Beacon Hill: Roof and Tower


Mansard Roof

Now that I have most of the lighting done, it’s time to tackle the roof. Looks complicated but is not.


I notice that the kitchen side of this dollhouse is rarely photographed, so I’m trying to put out as many pics of it as I can, in case this helps other builders. This is the kitchen side with bay window on, bay window roof temporarily in place (I’m going to cover it with copper). Ready to put on the main roof.


The mansard roof pieces are very thin, and bend back into place. The instructions with the kit are pretty good on this. I put glue all over the roof supports (see pic above for the supports), and on the bottom of the mansard piece and the top. Masking tape helps everything stay while the glue dries. (The window sill is there because I had to wire in the lamp before I put on the roof).

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Putting the mansard roof piece on the front. Tacks help a little, but tape is best.


Finished mansard roof on the kitchen side (there are only two sides to the roof on the kitchen half of the house). The brown stripe on it is me testing whether the color of stain will work (it’s Early American from Minwax).


I’m using shingle strips for this house. Best to stain first.


Before I put the roof pieces on, I traced them onto very thin cardboard. I’ll shingle the cardboard then glue the whole thing to the roof. Marked where the shingles strips will fall.


Shingling begun. I found out (the hard way) that it’s better to cut the shingle pieces to length first than to try to cut out the hole in the middle for the window after gluing. Live and learn.


The finished shingle sheets glued to the mansard roof. The ugly edges will be covered with trim.

Now for the Tower!

The tower is, in the kit, enclosed on four sides, but open on its bottom, so you could hang a chandelier from the very top and have it hang down to the third floor hall. Cool. But, of course, I wanted to change it.

I am interested in astronomy, so decided I’d create a little observatory up there. That means I need a floor for the tower and also to open one of the walls so we can see in. Already found a telescope for it.


This is the back wall, which I will cut for the opening into the tower.


The piece cut.


The four tower walls assembled–the walls each have a large tab on their bottom edge that slide into the large square opening in the tower base (ignore the small slots for the moment).


Because I want this to be a room, I had to put a floor back in. I took the piece that I punched out of the middle of the tower base and trimmed it down to slide it back in. You have to take out that piece at first, because the walls fit inside the opening it leaves behind.



This is the underside of the tower. I have to cover the crease of the fitted-in floor piece and also support it. I cut four strips of 1/2″ wide wood and glued it on the seam of the floor on the underside of the tower (which will be the third-floor ceiling), using the decorative squares to make it look pretty.


Here is the underside of the tower painted and ready to go.


I went ahead and wallpapered the inside, because I knew I’d never fit the paper after finishing the tower. The floor will be covered with flooring later.



I also wanted to hang a light in the third floor hall. This is an old light I had in the Big House, in the attic. I worried that it would be too long for the lower ceilings of this house, but the tower pokes up above the ceiling height of the third floor. Perfect!


The tower on, ready to be glued in place. The instructions have you finish the roof first, but I wanted to wire in the light, and I couldn’t put the trim piece on until the wiring was done, but you have to put the trim piece on to support the roof sides. Clear? (Took me a while to figure out the sequence–cut wall, glue tower together, insert floor, support floor, put in light, glue tower to house top, run tape wire to tower, wire light, put on trim, do the roof … whew!)


Here, I’ve extended the tape wire to the tower room and wired in the lamp. Then I glued on the trim (a solid piece that goes around the four sides), which I painted first.


Let there be light! It works! Yay!!!


Here’s another departure. I didn’t want to put on the tower roof, because I want to be able to look down into the room–plus the tiny telescope users will want to tilt their refractor high and look at Orion and the Pleiades and find the Andromeda galaxy (I can never see that thing).

I wanted to use the roof trim, but not the roof top. The problem is, though, that the roof sits down on tabs, and if I didn’t use the roof top, the trim didn’t have a smooth surface to rest on. Rather than try to cut off the tabs, which would be difficult at this point, I used 1/8 square strips to even out the edges.


Now to put the roof pieces on the tower, which is exactly like putting the mansard pieces on the house. I have lots of tape and clamps to help out.


So, now the tower and its roof are on.


I am now in the process of putting on the shingles, again gluing them to very thin cardboard pieces, which will then be glued to the mansard roof.

Next time–trimming!! We’re getting there!


Beacon Hill–Progress


I took some time away from building the exterior of the Beacon Hill to install more lights. Here’s one I made from jewelry findings from JAF / JAR plus the remnants of a Victorian chandelier I had hanging in The Big House.


This was my first attempt to do a light without following instructions–I based it on ones I’d already done but adapted the findings for what I needed. The glass globes came off the old chandelier.


I like how it turned out!


Next, I finished the first-floor staircase by building a false door which looks like it leads either down to a basement or to a closet.


Since I finished and wired the chandelier in the second-floor hallway, I was able to install flooring and the third floor landing railing.


Another look at the second floor staircase and new chandelier.


When I was in my yard, I noticed this perspective of the house through the window. I like how it looks, so now I’m contemplating leaving this side open. Of course, I’d loose wall space for furniture, but I’ll think about it.


I wanted to put a lamp in the third floor room that will be a bedroom. I’d made this lamp some time ago just to see if I could, but had nowhere to put it. I had to find the window sill for the dormer window in the kit and finish it so I could wire the lamp through the sill and wire it in before I put on the roof.

I still have two more lights to do (kitchen and third floor hall), but I can put those in later.


And of course, my assistants help with everything.

Halloween Interlude

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Since Halloween is nearly upon us, here’s a montage of some spooky things I’ve made in the past couple of years.

First is Ravenwood, a kit bought from Robin Betterley. All the house pieces and the art is in the kit–I supplied black paint (plus green, burnt umber, etc for aging), glue, varnish, and the bottles and book in the lower part. This is microscale (1:144) on top of a 1:12 scale cabinet (included in the kit).

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Second: A one-inch scale room box I built and filled with things I made or collected. I kept saying “Skulls! Need more skulls!”

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Happy Halloween!

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!


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