A Doll House

A Doll House

About a year ago, I realized my daughter would need to have a doll house when she turned four. She doesn’t know she needs one, but I do. While on a vacation in Duluth, Minnesota, I happened to come across a small store called Teeny Weeny Miniature Cottage in Canal Park. The owner was nice, and offered numerous tips on building a doll house. She eventually recommended a kit, and I purchased the Bellingham Farm doll house (BL 455) which is no longer being offered.

The doll house is described this way: This beautiful, large farm house kit is the perfect doll house for anyone with an eye for authentic styling. The wrap around porch is just like the real thing. An ox-eye window is characteristic of early American architecture. There is a beautiful fireplace mantle with ornate detail to recall the style of grandma’s house. Comes with working windows and doors, brickwork, stairs, rails, porch posts and shingles. It has 3 stories, 8 rooms, and 1 staircase. It is made from 3/8″ MDF board.

The doll house came with very detailed (and funny) instructions. They walk you through the construction, step by step. I now have the walls assembled, part of the roof, and the flooring. The house stands fairly tall, about three feet high. It gets heavy after adding the walls and the roof. The 3/8” MDF is nice to work with, but there are some signs of a dull cutting blade when the doors and windows were stamped out. Nothing a little wood filler can’t fix.

Well, the wood filler worked with mixed results. The filler does not work well around door and window cutouts, but works well to smooth over damaged siding. I’m hoping the window and door trim will cover the bad stamp cutting done at the factory.

When trying to find a color scheme, I came across the Sherwin-Williams house color selector web site. This site allows you to select a house that approximates the house you will be painting, and then test color samples to see how they would work. The test house I used to select a color is shown on the right. It’s called the Victorian 1 on their web site. I chose a Plum Brown color for the main house color, white for the trip work, and a color called Beguiling Mauve for the house accents. It should look something like the sample house above.

I picked up the paint, and started to paint the real dollhouse. It looks like the main part of the house will need two coats of paint. The first coat soaked into the wood pretty well, and some of the wood color can be seen through the thin areas of paint. I’ll start on the porch and railings while the main house color dries. Now I’m off to the store to pick up a few more tools.

March 1, 2009

I’m back. When I took a look at the window and door trim, it quickly became apparent that I needed a tiny chop saw. So I picked up a Proxxon 37160 micro chop saw. The tool was rather expensive, but the ability to precisely cut small wood parts quickly was extremely valuable. My only complaint? It’s possible to adjust the saw so it cuts into the metal base (don’t ask how I know this!). It made quick work of all the window and door trim.

The one part I did not enjoy was the window construction. A small piece of transparent film is glued into two pieces of wood to form a window pane. These are then inserted into slots in the window moulding and should allow the owner to open or close each window. In reality, the windows are hard to open and my pre-painting (before assembly) did not cover every exposed surface. If I had this to do over again, I would have spent more time on the window panes and moulding to make sure they fit a little better. Maybe some wax would help them open and close better.