

 

Hi again! I got lucky and found a 1985 Hofco staircase (3" wide) for the house with a railing! It is amazing. I'll have to enlarge the stair opening but I love this vintage staircase. I'll have to finish the castle/apartment building first, then choose between the French House and the Washington for the next project. My mother has a Cottage which is a Victoria / Bobbi waiting to be built and we also have a neglected Lundby in our family! Am I alone in this? :) Bet not!

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On 2/21/2021 at 5:04 PM, havanaholly said:

There was no way I'd have had room for real mini attic stairs in the Washington 2.0 farmhouse, so I faked an attic door in the second floor ceiling:

hall & bathroom.JPG

I love this solution! Awesome! My Washington has two full staircases. Am tempted to take out the second one so I can use your elegant solution and have more floorspace. But I need to the house to tell me what it wants first . . . and the second staircase needs repair in any event. Fantastic job on this bathroom and I love the colors!!!!!

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