It All Starts Here

Sometimes our ideas flow from an existing kit to bash, a house style to scratch (aka custom) build, or from an interesting doll who needs a place to live. Our settings are always modern-day (ca. 2001 when we started this hobby). We try to create things that will make people smile and feel good.

We think that if we had to build the same house twice, we literally could not do it! Fortunately, we have very unique little people who have definite opinions and so far, no one has wanted a house “like so-and-so” has.

We work as a family unit: my wonderful husband, my beautiful sister, and I. We don't always agree as to the direction of the build, but I think that we end up with a better dollhouse because of all our grumblings -- and we do have a lot of fun!

The Purpose of this Blog

We needed a place for all we wanted to say about the background of the build and the nuts and bolts of the design and build process. Thus this blog.

All our dolls' homes have families living in them and a story is built around their personalities and lifestyles. This story is an integral part of our building process. We would like to share these stories -- actually, the little people insist upon it!

Many of our houses are located in Fredericksburg, Virginia because that is my sister's favorite place.

Also, we have started a Rouges' Gallery with photos of our little people and information about the dolls.

If you would like to start with the dollhouse that "started it all", it is the Original Rowbottom Manse; if you would like to see the scratch-built Georgian that our first build gave us the confidence (or fool-hardiness) to do, it is Sunnybrook Farm.

Let the stories begin!

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Behind the Build: Badger's Hollow, a Two-Kit, Bash of a Bash

(For a complete pictorial chronicle, see the Webshots album listed on the left.)

This cottage is a bash of a bash! The first bash was simple--use a DuraCraft Ashley as the main section and a Corona Buttercup as the add-on. Actually, I walked into this bash with my eyes wide shut! My sister had an Ashley kit but couldn’t deal with thin plywood. She gave me the kit in case I “could use the wood for something”. The picture of the house looked appealing so I started to do a dry fit. All of a sudden I saw some interesting possibilities. (I never learn and I was at a bad point with my Georgian, anyway.) The Ashley was much too small—what to do? I couldn’t find another Ashley but I found that the Buttercup had “merge” possibilities.

This build would solve another problem the little people were experiencing. The Georgian was to be the new home of Rebecca and Derek Rowbottom and I had planned that Iris March and Roderick Alleyn would move into their old house. My sister felt that the house should go to Martha and George Wells. Well, since we do team building, Martha and George won and Iris and Rory were left out in the cold -- but -- if I did this bash, they would have a home! My sister disassociated herself from the “thin plywood” build but offered to supply furniture. Fortunately, my husband said he would help with the build.

As the kits were merged, the ceiling height on both floors was increased to 8” and a couple of inches were added to the depth of the cottage. The end bays and some of the windows were eliminated. These changes made rooms that were easier to furnish but made a messy bash. The cottage was now 30” wide x 16” deep (includes porch) x 16 ½” high. This was done in late 2002 into 2003.

The house was sided with brick plasticized, paper sheets (Noch) and vinyl plaster sheets (HBS) with some timbers here and there. I made some of the windows “leaded glass” casements. The roof tiles are sandpaper. The chimney was my usual of a Styrofoam form covered with spackle stucco imbedded with red quartzite chips. The wood floors in the house are wood-grained Con-Tact glued to cardboard, cut into strips, and then glued to the floor.

All in all, it did turn into a delightful home for Iris and Rory.

In summer 2006, my sister decided that Iris and Rory needed more elbow room. Since the house is on a plywood base of 36” x 25”, the only way to go – was up! The design called for making a true second floor and to put useable attic rooms over it. The added pieces were made of 1/8” MDF. I found one type that had a white semi-gloss layer on one side. I used this for the attic and then did not have to do any interior painting!

I would not endeavor a bash of a bash of 1/8” plywood houses again. The plywood was fragile enough on its own, let alone after the original bash! The house is now 25” tall. I wonder about the stability of this structure since the remodeling process was a mess. The landscaping was a lot of fun, though. The grass is Woodland Scenics Spring Green grass mat.

The new look is interesting but somehow I miss the look of the little cottage. Oh, well…

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