Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lafayette Renovations Near Completion

I absolutely love this little house. I have been working on it for several weeks now, mostly in the evenings. Right now the little house sits on my work table in my craft area in our basement. I have decided not paint the outside of the house, opting instead to leave it natural. First because I like the natural ginger bread look, but more importantly because I just don't think that I can do a decent job of painting the house without getting paint where it does not belong. I went through that frustration as I repainted Heather's house last spring. Painting the gingerbread trim on dollhouses works best during the building process so that each piece can be properly sanded, painted, sanded, and given a second coat. One house builder on one of the many sites that I have consulted made the point that a really fine paint job requires lots of sanding in between coats. I never thought that I would get so attached to this little house, but I have and I want it look nice.

Inside, the house still needs the trim glued in. I do have two concerns. As you can see the house originally had a stair way to the upper level which had a bit of a curve to it at the bottom. I have decided not try to rebuild the staircase; rather, I will place the bathroom flooring over the stair cutout. I don't think I will permanently install the floor at this point. The house originally had two walls. I decided not to put the wall in on the second level, but I think I will put the wall in on the first level to give the rooms better definition.
I thought that I would share with you the pieces that I have decided to put in the house, which by the way is now knows as Sonja's House. 

The Bathroom

While the house is 1:12 scale, I am finding that furniture and pieces at the that scale are too large, especially for little Sonja. I already had this little toilet. It had been one that the girls had when they were little. I found it a while back as I sorted through their old toy box so that the granddaughters could play with their mom and aunt's old toys. 

It is a perfect size, so I looked on eBay for similar pieces by searching for 1980s metal dollhouse furniture. I found several pieces and purchased the tub and the sink. These were made by Mattel in the 1980s for a play set called The Littles. My daughter gave me the rest of her pieces, but as it turns out the sink and the stove are too small.

The rug is a paper cut-out. By googling or searching Pinterest, you can find a nice selections of printables for dollhouses. Looks real, doesn't it?

Because I am not putting in a bathroom wall, I decided that I needed some sort of room divider, so I made a folding screen: 

The screen is two sided. The bathroom side has this pretty print which is actually scrap booking paper. The frame is made out of pop sickle sticks glued to a flat piece of balsa wood. 

The screen facing the bedroom side is covered with wall paper scraps. I barely had enough to cover the little panels. I stitched curtain panels, placed them on trimmed toothpicks for curtain rods, glued gold metal jewelry beads to hold the curtain on the rod, then glued them to the screen panels.

The Bedroom

Nicely shabby bedroom furniture.

Heather bought the little bedroom furniture for me on eBay. The set has another side table that I probably won't be using. I don't think these pieces are 1:12 and they fit perfectly in the little house.

I decided early in the renovation that I would make everything for house. Well, almost everything. Well, what I am able to make. So here is my bed. I really struggled with it. The headboard is cut from a piece of craft cardboard painted with craft acrylic paint with a little printable cutout decoupaged. 

I searched through my material stash, finding bits and pieces to make the bed linens. I made the pillows and pillow cases by hand stitching them. I could have used the sewing machine, but it just seemed like a lot of trouble to take it out and set it up. Besides I have all of work surfaces piled with construction supplies.

I have spent several hours creating perfume bottles using jewelry beads and findings, mostly things that I already had. Now I find myself at Hobby Lobby looking for more beads and different findings to see what new creations I can come up with. 

These little bottles can become quite addictive to created. And how pretty they are.

Today, I found a package of Spare Parts (product name) bezels in the scrap booking section. These are just right the size to use for framed wall art or vanity trays.

The Kitchen

Every kitchen needs a clock, right? I found this little jewelry piece on the sale wall at Hobby Lobby. Perfect. And while some dollhouse designers and builders have infinite talent and patience to make their own paper towel holder, I bought mine at Hobby Lobby. 

I am using 1950s Renwal style plastic dollhouse furniture for the kitchen. An antique dealer friend of mine gave the furniture to my granddaughter, but she gave it back to me to use in the Lafayette. It will work until I find something more suitable.  (A popular collector item, Renwal dollhouse furniture was used in the old metal style dollhouses of the '50s).

I love the fruit bowl. My oldest grand daughter who is 7 loves to craft with me and is very creative. She got use the glue gun for the first time and made this cute little fruit bowl by gluing bits and bobs of beads and a little button in a large button.

I had to build a kitchen table for Sonja. I will show you how I built it from scratch in another post. I found the little chairs at ARC, a thrift store. The one chair was missing a leg, so I fixed it. I have not yet decided if I will repaint the chairs. I rather like the  hap hazard decorating style that little Sonja has. 

The Living Room

 Sonja likes the shabby look. She doesn't seem to be too picky about little details. She is one of those decorators who can take an old piece of furniture and throw a piece of fabric over it and make look like a designer piece.

She likes thrift shop, too. She found the sofa and foot stool at ARC. What a find, too, because dollhouse furniture does not last on the shelves, nor is it often donated. You are more likely to find it on eBay or Craig's List.

I would imagine that when I wasn't looking she rummaged through my material scraps and found a hunk of white linen-like cloth that she just threw over the couch. I may have to tidy it up a bit. I had tried to make a slip cover for the footstool, but it is really hard to make things fit without a pattern and proper instructions.

The living room bay window will have have a wallpapered and lace valance.

The final touch for living room will be this beaded chandelier that I made.  This one is not lighted. The house will have one lighted lamp.

I still have some work left to do and then the Grand Reveal. I will also so you how I made some of the things for the little house. 

In The Beginning

Before I bought the Lafayette, I had planned on building a room in a box to practice my techniques for the Bellingham Farmhouse that I have to build. When my grand daughters saw what I was doing, they had to do a room too. I ended up giving my boxes to them. This one is Elinore's. At 7, she is a very creative child. She has finished her room and taken it home. The bed is made out of a box lid covered with material. I made a second table top, so when she decided that she needed a table for all of the perfume bottles that she was making, I gave her my table top and let her glue the legs on. Ellie wanted a light for her house, too, so I gave her my first  try at chandelier making. She likes it. 

Lucy, 6, actually got the box I had started to make. I had already cut out the scrap booking paper for wallpaper, but she wanted a box, so I just gave her mine. She received one my improved chandeliers. I am still working on how to make them better and trying to figure out to light them. I'll share how I make the jeweled lights in another post.

I am anxious to finish up the Lafayette and get to work on the Alpine Farmhouse. Give me a few days and I will be back with the completed little house. I think you will love it.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I need to spend more time on this blog and work to get more followers. As always,  I very much appreciate your visits and comments.

Drop by my gardening blog if you want to see what else I am up to: Welcome to Ann's Garden Spot.

Have a fabulous weekend.

And may all of your dollhouse daydreams come true.


  1. Charming! I felt so sad when we were packing up to move....I had to make a decision on the dollhouse we had built for my daughter 30 years ago!. It was large and had to go. I put it for sale at our Tag Sale, and no one wanted it until a nice lady came and wanted only the bits and pieces and furniture. I sold it for a song, as they say. We gave the house itself to Big Brothers/Sisters and I hope some well deserving child who otherwise would not have had such a thing will enjoy it! Daughter did insist on keeping some of the special parts - just a box full.... your project is wonderful!

  2. I love your chandelier! And I agree - if Sonja is the kind of person who likes the company of a duck on her ottoman (or is it a small goose?), I would expect her to be a little bohemian and too artistic to be rigid when it comes to decorating.