Digging the Foundation

Just kidding. No basement on this one. Some of the huge ones do, however. Have you ever gone on Pinterest and searched for miniature houses? What people make out there is unbelievable. I’m talking years and years in the making and then decorating. Some are even in museums, they are so masterful. When you think of the word “dollhouse”, what kind comes to mind? Children need larger objects to move around, so a good base to start from could be a four shelf bookcase. Just put up staircases and room dividers, and go for it. My first thought is always the precision made Victorians with period furnishings including, but not limited to, furniture, wallpaper, flooring, window coverings, bathrooms, kitchens, accessories – you name it, it’s done period authentic or you shouldn’t even bother starting one. They are stunning and the detail is amazing. However, I don’t want to devote my life or my Social Security to the construction. Knowing that is what interested me in the cinderellamoments.com website. Of course I stumbled across it on Pinterest, and it caught my eye because of many reasons. One of which is that most of the homes are cottages rather than huge, sprawling mansions with conservatories. The size is doable and reasonable.See how darling this is? Two stories, wrap around porch, flowers and vines, and made yourself chandeliers. The style is called Shabby Chic, and according to Wikipedia, this is the definition: “Shabby chic (/ˈʃæb.iˈʃiːk/) is a form of interior design where furniture and furnishings are either chosen for their appearance of age and signs of wear and tear or where new items are distressed to achieve the appearance of an antique. At the same time, a soft, opulent, yet cottage-style decor, often with an affected feel is emphasized to differentiate it from genuine period decor. Variations of shabby chic style include:

▪ Cottage chic

▪ Beach cottage chic

▪ French country

▪ Gustavian (Swedish)

Decorators consider shabby chic a soft, relaxed, romantic style that looks comfortable and inviting, and is usually associated as feminine.”

So there you are. As many of you know, I’ve never been one for frills or romantic cottage-style decor. However, the more I looked at it, the more I fell in love with it. I’m not crazy about the worn look and signs of wear and tear, so my look will be casual but not sporting holes and tears. And it can also be Beach Cottage Chic, which is the style I’ll probably favor. I also like French Country. What the hell? It’s a dollhouse! (Bear house, to be precise) – it’s not like redecorating MY house. I can do anything I want to it. I already have started with changes from the instructions, adding my own touches. I do love the all white aspect, but the quilter in me balks at no color at all.

An aside – I notice that my typeset has changed from the original after my cut and paste from Wikipedia. Don’t know how to change it back. Oh, well. Moving on…..

The first thing I did was order a kit to help with first-time construction, and in Caroline’s book that I’m following, she recommended The Primrose by Corona Concepts. This gets me started with laser cut walls, etc., so I don’t have to start with graph paper! However, Caroline already starts me on “bashing”, which loosely interpreted means changing the design from the original. I have moved windows and the door, and I added 2″ to the height of the second floor, because otherwise you can barely fit a bed up there. So the height is now around 17″ high, 10 1/8″ wide, and 11″ deep. One room down and one room up for starters. At least this way you learn all the basics and it isn’t an overwhelming project that will scare you off. The scale of the build also attracted me. At 1:12 ( 1″ = 1′) it’s a good size without being too tiny or taking up a whole room in your house. With that scale in mind, the ceilings are 8″ tall (converting to 8 feet in real life) which allows plenty of height for hanging chandeliers and tall windows.So, this is the published manual by Cinderella Moments that I’m using for a guide. I had to gather quite a few supplies so that I’d have everything I need. Here’s the list from the book.I now have a dollhouse tool kit (scaled for size), a Black & Decker jigsaw, my Dremel, plywood from Home Depot and other sources, etc. The floors are made from popsicle sticks, plaster will be used on some of the walls, and concrete patch for creating brick, stone and adobe on the outside walls.

I’m loving this. I love creating and being able to incorporate my own ideas into the project. Here are some pics showing my progress so far:The kit as it comes in the box.Reconfiguring the door and windows.And the walls are going up, attached to the floor with hot glue, then gone back over with Gorilla wood glue for strength. You can see the 2″ strip at the top of the wall which I used to raise the roof for the second floor.Laying the popsicle stick floor. Had to buy a special tool called the Easy Cutter Ultimate to cut the rounded ends off the popsicle sticks. It took about 75 sticks to cover the floor. I also used corrugated cardboard from Hobby Lobby as wainscoting on 3 of the walls. The wall with 3 windows was plastered, then wavy lines drawn thru the wet plaster for decoration.I hot glued full width popsicle sticks as baseboards around the floor, then painted two coats of satin interior house paint on the floor, baseboards and the plaster window wall.I’m now working on what will be the ceiling of the first floor, which is attached to the underside of the 2nd floor. I divided it into 2 1/2″ squares that I’m stamping with Martha Stewart acrylic paint called “Wet Cement”. These will simulate a tin ceiling when I’m done. The other side of the ceiling (the 2nd floor) will be covered in – WAIT FOR IT – popsicle sticks!My last effort for the day was to paint the window wall a light pink. There will be floor to ceiling white filmy curtains on this wall, so I just wanted a hint of color to show through the fabric. Rosebud convinced me that this would accent her fur and hat, so I thought, okay, fine. I actually like her idea now that I see it. There can be too much white!

So tomorrow I will be finishing the ceiling/2nd floor and then gluing it in place as well as the gable wall upstairs. That may take all day. My hand gets tired cutting the ends of all those sticks! Here is a pic of the tool I use for that:It’s a beast, buy it beats trying to cut with a box cutter or Exacto knife!

So that’s it today. I’ll leave you with a picture of what the cottage should look like inside if I follow the instructions (not likely!). I’m making a full 2nd floor, not a balcony.

One thought on “Digging the Foundation

  1. You are doing a fantastic job! Your bear will be very happy! Keep it up. You will have this done in no time.
    big hugs,


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