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!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Big projects from little projects grow!

2004 Oddjob Lane: It is FINISHED!!!

The New Year is starting out with work being done on my dollhouses! I am actually making some progress on all those “unfinished” houses—well, at least those with fairly small finishing touches. The problem always is that even the smallest project becomes larger as it goes, takes longer than expected, takes more money than expected, and something goes wrong along the way … sigh…

2004 Oddjob Lane
2004 Oddjob Lane was to have a fairly "minor" (but very attractive) upgrade: a mansard roofed attic with two rooms. Why did it take so long? I don’t know, but it went on forever. Every time I saw the light at the end of the tunnel—it was a train coming my way! It is true that due to a rather strange last year, I didn’t work on it steadily, but even when I put in long hours, not very much seemed to get accomplished.
One problem was that it took forever to find attic windows that I liked. Finally I found these on HBS. I think that these have just the right look, and they are for a Mansard roof!
The chimneys are finally finished and are removable since the chimneys are quite tall exterior chimneys, and it is better not to add them to the problems of moving the house.
BUT—it is finished, including the landscaping! Now we all know that a house is never really finished, but this one is at 99.8 % and I reserve the right to add a picture or two, or move a piece of furniture, but that is it. Besides, I was getting to the point of gritting my teeth every time I had to work on it. I am glad I did it and I love the way it looks … time to move on …
Just as a reminder, this is what it was when I bought it:
The Original Look

MacPherson Farm—
I finished the chimneys and their pots, finally. Bricking the chimneys took longer than planned since the first go-round did not produce good results. The problem was that I was using MBS brick vinyl sheets to cover the chimney forms, and bending the sheets to make the front and sides from one piece (regardless of how easy the instructions sounded) was tricky. I will not use this method again. In some places the brick sheet bent nicely, but most times it just cracked—which meant I had a lot of repairing to do.
Mac Pherson Farm and its "impossible chimneys"
The landscaping is still waiting to be done. This should be fairly simple since there is only about 6 inches of land around the house.
 Abigail’s Teashop and Bakery, and adjoining “Petting Zoo”, which is now a Stable for Pony Rides—
Basically removed all the old landscaping (which I was never happy with) and started over. I redid the “packed earth”, and replaced the dark brown lattice fencing (vinyl real house gutter guards) with white ones. I also added low picket fencing in front. Now that looks perky.
I removed the outdoor eating arbor. Now the tables (need another) are out in the open and the eating area looks much more inviting. I changed the flower, shrub, and trees combinations, and I added some benches and a fish pond.  What a difference!
The pony ride area was also completely redone. This was another area we were not entirely pleased with, but now!!
This all took quite a bit of work and time, but we are so pleased with the results that we have already forgotten how it used to look.

The new "look":
Abigail's Teashop and Bakery with ajoining Pony Rides Stable
Teashop with outdoor dining area
Pony Rides for young and old!
My Basement Workshop –
We are redoing this area. I need a better organized basement. Right now, the work area and the dollhouse area are beginning to merge and everything has gotten messy. It’s time to make, once again, a workshop and a “town”. This time we are putting a wall between them—good fences make good neighbors. 
Some of the mess:

and the mess keeps going ... but you get "the picture"! 
It is tricky to divide one’s time between renovating the area while one is still working on the dollhouses. We are certainly making lots of bags of garbage, bags of no-longer used but good stuff to donate,  and doing lots of shifting things to the attic to make room in the basement—yuk!! It’s a long haul from the basement to the attic.
Of course, organizing uses up an incredible amount of time, first to figure out what should be thrown away and then to find somewhere to temporarily move the good stuff so the area can be neatened, and then one has to move all the good stuff back into its proper place. We have been working on this since January, and I think it will be late spring or early summer before we can sit back and enjoy the results.

I will try to post more often so you know that I am really doing something positive, things just got a little overwhelming for a while. I have been reading posts even though I haven’t been responding but I will remedy that also. I love reading your posts—it keeps me sane.
This year I shall finish anything that has to be finished on existing houses before starting a new one. I wonder how long that resolution will last... (hint -- it's broken already)