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, June 13, 2012

Dining Room Glitzy & Complete!- La Malcontenta

DIning room is finished!
The Dining Room:
I finally finished the dining room (well, I still have to find/make casement window hardware, but that’s IT). I know it’s hard to believe! (The kitchen is also "finished" and is discussed here also.)

I am very pleased with the finished room, but as I looked at it, I am not sure which of the house style description, Art-Deco Spanish Eclectic, applies here, hmmm … ! It’s a good thing I added “eclectic” to the style because I think that that is the only one that fits!

Oh well, what’s in a name? Anyway, come in and dine at La Malcontenta.

Ionic Columns—
Flanking the archway are "cake columns" from the baking supply section of a craft store and are painted Delta Creamcoat Eggshell—cheap and effective!

I wanted to “frame” the arch itself with moulding and I found a resin moulding by Unique Miniatures that looked just right. Unfortunately, I could heat it but I could not bend it properly and it kept breaking. Knowing when to move on, I looked for something I could “bend”. While roaming through a craft store, I came upon just that—a thin cording in just about the right color! I glued two rows around the arch. Et voilà, my version of curved moulding, and just a bit of “glitz”.

I didn’t add any new furniture since the previous post about this room, but I did move the table and rug from being diagonal in the room to straight. I don’t even remember why I made it diagonal. The rug is copy of an antique rug. The furniture (except the console tables) is by Bespaq.

--Stone and Glass Demi Console Tables
I wanted to flank the archway with two tables but I couldn’t find anything I liked, so I made my own.
Stone console tables
The “stone” bases are from Dolls’ House Emporium and the clear “glass” tops are made from a clear acrylic hexagon I bought at a craft store. I cut the hexagon in half with my band saw and glued the halves to the bases. The paintings above them are from Velveetasuzee on eBay. Since I had bright red roses on the table and a red chinoiserie cabinet between the windows, I wanted to add some more red touches. The items on the tables are from a dollhouse shop.

The fireplace is from Unique Miniatures. I painted and glazed it to look like marble with Delta Creamcoat Light Ivory, Antique White, and Gold, and did the same for the hearth. To add depth to the firebox, I cut out a section of the wall and made a larger firebox with sandpaper bricks and textured paint. The fire fender is decorated with two griffins.

--Fireplace Wall
Here, blue and white Chinese-style ceramics are placed upon acanthus leaf brackets from Unique Miniatures. I had to add a small semi-circular thin wooden platform for the vases since their bases were larger than the “leaf". The brackets are painted Delta Creamcoat Ivory.
Fireplace and wall treatment with oriental vases and sconces
This used to be a marble made from a vinyl shelf lining. I didn’t like it when I finished it but my sister did, so I left it alone, after all, it was done. But now that I was about to do all the finishing touches, I rethought a number of things about the room. Yup, the flooring had to go!

I couldn’t find, nor paint up a marble I liked. I did find a nice “stone”- look real house vinyl wall paper in my collection so I decided to go with a stone floor instead. I cut the wallpaper into 1 inch squares and glued them onto a medium weight poster board with UHU glue stick (I have become a great fan of UHU glue sticks). Then I used spackle as grout. When all was dry and cleaned up, I gave the flooring three coats of satin varnish. I took some photos of the flooring, but it doesn’t really show up well—but take my word for it—this is very nice and about 1000% better than the other flooring!

"Stone" flooring
The rug is a copy of an antique real rug.

On the front wall, are three wood block prints from a dollhouse shop, and on the “door” wall is a Renoir copy from Dollhouse_Cottage on eBay.
Renoir-I like the blue and white colors matching the vases.
The ceiling is textured real house wall paper from Home Depot. The walls and the very narrow crown molding are painted Delta Creamcoat light Ivory. The wall paper is by Brodnax. The windows were made by us. I am still looking for the right casement window hardware. The chandelier is by Cir-Kit Concepts.

Any other items not mentioned were found in various dollhouse shops.

Dining Room Inspiration:
The inspiration for many elements in this room came from Ray Whitledge’s Morning Splendor. I saved this photo from Miniature Collector magazine many years ago. It just took my breath away when I saw it (and it still does).
Morning Splendor by Ray Whitledge
By the way, Ray is doing a Chessington Plaza Conversion (a Lawbre dollhouse) and you can follow this exciting blog here.

The Kitchen:
I still can’t believe that we increased the size of the kitchen by such a small amount when we were building the house! Anyway, we now live with it!

I have tried to give the room a Spanish/Mexican flavor, combined with my favorite kitchen decorations—roosters and chickens.

The beams on the ceiling were an afterthought when I realized that I needed a way to get the ceiling light electrical wire out the back of the house. (Wiring in this house is bradded into tape wire attached to the back.)
The cook Clara Cousins relaxes and has a chat with her friend Philippa Scott.
The flooring is real cork from a craft store. I like it except the front edge refused to stay glued flat no matter what glue I used and how many bricks I used as weights! It is almost flat, but not entirely. I have given up for the moment so I can move on. I have coated it with two coats of satin varnish.

My sister found the neat fruit rug at her dollhouse shop.

Walls –
The walls are painted a quiet yellow from a can of OOPS paint from Home Depot. I painted over the “color” name, so I don’t know what it is, but it’s cheerful. The dado is painted Delta Creamcoat Calypso Orange. The tiles are the plasticized paper, Seixas Tile Flooring Sheet, #23111, sold by HBS. I added a shelf with chickens above the dado by the table.
Chickens on the wall and on the table, and a rooster on the floor.
This wall needs some pictures that I haven’t found yet in miniature. I did see some wonderful full-size paintings in a local Mexican restaurant, but that doesn’t help.

The “wrought iron” table is #77434, the Monterey Table set from HBS. The appliances are from my endless stash of kitchen appliances. The hood over the stove is poster board covered with some of the tiles.

The extra kitchen base cabinet is a cut-down hutch from Michaels and painted white gloss enamel. Gluing it to the door was the only place left in this tiny kitchen, but it looks good there. (I still haven’t decided on a design for the curved moulding around the arch of the exterior door.)
The only place left in the kitchen for more work space!
Other items—
We find interesting items here and there and often don’t remember where, unfortunately.


  1. Ooh la la Iris...well done and again a great description of all the hard work you put in.xx

  2. Wow! A long post. I had to come back twice to read it. Just a lot of information to digest. You are very talented. Such a fantastic idea to have used that wire for the archway. The room is very much like the model you had chosen. I love how the pictures are displayed above the fireplace. The furniture and all the accessories are so beautiful. Very chic! It must have taken a long time to do this house. Thank you for sharing all the information! You are certainly a most accomplished miniaturist!

  3. Beautiful room(s, Iris, and a lovely homage to Ray. Some great problem solving with the moldings, too. I love what you've done in both rooms! Your kitchen reminds me of my 'RL' kitchen --I have a penchant for poultry, too!

    John -XO-

  4. two very beautiful rooms!!!!! I love all details, the floors and walls are amazing, La Malcontenta will be a fantastic house!!!!!

  5. I love your house...
    everything is nice and match perfectly !!!!!!!
    you must to be happy, looks great.
    hugs cris :)

  6. Hi Iris,

    Good to see you're busy with your miniatures again after the troubles of May!

    The dining room is attractive, I like the colours, and the way that you have arranged the display of china above the fireplace. I liek teh china cabinet too!

    The kitchen looks lived in and comfortable. The cabinet on the door is inspired, what a grat way to add more miniatures to a room with limited flor space. and the calender, notice board etc add life to the room too.

    look forward to seeing more soon


  7. Hello Iris March!
    Your Dining Room is lovely! The colors and arrangement make for a very inviting room indeed.
    I am a huge fan of "blue and white" and really like them above your mantlepiece. I admire your creativity and ability to make your own pieces out of all sorts of things.
    I totally agree with Andy regarding the Kitchen, very comfortable and inviting. Great colors there as well. All nicely done!
    You are kind to mention me and my blog. I appreciate your nice words always.....and I very much enjoy your blog

  8. Hi Iris! Your dining room is Very Elegant! You have some Fantastic pieces of furniture! I Love your blue and white china too... I am so far behind on most of my houses when it comes to the "accessories"...! I really don't have much China! I need to start collecting... LOL!
    I like that you have attached pieces to the opening wall of the kitchen... it makes it look more real... even though we are Prying open one wall to look inside the room! LOL!