Garage (Denise’s City Cottage) Door and progress


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Started gluing everything together. Walls, painted and aged with old ads are up.

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Showing the rafters with the roof supports going in.

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I modified the front to put the Houseworks garage door in. Was a little tricky to install the door because the front wall isn’t a solid piece–they are two pieces of wood meant to fit in the frame that comes with the kit. So getting the door to stay between the pieces and glued in the correct width apart was … challenging.

I reversed the trim that comes with the house and used it on the outside instead.

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The garage door from the inside.

To be done: Front windows and all the trim go in, and that essentially finishes the kit as is.

What I need to do for my kit bash: Figure out lighting. I’m striking out finding lights exactly as I want, so I’m going to have to make them myself (eek!). Then I will cut walls for the bathroom and finish that (installing lights for it as well). Then to decorate the walls and put in all the junk!

Walls and things

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It’s fun to make things grungy and ugly instead of pristine and beautiful.

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I’ve started painting and aging the outside. I want this to be an old mechanics garage, still running because everyone in town knows the owners and trusts them with their classic cars. I aged the walls with a mixture of antique white and burnt umber paint, highly diluted. Dipped paintbrush in both colors, swirled brush in cup of water, swiftly brushed across walls and art. If I got too much on, I dabbed or lightly wiped off with a paper towel. I went with the two-toned blue and white for the base paint, because I’ve seen similar paint jobs on real buildings and think it’s hideous.

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A smattering of things I’ve collected from various places for the shop’s interior. I’ve been studying photos of small privately owned garages (and looking at them around town). The more cluttered the better!

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The interior taped again. The wall in back is the wall of my full-sized room–that side will be open. I’m testing to see where front walls, beams, etc will land. I will put a bathroom in the front right corner (on the left here as you look at this photo), viewable only from an open door. Where the paint changes color is where the bathroom will go.

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I plan to put the garage door from Houseworks in the front, rather than the sliding glass patio doors from the kit.

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Another shot of the “helpers.”

I need to figure out the lighting. Every shop I’ve seen has hanging flourescent lights. I’ll probably end up making my own. Also I want a work light (the kind at the end of a cord so my guys can see what’s under the car).

Much more to do, but it’s fun and a new challenge.

Garage (Denise’s City Cottage)–Progress


I have been so incredibly busy with writing that minis has had to take a back seat, but I at least started on the floor for my mechanics garage.

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Base coat is Americana Neutral Gray

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Paint palette for spatterdashing to look like concrete: burnt umber, black green, warm white, and black.

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Floor more or less finished. I coated with a matte sealer. (It looks like I used a lot of black green spatter here, but in real life, the green doesn’t show that much–must have been the light when I took the pic.)

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I want a drain in the floor–I took a washer (which is actually a lamp part from JAR/JAF #1480), painted it raw umber, and glued it over a screen mesh. I will give it more paint and make it look a little rusted.

Now to work on painting the walls, find artwork (signs, what-have-you) for inner and outer walls, and plan the lighting (mostly indirect, but some work lights as well). Want to put a bathroom in the front right corner, one of those kinds of filthy bathrooms most women would refuse to use. :-)


Almost forgot to add my assistants, who help with everything, as you can see.

Fun stuff!

City Cottage / Mechanics Garage — Tape Together

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Taping together any kit lets me understand how the parts work, and gives me a visual, in my space — I know how big the finished house is going to be. Mocking it up also helps me figure out how I want to decorate it.

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The instructions that come with the City Cottage kit from HBS are a simple single sheet (w/ instructions on both sides). I’ve laid out the ten foundation pieces in a grid …

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… and taped them together. Then you draw a pencil line on 1/4″ in from the edges of the foundation and lay the floor on those lines, flush at the back.

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Floor laid in place.

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I puzzled over why the floor didn’t come all the way to the front end, then realized the front bit holds the porch floor. The front wall of the house goes between the floors.

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I decided to start the tape-together from the back, so the main floor is set flush to the rear foundation. Taped in place.

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Up go the walls. They have to be supported in place while you fit the front and rear beams into the notches on either side.

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Walls and beams in place.

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This odd piece is the back beam support. See next picture.

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The back beam support gives you a little stability while you put in the outer two of the three rafters.

I have to say I wished the instructions had contained more pictures, especially photos of the pieces–even a schematic of what each piece was. I had to reason out the difference between the rafters, beams, and roof supports. Also, the smaller parts are sealed into a cardboard sleeve, which I thought just had the windows and trim in it.

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However, when I opened it up, I figured out that these were the roof supports, and they go between the walls and outer rafters.

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Four smaller roof supports (there are eight in all–four largeer, four smaller).

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I’ve taped the roof support (lighter colored wood) in place between wall and rafter (instructions say glue, but for now, I’m taping everything).

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Rear roof support. Beveled edge on top, following curve of walls.

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Rafters and four roof supports in place.

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Center rafter installed and four small roof supports taped in between the outer rafters and inner rafter.

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Front sliding glass door trim acts more or less as the studs for the house’s front.

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Two short front walls slide into place on either side of the trim.

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Windows pop into place above the walls.

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Turned around on my table so the porch floor can be put in place.

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The front with walls, windows, porch floor, and now the sliding glass door.

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A working sliding glass door, as you can see.

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The only things left in the box are the trim pieces and the acrylic that goes in the empty space above the sliding door. Screws are also included to secure the side wall into the beams.

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The roof piece is scored to curve.

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I’ve simply set the roof piece on for now, to see how it all looks.

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And that’s it! I taped this together in about twenty minutes, even with the time it took to figure out what all the pieces were.

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In my last post, I said I’d make this a garden center, but now I’m thinking–mechanics garage. With lots of grunge. Will be fun change after all the cute girly things I’ve been doing. :-)

Everything is included in this kit–windows, trim, sliding door, and trim for the outside. Everything slides very neatly into place. A good build for a simple project or a lot of kit bashing!

New Project–City Cottage from HBS

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This is the new kit from Hobby Builders Supply that they’re using in this year’s (2015) “Creatin’ Contest” I won’t be entering the contest, but I’m going to see what I can do with it.

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Here are the parts, not too many. The finished house (as in the kit) will be about 19 x 20 inches (by about 14″ high).

I’m thinking–garden center. I’ll ponder as I tape it together.

People come up with the most amazing minis in this contest, thinking way outside the box. I had the privilege of seeing one entry up close and personal at last year’s mini show in my town.

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This was from the 2013 contest (results posted in 2014). More on this entry at my post on it and on the HBS website: (scroll through top winners’ photos).

Looking forward to a brand new project!

Shoe House Landscaping

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I had a little challenge with the final exterior on the Shoe House, because I had wires to hide. I had purchased this wooden base from Michael’s a while back, and realized that the hole in the bottom (the base came like that) would be perfect.

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I gathered all the wires (splicing on more wire where they weren’t long enough), stuffed them through the hole, then pieced artificial grass around it (the German grass sheet bought at Hobby Builders Supply).

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Ready for landscaping and finishing.

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Shoelace is a piece of grosgrain ribbon that came with the kit. I painted it black and dabbed on polka-dots… or rather, Mrs. Mouse did. She didn’t like it plain.

The most amazing thing about this ribbon is that it was lying about loose while my entire real house got packed up and then unpacked (for reflooring). When I needed the ribbon, I found it right away! That will never happen to me again.

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The rest of the landscaping is model railroad supplies, painting, and glue.

Bushes around the base, which hide the wiring and hole are clumpy green model rr landscaping stuff. I tore pieces to the size I wanted, dipped in quick-dry tacky glue, and stuck it around the house. Then I dry-brushed blue, pink, yellow, and red for flowers.

The vines: I used vines to cover the wires coming out of the house. Here’s how I did it:

I took 0000 steel wool and pulled it apart until I had very thin strands but still a bit meshed together. I painted them green. You could spray paint these, but slathering on dark green acrylic craft paint worked fine.

I glued the painted strands of steel wool to the house where I wanted them (over the strands of wires). Once that was dry, I dribbled tacky glue on the strands (a small area at a time), and sprinkled loose green model railroad landscaping foam over them. When dry, I shook off the excess. Did this until I had fairly uniform green all over the vines.

For flowers, I dabbed the vines with tacky glue (I use Aleen’s Quick-Dry tacky–it’s a white bottle with a silver label), and then dribbled on colored loose model railroad foam. I’m finding that mixing colors (blue with white, red with yellow) makes the flowers look more natural and realistic.

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And that’s it! The inside still needs finishing touches, but I’ll get there. I can never build a house in one go .. I have to work to a point, put it aside, and come back to it. That way I stay excited about the project instead of burning out.

I have another 1/4 scale project I’m working on, then I think I’ll return to 1″ scale for a change!

Shoe House

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Now that I have a workspace, I can finish some projects that got pushed aside. Scroll down for the furnished interior of the shoe house, which is inhabited by Mr. and Mrs. Mouse (Mrs. Mouse likes polka-dots and pink).

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The kitchen is enclosed in the base of the shoe. I’m keeping it very simple, because you will only be able to see it through the front door and window once the house is fixed to the top.


Kitchen viewed through window (before I glued the top part of the house on).


The living room with the furniture placed, waiting for accessories and decoration.


Bedroom. Hard to see, but the bed cover is blue with polka dots. Pillows are a cute kit from The Quarter Source.


A glimpse of the bathroom, with lights.


Front door with kitchen beyond. Because this house has two rooms that are more or less hidden, I put in LEDs to make them easier for viewers to see. All rooms have indirect lighting except the living room, because I really liked the ceiling light.


Lit-up kitchen through window.

Now I need to disguise the wires, landscape the small base the house is on (which will help hide the wiring), and put all the finishing touches on the inside (accessories, plants, pillows, pictures).

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