Sunday, 3 January 2016


Part of this adventure is learning to do new things. Just before Christmas I got very impatient waiting for the Laurel to arrive, and started searching for something a bit more immediate to work on. I went to Gumtree and found a dollhouse quite locally, rang the woman and went for a drive, talked her down $50, squeezed the huge house into my tiny care and came home with this:

It really doesn't look to bad from the outside at this stage, it's very solid and is rendered well with some kind of stucco (a new word for me) on the exterior walls and the roof, but oooh boy it was an interesting prospect inside. The side addition lifts away completely and the roof comes off both sections. The whole front lifts away to reveal the house from the front and the top. Not a design I have seen before, but then I haven't really seen that many dollhouses. Also not in any sort of strict scale, but close enough to 1:12 to work with the furniture I have.

Mirrored tiles, purple carpet in the bathroom, 1:1 lino, wallpaper stuck on and peeling at the same time, grime and dust, a chandelier that resembles a glitzy cocoon out of a Stephen King novel. It all had to go. I commenced demolition.

I pulled the carpet out, the wallpaper off, the tiles from the walls and so forth, and sanded and cleaned the inside. My son and I finally found a use for the palm sander I bought last year and went outside to sand the rooftops. I had a thought I would re-roof with corrugated card but nixed this idea when I couldn't find any neutral card and the coloured stuff I could find took seven coats to cover.

Once demo had been completed, I started to refinish the rooms, learning to wallpaper and put flooring in. I made patterns of the walls with printer paper and cut what I had to size. I also painted the exterior and stairs with Dulux sample pots of Clotted Cream and the roof with acrylic paint in a colour called warm grey. I had some help with the final coat of paint because my eyesight is appalling and I had missed spots.

I painted balsa sticks for skirting boards and some door frames. I would probably not do this again as they don't give a great effect, splinter to easily and are too square for the look I want in my 'real' house but they do fine for this house which will probably be furnished with sturdy wooden furniture and given to my niece when she's old enough. Here are some finished shots of the renovation:

When I fix the front door and attach it, I will share the final exterior shot. You can see in the bottom photo the corrugated cardboard I managed to cover which I have used as wainscot in the bathroom. The furniture is some stuff I have been collecting for ages, including from the partwork magazine I bought about 15 years ago.

All the wallpapers and floors are scrapbook papers. I applied them with Mod Podge matte, but I think this is a pretty expensive way to go and might try the light wallpaper paste powder I bought in the Laurel, but will do a test run first just in case. I guess if it works and it sticks, then it's not expensive. Just like $200 shoes you wear three days a week for a decade. Cheap in the long run!

I covered the floor papers with Mod Podge lustre for an extra shine, and also because it's cheap paper from a book of papers from KMart.

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