Monday, September 3, 2018

New Project: The Dura-Craft San Franciscan

My friend texted me one day asked if I'd like another dollhouse to build, explaining that he was at a garage sale and found one for $5. The lady was selling it because she became so overwhelmed with it that she couldn't finish it, so, of course, I said yes.

Dura Craft made three different versions of this house, the SF550, SF555, and SF557. This kit is 3/8 inch plywood with pieces stamped onto sheet and that must be punched out. For the most part, pieces easily release from the sheet. We also have a second kit, the 557 which is in the box,  complete, a Craig's List purchase and that house is the 3/8 inch composite or MFD wood pre-cut pieces. The booklet is stamped "September, 1996," a nice documentation.

I am making this house for my daughter who wants to age it and make it into a haunted house. It will be perfect for that, so I am only assembling it and not painting it. I am going to use all of the kit pieces and not substitute windows or stairs or embellishments, as I did with the Bellingham where I bought all new windows, door, railing and stairs.

When I opened the plastic tub, this is what I found. The question: did it have all of the pieces? Once I took inventory, it had all of the stamped sheets--23.

The previous owner had painted the outer walls and hideous green, but Jen said to leave it. She likes it and with a creative eye, she will paint over it with a gray or black. It will be cool.

I always dry fit pieces and then make a mistake anyway. This is the base that the house will be built on and the main floor.

Even without delving too far into the saturation manual, construction was fairly easy to figure out.

I did have one sanfoo. The instructions say to glue extension piece or splice piece on there main floor and the other two floors for the long frame version, which I did, making the foundation an inch too wide for the wall to fit properly. So I undid the glue--fairly easy because I used wood glue and didn't get a very tight bond. 

Knowing that the walls fit and all of the supports were properly cut, I began to assemble the windows--all 15 of them. They are easy to assemble, actually.

I punched out all of the window, sorted them so that I understood and recognized all of the pieces. The top row of windows has a curved frame at the top--could easily get confused, so with all pieces punched out, I sorted them then began sanding them.

When I was ready to glue them together, used and old--very old--vintage--cigar box as a make-shift jig to get edges straight and began gluing windows together, adding pieces of wood that the window frame pieces rest on to stabilize them.

While the jig helped to line up pieces to get them in the correct place, glued edges need to be clamped  until the glue sets and hardens.

I couldn't wait to try the window. This window will actually go in the top row in the tower.

One down, 14 to go.

My granddaughter was here the other day rearranging the Bellingham telling me things like, "You should put this here and that over there." I let the kids handle the dollhouse things because after all dollhouses are for kids' toys. Right? They do make me nervous, but I want them invested in the house so that when I am done with them they each take one and treasure it.

So when Lily, age 6 asked me to build a house for her, we went to the Real Toys web site and I let her pick out a house. I haven't taken it out of the box yet because I would like for her to help me, but she starts school tomorrow and I won't get much time with her. 

I'll finish the SF in then start this one--after I get my carpet cleaned. It's time for the yearly scrub. I come downstairs to "clean" and get ready to call the carpet fellow, but I end up doing miniatures. 

What can I say?

Thanks so much for stopping by. Do you like the new look? Let me know yes or no. 


  1. I DO like the new look! Very easy to look at each new post! And of course it's fun to see the new house you're working on! ENJOY!

  2. Yes, Ann, I like it too, it is much easier to read. Your previous font was quite small, I found.
    So here you go with another construction!

  3. What a great find! You could hardly say no for that price! It looks like you're having fun with it, so I recommend putting the cleaning off until the fun stops. That carpet will just get dirty again anyway! ;O)

  4. Hello Ann, I'm browsing blogs using my phone, for the first time ever. The new look is modern and elegant and it's easy to read with a phone.
    I have been thinking too, concerning my own blog, if it would be time for some modernization... :)
    Your dollhouse projects are always very interesting!
    Have a great new week!


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