Thursday, May 2, 2019

The Marietta, an Art Deco Dollhouse: Real Good Toys, CC3, 333 Franklin Street. Part 3 - Ceilings

Dollhouse ceilings fill me with dread. I always forget about them until it seems like its time to put the whole kitten caboodle dollhouse together, but noooo! So I end up scrambling for a last minute plan that makes for at least another few weeks of parts, parts, parts laying around! I want to assemble!! But this time I was on a mission for at least one of the ceilings, to make it as Art Deco as I could so I was a bit more prepared.

The Makings Of the 3rd Floor Ceiling

By now it was May 2017 and I was sourcing away as usual when I came across an old photo album. I kind of hated to use it because it was so sweet as an album, but it was exactly what I was looking for in a ceiling.

Left: Front of vintage photo album. Right: Inside of vintage photo album

The length was good but the width was too short and the whole cover out of center for the 3rd floor ceiling but I remained undaunted, chopping and fitting it up with parts from the cover and inside. I was bummed to loose those decorative cover corners but it was the only way to make it fit and get the width that was needed:

Pieces pieces pieces!

I had to add a few jewelry findings and wood trim to increase the width:

All glued up and ready for installation!!!

1st and 2nd Floor Ceilings, the Easy Way Out!

The 1st and 2nd floor ceilings were kinda a no brainer. I glued some hand made paper for the 1st floor ceiling and painted gold and glued ribbon and mirrors on the 2nd floor ceiling. They're OK, but I just wanted to move on I think! It was June already! The stair landing ceilings the jet out are a cool mercury glass look scrapbook paper:

Finally, all the rooms parts were done, so I could assemble them all into one mass building. This is where you discover if all your matching and centering patterns, measuring and cutting, has paid off!


Assembly 101!

The moment of truth! Well really, a few hours of moments of truth. One must make sure everything is square, clamped and glued!

In reverse order, the 3rd, 2nd, 1st floors and stairwell.

3rd floor trimmed out and ready for led puck lights.

The little silver disks are magnets for the puck led lighting and the brass nails on the cornices are for hanging pictures and such.

2nd floor, waiting for trim, but I had to play with furnishings anyway!

1st floor, trim started and outfitted as a kitchen with Strombecker furniture.

Stairwell. Much more to do. Oh well!

Now comes another tedious but rewarding part, trim!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Marietta, an Art Deco Dollhouse: Real Good Toys, CC3, 333 Franklin Street. Part 2 - Interior Walls

Continuing the Bash! 

The original RGT Children's Choice (CC) Franklin build has three small panels that serve as partitions to make each floor into two rooms, a "six room" dollhouse is how it is advertised (the other Children's Choice dollhouse builds have two partitions, that make each of them into "five room" dollhouses). With my other CC builds I left these partitions out which made for three large rooms instead of a cut up five, and used the provided partitions for testing stain and paint techniques as they are made of the same plywood as the floors.

However, with the Marietta (Franklin), since I planned for a three story stairwell, it's rooms would be about the size that the original Franklin build. Oh well! The newly created partition panel is three stories high and, as described in the Marietta's first post, the kit's provided floors have been cut to accommodate the stairway's cutouts and wall grooves:

Left: original floors, showing cuts to be made. Right: modified floors, cut for the stairwell.

Just as with my other three CC builds, I used the provided small partition panels to test stain and painting techniques. And boy, did I try a lot of ideas!

NOPE!!!!!! Not these ones!!!

Interior Wall Prep and Decoration

By now it was March 2017. Things were going slowwwww.

Here are the panel interiors, including the three story partition panel in the center, prepped for wallpapering and painting. 

The side panel on the right had to have part of it's grooves filled in. The cut, modified floor tabs will fit right in the remaining groove areas and that whole panel will be papered with a silver and white, Art Deco style, handmade paper.

The diagonal lines are where the stairs will be glued. The rectangular cutouts are for decorative "glass" that I have cut from vintage plastic snack trays.

Well, you know me! If I can find a paper that will satisfy, I will use it, but most often I use fabric. So much more variety! Sourcing for all the three floors took a bit of time, but I finally got what I think works well. 

Here I am getting ready to glue the fabric on the three rooms' walls. The silver Deco paper is already glued down to the back panel, where the stairwell will be.

Left panel: partition wall. Center panel: the back.

I found some vintage, mid century plastic snack trays and cut them down for windows. I decided on interior windows too, adding, I hope, more interest to the stairwell and rooms.

Here's the partition wall, fabric glued and trimmed up, and the plastic window panels from the snack trays inserted to check on the effect.

I like it!!

I hoped the seams of the stairwell silver Deco paper wouldn't show much when the inside is put together. But all in all, I'm was happy with the wall panels as they stood and feet anxious to put them together with the floors. But the ceilings had to be done first. And that's Part 3. Sigh!

Friday, March 8, 2019

The Marietta, an Art Deco Dollhouse: Real Good Toys, CC3, 333 Franklin Street. Part 1 - Plans and Floors

Well, this is the forth, and last, of the Real Good Toys, Children's Choice, open front, dollhouse kits that I undoubtedly, bashed. I must be on some sort of Art Deco craze as my last two  blogged projects are Art Deco inspired as well!

To be fair, I actually started this build in February of 2017 and am still working on it. My daughter was diagnosed with cancer a few months before and the blog posting for this build just never seemed to ever get started. 

I did decide to name the build after my daughter's middle name and my Grandma's maiden name, the Marietta. To be honest, I'm hesitant to finish the Marietta, like superstitious bad luck for my daughter or something! Maybe I'll just leave one thing unfinished!


Real Good Toys, Children's Choice, the

CC3, the 333 Franklin St!

The 333 Franklin Street (CC3) is also known as the Brownstone of the CC collection, and when built to its specs and with the pre papered front, looks like this:

Advertised outside.
The CC3 measurements are 17 1/2"W x 12 1/2"D x 34"H, though it looks shallower than the others, due to its width. Its perfect for 3/4 (1:16) scale furniture, just like the other CCs, though all of these homes are listed as 1:12 scale in their plans and advertisements.
Advertised inside.


Sourcing and Plans

So in 2017 is really when it all began.

Of course, being a Strombecker kind of girl, I have to have a dollhouse to house some of my Strombecker furniture collection. Strombecker's stylized 3/4 (1:16) scale size lends perfectly to Art Deco, at least in my mind, and I fleshed that furniture out with handmade fireplaces and mini resin replicas of Vladimir Kagan's sectional furniture from the Wiman/Preview furniture company.

I worked on front wall ideas with my computer and

made a set of lights from vintage E-Z-Letric light fixtures, modern LED battery pucks and brass electrical fittings, all to get me inspired.



Wall and Floor Alterations

I decided to bash at least the inside, as I wanted a tall stairwell for the two sets of stairs and three floors. I designed a 3 story interior partition wall with two interior windows that my gracious husband cut out of masonite, and replaced the three small wall partitions included in the kit. 

The three floor tall partition, to the right and on top of the some of the packed up parts, ready to go to my daughter's so I could work on it while she rested from her surgery.

Floors 2 and 3 had to be altered too, then stained and polyied. And all that got finished and dried minutes before I left by car!

Left: Floors 2 and 3 ready for altering to accommodate the partition.   Right: Floors and sample, stained and polyied.

Of course I would like to say I got sooo much done the four weeks I was there at my daughter's, and really, after her dramatic surgery, she was strongly on the mend before the next block of chemo, so she wasn't the holdup. Its just I couldn't make up my mind on what the floors should look like. The kitchen floor, I had to do twice (turning it upside down for the second version) as the Sharpied black squares streaked when I tried to polyurethane the first version. Argh!!! That's the last time I'll use Martha Stewart craft colors!!!

Left: Testing flooring ideas.  Right: The kitchen floor, a second time!!!   

It was way over two months before I settled on a look for the 2nd and 3rd floors. The stencils I had just weren't cutting the mustard, and once again, I was flummoxed! First the kitchen floor and now these (as it would turn out, one of many flummoxings I was to have with this build)! 

Finally I had a tupperware lid inspiration, and finished the 2nd and 3rd floors in a matter of hours with a bronze Sharpie. Then a couple of days for polying and fine sanding.

I must say, I'm so glad I waited and did not force it!

2nd and 3rd floors. Finally!!! The right sides lines are made more deep into the floors, to accommodate being inserted in the outside wall rabbets of the kit. The bits jetting out from the floors are the landings for the stairwell.

The kitchen (outfitted with some Strombecker and a little sit down counter I bashed) and the stairwell floor, finally!

So now, onto the walls, which did take a long bit of time and had their own challenges (fabric walls again???)!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Creating an Art Deco Dollhouse Fireplace From a Craft Box

I'm always on the lookout for items I can repurpose for my dollhouses. This fireplace was created from a wooden craft box I purchased at Michael's for under $5.00.

It started out like this:
I removed the hinges and closure.

From the box top, I sketched out a plan, using the long sides as the overall height of the fireplace.

To make the arches, I used a drill with a small drill bit to help cut out the arches that both pieces would need.
The biggest part of the fireplace, I used the top of the box, its sides' thickness was just right for the overall depth of the fireplace, so I did not have to remove it arch.

The inside arched part of the fireplace, I did remove the arch and cut it in half length wise,

to create two, matching arches, which would provide the inside arch of the large piece and the arch of the inside piece,

and glued the inside arch together with a scrap piece of thin craft basswood.

I stained and painted all the pieces, cutting two half round to place on each side of the fireplace to create that Deco look.

The outsides before gluing up.
The back outsides before gluing up.

I used a little firebox I had and my Aunt Elsa's watch pendant to finish the piece.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Michelle’s Miniatures: “The Mulberry” Art Deco Dollhouse. Art Deco and Craftsman Style, 1:48 Scale. Part 6 Finished!

Last, But Not Least


Finishing the Opening Front

Finally! On the home stretch! 

Magnets, the Friend Of Wee Dollhouses

Since I had made this dollhouse front opening, I had to figure out how those front opening walls were going to open. I considered hinges and latches but thought, not only would the the hinges and latches be too obtrusive, but how would opening them work with both a bottom and a top opening wall?

I decided on magnets, and drilled holes that lined up for those magnets and glued the magnets in with E-6000 glue that works great when I have to glue metals.

Believe me, this was no easy task but it worked!


I finished wiring for the lights which made the back a bit hodge podge looking, but I figured I could figure a way to tidy that space, later!!! Its a back. Who’s gonna look at the back of a front opening dollhouse anyway!


1st Floor, furnished

2nd Floor, furnished

3rd Floor, furnished

I don't know if I'll ever do another 1/4 scale dollhouse again, working so tiny is extremely challenging! Though, what space savers!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Michelle’s Miniatures: “The Mulberry” Art Deco Dollhouse. Art Deco and Craftsman Style, 1:48 Scale. Part 5

I’ve always loved the Art Deco Asian style, so decided the 3rd and last floor of my Mulberry would be a “secret” Speakeasy with an Asian flair. I bet some folks had a Speakeasy in their home, way back then, you know, that Prohibition time!

The Speakeasy, Floor 3



I found a lovey card at the Hallmark store that helped give me inspiration for my Asian theme and purchased the last two that they had. Turns out I needed every tiny square inch of them!

For the floor I took a fabric scrap I got from a discontinued fabric sample book, glued it to some card stock, tucked in all the raw edges, and glued it to the floor.


Wainscoting & Walls

Every fancy pantsy space has to have wainscoting right? I used copper paint and a bronze Sharpie on some Greek key trim I had purchased way back when to act as wainscoting for the room and installed it along with some basic square trim I painted glossy black. I lucked out that the two trims together just cleared the bottom of the windows!

The walls were a bit more temperamental, as usual, since the windows are built in. I had to create another template to cut the scrapbooking cardstock around the windows, but it was worth it.


Safety first for Dolly!

Since I had modified the stairs and their “access”, I built a wall divider that hides the tiny landing and keeps the dollies from falling in ...

... and with some some of the paper mesh left from the card I trimmed out the ceiling, leaving a small hole for the wiring of the light.


Finally, the rooms are all done!!

With the upper walls papered with a shiny, mercury glass type scrapbook paper I could finally put the whole 3rd floor together. I must say I 'm very happy with the the result!