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Beautiful Unfinished Victorian in Need of Finishing and Renovations


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Hi Everyone,  I am looking for a little assist.  I have always loved miniatures and wanted a doll house.  I ran across this "not so beautiful - not so Painted Lady" and just had to have her!  This will be my first project and from what I can tell --- maybe I should have started from scratch?  But... was hoping someone out there might have a few pointers on where to begin.  Up close, she looks like a real 200 year old home that has been in disrepair for a LONG TIME or repaired by a "non-master-craftsman".

Any advise on where to start with the reno is appreciated.

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She's gorgeous!

I love renovations, and would start with stripping it all down as much as you can, taking off everything you don't want or need. Peel off wallpaper and sand the floors, etc, and then build it back up how you like. 

Fun project! 

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Thank you Amanda.  I was thinking sanding was going to be a big but necessary job.  I do think there are blasters on the exterior that should just come off and be rebuilt with new wood - do you think that is ideal or should I retain the original wood as much as I can?

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If your Pierce was built with hot glue you can take it apart with a heat gun or a hair dryer and rebuild it properly with a good carpenters' wood glue.

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Thanks Havanaholly - I never thought that it might be hot glue, but now that you say that... it does feel somewhat rubbery.  I will attempt to cut with a razor and see if I can figure out what it is.  Hot glue does make sense as it looks terrible and very un-smooth.  Thanks for the idea and how to!

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Congratulations on a great house Cheryl!

Buying a rehab project is a great way to get your feet wet and try different mediums.

Are you saying that the exterior wood grain looks rough? That is the nature of plywood tab and slot dollhouses. They just need a little more TLC to reach their potential. You can smooth the exterior by spackling the the joints and slot holes. Also a good primer for the exterior and sanding between coats should help.

I can't tell from the pictures but it looks pretty sturdy.  If it was assembled with hot glue as @havanahollymentioned you should re-glue with carpenters glue.

You can also do other treatments like stucco or even clapboard siding.

Thanks for sharing your pictures with us~~~

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Thank you Carrie,  Yes, the wood is rough which I expected.  It is more the craftsmanship of the glue job and the lining up of the wood pieces that is really rough.  I have now determined that some of this was done with "hot glue" and some with what looks like Elmers.  I think I may attempt to dismantle the porch entirely as most of it is loose anyway.   Thanks for the tip on sanding between coats as I was not aware of that.  Thanks so much for responding and sharing.  And... it was my pleasure to share the pics.  Believe it or not I paid only $10.00 for this house and some broken wood furniture.  I know I can fix it all.  It will just take time.  My husband thinks I am crazy and is not sure it was worth the 10.  LOL

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6 hours ago, CherylWalsh said:

My husband thinks I am crazy and is not sure it was worth the 10.

Yeah, we get a lot of that ... lol ... You have come to the right place for reassurance. :)  

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12 hours ago, CherylWalsh said:

My husband thinks I am crazy and is not sure it was worth the 10.  LOL

My husband keeps hoping this hobby will turn into a money making empire.....There is no way I would have passed up the house for $10. Smokin' hot deal for sure :blowup:

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Exactly Ladies!!! Mini addiction.   I actually bought another house yesterday morning for a commercial property (Soda Fountain/Sweet Shop) that I decided I needed to build also. I always wanted a real one in life but just too much overhead so now I can still have it.  LOL  This house is a smaller 3 Story and paid only $2.50  How do you pass that up?   My husband is going to start having the same feeling that @Mid-life madness expressed -- "making money from my hobby".   I have NO intention of selling these :) 

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Cheryl, I don't sell mine unless someone offers me $$$ and a good story about why I ought to sell it to them; or certain ones I'll give to children (like my Dura-Craft Cambridge that gave my across-the-street's granddaughter the drools whenever she saw it).  I built the Brimble's Mercantile to hold items that will go into future builds (like the Lily/ Tuscan villa presently on my building bench).

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  • 2 months later...

Welcome Cheryl! A couple good bargains there :) lucky you. The revocation will be fun, sometimes it is good starting with a not well put together house, then you can play around with fixing it and know you're unlikely to make it any worse, and potentially hugely better. Main thing is have fun! 

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  • 1 month later...

Out of curiosity, I have a Pierce in almost identical condition (it's my first dollhouse that my dad & I never quite finished), which I am looking to donate to a happy home (my parents are downsizing).  If anyone is interested in a renovation project, please contact me! I am near Chicago.

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