The Big House Updates


I have updated all the photos in The Big House section of this blog (see top or right-hand menu). It’s just about done! Here is a taste of each room:


Front porch

First Floor:


Entrance Hall


Music Room

Second Floor:


Second floor hall


Kitchen (right side)


Kitchen: Left side


Utilities room

Third Floor:


Third floor hall





Fourth Floor (not as finished):




Artist studio


Game room

Almost done! Each room (esp top floor), needs a few finishing touches, and that’s it! It’s been a fun overhaul. I wonder if the next house I make will be “normal.” (Nah.)

Musing on new projects

1 Comment

Now that I’ve achieved some mini goals this year (half-scale Bungalow, the HBS kit that I turned into a garage, and revamping the electric system on the Big House), I’m pondering new projects.

Right now, I’m not in the mood to open another kit and go through the steps. I am debating whether to design a house myself or learn more furniture building from scratch.

Possibilities: A new half-scale house based on real houses I saw in South Carolina.


A trip to Charleston introduced me to Charleston Singles, houses that are one room wide on the street. You go through the front door to find yourself on a long veranda that runs alongside the house, far back into the property. They’re built like that to catch the winds for ventilation.



Aren’t they gorgeous? I have to wonder why more dollhouses aren’t designed like this–dollhouses are typically one room deep (for easy play or viewing), and these houses are one room deep too.

The street front and veranda would be the dollhouse exterior; the interior could be viewed through the open back opposite the veranda side (or fully enclosed with maybe both ends swinging open).

Just a thought!

I looked up floor plans on the Net, found some from the olden days:

Basically the downstairs was a drawing room, hall with stairs, and dining room; bedrooms upstairs. The kitchens were in the back of the property, usually not attached to the house.

I’d want to do a “modern” house, with kitchen inside (and a bathroom or two).

Then there’s this one, which I think I saw on Pinterest


Lovely! This one could be small enough in 1-inch scale to not take up much space.


Finished Halloween Room



I finished the Halloween room! Before Halloween! Scroll down to see the room from all angles; click pics for closer views. Enjoy!


An overview.








This cool, kind of steampunk-y table is by Bobbie Johnson. She does such beautiful work. There’s a gator underneath!




Most of the things in this room came from my stash of stuff that didn’t fit elsewhere. I bought a few things, like the potion bottles and the skull candle, but much was acquired hither and yon. The orange lights in the back hall can pulse on and off. Looks cool!

Halloween Room

1 Comment


This kit inspired me to build a whole room around it, continuing the dark and creepy theme.


I had a roombox kit I’d found on sale a long time ago (I think from Hobby Builder Supply). It’s very simple–three walls, top, bottom, and glass front. Decided to use brick paper for floor and back wall, which will be a hallway or staircase, seen through an arch.


The false walls roughed in. I had the fireplace in my stash from an old project that never got going, and the Bespaq unfinished table looked right.


I painted the table in Folk Art’s vintage white and then antiqued it with burnt umber and antiquing medium.


The inner walls are foamcore (which I don’t really like, but it’s what I had on hand). I made the walls “stone” by first painting with a coat of slate gray, followed by a coat of warm white mixed with terrarium sand. Once that was dry, did washes of vintage white and several grays. Stones are marked with a very thin lead pencil.


The “hallway” will be lit with spooky orange light, courtesy of this string of battery operated lights I bought at Hobby Builders Supply.


Grunging up the fireplace with washes and dabs of watered down dark forest green, burnt umber, and vintage white. I dabbed or brushed on the runny paint (mixing up the colors as I went), then wiping with a paper towel.


You can see the difference after painting–the stone the fireplace is sitting on is untouched; the fireplace has been grunged.


One of my ever-eager-to-help assistants.


I wanted to do weird light effects so purchased a flickering fire unit from Cir-Kit Concepts. Bulbs go into a fake coal pile.


This will hide the bulbs (I hope).


Bulbs are wired into a flicker unit, which is in turn wired into the regular dollhouse wiring system. Needs a 12V AC transformer (which is a typical dollhouse transformer).


You can see the sequence–bulbs in fireplace, through back of fireplace to false wall, to the flicker unit, and its wires (the black ones), will go through the outer wall of the roombox.


Everything installed, and the false wall glued into place.


Another light will be this lion head sconce …


Now grungy with burnt sienna paint.


The walls set in place.

Next, I will finish gluing in the false walls, trimming everything, then decorating with the fun stuff! More later!

Small Projects

Leave a comment

After a big project like the half-scale Bungalow, I like to calm down by doing short-term, easy projects. Plus I’ve been working like crazy on a new book, which is now winding down (whew).

I did two projects–finished the cute spice tin, then did a fun, spooky one for Halloween that inspired a whole room.


Completed 1/4″ scale spice tin I’d started a while back. This is a kit from Robin Betterley called “Mayblossom Morning.” (At her site, find under “Our Products” then “Holiday Vignettes–1/4 scale.”)


I went for the whole shebang–spice tin kit plus three kits to furnish it. I did not use all the furniture from the kits–had a table and chair leftover, which I’m sure will find their way into another project.


The tin kit comes with the lighting (LED with battery) that rests between ceiling and lid.


I was attracted to this kit because of all the birdhouses. Love them.



I set the mini “tin” with a real antique ginger tin in my kitchen.

Ok, spring is out of the way; now it’s onto dark, fun stuff.


This is a kit, in 1-inch scale, by Ginger Landon Siegal. I did her diner kit a while back, saw this one on her website, and couldn’t resist. Working on it served as a nice break when I was writing and wanted to throw my computer across the room (I didn’t).


The kit inspired me to build an entire Halloween room and scene for it. I had a roombox kit I’d bought at a deep discount a long time ago that’s just been sitting in my closet. Waiting for the perfect moment, I guess!

The bare bones:



Next post, I’ll go through how I’m building and lighting the box–hopefully I will get it done before Halloween! It will be filled with potions, skulls, caldrons, and other creepy stuff.

Thoughts on the RGT Half-Inch Scale Bungalow


Here are some thoughts I had while working on the half-scale bungalow kit, and some tips for those building it.

1. This is a good house for a beginner, in my opinion (though I don’t mean to imply more experienced builders won’t have fun with it!). The bungalow is small– fits easily on the corner of a table as you can see. It’s lightweight, easy to pick up and move, or turn over to work on.



2. The main section of the house consists of five or six simple solid pieces: ground floor; second floor; front; sides; main roof.


There are many fiddly little pieces, true, but most are trim, and easy to glue on once painted. My tip is to stick the the rafters and brackets on a piece of masking or painting tape, sticky side up, and paint them all at once. (Spray painting is also fast.)


3. Tape the house together first to get an idea how everything fits.


IMG_3134 (1)

4. Paint exterior before starting to glue the house together.

5. The instructions, while thorough, are for finishing the exterior only, no instructions for the interior (so you can choose your own decor). I think it’s important to finish the interior as you go, especially in half-inch scale, to avoid having to put large hands into a tiny space to paper or paint walls / ceilings. (My hands are huge!)

6. I decorated from the ground up. Starting with the first floor, I laid tape wiring, then papered / paneled over it. (See my post on wiring this house.)


6. I finished the underside of the second floor (first-floor ceilings) before I glued the second floor on. Then I brought the tape wiring up to the second floor, did the wiring, painted and wallpapered.


IMG_3290 (1)

7. I finished the entire interior EXCEPT trim and flooring as I went.

8. I painted / finished the interior of the roof and dormer window before I glued them on. Much easier than trying to do it after gluing.


9. Once the exterior was finished (all outside trim attached, shingles on), I then put flooring in the interior (measured flooring, cut sheets, installed with dots of glue–I never entirely glue down a floor in case I need to take it out for wiring repairs).


10. I then trimmed the interior (door trim first, then baseboards, then cornices. I also had to trim the ends of my living room front wall because my wallpaper was too short! (sheet came that way, and I didn’t want to piece it)

11. There are no trim pieces provided for the back exterior of the house. Those I painted and cut from 3/8 x 1/16 strip wood and 1/4 x 1/16 strip wood. I trimmed every raw edge I could find.


12. Latex paint is best for the house’s exterior. My exterior walls were milled plywood and MDF–latex was good for the MDF as well. Several coats are necessary, with light sanding in between coats.


13. I used craft paint (Americana and others) for the interior and back exterior trim.

14. Porch floor: I worried about laying a porch floor, because that would change the thickness of the floor, and the posts are cut to the exact height of floor to porch ceiling. I ended up painting with several coats of Folk Art Medium Gray (craft paint) to simulate a cement porch floor. I used the same color for the lower part of the posts (which I textured with terrarium sand mixed with the paint) and the steps.


15. Foundation: I could not get paint to look good on the foundation (textured with sand or otherwise), so I covered it with textured stone paper (model railroad supply).

16. One last tip–shingling is made more bearable if you listen to an audiobook or watch a video while gluing on the shingles … one at a time …


This house has a good look to the exterior and is relatively easy to put together. I am glad I chose the half-inch house–it looks great but doesn’t take up much space (which is at a premium in my house!). I had originally thought to do the 1-inch scale, but I’m glad I went small.


I wasn’t as happy with the interior (too chopped up, not realistic enough), but I managed to move things around until I liked it.


Now to furnish!

See my other posts on finishing this house:

Go forth and build!


Half-scale Bungalow–Complete!


The Half-Inch Scale bungalow by Real Good Toys is complete inside and out! I haven’t furnished it yet, but the work is done!



The interior has been trimmed and finished. I moved the staircase, obviously, from the end of the house to the middle. Also made this room the largest by having the partition to the right of the door (looking in from the back) instead of on the left as in the prototype. Added a fireplace too.


This will be the kitchen.


The biggest room upstairs will be the bedroom. I don’t mind the stairs coming out in the middle, as I was going for a “loft” feel.


Bathroom. I’m pleased with how the “mural” made out of scrapbook paper came out.


Overview of the back of the house.




There we have it! I started this house in June–for me, building and finishing the whole thing by September is good. (I have written several books and left town a couple of times since then.)

In my next post, I’ll leave some thoughts and tips on building this kit. I enjoyed it! One of the easier kits I’ve done.

Older Entries


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 105 other followers

%d bloggers like this: