Monday, January 9, 2012

New Beginnings

I thought if I started 2012 with a post on updates on two of my doll houses in "rehab," I might set myself up for a year of progress on projects that have long been dormant. In order to make progress, though, there was some intensive cleaning and organizing in order. As with many organizing moments in our house, it's all a domino effect. In order for me to bring two of my "rehab" houses in from our garage, where they have been patiently gathering dust on a work table, I had to clean out other nooks and crannies in our basement to make room for them near my work table.

I recently cleared off the table for my brand spanking new Janome sewing machine, which honestly scares me to death. I received it for Christmas from my husband, who is (very sweet and) guilty of feeding my hobby. He started my hobby when he bought me the Villa Sibi back in 2008! I vow to learn how to use the machine so that I can start sewing up some curtains, pillows, rugs, who knows. Wish me luck!

The two houses in question are my Betsy McCall House and the Artply by Highland. Both are huge and I needed to figure out where to put them. I bought two saw horses and had a piece of heavy duty plywood custom-cut at Lowes for a table top. I had a huge remnant of Marimekko fabric, bought for $8.00 at my beloved Crate & Barrel outlet last year, and it worked perfectly as a covering. Here's the result:

The houses came in from the chilly garage and the McCall went on the new table with my VERO and the Artply now lives in the back work room with the Citadel. I was able to finish painting the exterior of the McCall; here's a picture that shows the original light blue paint, a test paint that was too violet, and then a custom paint I had mixed from one of the stones on the exterior. Believe it or not, this painting started in the summer!

As you can see, the resulting color is a neat grey/green:

My next step is to tackle the roof...I am thinking of some asphalt shingles. Any ideas on color and shape and best place to buy?

With the Artply, I decided to clean out one of the top floor rooms, which looked like this originally:

Y U C K.

I covered the one wall with the very last pieces of some vintage paper from the UK, which I used in a room in my Citadel, and then used a textured white paper for the other two walls. The wood flooring was a keeper. I set up a quick scene -- what do you think of this house? I love the height of the room! I also LOVE that this house cost me $20!!!
Accent wall done!

Almost there...

Now that the houses are safe and snug inside I don't think I can avoid working on them when I can make the time. Here's to a productive and fun 2012!

By the way, I've got a little giveaway going on now on the Call of the Small Facebook page. Leave a comment on this photo and you can win two Reed chair ornaments from CB2! Enjoy!

Credits in the Artply: Couch and pillow by Annina; rug and lamp are minimodernistas; side tables are vintage German; plant is AG Minis; table is by Paris Renfroe; Eames elephant is Reac. Accessories are Re-ment, handmade by Nancy Tobey, AG Minis, and doll house store finds.

The time it took me: Scene took me 15 minutes, but I lost count on the painting!


  1. The work you've done on both looks great. I really like the grey/green exterior. That is a hugh house. The artply looks like it should overlook the ocean with that nice upper deck.

  2. Great start to the new year! I love your Artply house!

    I also need to find space to work on my big houses. Your idea of using the saw horses is great! I'm going to do that. Then the houses will be more accessible and maybe I'll actually finish one?! LOL

  3. Hi, just to say hello and that I enjoy following your blog. Looking forward to seeing your development on the Betsy McCall dollhouse. I'm currently hoping to negotiate a purchase of a Barton Model Home. What scale will you be working with?

  4. Happy New Year to us! This is fabulous. I can't wait to see the progress you'll make now that these are out of the garage. Those horses and that incredible find from your C&B Outlet make a GORGEOUS worktop space. LOVE IT. Congrats and good luck on the projects!!!

  5. Thanks, Kristin! I'm glad you like the color of the McCall. It is indeed a very large house...I had forgotten when it was in our garage! The Artply does look like it belongs next to the water! Maybe I'll think about a "beachy" look for the exterior.

  6. Hi, Kathi! The Artply is cool -- I like all the skylights. Now I need to figure out how I am going to renovate. The sawhorses are simple and functional. And pretty affordable! The whole setup cost $80.

  7. Hi there, Becky! Congrats on your McCall house (if it happens)! I think 1:12 will work best in the house, but 1:16 would work as well. So I will be mixing it all up, I think! Please let me know if you get the house!

  8. Hey, Mini Dork! I do love the fabric. It was one of those things where I bought this huge remnant not knowing what I would do with it, but knowing it was a great deal. The pattern is too large for minis, so I am really glad I have a use for it. Too bad it's not an oilcloth!

  9. Your sewing machine sounds like my "new" Canon G11 camera, which terrified me so much I lent it to my Dad for a year!

    As for tiles, have you thought of using black sandpaper?

  10. Estas casas de muñecas son súper modernas, me encantan. Ojalá las hubiera visto antes de las Fiestas!!
    Ahora que han empezado las rebajas vale la pensa que paséis por el outlet de queraboo.. todas las marcas de moda infantil a precios súper asequibles!

  11. Hi, TSS! Another miniaturist recommended emery paper too...I think I am going to take that route!

  12. Hola, Julia! Me alegro de que gusta el estilo moderno!

  13. The house is magnificent! Thank you for posting the pictures. I have never tried it, but how about "steel" roofing with solar panels?

  14. Thanks, Neenie! I like that idea a lot, but not sure I have the skills to swing it!

  15. Was wondering if u could help me if u still have the building instructions for the highland I have the kit no instructions and have searched all I can think of hope u can help

  16. Was wondering if u could help me if u still have the building instructions for the highland I have the kit no instructions and have searched all I can think of hope u can help