January 29, 2013

Fun with Flooring

I was hoping to craft my own hardwood floor from popsicle sticks, but that didn't work out well for me. Despite the many tutorials online about making your own floor this way, I wasn't happy with my results.

So I purchased floor from Hobby Builder's Supply. I used the Red Oak Random Flooring by Houseworks. Then I stained it with Minwax Express Color in Walnut. I love this stain because it's water based and has virtually no scary chemical odor. But I wasn't happy with the tone I'd chosen. It was more brown than black. And I wanted a rich espresso tint.

I was about to run back to Lowe's for the Onyx version of the Minwax product, but then I realized I was out of cash for the day.

So I just made a gray wash to deepen the floor color. I took black acrylic paint and added water. Then I lightly went over the freshly stained Walnut floors. And to my surprise, it worked! I was so happy...finally!



Here's the Red Oak floor pictured here on the second story.
The room in the background will be the bathroom, which I will do in a funky tile. 




Here's the floor with the Walnut stain. Too brown for me.



Here is the floor after I applied a gray wash with black paint and water. It looks like molasses. I can see where part of the floor swelled because of the water. I think I can repair that by laying heavy books on the floor until it lays flat again.


I also glued the floors to matte board rather than gluing it directly to the base of my house. If I ever want to change the floors for some reason, it will be easier to just slide out the matte board topped with the wood flooring. I learned about this trick through the Small Stuff Digest.

My Artply House
On Friday, I'll be driving down to neighboring Florida to pick up a hard-to-find Artply Highland dollhouse that I learned about via Call of the Small. I'm so happy to be acquiring this contemporary house. I've never owned anything as unique as this, so I'm really looking forward to it. Thanks, Call-Small, for announcing that this house was for sale!

January 9, 2013

It's Been Such a Very Long Time

Hey, y'all! I'm back at it down here in Atlanta. Only weeks after I started this dollhouse blog, I got slammed with real-size life stuff...and that included remodeling three...count 'em...three bathrooms at once last summer. I don't advise anyone to do that in real-size or otherwise.

Northpark House Remodeling Phase One

So last time, I mentioned that the next mini project would be for me. Not for charity. Not for a friend or family member (although I did tweak my husband's mini comic book store a little).

So here are photos of the Northpark house that I'm presently working on. I imagine this house to be a typical American suburban house. It doesn't have lots of bedrooms, etc., but it is meant to give a "suggestion" of what a suburban house might be.

NorthPark House

NorthPark Home 

I've had this house for nearly 18 years! The house was made by Loren Korff, and I purchased it in Los Angeles at a miniatures store that's no longer in business. You might visit this site: Lori Thing to see if Loren or Lori offer this house anymore.

Kitchen addition

Kitchen Add-On

I kit-bashed the Imagination House that I purchased inexpensively at The Home Depot just before Christmas. I had the idea to slice the building in half and avoid buying an already designed addition, that I thought wouldn't meet my space needs or my budget. This will be the NorthPark kitchen and will sport an open beam ceiling. I had previously built an addition for this house from pieces of my first dollhouse (a Cape Cod style) but I didn't make it wide enough and just tossed it. I'm a trial-by-fire kinda girl; I'm not a meticulous planner. I know I waste a lot of time, money, and effort this way, but I don't know any other way. Arrgh!*^%$. With real-life size things, this is a real problem. Just ask my hubby. I once had 42 pint-sized paint samples just for one room! 



When I first began collecting miniatures, I never would have believed that I could have kit-bashed anything. But I'm braver now, having survived so much in life, so yeah.

Sure, it might have been better to have bought a Greenleaf house (I suspect it would have been easier to cut) but I have a jigsaw, and I'm not afraid to use it on 3/8" MDF.



Here's the family room. Notice, the house was not designed to accommodate stairs. This is where I reached for my jigsaw and my Dremel rotary tool. Read how I am making that work below.


Here's the upstairs. Not very much room here, but I'll deal with it anyway. That purple paint you see represents the color I was toying with when I last worked on this house. That was on September 11, 2001. I always reach for something related to my hobbies (scrapbooking, miniatures, etc.) when I'm troubled by something. Play really can be a source of healing.

Stairway

Okay, post jigsaw and Dremel tool! I carved out a space on the family room ceiling to serve as the opening for the stairs. I purchased these stairs at Ernie's Attic, which is the scratch and dent store at Hobby Builder's Supply, the good folks that bring you Miniatures.com. The stairs were 10 cents each. I bought a bag full not knowing then how I'd manage to use them.

Grandpa (my father-in-law) helped me cut one of the stairs in half to better fit the space. My jigsaw wasn't able to cut these chunky blocks. So Grandpa pulled out his heavy-duty mitre saw. Hey, I could have used that to cut the Imagination House in half, but I wasn't thinking. I was just on a creative roll at 2 a.m. in my pajamas. Grandpa probably wouldn't have appreciated me waking him up at that hour to use his mitre saw. Oh, well.




I'll cover up the sides of the stairs with "drywall." And although that looks like some weird palm tree on the wall, it's actually where I've marked where a channel should be for the hardwiring. 


The hole for the top of the stairs isn't pretty, but I will patch it up later. You can also see the channels I carved with my Dremel to hold the hardwiring later. I'm sure there was an easier way to do that, too, but I just went for it. Buzzzz.

I will create a landing at the top of the first set of stairs, and later add a handrail.

I'm looking forward to doing more on this house in the next few weeks. I realize that I work best under deadline pressure. Read the story of the Auction House I created last year for my kids' school auction. I had only a few weeks to put this together rather than the preferred two months or so.

My deadline for this remodel will be March-ish...I think...maybe. I hope. Okay, June! Definitely July!