Sunday, July 27, 2014

Building the Built Ins and Adding Baseboards

My actual house has a nice amount of built ins, in the bathroom, the living room and the bedroom/study.  They're a bookshelf/cabinet combination that's really pleasant.  The storage is great especially for someone who has tons of books.  (That's not an exaggeration.)

And there's something about them that makes the house seem more like a home than just throwing furniture in them.  As if people have really thought about how the space would be used and what would be the best way to improve that utilization. 

So of course with the dollhouse I wanted the same thing.  The first one, the Gothic Victorian, I didn't have enough experience with building to really do anything like built-ins.  If I was going to do it anywhere it would have been in the library.  I love the idea of paneled walls and shelves with a good library table in the middle of the room.  But the space wasn't very large and as we've discussed, I wasn't a good enough builder to manage that.  (Maybe the next house. LOL)

Or I could do roomboxes.  That might be a way to keep the hobby contained and still be fun.  I could sell them if they're good enough... Hmm... Well we'll see.  And I still don't have this house done so I'm definitely getting ahead of myself. 

Whenever I think of that expression all I can think of is a zombie chasing it's head rolling down a hill.  Don't' ask me why.  I'm a strange and wonderful individual and you should treasure me as such.


What were we talking about?

Oh yeah, built ins.  So you saw some that I did, the one next to the fireplace:

And the one in the bedroom upstairs:

And this turned out nice

But I wanted the built in to be a little more substantial in the bedroom.  Like the home owners wanted to make use of every inch of space.

So I started with this.

So this is the start...
Then we paint... and pray the glue holds...

Lots of praying there. 
And the next step is this...

Just to get a good idea of how it fits and if I like how it looks. 
So far so good.

I want cabinets.  Shelves and drawers are fine but I really want a cabinet or two on the wall.  Cabinets involve either sliding doors or hinges.  I decided hinges were the way to go.

Thank God for Sticky Tacky glue...
I wanted one sort of goofy cabinet and one normal one.  By the way, it helps to put hinges on the right way if you're going to make cabinets.  The above picture did not actually work right once the glue dried.  Luckily brute force wins over glue every time.  As my cat proved with the dollhouse.

Yep.  When I was working on the electrical the roof had separated and broken the tape wire.  I didn't notice until I tried to put the lights and outlets in.

More on that later... After I've finished hyperventilating.

So I fixed my hinges and managed to get two cabinet doors set.

Here we are with some paint and everything.
Then there was lots of debate about another cabinet or whether or not I should just leave well enough alone.  After all the more I added the busier the wall was going to look.

So I decided to stop messing with it and just add handles and glue it to the wall.  So far so good right?

Here we are with my fancy dancy handles.  More beads.
I like telling you guys when I screw up because then you know for sure that I'm not perfect.  I know that some of you wonder and I feel that I must reassure you that I'm only human.  LOL

I've been watching Roseanne reruns and sometimes the humor rubs off on me. 

But I did eventually get the shelves/cabinets onto the wall.

See?  All nice and white against the pale blue.
The only thing I'm debating is trim.  Once I get the baseboards in I really think I might do some thin strips of wood along the rooflines...just to mimic the crown moldings downstairs.  Because there are some gaps between the shelving and the roof and I don't like how that looks.

But before I get to that I had to work on the other idea I had.

This one took a bit longer, and oh man...not easy for me to do.  I had a few false starts and then I had to take the whole thing apart and reglue because I'd put the supports in the wrong place.  See?  Not perfect.  Very definitely not perfect.

What I wanted was a built in table/bench along the wall common to the bathroom.  There really isn't enough space for two bedside tables.  It would look way too crowded.  So my idea was to have a table/bench with storage underneath that would go around the eaves into the window area.

And I started out all right.

Add caption

You can see the little cut out for the eaves on the top.  The doors are made out of the tongue depressor woodies that I used for the porch roof.  I glued them together and held them with tape until it dried.  

Then came the tricky part.

Here are all the parts... the second time around.
I used some of my channels for the supports on either end.  It was tricky for me to get everything lined up so the doors would slide properly.

I used the left over ends of the tongue depressors to make little circles and put them on the front of the doors for decoration.  It also keeps them from bending inwards too much. 

Then I painted them white.  And glued, carefully, so that the doors would stay inline while I glued the top and bottom together.  Oh man... I really had to be careful.

See?  Real doors.

But I worked slowly.  And then... OMG it worked!

See?  It fits.  And the doors work too. 
At first I thought I might put shelves on this side too.  But then I decided a little table/bench would be better.  Shelves would be too much.

Now!  On to the baseboards.

I measured everything out...and then cut them up and numbered them.  That's always interesting.  And don't ask me why I go counter clockwise when I start.  Maybe it's because reading goes left to right? 

Lots and lots of little baseboards

But I did it.  Then I did the same thing with the bathroom.

So the room looks more finished now.
And I did the bathroom too.  I had this idea that I wanted a little defined tub area so I used the boards to make a border.

It doesn't look too bad does it?
Here's one more.

I wanted a little step down into the bathroom from the door.
I noticed with a lot of older houses the rooms aren't always level with each other so I like the little boards on the floor on either side of the door.

And it hides a few gaps the floor left.

So most of the upper floor is done.  A few things left to do.  Fixing the wire tape. (Thank you Tali.)  And the rest of the electrical. 

And I'm really thinking I need to do some more trim...just to make things look finished.  But that's for next time.

I did figure out a few things for the bathroom.  The plumbing for one thing...  I'm pretty pleased with my ideas.  See you next time.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Forays Into Tiling

Yes, I've been tiling!  This is new for me.  And when I say new I mean really new.  I've never put ceramic tile in a real house.  I've never put flooring of any kind in the real house.  I know what I want but I have no idea how to make it happen.  No matter how many home improvement shows I watch I always get hung up on the expense, the tools needed, the sheer amount of labor involved.

Not to mention the cats and the furniture that would need to be moved.  Yeah.  The whole exercise seems more than a little labor intensive.  Not a one person job.

But a dollhouse... that's a little more managable.  As you saw in the Gothic Victorian, it's usually one legal sized sheet of glossy paper or wood veneer that you glue down.  None of this prying up the baseboards, ripping up carpet stuff.

It helps that you can hold an entire rooms worth of flooring in one hand.

So what I need for my own house is a friendly giant who'll pick everything up, put in new flooring and then put everything back.  Do I have any volunteers?


Oh well.  Back to the dollhouse. 

I've been very excited about the bathroom.  I wanted to make it a little more realistic and that mean actual tile not the sheet plastic stuff I used in the Gothic Victorian.  I like how the big dollhouse bathroom looks but I want the Bungalow's to be different.

So I bought some miniature tiles.  They're about three eighths of an inch square and come in a sheet with a paper backing on what will be the front of the tiles.

My biggest problem was figuring out what to use to stick them to the wall and what I could use for grout.  Rummaging around my cabinets netted me some cauking for the bathroom, in an unopened tube.  Yay for plumbers who put in new faucets without needing cauk.

I cut a section of tile and squeezed the cauk onto the backs and pressed it to the wall in the right spot.  This can get messy with too much adhesive but the tiles won't stick if you don't put enough.  So a few attempts later and I got it to stick. 

I got another strip for the floor around the tub and a few more smaller strips to extend the area back towards the eaves. 

See how I got some cauk on the ceiling?  Luckily it wipes off with water and a cloth.
And then I had to let it dry.  That takes at least a couple of hours so to occupy my time I did a few other things.

I got creative with some little square beads.  They're glass and remind me of tiny mosaics.  I wanted a boarder along the top of the white tile.  So I got my cauk and started to put them in place. 

See? Shiny.

And I got a little...enthusiastic.  But I think it turned out well.  Gives the bathroom a little pizzaz.

I was very excited by this.

Wallpaper for the bathroom, as is hinted in the above photo.  We're going with more scrapbook paper here since I wanted something more modern than the flowery paper I used in the kitchen of the mansion.  And I also wanted the wallpaper to feel a little dated.  Like it was the height of casual fashion in the seventies and hasn't been updated because it isn't too bad and still looks good.

I thought about brown, but it seemed like it would end up too dark.  After all this bathroom has no windows at all.  We want to look a bit dated. Not dingy.

Voila.  Instant Wallapper.  I've got three sheets of this. More than enough for the bathroom.
So I got my wall and traced the dimensions onto the paper and then glued it on.  Good old Elmer's glue again.

It looks nice and bright doesn't it?  Cheerful.
I glued the wall into place with Sticky Tacky glue for the upper edges and Elmer's for the floor edge.  And since I was at it, I put in the bathroom door. All of it has to sit for a while so the glue can set and I like to accomplish as much as I can in one space of time.

So Sticky Tacky glue to the rescue and the door is installed.

See?  Nice and bright.  I really am liking this Summer Oak stain more and more.
A quick word on the door.  I thought about it and realized that if I positioned it so that the door opened into the bathroom it would be very awkward for spacing.  It would very narrowly clear the sink since its such a small space.  So I changed it and now the door pulls open instead of pushes.

I think it works pretty well.  It's something I didn't consider in the Gothic Victorian and I'm glad I remembered that with this house.

And we must have doorknobs.  It's so weird, the Victorian had six doors to stain and install not including the front door.  This house only has one.  So benefits to an open space modern home.

See the doorknob?  It sort of matches the one on the front door.
Oh, you can see some of my little extra tiles in the picture above.  Thats them with the back face up.

While I was letting all the glue dry I decided to paint and glue the window frames.

This was an interesting process. The instructions call for you to glue the frames together and run a rubber band around the raised edge to hold everything in place.  In a house with cats rubberbands are like an endangered species!

Seriously we don't have them.  We get rid of them if they come in the house because we're afraid of the male cat (who shall remain Helo) eating them or pieces of them and then needing surgery on his intestines.

So I taped and held the outer frames in place until the glue was somewhat set and then did the same to the inner frames.

See? neat huh?
I do like how nice and big these windows are.

I neglected to take pictures of me painting and adding the mid window supports but here's a couple of shots with them glued into the house.

A little blurry but you get the idea.
As you can tell from the reflection I glued on the plexiglass too.

I'm a little irritated with myself.  Once I put on the inside frames I realized something.  See if you can figure out what I missed/forgot.

Notice anything a little off?
Here?  See? It bugs me.
My OCDness is bothered every time I look at the windows.  They don't match perfectly.  Because I forgot to stain the side of the supports that would show through the windows into the house.

I could kick myself.  I thought about pulling them down and fixing them but I'm more than a little worried I'll break the wood or the 'glass'.  So I'm making myself live with it.

One more reason to get the curtains up.

But by the time I'd gotten all of this done the cauk was mostly dry so I could use a damp cloth to remove the paper backing from the tiles.  It got really wet.
A few of the tiles popped off. Cauk needs to dry completely or it won't stick.

But I glued those back down and let them dry while I fiddled around with the tiles near the eaves.

I ended up putting a few little tiles in so it looked smoother near the roofline.
And I realized something as the cauk was drying again and I tested how everything would look with my little sink.  I wouldn't have a level floor unless I either tiled the whole thing or I figured out a way to raise the floor so it was equal in height to the tile.

I really didn't want to tile the entire bathroom floor.  For one, it would make the tile around the tub area not stand out as much.  For another, I didn't have enough tile.

So I started to figure out other ways to raise the floor. (Hey that rhymes. LOL) 

Did you know that cardboard is a very helpful handy thing to have?

I cut out a piece to match the room and then cut out chunks to accomdate the tile and the doorframe.

See? Almost perfect.
And when I had it right I glued it down to the wood floor.

Now when the wood goes down it'll be level with the tiles.
That problem taken care of it was onto grouting.

Uh, I didn't have any actual grout.  I didn't even have any dollhouse grout.  What to do what to do...?

Go rummage through my cabinets and see what I have leftover from house repairs of course.  Seriously guys, its a good thing I don't throw stuff away until I'm certain its useless.  The spackle I found needed mixing because the liquid had started to separate but it was nothing a little elbow grease couldn't fix.

On a side note, my doctor would be pleased with me because every time I do some project for the dollhouse I end up with my heart rate increasing and I feel like I'm sweating like a pig.  That's an attractive image right?  Who came up with that saying anyway?

I'm told that in the south Ladies glow and Gentlemen perspire.  I have no idea what species that makes me.  Probably not a lady.  Unless by glow they mean red in the face.

But back to the workout I had remixing my spackle.  And I did not have a spackling knife or putty knife or whatever that thing is that looks like a huge flat screwdriver blade.

I used a regular butter knife.  And it worked pretty well both for mixing and applying the spackle as grout.  See?

It isn't perfect. But perfect is boring.

I like how the white spackle/grout makes the colored tiles stand out.  Here's another picture of the whole thing.

Excuse the shadow.  Picture taking is not my strong suit. Obviously.
One more detail shot.

You really see the little colors here.
And then I had to let the spackle/grout dry.  But I tested the level of the floor with my sink and then got to thinking about a backsplash for the sink. Sooo...

I neglected to take into account one little thing however.
If I put a mirror over the tile it's too high for a doll to look into.  And the lights would go above the mirror.  Soo...

Let's make that backsplash just a little narrower shall we?

Not perfect but better.
There was a lot of waiting for things to dry.  Have I mentioned I'm not so good with waiting?  Yeah... so I started doing something else.

One of my house 'wish list' projects is wood flooring.  And not just any wood flooring.  I want the wood to run diagonal to the walls.  I saw this on a home improvement show and it makes the rooms look huge.  I'm sure there's a technical explanation but I just know I Like.  Lots.

So I got to work on the bedroom.  Yet another cardboard template of the floor later and I was happily glueing (rubber cement this time) my floors down.

I'm so thrilled with how this looks.
I mean it's so pretty.  And different from the first floor.  Slight color change, variated boards, and the angles... Husband laughed at me when I was just petting the floors.

But I put a coat of finish over them.  It's not supposed to make everything super shiny, just give it a nice gleam.  Hard to tell in the pictures though.

So pretty!  Can't wait to get the baseboards in.
And while that was drying I could go back to the backsplash and clean it up and spackle that.

See?  Just the right height.
 Here's a slightly better shot.

Fun part was figuring which tile to put where for the edges.
Then I got the floors into the bathroom.  No diagonals here, just straight boards.

I've got a little edge showing near the door but I'll fix that along with some other finishes.
While that was drying.  Lord there's a lot of drying in this house. 

As I was saying, while that was drying I put up the rest of the wallpaper.

Just dated enough.  Not insane but I like it.
One more strip in the back to cover up the wiring tape.

Just the right touch to the walls.  I definitely didn't want this on the ceiling.  Too busy!
And we're all ready for a test run.

Swoops isn't thrilled.  There isn't enough room for him.

He couldn't even fit through the door without squishing.

But it looks really nice.
Now to figure out the tub/shower fixtures, some towel racks...

All details for our next post.  Which has yet another built in project.

I think I might have a built in addiction.  I need help.   Seriously.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hobby vs Obsession

So I think...I might have a problem.

It's a well known fact, at least by those who know me, that I have an addictive personality.  Examples of this include eating a carton of Oreos (or bag of potato chips, pint of ice cream, whatever) in one sitting, being unable to put a new book down until its done (reading until 2 in the morning when I have to be up at 5:30) or writing all night and into the morning when a new idea seizes me and won't let go.

For those of you who don't know me as well as the folks familiar with the above issues, or at least you haven't seen me in a while, I'm a fairly creative person.  In the house I have supplies for jewelry making, scrapbooking, sewing (by hand and machine) lots of yarn and embroidery silks.  It's rare that I look at something and don't think, 'I wonder what would happen if I did this with it?'  It's why I end up with so many ideas, tangents, daydreams(?) with fanfiction. 

On the dollhouse side of things its seeing something meant for a completely different purpose and thinking 'I bet I could use that in a dollhouse'.  For instance seeing a five gallon bucket on the side of the road makes me think of little people (ie Borrowers style) living inside it and how I could turn the bucket into a dollhouse.  You know, complete with dirt and a mound of leaves for it to be half hidden against/inside.

Living with felines just makes the whole concept more of a challenge.  I took the easy way out with the Gothic Victorian and built the plexiglass case.

Not pretty but functional
Someday I'll build a table or island for the room and get my dining room table back for other things.

The Beachside Bungalow is...more challenging because I don't have a case for it.  I may end up trying to build one, or a large cabinet to keep it in.  Or I'll just keep the back to the wall and hopefully the cats out of it.

You know, once the kitten can't poke her head into the windows.  She's small enough to climb right through.

But its the challenge that excites me.

For instance lately I'd been wondering how hard it would be to build a dollhouse that opened from the side on a hinge like the Fisher Price dollhouse.  Like this one, that I grew up with.

See? Self contained, with a handle to carry it around.

Not that I want to carry a 1:12 scale dollhouse around (though the idea has some appeal).  But the enclosed idea has its merits for someone with a kitten who thinks she's a miniature building inspector.

I got to the point of seriously thinking about it.  If I didn't build the house from scratch it would require some serious kit bashing (as I'm told the process is called).  for instance, the Beachside Bungalow would require two kits, with parts of the side walls cut off and a decision to wrap the porch around. (Which is very appealing.)

I'm also fairly interested (obsessed, addicted) in realism in dollhouses.  I like the idea of the space being used the way an actual family would.  So a lot of the ways dollhouses are set up irritate me.  How many 'real' houses have only one bathroom?  How many of them have only two or three rooms on one level?  Or have the bathroom in an area that isn't over the kitchen or laundry room.

My parents had an addition put on the house and so I got to see in person a lot of the things that go into making a house work from a practical standpoint.

So there's kit bashing and then there's getting blueprints/plans for an actual house and figuring out how to make it work as a dollhouse.  Or getting brave enough to draw out my own plans.

Then I saw these amazing people.  And suddenly I have a whole new idea of how to use the lazy susan I have sitting in a closet.

Revolving dolls house
I mean amazing!

So of course I'm thinking of ways I could do that.  An elven mage tower?  A small keep on the side of a mountain, guarding the pass?  Or a modern house with its own unique design.  Each has its merits.

Either way this hobby isn't dying off the way others have.  I take a rest now and then but I'm finding more and more interesting things to play with and turn into miniatures.  And building my own from scratch is getting more and more appealing.  Especially as I get better at finishing touches.

So my addictive/obsessive personality is... well.  Hopefully I'll figure out some things to make and possibly sell so I'm not buying tons of things with no point but to collect.  I've got some ideas for that too.

But when don't I have ideas...

My brain is dangerous I tell you.  Dangerous.