Friday, April 16, 2010

A Tale of Two Houses

After the Big MOVE (empty nester down-sizing) the old dollhouse stayed on the shelf, or WAS the shelf for the longest time. Somehow, projects that are labeled "someday" in our minds almost never make it to "Today"! Sometimes baby steps are required to sneak up on those BIG projects and make them believable. So it happened that one cold winter night the empty nester was browsing old magazines and came upon an image of a beautifully crafted dollhouse made in England and it included a web address! Well! That was perhaps worth a look up on the amazing internet. Of course, the beautiful miniature dollhouses lovingly crafted in Tudor style with half timbers and worn brick and thatching for roofs was just too yummy for words. The long buried dream was jiggled awake. And suddenly, in the way the mind has of making connections that seem SO OBVIOUS after we think of them, the empty-nester/dreamer remembered a doll house kit she had purchased at least a decade before, on impulse (gotta love those impulses!) but put aside and never built because it was going to require more than a half a day of concentration (a commodity hard to come by while raising two boys) to build it. So there it was, just waiting for her when the desire really hit to build a dollhouse! But, as anyone who has built a kit house knows, it is a bit daunting to open the box to find sheets of wood with punched-out pieces ready to pull apart and a Looooong list of instructions which must be carefully followed if success is desired.

So began the long process of punching out small carefully numbered pieces, sanding them, priming them, painting them ......oh my, painting them! Before they are even glued together? Well, that means knowing what colors you want them BEFORE the house is even assembled! This was a very novel approach for me, used to the idea of decorating a room or house that was already complete and had a character or a "vibe" that you could feel and connect with. Hmmmm. Colors. I LOVE colors! I have a lot of colors of paint left over from various previous and on-going decorating projects in my 1:1 scale house. It was really just a matter of trying to get enough colors worked into the scheme without it being too outrageous. The picture on the box was mildly helpful in that where they put cream I put orange (well a lovely peachy orange) and where they put green on the trim I put some dark royal blue and some light sky blue, and where they put brown I got to put a lovely deep raspberry purple (that I had just been using on my little sitting room walls)! This was really exciting! But the best was yet to come! Because I very soon realized that I was going to have to paint the floors, and the ceilings, as well as the walls on the INSIDE of the house before I assembled any of it! This required planning! And ideas. And inspiration! The real inspiration struck when I came to the ceiling of the main room. I have always loved those baroque painted ceilings with clouds and cupids cavorting overhead.... so WHY NOT have a ceiling like that in my tiny little very Victorian dollhouse? Well? Why not! The whole house could be a lovely little Romantic Folly, or a Hunting Lodge where the owner goes to escape ....a trysting spot.... a Poet's Artist's Playhouse.....well, I'm sure you get the idea! The possibilities are lovely! So I got going right away on the ceiling and even came across some scrap-booking embellishments that would stand in for sculptural plaster! Of course, up to this point it had not occurred to me to take any photos of the project, but luckily my photo urge kicked in when it came to the painted ceiling. And, of course it just took me about 2 hours of searching all my old files to FIND the photos because it was a while ago and I take a LOT of photos! But here they are......
The idea was (Is?) that eventually a light fixture would be suspended from the circle that the cherubs are holding up. The detail is not very refined in the painting, but I consoled myself with the thought that not many people would notice!

Here are the colors I mentioned above, beginning to show off the decorative details on the front.

Come on in! I had to work at it, but I made the door hinged to actually open! (The doorknob is still in the works, so you'll have to pry with your fingernails to open it.)

And the whole house as seen from the back. Did I mention that I love color? The Chinese red parlor is just begging for a fireplace and gilded mirror.

And yellow kitchens are so classic and cheery. I can't wait to get a stove in there!

And of course, if you get down on your knees and look up, you can see the ceiling quite nicely! I love the way the morning sun pours in the big bay window. Where did I put that old easy chair...

The Folly's trim is nearly finished. Now all it needs is the shingles! Ah, the shingles you say.....ALL it needs is the shingles. Well, that is going to have to be another story!

And the big old dollhouse still sleeps.


  1. Welcome to the blogosphere :-)

    It looks wonderful. I love the colors you've picked and I LOVE that ceiling.

    There are a huge number of dollhouse loggers on here and everyone is very friendly and helpful

    I am sure you'll love it here.


  2. Thank you Jayne! You are my first follower! I am so excited I am beside myself....whateverthat means! I have been tip-toeing into the dollhouse blog world for a couple of months now, and am such a novice that it has taken me all night to figure out how to "follow" a blog! I managed to get signed in! And attached my picture! Such triumph! I so look forward to being a part of this circle of creative mini types! Thank you!

  3. Hello there! First of all, thanks so much for your lovely comments on my blog! I'm pretty new to miniatures, too, but like you I've always longed to have a proper dolls house of my own. I've found the online community incredibly supportive and inspiring in the short time I've been a part of the 1:12 scale corner of it :)

    I adore the colours you've picked and can't wait to see what you come up with!

  4. Thank you for being my second follower Dangerous Mezzo! Your castle blog is so inspiring it has catapulted me into this tiny world! I have started my own castle dollhouse which will arrive on this blog in its own time... based and inspired very much by yours! I had it on my someday list - sketches even! - but when I saw your tiled floor and tapestry I was so swept up I got started right away! And eight weeks later I am even starting a blog....Thank You! And I look forward so much to sharing with you!

  5. Omeomy, I feel like I am here talking to a bff who just loves vibrant colours like moi :). And more! We are both working on a cottage :)! And decided on similar treatment for our windows with the "grills" (sort of) and blue door (kind of). LOL. I think this house is soooooo fun :) and I can't wait to see what you will do with it. Will you be fixing lights? Arghh, what am I saying, that's why you painted the ceiling right, Michelleangela? :)

    Like Jayne say, we are a bunch of bloggers who were all new once . So shout out to anyone if you ever have any questions :).

  6. Yes, yes and YES Sans! Now you can see why I have been so inspired by YOUR Blog!I can't believe I have finally found people (big ones) who don't look at me funny when I mention doll houses!I am SO loving this!