Monday, October 4, 2010

Kit Bashing

Folly Bits and Pieces

The Folly is the first dollhouse kit I have ever built. It is actually "The Orchid" by Corona, but I call it "The Folly." I am usually much more inclined to build things from "scratch" because then you can do whatever you want to , and if it doesn't work out, you can toss it and start over. But I had this kit, and once I had decided to build it, I was determined to follow the directions EXACTLY! Anyone who has ever opened one of these kit boxes to find thousands of pieces which MUST go together in exactly the right order will know what I mean when I say it is a bit daunting! You are advised to read the instructions through thoroughly BEFORE starting, just so you know what you are getting in for..... and so I did. But my eyes glazed over on about the third paragraph...... so I just decided to do what they said step by step, no questions asked! And it really went very well once I realized that it was going to take a LONG time, especially if I was going to sand and primer and paint every piece as we went along! So I was really quite a ways into the project before my natural tendency to color OUTSIDE the lines kicked in...... and then really only in very mild ways..... choice of colors for instance, and decoration of ceilings. Oh, and I made some hinges for the front door so it would actually open and shut, because I couldn't imagine glueing it permanently closed! So I assembled the house just as it was intended to go, and was determined to overlook any deficiencies of design and just make do. After all, it was my first kit and I had never HEARD of a thing called "kit bashing". It wasn't until I had come across the other blogs in blogland that I encountered the idea of kit bashing! And I was simply amazed by some of the imaginative things people were doing with their otherwise ordinary kits and furnishings! Everything from re-covering and painting furniture to completely re-arranging structures to suit their dreams! So I guess it was only a matter of time before I caught the bashing bug and decided to make some "improvements" to "The Folly"

The last time you saw the interior in any detail was when we went on vacation to the seashore. There must be something about vacations and ocean air to inspire ideas, because I came home and set about re-building things right away. The first improvement was to build shelves to surround the fireplace in the living room. Of course, I forgot to take any pictures of the building process...... but those are boring pictures anyway!

Below you can see the newly completed shelves installed. They are not movable, but are glued in place.

And no sooner had I finished that, than the old sofa that had come with a Victorian Parlor set I had bought many years ago began to beg me to "bash" it into something more attractive, and more co-ordinated with the colors in "The Folly." So I dug through my fabric piles and came up with a fancy patterned brocade that was just dying to be used!
The original sofa looked like this. It was surprisingly easy to remove the "upholstery" and simply cover it over with the new cloth. Now, you have to realize, that while I had maybe thought about re-covering these old pieces, I was really quite timid about it until I saw what some of you out there were doing!

And here is the seat with the new cloth... what an improvement!

And of course, I have "state of the art" fabric clamps for holding the new cloth in place while the glue dries!

And a closer look at the newly covered piece.

And here it is in "The Folly" .... I'm sorry the lighting is so bad in this picture.

And speaking of lighting, Arthur is really quite taken with this cottage, and he rented it on the spot! But it is a trifle old fashioned and needs a thorough lighting up-grade!

Here below you can see the room WITHOUT any lighting fixtures!

(And the fireplace removed for upgrades as well!)

And I apologise for the duplicate picture. I was having trouble uploading pictures tonight and somehow got this one twice!

You may recall me mentioning (or not) that the ceiling was painted with the idea that the cherubs are carrying the light, suspended from the circle they are holding. Well, this meant that the light fixture had to have some unusual features. Chief of these would be that it had to hang from multiple chains attached to the circle, rather than one single central link. Also, the distance it hung below the ceiling had to be small because the ceiling is NOT very high, and any tall dolls would hit their heads! So I finally found a fixture that I could "bash" into something like what I wanted!

Below you can see it already partly dismantled. (I always forget to take the before pictures!)

This is the other side, the part that will be visible from below, and the three chains originally joined at the top, but I will spread them apart.

You can also see the jewelry findings that I spray painted gold and will use to attach to the ceiling.

And I also am using them to embellish the lamp itself.... in keeping with the somewhat baroque style of this room.

Below you can see the fixture attached to the ceiling. It was NOT easy to do! I created three small "s" hooks out of brass rings and inserted them into the findings which are glued to the "circle" the cherubs are carrying......... then the chains could be hooked on and the electrical wire run through one of the chains to the ceiling! WHEW!

But when the light went ON all that work was worth it!

Here is a closer view. I am really proud of my "bashing" this piece!

And at night.... the light is very weak, but so atmospheric! As if it were just a candle or two!

So, having made so much progress on the downstairs of "The Folly", the upstairs was at risk for seeming neglected.... until I decided that the bedroom area was really awkwardly arranged with the stairs opening right into it.... and what it needed was another wall separating it from the stairs, making a small hallway next to the bedroom!

But this was easier said than done, because I really needed to match the thickness of the wall that divided the bathroom from the bedroom, and there were no scraps big enough from the kit remains. Luckily I was able to find a piece of basswood from a craft supply store that was the right thickness, I just needed to glue two sections together to make a piece large enough for a wall. And while I was at it, there needed to be a small window seat bench built into that corner..... and it needed to be put in place before the wall was glued in! You know how it goes with re-model jobs! LOL It seems to be the same in the dollhouse world!

But here you can see the new window seat and the landing at the top of the stairs.

Eventually I want to build some book shelves in this hallway too! After all, with a writer living here there will need to be plenty of book shelves!

And now that the bedroom area is better defined, it needed some wainscoting built to give it more of a feeling of Victorian character......

And I found some medieval figured wallpaper that I decided to use here.... it makes me think of William Morris, even though it is NOT at all like his patterned wallpaper designs!

I decided to paint the alcove where the bed will go a deep midnight blue, rather than paper that part of the room. So, you can see the beginnings below.

And a more complete view with the paper attached and the wainscoting finished. Again, sorry about the lighting. It is hard to get enough light to see the dark parts without over-doing the paler parts!

And a closer view.

I think the camera was more focused on the alcove, so the wallpaper is blurry....

And speaking of lighting..... I found a wonderfully exotic earring piece that makes a very passable moorish style light once I added a tiny bulb!

And a slightly larger view of the overall "bashing" results! I still need to figure out how to hide the wires! This kit has extremely thin walls! I am going to have to run it through the peak of the roof and down the outside wall somehow.....
And I added some small metal stars to the sleeping alcove too....

And a better view of the overall "improvements."

I'm a long way from done, but it is starting to look a little like I imagine.....

And now that the fire is lit, Arthur is happy to sit and stare into the flames while he waits for inspiration to strike!

But you better watch out when that "bashing" bug bites!


  1. arthur seems quite happy, i'm sure he'll tell you what he needs, now that he's taken up residence.. everything looks great especially the lighting. :)

  2. I love this house! Your changes are fun, and very pleasing :)
    The light fitting seems to float in the clouds!
    My favourite is the bedroom - such rich colour and interesting spaces!! I'd love one like it in 1:1 :)

  3. You have certainly bashed well, Betsy! I prefer the chair's new look too and that fabric is really gorgeous ! I have a 3 seater piece (quite unusual) that bears some resemblance to the before look. Is your sofa a Concord?

    I too think that the 2 lamps you made/bashed is a hit! Not to mention the shelves (so clever!) and the alcoves and box seat Excellent work!

    You have bashed well, my friend or have I said that already :). Hehe.

    My little project for you may be slightly delayed now that I see this Folly :)

  4. Those light fixtures are awesome...the perfect touch to a fantastic house! Bravo!

  5. Thanks, Christine! Isn't it funny how some dolls seem to like certain houses? Arthur really does look at home here!

  6. Thanks, Glenda! I really enjoy it when someone sees the very thing I am trying to make happen.... the light "floating " is exactly it!
    As for the bedroom, it was that alcove that just calls out for that mysterious dreamy bohemian atmosphere.... I am hoping it will be that when I am done! And I do LOVE rich colors!

  7. Hi Sans! I don't think my sofa ever had a name.... it wasn't that fancy! :) It came with a set of furniture that I bought at the same time as I bought the kit, but I don't remember the maker's name either. It is on the slightly smaller scale that suits this house, but is a bit lost in the Lovely Old Dollhouse.
    I am happy you like my "bashing"! Coming from you, that is high praise! I think I still have a long way to go.... but I am learning to be more fearless about altering things. In fact, I'm starting to think that almost everything could be "bashed".... this could be dangerous! :)
    As for the things you are sending me.... I can be patient! :):):)!

  8. Thanks, Otterine! I have been looking in awe at YOUR creations..... I just have not figured out how to leave a comment on your different format... :( but I will work on that!
    Your shutters are amazing! The little clock on the light is utterly charming! I Love the contrast of the super modern sink on the Arts & Crafts base.... beautiful piece of furniture! And so on! Thank you for commenting here!

  9. it's lovely, I really like the living room where Arthur sits in front of the fire! Very well done!

    Marisa :)

  10. Thank you Marisa! The fireplace has such a magical feeling when the fire lights up! I don't care how hard it is to do, wiring the real lights are always worth the effort!

  11. Me gustan mucho tus trabajos

  12. Just found your blog today -- am fascinated, and had to start at the beginning.
    You write, "Once again, I am compromising the integrity of the costume by using knitted cloth for the hose. In those days knitting had not yet found its way into the common culture of Europe. I am not sure when it did, but in the Middle Ages, "hose" were made from cloth cut to fit and stitched up the back of the leg." Actually, knitting totally did show up in Europe by at least the 1300s... You might be interested in this: and following up on some of the images.

    Thanks for sharing so much on your blog!

  13. Just found your blog today -- am fascinated, and had to start at the beginning.
    You write, "Once again, I am compromising the integrity of the costume by using knitted cloth for the hose. In those days knitting had not yet found its way into the common culture of Europe. I am not sure when it did, but in the Middle Ages, "hose" were made from cloth cut to fit and stitched up the back of the leg." Actually, knitting totally did show up in Europe by at least the 1300s... You might be interested in this: and following up on some of the images.

    Thanks for sharing so much on your blog!