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, March 2, 2012

Interior Design- The Music and Game Room: Sunnybrook Farm

The Music and  Game Room
The music and game room is another in the Chinese Chippendale style. This was a fairly smooth implementation except that the shop only had three Chinese wallpaper sheets, and all three sheets were from a slightly different dye lot! My sister loved the paper so I found a way to use it and not let it be obvious about the dye lots. Also, we weren’t sure how much Chippendale we could buy.

We started at the end of 2004 and worked on and off, until we added the finishing touches, the paintings, last week!

Floor Plan:
To remind us where we are--* marks the spot! This room is in the "wing".
The Music and Game Room:
The music room is 14 x 22 with 11 inch ceilings. The room is done in a Chinese Chippendale style. This is basically a red and gold room: Bespaq red Chinoiserie furniture and red upholstery against soft gold and ivory mouldings and trims. The wallpaper is a busy Chinese floral design on a soft gold background, the wainscot is a linen texture light card in a muted gold color, and the paints are Folk Art Buttercrunch, and Delta Creamcoat Ivory and Light Ivory. The ceiling and medallions are painted white.

We had the wallpaper and I had seen the game table and chairs and a few other pieces, but they were very expensive so it was not a given that this furniture would happen … but then serendipity did! We were at a dollhouse shop that was having a huge sale, and as we were standing at the counter waiting to check out the owner opened a display case and took out the pieces and marked them down 50%! I immediately threw my body over them and said “Mine!” She added them to our purchases, and as they say, “The rest is history”.

I love the drama of walking from an orange living room into a red and gold Chinoiserie music and game room. I like orange and red together in my real world too.

Before I go any further, I have to tell you that the color of the wainscot paper and the background color in the wallpaper is not what you see in the photos. I don’t know why, but they would not come true—Thus here is a picture my husband took with his iPhone which actually did came out almost true! You can see the real beauty of the colors. I have always had a problem with the “creamy” colors in this room, and I am still trying to figure it out. The only other place I have this problem is in the color of Sunnybrook Farm—it is NOT white, it is a Georgian cream color!
True colors from an iPhone.
Two views of the room taken with my Nikon. This room is so beautiful that it breaks my heart to see the wrong colors.
View looking left with doorway to living room at rear.
View looking right.
This room only opens in the front, which makes it a little difficult to do things at the back of the room.

I like to continue the wall treatments onto the exterior doors of the dollhouse. See next picture.

The wallpaper is a multi color busy floral print and it is drop-dead gorgeous. I have never seen it anywhere else so I guess it is another older, retired MiniGraphics paper. The wainscot paper is a softer, muted complimentary color to the background of the paper.
Picture from iPhone again.
I had to  use the wallpaper carefully due to the three different dye lots. I place the wallpaper in “dye-lot “ order from the darkest in the back of the room to the lightest in the front. Actually, it worked! You don’t notice the differences.

Fortunately, the back wall of the room was still off the house so I could do the wallpaper easily.

The chair rail (HBS #81425), and the standard  HBS baseboards are painted Delta Creamcoat Buttercrunch.
Chair rail HBS #81425 which makes a nice picture frame moulding also.
Fireplace and Mirror:
The fireplace is by Jim Coates and has a nice brown color that goes well in this room.

The firebox was deepened by cutting a hole in the plywood and the hole was covered on the exterior of the house with a piece of thin plywood. The bricks are from a plastic roll of Lemax bricks from Michaels. We found nice andirons and fire fender.  
Fireplace by Jim Coates.
The mirror is a Christmas ornament. I love mirrors above fireplaces.

The flooring is the same as in the living room. The flooring is HSB red oak stained MinWax Provincial and then sealed with two coats of gloss MinWax polyurethane with a light sanding between coats. I cut the sheets into 1 ½ inch squares and glued them at an angle onto a brown poster board template. This was time consuming but fun, and let us have a parquet floor without the pain.
Parquet flooring.
The flooring is not permanently glued down because the ceiling lights on the ground (basement) floor are bradded into the tape wire on the music room floor.

The chandeliers are from HBS and the medallions are pressed wood appliqués from Michaels. We decided to use two chandeliers because we thought that the musicians and the gamesters would need lots of good lighting.
Ceiling with two chandeliers and pressed wood medallions.
The ceiling medallions are painted white.

Crown Moulding:

The crown moulding is from Unique Miniatures. The design is an interesting mix of floral bumps and squiggles (as best as I can describe). I like it. It is painted Ivory with some touches of Light Ivory, and I used HBS window casing at the bottom. I have never used this as a window casing but I find I could not live without it for crown mouldings!
Window casing (HBS # 7056) as crown moulding!
Doorway to Living Room:
The trim is a combination of simple casings I found in my wood supply and made into a slightly “classic” style and painted Buttercrunch. I can no longer get back there to take a good picture, but it can be glimpsed in some of the pictures.

We wanted something eye-catching at the back of the room. To start with, we wanted large windows for the back wall. I couldn’t find any large enough, so I bought more of the Timberbrook large French doors and used the glass doors as windows. (I really miss this wonderful company.)

Then we set them between four Unique Miniatures Corinthian pilasters.

The window trim and the columns are painted light ivory. The wall around the windows has the same card as the wainscot.
Rear Timberbrook "windows" and Unique Miniatures Corinthian pilasters.
The front windows are also Timberbrook. The trim is a combination of simple casings I found in my wood supply and made into a slightly “classic” style and painted Buttercrunch.
Front windows with "classic" trim.
Most of the furniture is Bespaq with companion pieces. The room has a full supply of musical instruments so that anyone can “strike up the band” at anytime!
Musicians wanted!
The card table is always ready for those who prefer a game, and pinochle is usually the game of choice.
Game table.
Boy, there is nothing like red chinoiserie! Even my husband, who likes this hobby but takes it in stride, is always willing to buy it.

These were part of a large group of various and wonderful artwork from an internet site I somehow found, and it all only cost $10! It was a long download, though.

The pictures are all birds in trees and flowers. I really missed having an open back door to take pictures of the artwork in the back of the room.

The front picture of the red bird was cut from an magazine and framed.
 (My printing and framing methods are given in the Dining Room and other previous posts.)

The room is finished!
For the Christmas and New Year’s parties, Rebecca and Derek turn this room into the band and dancing room. This is a picture of the Christmas 2006 party. Anyone who plays an instrument or sings can be in the band and everyone dances. 
Graceful dancers!
Happy musicians!


  1. Hello Iris,
    Once again you've created a beautiful room. I think you did a great job with the different dye lot papers. I really love the colors in the room. I think it's very soft and harmonious! I also have to say you chose the perfect furniture.
    As always you should be VERY proud of your terrific work. Have a great weekend,
    Big hugs,

  2. Thanks, Giac,

    The dye lots were a shock to see, but it worked out-- which was good because I loved it as much as my sister did!
    I am glad the room is finally finished.

  3. Hai friend,
    Again a brilliant job.!!
    The photos add more beauty..
    I also liked the mirror

    Regards from India,

  4. Thanks Eliana and Jaice for your very nice comments. So glad you stopped by!

  5. What a lovely setting, Iris. I'm using the same piasters in my drawing room --it's fun seeing them used in another way. Great problem-solving with the wallpaper glitch!

    You have quite the doll collection, girlfriend! LOVE the party scenes!

  6. Hi Iris! This Room is MAGNIFICENT!!! I now have SERIOUS Dollhouse Chinese Chippendale ENVY!!! Oh well, I am a long way from getting to the Georgian House on my list.... not as if I don't have PLENTY to do....LOL!
    Seriously, I LOVE it that you use those Mirrors that were Christmas ornaments... you seem to have different ones from the ones I grabbed that year they were being sold... And you managed beautifully with the wallpaper! I can see just how gorgeous it is! It is great to see the difference once the artwork was added... it really finishes the room Perfectly!
    What a Fantastic house this is! Your work is Very Inspiring!!!

  7. John,
    You will just have to come to the next Christmas party at Sunnybrook! Seriously, I wish I could shrink down and join them--always love a good party!

    Yes, my doll collection is over 100 little people--never saw a little people I didn't like.

    Thanks for the nice comments.

  8. Hi Daydreamer,
    I buy up every and any mirror Christmas ornament I can find. I bought them for a couple of Christmas seasons but I haven't seen any recently. They are unique, lovely, and inexpensive!

    I'm glad the wallpaper worked out, too--my heart stopped when I saw 3 differnet dye lots--and one was quite different!

    Thanks for the wonderful comments.

  9. Hi iris,

    What a room!!! I can just hear the music playing, and all those people look like they are having such fun!!

    The colours are so vibrant, and the furnishings divine.What inspiration!

    Fi xx

  10. Thanks, Fi. The room took a while but we are finally as happy as the party-goers!

  11. Hello Iris March!
    What a beautiful room! Red is my favorite color and I am a huge fan of "Chinese Chippendale". Your wall paper dye-lot issue was well solved by how you seperated the pieces. It is great to see someone use imagination when picking moldings to use for things they were not designed for. You do an amazing job with that. Thanks for sharing the pictures and information about this wonderful room. Warm regards from Ray

  12. What a wonderfully informative blog you have Judith! Not just eye candy - which is fantastic, but you go way beyond that with sharing materials and all kinds of information.
    Beautifully done! :)