January 31, 2016

Well I’ve already started my dollhouse, but I’m finally getting around to starting my blog. Until I got a web page up, it was a Word document diary only. Oh well…and I still have to work on my Texas adjuster licensing and until I pass that test, there won’t be a lot of entries in here anyway.

My story (well only a little of it, haha): I’m 57 years old, and I’ve wanted a fancy dollhouse all my life. (Yes, perhaps I’ve waited longer than was strictly necessary.) More specifically, I’ve wanted a dollhouse that is just exactly the way I want it to be, so not one someone else designed and built, and not one that is from a kit either. And who knows how long I will live? I don’t want to die and never have had my dollhouse. So I just said to myself, “that’s it – I’m doing this.”

And so I did.

I thought about doing a hack of a bookcase for my first dollhouse. And who knows, it might be my only dollhouse. But that wasn’t what I wanted – I wanted to build it all myself. I don’t mind not making all the furnishings but I want to build the entire house myself.

I love to build things. Not long ago I built a shelter for my feral cat from plans online. (By the way, Percy the cat has been here for about 2 years and is now doing a truly dreadful imitation of a feral cat, LOL!)

My funds are limited and this dollhouse will likely take a long time– I estimate it will take 2-3 years to final completion based on limited time and funds, and the fact that I do plan to make the house itself and as many of the furnishings as I can manage.

I actually purchased an app to help me design the house. I thought it would take much longer to try to draw the house out by hand, but partly I really wanted to see it more in 3d than just 2d. It turns out this program (Live Interior 3D Standard) was a real money and time saver. I figure at the very least it saved me from spending more on replacing wasted plywood than the program itself cost!

I’m also very glad that I “furnished” my virtual dollhouse using Live Interior 3d, because it caused me to rethink some of the dimensions I had been playing with. The virtual furniture is not quite what I plan to use, but I did pick things that were at least going in the direction of the modern miniature style that I like. And it really made the placement of the furniture very real to me, especially placing objects in the 3d view. This program is pretty cool as it has 2d and 3d views and one can place objects in both views. Due to the 3d view I actually made some significant changes in the sizing and design of the house, because I could get a pretty good idea of how things would actually look.

I would really have enjoyed getting Live Interior 3d Professional. The choices in furniture, windows, etc. in the 3d Standard are pretty basic. But for my purposes the extra cost really isn’t justified. And it really doesn’t matter what kind of windows I have in the Virtual House because I can construct the windows in my Actual House in any way I choose.

So as I mentioned before, this is going to be a modern dollhouse. No Victorian or farmhouse minis for me. I used to like that sort of thing more, though I’d say I leaned more towards slightly older styles than Victorian. But I’m done with that. I really like the modern minis now.

And there’s so much online! I am pretty sure I could surf the net for a couple of years and not get to every mini site. Even the modern minis, which constitute by far the smaller percentage of the available information, constitute tons of web pages and websites.

Now, I live in a little bit of a dollhouse, myself. Which I believe is realtor-speak for a very tiny, cute house. We don’t own this house, so I haven’t done much work on it. Well, I guess I’ve done a lot of work on it compared to your average renter, but there’s only so much I’m gonna do on a rental. I’ve done lots of painting including the prep work, and some flooring replacement, and some masonry, as well as lots of landscaping. I’m not afraid to try anything, but as I get older I am having to keep in mind that things which take a lot of physical effort can be too debilitating to be worth the effort. (Rats, I really wanted to grind down and resurface the driveway! It would look so much nicer than the yuck it looks now.)

So working on a mini house is a lot easier for me than working on a people sized house. Not that it’s always easy, however.

I started the dollhouse before I started the blog, so it’s already moved from the virtual universe to the physical universe, yay!

So remember, as I mentioned above, I live in a tiny house. It is under 900 square feet, with two smallish bedrooms, one bath and a bonus room (which we use as laundry room, office and storage. That means I have really, really limited space for a dollhouse, so it can’t be very large.

Now, I really liked the Brinca Dada dollhouses, and Chris Barret’s contemporary dollhouse (http://modernminihouses.blogspot.com/2013/06/chris-barretts-contemporary-beach-house.html); as well as the MiPad miniature house.

But some of these are completely impractical for my space considerations, and given the fact that I really only have ONE yes, that’s right, ONE, place in my house to put a dollhouse, I really have to go with more of a bookcase style. But – not as shallow as a bookcase normally is. That would just not give me enough room. So, the laws of physics in my office/guest room mean the dollhouse can’t be more than about 40 inches long. There’s an air conditioner in the window that the dollhouse will sit under, so it can’t be more than about 26 inches high. And it can’t stick out too far because I have to fit my office chair in the nearby space because yes, working at home, so not much more than 20 inches deep.

The foregoing is why my dollhouse is a 42 inch by 21 inch box. Okay, the box part is also caused by the modern style of it, which involves a flat roof.

It’s two floors, with a two-story stairway/foyer hall, and the stairs go all the way up to the roof. One of the wonderful things about dollhouses vs real houses is that I don’t have to care about rain getting into the house through the stairwell to the roof, so I can just leave it open if I want. Nope, it won’t be raining in my office, LOL! Guess the dollhouse will be fine.

Oh, and I don’t have to use any space for a closet, nor do I have to have a powder room for guests. Ah, the freedom for me to have just the spaces and functions that I want to concentrate on.

So, only ONE bedroom. But, a HUUUUUUGE bathroom, oh yeah!

I am practically salivating over the bathroom. I found a tutorial where marble countertops were constructed by covering wood countertops with printed out photographs of actual marble, decoupaged on with Mod Podge. They look sooooo real! I also found some amazing marble, granite and quartz countertop photos which I saved, and can hardly wait to start experimenting. Of course, I could use this for the kitchen, too.

And there’s a lovely bathtub I saw at Marian Russek’s Spaceways shop that I want to use. The shower design and construction is going to be way fun also. It’s going to be hard to restrain myself but I do plan on doing what is best for the overall design.

Another thing I am really looking forward to is Art for the mini house. I am a fine artist, and I am thinking about trying some miniature paintings. But there are also many fine artists whose work I enjoy, and so I think just deciding may be tough! And considering that I don’t really like modern art as much as I like modern design, we’ll just have to see how things morph with this issue.

I also want to work in my love of creating with found objects and repurposing. There’s a lot to fit in to what I want to create.

Time for bed, gotta get up and adjust some claims tomorrow, cuz I like eating, living indoors and oh yes, building miniatures (yep, need money for that, too).

Here’s a photo of the basic box I built as the “shell” of the mini house:


And here’s the house with the floor in place and the wall between the foyer (on the left of the house) and the open concept downstairs living area:


Here’s a picture of the beginning of the process of cutting a door opening in the downstairs interior wall. The level is clamped to the piece at a place that allows it to be used as a jigsaw jig so that I can get a straight cut.