Beacon Hill: Kitchen Bay


After the porch, putting in the kitchen bay is a cakewalk!


The front (with the window openings) fits into slots. Because of general warpage, I had to expand my slots with a knife, but it wasn’t hard. The side fits against the window wall.


Next add the kitchen bay roof trim.


It was a little bit tricky to figure out how the roof pieces fitted together. I did it backwards at first (of course). This is the right way. The hypotenuse of each small triangle fits against the angled sides of the big piece. (The hypotenuse is the longest side of a right triangle for those who have forgotten their geometry.)


Flipped over and taped so they “hinge.”


Bay roof rests on the flat top of the bay behind the trim.


There we have it. I need to take it apart and paint all the pieces, but it’s done.


I also managed to put on the flat part of the roof on top of the third floor.

I will have to stop and do more lighting before I put the rest of the roof on. I need to hide the wiring first. So, next step–more lights! Then roof.


Beacon Hill: Front porch


The porch! This step is where I could have used lots of pictures and diagrams! It’s a bit confusing.


First–this was my Sheet 23, which has all the porch post trims (about 40 of them). When it came out of the box, it disintegrated, so I had to piece it together like a jigsaw. I managed to find all the pieces, thankfully.


The broken Sheet 23 goes back into bags and a shoebox for later use (the front door and some window trim is on it as well).


These are the pieces of porch post from Sheet 26 (which thankfully was intact). Note–there are two of Sheet 26.

Tip: By the way–I found it very useful to go through all the big sheets in the box and mark their number with a sharpie (in a corner so it doesn’t get on a piece you need!) The numbers on mine are very faint, and I got tired of searching for what number was what.


Three of each post pieces are glued together, stacked on top of each other, to create four posts. Masking take was a good clamp.


The edges of the posts are a little raw for me, even after much sanding, so…


I smoothed them out with spackling. (The post in the picture is pre-spackling–I gave it a base coat of gesso). (Explain to me my spell checker doesn’t like the word spackling? That’s what it says on the jar!)


The porch post trim pieces (from my ill-fated Sheet 23). Middle post trim (the long ones, four per post), and the bottom trim (four per post).


The spackled post waiting to dry, and the trim pieces getting a coat of paint.


The post on the left is what they all will look like. I decided to experiment with one first to see if I liked the colors. I like the dark base with the lighter pieces glued on top.


The bottom row is the “mid post caps” (one large, one small for each post) which slide down the posts from the top. I had to sand down the spackling to make them fit!


A finished post in place, with the caps–large one first then small one on top of it–in place.


The porch-roof trim. These pieces gave me problems, and there were no good photos to guide me! Laid out here from bottom to top are pieces A, B, C, and D (D is the small one).


A, C, and D glued together and painted. This part was fairly straightforward. When this is flipped over and glued to the underside of the porch roof, the long piece will go against the right side of the house, the shorter piece on the side with the front door. (I show this in place a couple of photos down.)


It was piece B that drove me crazy. I put the roof down under the trim and tried to figure out where B went. Like this? No, apparently not. I even had it glued, took it apart, flipped everything around wrong, glued it again, took it apart … Until I finally figured out ….


That piece B goes like this. It rests flush with the top of A (actually the bottom, but we’re flipped over right now), with A’s big rectangular tabs sticking up. Like this, B forms holes for the posts to go in. So B, in this picture, sits about 3/4 of an inch off the table. Who knew?


Another shot of B correctly glued to A. This will show on the underside of the porch roof (got all that?).


Here’s how the porch trim / post (A-B-C-D) support will fit on the house. Porch roof will go on top of this.


Now that everything’s painted (2-3 coats) and given a coat of DuraClear Ultra Matte varnish, it’s time to put it all together. Port posts go in the holes first. I only had to enlarge one hole, which made me feel good.


The trim in place with the porch posts pushed through the holes, held in place temporarily by tape. The house, BTW, is on its back, which is why the photo looks a bit odd.


A shot of the porch posts in the trim, from the side.


The porch roof itself in place, with the top trim painted and glued on. I went with red for the top trim.


Now for the porch foundation. This is the smallest foundation piece on the right after it had been knocked loose by the furry assistant.


Here is the furry assistant complaining that he should be able to unglue things whenever he wants to.


The right porch foundation glued back into place. It took me a while to figure out it went to the left, toward the porch.


The longer right side foundation piece goes under the porch floor, against the post sticking through, and back into the piece I glued in the photo above.


Small foundation piece on the left side of the porch. It too goes against a post sticking through and back to the main house’s foundation.


The long foundation piece goes against the bottom of the porch posts that stick through the porch floor, and against the edges of the left and right foundation pieces.



Here we are–porch posts, roof, trim, and foundation in place. This took days!

The colors might be too stark for me. I might soften with a yellow or blue, or “age” the house, or do greenery … I’ll see what it looks like when more is done!

Next I’ll do the kitchen bay setup, then return to the roof, which I’ve been avoiding.🙂

Beacon Hill: Colors

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Time to start painting the main house. I found cards of colors at Lowe’s, which shows you what paints coordinate with what.


I decided to go with an off-white called “Almond Paste” for the body of the house, using a lighter white, a brown, and a red for accents.


The front given a coat of Almond Paste. I decided to paint the porch floor in the brown, which I might or might not change. Let’s see!


This paint color is called “Fudge,” which is a great name for it. It looks just like chocolate sauce! But don’t eat it …


The front and porch floor painted. Next comes the porch, which caused me some pain. More later.

Beacon Hill: More Light Fixtures and Top


Gradually moving on with the Beacon Hill.


The beginning of a new chandelier. I need to make 24 of the little dangly things, eight on each candle holder.


The most invaluable tools when making light fixtures: Needlepoint tweeters, round-nosed pliers, and forceps. The iced tea is essential as well.


While glue dries on the fixture, I put the roof onto the house to see where I’ll need to cut it for my adventure in dividing the house in two. I didn’t want to take off too much.


Looks like I’ll cut it right there. Time to bring out my trusty table saw.


Next stage of the chandelier.


Adding the candle sockets and bulbs (Cir-Kit sells the candle sockets; HBS sells the bi-pin bulbs).


Chandelier done with the bottom parts glued in place.


Wiring the chandelier through the ceiling.


I had originally intended for this chandelier to go in the second floor stairwell, but it looks better in the bathroom–goes with the wallpaper. I’ll make something a little more rustic for the hall. This is going to be one wild bathroom.


The test–it lights! Yay! I never thought I’d be able to make my own lights, and they’d turn out so pretty. Who knew?

I have more beads and also some old, broken lights from when I gutted The Big House. I’m looking at those old lights and thinking “spare parts.” I’m going to take those spare parts, play with new jewelry findings, and see what I can come up with. Maybe a mess! But it’s fun to play.

While I’m making light fixtures, I’m going to start painting the outside of the house. In the instructions for the Beacon Hill, the porch is next on the agenda. I need the base of the house painted before I glue on porch railings.

I’ll keep working!


Beacon Hill: Third floor, Roof prep, and Oops

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Now that I have the staircase railings started and the tower front on, I’m moving up to the third floor.


I’m focusing on the tower side of the house, since I cut my Beacon Hill in half. I’ll do the other half when I put the other part of the house together on its own.

The above picture shows interior 3rd floor walls 4 and 5, which go on the right side (as you look at the house), or as I call it, the tower or porch side.


The walls slot together like this …


… and go onto the third floor like this.


Because I’m finishing as I go, I gave my walls a light coat of paint to prep for wallpaper.



I decided to use scrapbook paper to keep on with my shabby chic theme.


Now for the roof! I skipped the chimney section of the instructions, as I am sticking with the tower / porch side of the house only. The pieces here are: Mansard roof base (thick right-angled piece on the left; above it the Mansard roof base trim right; back roof edge (the long, narrow piece); the Mansard roof support back; and the pile of mansard roof supports. Also the Mansard roof top (the ceiling of the third floor).


These pieces are fairly straightforward. This is the Mansard roof base on the right side of the house (as you look at the house).


The walls added in–notice the ends of the walls go into slots in the base.



The “roof support, back” has two notches in it–to go on the two tabs of the wall.


The rest of the supports go around into the slots.


The support on the left doesn’t have a notch in its nose. This one goes against the tower wall, where there is no slot on the roof  base.


Pretty straightforward so far. I’m not going to put the roof panels on yet–the supports aren’t even glued. I want to do more with interior decorating and electrics first.


Oops number One: In my zeal to move on, I totally missed a step. There are two long wood strips called “second floor back edge” and “third floor back edge.” Because I’m not using the interior walls, I didn’t see the instructions for this (which were at the bottom of the section on interior walls). Basically, they are long strips that finish the back edges of the house.

But–since I already put the long vertical strip on to hide the tape wiring, I had to cut the pieces to size.


Fortunately, they were easy to cut with a saw and miter box.

Then I had to paint the backside of them, because I’ve already finished the ceilings in the rooms, so I didn’t want to glue them on until they were painted.


Here they are glued in place to finish the back edges. The interior sides are painted the vintage white color I’m using for the rooms. I’ll paint the outside either the house or house trim color.

Oops Number Two:

I realized when looking at the roof piece, that I really need the interior wall of the third floor (the one that would go between the tower and the part of the house I cut away). The wall needs to support the roof.

So I grabbed the third floor interior wall, stuck the door I’d punched out back in, and wallpapered it.


Because I cut the third floor in half, I cut away the slots that take the wall notches. I decided to glue a strip on the underside of the second floor ceiling to support it (finishing the strip to look like molding on the ceiling below).


Once the wallpaper was on, I stuck the wall in place.

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Now it’s glued in and attached to the tower.


I plan to put a wall on the empty side, but thought I could wait–however if I want to figure out where I can cut the roof top, I needed to see where it would land on the top walls … And so, the wall is back in. It looks weird now, hanging in space, but there will be more walls below it.



Now that I have *that* done, I’m going to stop building and continue with lighting fixtures and flooring.

I’ll be making another chandelier!


Warning, buying findings and putting them together is addicting …


Beacon Hill: Finishing the Stairs and Moving On




Once the lights downstairs were finished, I could add the flooring to the staircase hall. Now, I can go on to putting in the railings and posts of the staircase.

Just a note: I advise getting out wood sheet 27 with all the staircase posts and rails and the schematic drawing for sheet 27 and staring at both until you figure out what is what. It helps to take a pencil and label the pieces on the sheet so you’re familiar with them, and you know what they are when you punch them out.

Notice that there are a bunch of pieces marked “staircase posts.” Those are used in most places, except at bottom of the first floor, bottom of the second floor, and the end of one end of the shorter second-floor bannister railing. I mention it, because my instructions weren’t that clear. I’ll note in bold where those are.


The instructions start you off prepping the banisters that will go around the staircase openings. I opted to do the second floor only and do the third floor once I have the flooring in up there.



The three pieces where they will go.


Pre-gluing the shortest banister and longest at right angles.


Next I painted to go with the rest. Posts and top rails will be stained.

For sealing the wood, I’ve started to use Dura Clear Ultra Matte from Folk Art. I paint a coat of white (or whatever color) then a coat of Ultra Matte, then a second coat of paint, the finish with gloss varnish (also Dura Clear). Find Dura Clear in Michaels or other craft stores.


Posts are glued flat on the ends of the railings. The instructions were a little unclear, and it took me a while to figure out that the flat side is glued to the flat part of the railings. I thought they went on the ends, but no.

NOTE: One end of this railing section is narrower than the other (on the left hand side in my photo). The right side here gets a regular “staircase post”, the other gets the “Second floor narrow post trim.”


Here are the railing sections with the posts glued on and the top and bottom rails glued on. The top and bottom rails actually do go on the edges.


Putting the railing sections aside, we start adding posts and rails to the staircase itself. This first one, at the bottom of B is the “First floor long post trim.”


Now I add the corner post between A&B  (This is Piece A & B Corner trim). The notch goes over the railing section. The short top rail goes on piece B.


“Pieces A&F corner trim” goes on the outside of F like this (one end has an angle that follows the angle of the staircase, and a notch to go over upper railing section). The top rail A goes on top of the railing.



The posts at the top of the stairs–again, they go flat against the railing sections, not on the ends. (These are some of the ones labeled “staircase posts.”)


Railings, of course, go on top of the railing sections.


Last, I put in the prepared railing sections that go around the staircase on the second floor.



At the bottom of the second staircase is the “Second floor long post trim.” Rail goes up the stairs on top of the long railing section. A notch in this rail helps fit it against the opening to the third floor.

I’m stopping there–I’ll do the third floor later. Plus there are “Post Caps” that go on the top of the posts.

I’m not sure I like the unfinished look of the staircase posts, as though someone bought 2x4s at the hardware store and made a staircase. But I’ll probably trim them later, or I’ll see what kind of trimming the instructions has us do.


Now I can at last put on the tower front. I had to do some slot trimming, plus I had a bit of warpage, but painters tape is helpful to hold things in place while the glue dries.


The tower all in place from the inside.

Next I’ll continue decoration and move up to the third floor and start on the roof.

Beacon Hill: Electricity and Making my Own Lighting Fixtures

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I realized I needed to stop and plan the electricity before I finished the staircases (with railings and posts), because:

I want to do chandeliers

Chandelier wires will run up to the floor above

I need to have the wiring in place before I can put the flooring in

I need to put the flooring in before I can finish the staircases.

I had the mad idea to make my own lighting fixtures for this house, which turned out much better than I expected! (photos below)

So, here we go. I decided to do tape wiring–I will do mostly ceiling lights, so tape will go on the floors, where it will be hidden by flooring (which I won’t glue all the way down so it can be removed for repairs)

I pondered a long time how to run the tape, considering I had already finished some of the walls.

I hit on building a small wall in the back and running the tape up the inside of that, hidden from all eyes.


A 1-inch by 1/8-inch wood strip. The strip not only hides the tape but the raw edges of the interior walls.


Tape runs up the inside of the board, which will later be painted.


Comes out on the floors.


This is as far as I’ve gone–floor of the third story. When I get more walls and the roof on, I’ll continue. You’ll notice my messy folds. I prefer to fold rather than splice, because splices can come undone. I learned to do this from the book: Dollhouse Lighting: Electrification in Miniature (

Now: The lighting fixtures.


Here are some of my supplies. I had to go buy a storage box at a craft store for these along with what I already have.


I had in mind to make a “porcelain” chandelier using instructions found in the book “Bangles, Baubles, and Beads,” sold by JAR / JAF Miniatures (click on “Books” ; they also have the electrification book)


Findings being glued on the main chandelier wheel. This will be electrified, but by a single bulb while the candles are faked.


The basic chandelier put together.


A glossy white coat transforms it.


Next, I painted the leaves with Kelly green tube acrylic paint (Liquitex).


I wasn’t certain of the color for the roses until I put it on, but I like it! The pink is also Liquitex tube acrylic paint (found in the artists section of craft stores or art supply stores). The color for roses and leaves is dry-brushed on very carefully. No globs!


The finished chandelier (except for the candles)


It lights! (Getting the wires through the medallion and the upper floor involved a bit of colorful language. Even the cats ran.)


I’ve added the candles.

Now–this chandelier doesn’t give out much light, because the bulb glows through the bottom finding. Looks pretty, but not much illumination.


So I said, What the heck? Let’s add a sconce. I have the findings on hand.


This is a modification of a sconce in JAR / JAF’s book–I didn’t have the exact findings, but these were very close. The candle light socket and flame bulb can be purchased inexpensively from CirKit Concepts (  Click “Light bulbs”)


I stuck it here on the wall by the turn of the stairs. It will be hard to see once all the walls are on, but it will light up the corner.




Both lamps in place.


Another shot of the lights.

Yay! Now that those problems are solved (and I’ve stopped cursing), I will now put in the flooring! So I can finish the stairs and stop obsessing about them.


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