Dollhouse Diary : Moving On Up!

Building an original dollhouse has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember, but I would not allow myself to dabble with such things until my niece was born. Making the house for her is not a distracting whim of a woman-child, it is the creation of a family heirloom. :) I had started the project with a Lundby mass produced house and almost completely gutted it. Then I created a contemporary sofa from an old purse and gathered items for the rest of the house. After priming the surface and gathering more items for decorating, my Dad decided to build furniture for the house and my Step-Mom cross-stitched several rugs. 

For the loo. Just a sample of the adorable furniture made by Dad!

For the loo. Just a sample of the adorable furniture made by Dad!

Lots of colorful rugs! Living in Tucson, my Step-Mom created fun South West inspired designs. 

Lots of colorful rugs! Living in Tucson, my Step-Mom created fun South West inspired designs. 

The new furnishings could fit into the Lundby I was working on...sorta. It was becoming obvious that we had these amazing items and wanted more room to showcase them. I asked my sister if she could find a better house and she did in record time on a local resell site for $35! 

Out with the old, in with the new! Ti inspects the new digs. 

Out with the old, in with the new! Ti inspects the new digs. 

The new home was partially assembled by the previous owner and was supposed to look like a Victorian Farmhouse with three levels, but I had other plans. Here is what it was supposed to look like when finished. 

Thankfully, the glue the first family used was not stellar and I was able to disassemble most of the house. Just a little redesigning and now we are working on a Midwest Modern style home! The place also got a name, Grand Ant Manor. The kids call me Amy Ant instead of Aunt Amy and since it is mostly myself and the Grandfolks working on it, we thought that would be a fitting title. Also, I loved that it was an oxymoron

Reassembling the floor plan. 

Reassembling the floor plan. 

The bay window becomes a side accent window. 

The bay window becomes a side accent window. 

My first goal, remove the two side porches. They were wasted space and I did not want to deal with all of those little poles! The yellow color will go later. 

New construction drying. 

New construction drying. 

In this photo you can see the three panels from the bay window in their new locations. Two are on the side of the house and the third is positioned in the lower front corner. 

Painters tape is your friend! 

Painters tape is your friend! 

Perhaps you are perplexed as to why I would leave a gapping void where the bay window used to be? That, my friend, is the location of the future black box theater! Did I mention that this will not be your traditional dollhouse, but really more of an Art House!?! The two-level opening on the left side is part of the original design and allows little bodies to access the deeper areas of the house. Flip the panel, and now the lower level is access for little performers to reach around and out the stage entrance. The front opening will get a velvet curtain and doors that open to reveal stage elements. There will also be a removable stage for when performances are scheduled. 

This was my original thought on the interior layout, but decided to take the lower left wall out and enlarge the kitchen instead. After all, my Dad had made lots of cute appliances to go in there! Instead of adding the original third floor sloped roof, the roof will remain flat as shown in this picture. My plan is to cut a stair access hole with a hatch door,  rooftop veggie garden, rock garden and patio area. This decision was not only aesthetic, but also allows us to transport it in the Subaru. We would need to rent a vehicle if it gets any taller! 

Tobin thinks it is already move in ready!

Tobin thinks it is already move in ready!

The layout is finalized, so I remove the inner walls and begin to stabilize and finish the edges with wood filler, then all exposed surfaces get a coat of gesso primer. 

The theater must be black, so I mark out the area and paint all of the inner surfaces with Mars Black acrylic paint. 

Now begins the fun part! Time to decide on the wall and floor treatments before I can continue. The bathroom decision is done with "tile" made from textured metallic paint samples and REAL wall paper designed by me using pictures of my niece and her brothers! Want your own wallpaper, I ordered mine at Spoonflower.com and just sized it to be super tiny! More decor in the next installment of Dollhouse Diary