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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Friday, May 20, 2011

Behind the Build: Westerly- The Beach Landscape

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

I was certain that the Greenleaf Westville could be bashed into a wonderful beach house. What I wasn’t certain about was how to build a beach. However, I did know that the landscape and house had to fit on a base not larger than 4 x 4 foot. Fortunately, the new footprint of the Westville was only about 34" x 14" so there would be areas for grass, beach, and ocean. I allotted 24"for house and grass, 12" for sandy slope, and the rest for beach and water. I named the house Westerly.

In order to have a slope down to the water, I built a 2 1/2" tall platform for the house and grass, and in front of this I glued a 2 ½" tall x 12" deep x 48" piece of Styrofoam in a stepped fashion. Part of this would be a level planting area and part would be the sandy slope. I glued a ½ inch tall x 24 inch deep x 48 inch long piece of builder’s foam over it for a planting base. I used a Noch brand grass roll from a train store for the level grassy area.

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This sandy slope would go down to a flatter sandy area going into the water. Now to make that surface I needed to make and carve an uneven slope. To help make the slope I sprayed the “sandy” area with uneven levels of Great Stuff expandable foam insulation. After this was dry I carved a rolling and curved slope. This was not as easy as I thought. The foam dried very hard. When I had the surface I liked, I cut into it to place the wooden steps to the flat beach. I then painted the sand a “sand” color, darker by the wet edge, and lighter up the slope. After this was dry, I sprayed the sand with glue and sprinkled play sand over it all. I touched up as needed.

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I decided that I would not use resin water but simply paint water on the plywood with colored, thick, semi-gloss acrylic paint in various shades of blue and green with white “foam” over a sand-colored area.

Now I needed to place some plants and birds.

I made a stone wall around the house for a shrub and flower area, and picked out other areas for beach vegetation. I used purchased, and my own mini plants, and placed them around. I bought a wooden slat and wire fence and placed it on the sand dune as a “sand stabilizer” fence. I added some plant residue here and there along the sand to indicate the stuff that washes up with the waves. Then I placed different varieties of birds in the scene.

Now I just needed to have a beach party!.. ...

I dressed some little people in shorts and bathing suits, and I even bought two doll kits with “bare feet”! I set up a barbeque and eating area and let everyone have a good time – ah, those hazy, lazy, hot and humid days of summer!

1 comment:

  1. WOW! Fantastic landscaping! Now it's time to join in on the fun.