Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Carl Larsson Experiment: Part 5 Stairs To Up There - Real Good Toys 22 Town Hill Road CC2 Front Opening Kit

Stair Assembly

I think this kit must be pretty old, as the stairs are an assembly job, not like the RGT Tudor, which had solid stairs that needed no assembly. I'm glad these stairs came this way as I wanted them to be almost like a ladder, so you can see through them, into the kitchen. I left their kicks off, to achieve this effect. I also left them unattached to the home, so they could be removed at will for easier play. Like I play with my dollhouses! Ha!

I've used a piece of wood to clamp the sides of the stairs onto, for even spacing when I glued the treads on.

Not So Tall Walls

Well, I got my inspiration for the top floor, at all places, K-mart. Between a matching placemat and runner, I have the "wallpaper" for the small room. The embroidered print is a little bigger than what I would normally choose, but I thought, if I was painting a room like Carl Larsson, a large design might be fun!



Stairs To Up There

Now I've got all the interior sides done and the stairs and their opening all trimmed out. As you can see I can hardly wait so I put a few pieces in the kitchen, so I can enjoy my handiwork. Love that gold porcelain pooch!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Carl Larsson Experiment: Part 4 Kitchen - Real Good Toys 22 Town Hill Road CC2 Front Opening Kit

Kitchen Dreams

The kitchen of this endeavor is where I hope the Larsson emulation will shine. I don't think I can get too folksy with a kitchen!

I found this awesome vintage wallpaper online from an Etsy store, Hanna's Treasures. Small print as wallpaper goes for a real home but perfect for a dollhouse. It's unpasted so I used Yes Paste to adhere it....

I'm debating whether to poly it or not, maybe a little gloss will give it a tile look.

I used large width bead board for the paneling, I just felt it had a better look for the kitchen than the smaller bead board I used in my Barton Tudor. After staining and polying it, I dry brushed some gray craft paint over it, to give it weathered blue color and polyed it again. The ceiling is another hand crafted paper I got from Paper Source.

Chair rail is added for a even top finish of the bead board panels.

Clamping is so important. That's why I've left the back off.

I painted the rest of the little fan panels yellow and cut them down to fit over the seams of the bead board paneling. I think it give the kitchen that extra folksy charm.

Maybe later on I'll add some shelves. We'll see! I did find some inspiration for the 3rd floor so onward!

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Carl Larsson Experiment: Part 3 The Heart Of the Home, Making a Kakelugn - Real Good Toys 22 Town Hill Road CC2 Front Opening Kit

Oh my! I searched high and low for a little ceramic fireplace to fit into my Larssonesque home. When I could find one they were oh sooooo expensive. So I took my cue from some fellow miniaturists out there and made one myself.

The Ceramic Stove (the Swedes call it a Kakelugn) Inspiration

Just 'cause I couldn't find what I wanted to purchase, doesn't mean I didn't find what I wanted in looks...

There are just so many examples out there, you should have a look!

Parts Is Parts

I really wanted a simple white stove for the living room, and no paper tile adhered to a block of wood. I had seen a dollhouse fireplace that a had big chunky mantel that suggested ceramic to me, the HouseWorks' Monticello fireplace...
I used a heat gun to remove it from it's base. For the top I remembered those HouseWorks bonnet pediments, they're called, that go over window and doors, so I bought a 2 piece set of those...

... and I took a $1 fan I bought at second hand store and dismembered it to create decorative "tiles".

The stove couldn't be wider than the pediment so I cut down the chunky mantle which gave it two, large ceramic feeling pieces. I fleshed out the "torso" of the stove with leftover trim and wood pieces, scoring some with my butter knife and cutting others a bit short on their length, to emulate tile sections.

Well, it's almost done. I glued on some little plastic silver round bead caps and painted the whole thing up. I have a lovely little pewter rectangle that will serve as it's firebox cover. I think I have about three more coats of white enamel craft paint to get that gleaming tile look, but I'm on my way!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Carl Larsson Experiment: Part 2 The Sincerest Form Of Flattery - Real Good Toys 22 Town Hill Road CC2 Front Opening Kit



Carl Larsson is probably my favorite painter. His work has a ethereal, happy world feeling for me, with very lovely old world Swedish colors and timeless themes.

For this dollhouse I'm taking my inspiration from two of his paintings, "Old Anna", for the kitchen and "Cozy Corner", for the living room.

Old Anna - Carl Larsson
Cozy Corner - Carl Larsson

The 3rd floor, a bedroom, I'm not so sure about but I'm fairly confident that it's vision will come in time!


The Living Room Process

My intent is not to take Larsson's art literally, but to interpret or invoke it's essence. Gee! That's pretty ambitious and presumptuous of me! I hope my collection of porcelain furniture will give the dollhouse that last, needed, Larsson spark, we'll see!

It took a while to collect all the elements for the living room (not to mention for the kitchen). The lovely wood moldings and bead board I have bought from my favorite dollhouse supplier, Manchester Woodworks, have been stained (Min Wax Provincial) and polyied. 

Prepping moldings and wainscoting from Manchester Woodworks

For the living room trim, I wanted to have a more subtle yet refined look, so I applied some silver metallic craft paint to those moldings with my finger and polyied them, again.

I've had this lovely metal trim that I've been wanting to use for so long now, and I think it suggests the quaint formality of Larsson's Cozy Corner living room:

I've chosen a hand made gold motif paper for the ceiling and busted into my stash of wee wallpaper to find some airy vintage MiniGraphics, "Lilly Pads", to use on the the walls.


Of course one must put the floors to the walls to create rooms.  I primed the walls with a good interior primer, attached the floors (a more detailed description can be found in Part 4 of my RGT Tudor post, and left the back off, to have easy access in working on the walls.

Always apply your ceiling media to the bottoms of the floors before assembling. You'll save yourself a lot of grief!!


Testing Finishes


I'm a big one for testing. Testing concepts of media with processes' does take time, but is sooo worth it. Here's my testing board to finalize the wainscot finish for behind the metal trim...
Left: Primed board with three test finishes under silvered moldings. Right: Testing with the metal trim.

...and then applying the final choice to the walls. It came down to applying the brown shoe polish first and then the white metal craft paint on top of that, all applied with my finger, of course!

Top left: Taping off. Right: Taped area revealed. Bottom: Base molding glued and clamped.

I was able to cut the metal trim with scissors, a big plus. Of course I made sure it was centered and applied it with E6000, a smelly, clear, bonding adhesive. A gentle touch with the tube on the back of the metal trim was in order. I clamped the metal trim in place and set it to dry overnight.


Left: Wallpaper, metal trim and corner blocks applied. Right: Chair rail, ceiling and side moldings applied. Voila!

Well, I'm pretty happy with the results, fairly basic but charming I think. When the time comes I'll have to replicate this procedure on the back wall and the big opening front wall. Dang! A dolly contractor's work is never done!

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Carl Larsson Experiment: Part 1 Arrested Beginnings - Real Good Toys 22 Town Hill Road CC2 Front Opening Kit

(I do apologize for the great expanse of time since my last post. Shortly after the post, my wonderful aunt passed away, so my family and I have been consumed with getting her affairs in order for the last few months. A true labor of love however and I miss her dearly -S)



Collection Dreams, Way Way Back in February, the first one...


I realized after I finished bashing my Real Good Toys Country Tudor kit (CC15) or as I fondly call it, my Barton Tudor, I was intrigued by the Real Good Toys' compact, front opening dollhouses, known as the Children's Choice (CC). 
My kit bashed Barton Tudor

As far as I can tell, there are four in the Children's Choice collection: the CC10, "1 Country Lane"; the CC15, "the Country Tudor"; the CC2, "22 Town Hill Road"; and the CC3, "333 Franklin Street".

If I was to purchase one more of the collection I decided I really wanted the little CC2, 22 Town Hill Road.

It's roof slopes to the front, and reminds me of a little Dutch house and I was keen to decorate in a Carl Larsson fashion. Locating one however was no small feat as none of the companies that advertised them, had none. As I tried to order one after another, the companies would remove it from their sites, and leave my order in an unfilled state. Apparently this little home was discontinued by Real Good Toys as I can't even find it referenced on their site. 

What a shame!!

Lucky for me, at the time, eBay had one, and I won it, of course for more than I wanted to pay. But as far as I know it might be the only CC2 22 Town Hill Road kit left in existence!

Soon after the kit arrived I got word my auntie passed and it was shelved for six months. 



 Everything On Hold...

During that six months, one way or another, I worked on my auntie's real little home in Colorado, a three bedroom, one bath, brick ranch, built in 1958. It was an honor and a joy to work on. Imagine my excitement as we removed the 50 year old turquoise carpet...

No wonder I love blue, ever ever since I was a little girl.
Its small, mid-century dining room. Original Brasillia furniture.

to reveal pristine oak floors. 


but I regress....


Summer Fling Ends


When I returned to Michigan I was in a bit of a shock and could barely manage to go to work. I was alone in this big house, my car didn't work and I missed my little Colorado home and my husband and dogs who had to stay on to see the little home's work through. So I reluctantly got the CC2 kit out, figuring I could at least start the floors, and maybe it would help eat up the lonely hours without my sweetie. I finally got back in the groove, a bit. And to this day, it's still a bit, so please forgive me as I attempt to continue to work on this project. Even with my husband and my pups home, I just can't seem to get in the groove of anything I did before.



Starting From the Bottom


Since this little Larsson home experiment is indeed part of the RGT collection, I've decided to continue the floor theme I had figured out with my RGT Tudor. I've expanded it a bit by using two different thicknesses of tape to create, I guess you would call it, a tartan look.

To see more detailed directions on how to create this floor please go to

Here is the finished bottom floor with the porcelain and brass dollhouse furniture I plan to use to suggest a Carl Larsson living room...

...and here are the three floors finished and ready to install.

Well, I hope I will continue in a somewhat timely fashion! It's good to be creatively focused again, it helps ward off feelings of uncertainty and the want for otherwhereness. Soon my grandson will come and that might change everything, once again!!




Monday, February 24, 2014

Remoldeling a Gift Miniature Dollhouse Store: the Mini House by Lorraine (and now by me!)

My wonderful hubby got this wee dollhouse store for me at Christmas. OK, I found it and he bought it, but its the thought and cash that count! 



It came with eight little 1:144 scale dollhouses, the main reason I wanted it:

"Crafted by Lorraine", and the name of the home are on the bottom of each little dollhouse. I've seen a couple of them as kits on eBay so one may still be able to find one to make. But, I must say, Lorraine did a very lovely job with each one and I'm very lucky and honored to have them.



The Remodel Begins

When the set arrived the front of the store had broken off, but that gave me the idea to make it into a front opener instead of accessed from the top. I also wanted the store to have some floor space and the homes displayed at different levels, so I set to the fun task of remodeling it (I hope you don't mind Lorraine!).


The front door it came with is a standard HouseWorks Palladian so I bought two more (with split doors) and removed the doors from their frames to create two large storefront windows. The beaded wainscoting is from Manchester Dollhouse and Wood Works, painted the same color as window trim.

The wainscoting and first shelf installed over the painted walls. I created the wallpaper border from a pict of a full size border with my awesome MacBook. The floor got gently sanded, restained and polyied before any of the other work was started.





I liked the gingerbread trim that Lorraine had used on a couple of her little tables so I located some more and painted it gold, like she had. I had just enough to trim all the displays and shelves.

Now the really fun part, setting up the store!!!


My husband won a wee bakery at our dollhouse club meeting and I found a sweet little temple grouping that got added to the dollhouse collection. I'll be adding an Old Woman In the Shoe dollhouse (it's a kit I'll enjoy making I'm sure), some battery lights and mini dollhouse books, once they arrive.


Welcome! and Goodbye Lorraine! Thanks for Christmas present!


Well now that it's done, I've decided to add a top floor, living quarters for dolly. I've found the room box kit and the HouseWorks Palladian windows that match so I'm rarin' to get busy! See ya!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Retrofit the Kit Tudor Dollhouse: Part 12 FINISHED! My Barton Tudor Dollhouse - Real Good Toys Country Tudor CC15

Ta Da!!! My kit bash is done!

Yes, finally, after four months of many and mostly "a first time for everything"s, I'm finished! The last day was somewhat bittersweet; that high that you get when you're done with a long and arduous project and that sad funk that you get when you're done with a long and arduous project! My little Tudor dollhouse...

What my goals were:
  • To protect and display my vintage 3/4 scale English Barton Tudor dollhouse furniture that I was so fortunate and privileged to get.
  • To create a sturdy, small profile, front opening dollhouse, that can be on the floor.
  • To keep the display/dollhouse within the 1:15 and 1:12 scales, for possible resale value.
  • To explore the “Tudor” style.
  • To incorporate two Concord wall dividers in creating a bay window effect.
  • To incorporate the cute medieval fabric scrap I purchased many months ago.
  • To have fun, practice patience and learn!!
I think I was relatively successful!

The Outside...

  Not much trimming on the sides, but I didn't want to go overboard. 

The outside detail of the bay that was so time and mentally consuming.

The Door Wall...

Open sesame! Gee, wouldn't it be convenient if my own house could open this way!

The Living Room...

Had to have one of those cool, battery powered chandeliers!

The Bedroom...

 I think the landing and stairs came out well!

The Attic...


A peak through the skylight.

What I would have done different:
  • I would have found a different method of insuring the chimneys evenly lined up when installing them. I’m about an 1/8 inch off, horizontally. That’s a lot in dollhouse land!
  • I would have figured out how many shingles I needed, BEFORE I stained them, especially since I made deviations to the kit’s instructions (luckily, I did have enough, once I counted after dying). You want to insure the same dye lot when dying shingles, so make sure you have enough, FIRST!


And now to furnish it...

Here's all the furniture and such, waiting to go in.

The Living Room...


English Tudor Barton trestle table, bench and chairs, the hutch and the corner cabinet. Boy! Am I lucky to have all these fabulous 3/4 scale pieces! Have a seat on the Petite Princess fireside chairs.

The Bedroom...


A Barton Tudor bed, trunk, and highboy. And by the fire, a Napoleon and Josephine Limoges table set for tea drinking.

The Attic...


 I always wanted an art studio like this!!  Barton sideboard, trestle table and chairs (yes, I have two sets!). The lovely easel was made by an artist in England. How fitting!





The Whole Kitten Kaboodle...


Well, there you have it. All that time and energy and it's just a wee, three story dolls house! Why did it seem bigger all the time I was making it???? My Barton Tudor furniture display is done. Maybe I went a little overboard?!


Thanks for the "bones" Real Good Toys!