Denise’s City Cottage–Garage–Purt Near Done!


The mechanics garage I built from HBS’s Denise’s City Cottage is pretty much done! Scroll down for pics of finished exterior and interior. Click pics for larger views.


Outside, vehicles can fill up with gas or get air in their tires.


Side view with security light.


An overall view.


Overhead shot of the interior. I chose not to put on the roof for easier viewing. I also added the bathroom. The walls are not part of the kit.


Details. Many of the accessories I found at Wright Guide Miniatures, Mainly Minis, and Hobby Builders Supply.





I’m glad I took this photo, because my cats chewed apart the jumper cables not an hour later. I can save them, but still … I purchased this battery charger and battery at a show.



I’ve had to use bathrooms like this on the road. When you gotta go …


Wright Guide Miniatures even had the girly calendar! With twelve vintage beauties. I hung another in the main garage by the large tool chest.



Overhead shot of the bathroom. The grungy single lightbulb is from The Lighting Bug. It was perfect for this room.






There you have it. The only thing I have left to do is hook up the lights and finish the foundation. The wiring goes down the hollow bathroom wall and under the house and will come out the foundation and be attached to tape wiring.

In another post, I’ll show how I built the bathroom and grunged everything up.

I will likely throw in more accessories and posters etc as I come across them, but for now, it’s done!!!

Half-inch scale Bungalow–Rethinking the interior

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Now that I have the first floor front and shell done, I’m thinking about finishing the interior.
First, the second floor I have is very warped–I’ll have to do something about that.

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The interior of this house doesn’t sing to me yet. I could finish it as is, but I keep wanting something more…

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I’ve put a chair in that I took from one of my other half-inch houses to show how much room I really have. I’ve chosen to position the divider to have the larger room contain the staircase, while the smaller room will be the kitchen.

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This will be the kitchen. I toyed with cutting another door in the side for a back door and porch, but I’m still not sure I want to do that. That would take away more wall space. On the other hand, what house doesn’t have a back door?

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A shot of the exterior side. I’m fine with how the exterior looks–it’s why I bought the kit!


So, this morning, I had a few nutty ideas. First, I cut the staircase apart so I could have a wrapping staircase with a landing instead of a straight one against a wall.

I also thought about the bungalow I lived in as a child. These “modern” houses had a floor plan unlike older houses that opened into a staircase hall. We walked right into the living room (some have a small foyer), and the staircase was placed more or less in the middle of the house.

I toyed with the idea of doing that here, but I wasn’t sure how to work it. Then I had the idea to have the staircase against the partition wall instead of the other side of the living room. Why not have it up the middle wall, which is how most houses are laid out?

This will entail cutting a new hole for the stairs (I’ve marked it on the floor), but what the heck? I have a saw. I’ll have to plug up the other hole as well.

To accommodate the stairs coming out on the next floor somewhat realistically, I’m going to do away with one of the partitions upstairs (the right-hand one looking from the back of the house). It might have to use beams to brace the roof where the partition wall should go, but I can do that.

I’ll have the room where the staircase comes out a giant loft bedroom, with the smaller room on the left being a bathroom.

With the stairs moved, I can put fireplaces in to correspond with the chimneys that will be added to the roof.

Now it’s starting to sing! I’ll see if I can do this as planned.

Half-Inch scale Bungalow–Painting and Starting to Build

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The parts of the RGT half-inch scale Bungalow laid out for painting. I always forget when starting a dollhouse a) how much pre-painting I have to do; and b) how messy it is! But mess is half the fun.


The main colors I chose for the exterior. The red is called Autumn Apples, a paint by Valspar that I got at Ace Hardware. The finish is eggshell. For the railings and all the trim, I’m using leftover paint from repainting the hall in my real-size house. The can does not have the color on it, but it’s a dark white, almost sand colored. (On the walls of the real house, it looks browner than the light white for we used for trim).



The parts after the first-coat painting. I put on three coats, sanding between, before I liked how it looked.


The post bases. The ones that wrap almost all the way around go on the corners; the U-shaped ones are the center posts.

Originally, I was going to leave the post bases the same sand/white as the rest of the railings and posts. But they didn’t look that great (they’re MDF), so I decided to go with gray stucco.


I mix my own stucco with white terrarium sand and gray paint (medium gray from Folk Art). I should have painted the posts gray first before I put on the stucco, because the white I’d already painted showed through, but live and learn.


I mixed the gray and terrarium sand, painted that on, then after it dried, went over it with the gray by itself several times.


Let the build begin! Foundation glued together.

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I planned to leave the foundation painted gray, but I could not get the join exactly straight, and no amount of sanding would smooth it (again, these are made of MDF). So I …


… had some leftover stone textured paper from another project, and cut and glued this around the foundation. I like how it turned out.



Next, I glued the ground floor on top of the foundation, weighting it with, what else? Books on minis and houses.


First floor walls set in place to mark where the porch floor will be.


I debated about the porch floor–wood flooring? Brick? The craftsman era bungalows around my town have cement porches (I live in a hot climate), and I decided a cement-look would be easiest. I wouldn’t have to worry about cutting around the posts or the posts not fitting.

I painted with medium gray from Folk Art, and swirled the paint with my brush as it dried. The paint went on much better to the plywood, and only took one coat.


The posts, railings, and post base caps in place. Getting these all to fit exactly right and straight was a little fiddly, but the instructions that come with the kit are good. I laid the porch beam across the front to make sure the posts lined up. The wood bits sticking out from under the railings are shingles to lift the railings a little off the porch while they dry.


Post bases, post caps, and posts, with steps painted to match the porch. Trim to hide the raw edges will be added later.


The porch details more or less complete: post bases, post base caps, posts, post caps, arches, and porch beam! The kit gives you a choice of using all the posts and arches or not–but I said “Go for it! Use it all! Go crazy!”

I need to do some sanding and touch-up paint, but the porch and first floor exterior walls are done.

Quarter inch scale–taking a break

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Taking a break from dollhouse building to indulge in this cute kit from Robin Betterley. I intended to buy the “tin” only and decorate it myself, but I really liked the interior furnishing so I got those kits as well.


The “tin” is made of wood, painted, and with art to look like a large spice tin.




Everything comes with the kit–wallpaper, flooring, outside art, plus an LED light and battery box (with instructions) to light the tin’s interior.


Tin lit up .


This is one of the kits made for this tin. You get everything–hutch and chair and all the accessories (birdhouses, baskets, postcards, seed flat, etc), including a rug.


The kit inside the tin.


I have two more kits to put together to finish the inside. Any quarter-inch scale furnishing will fit, though, or it could be a display box for any kind of collection. Neat!

This kit is part of a line that looks like it will have a tin for each season. This one is May (Mayblossom Morning)–I liked the spring theme.

When I get the hankering to do the next two kits, I will and post the finished pics. For now, it’s time for the half-scale Bungalow, and to keep going on the one-inch scale garage.

New Kit–Half Scale Bungalow by Real Good Toys


Because I need more dollhouses, I opened up the half-inch scale bungalow kit by RGT and took a peek. Unable to resist, I started in.


I had originally wanted to build the one-inch scale version of this house, but realized I just had no room for it! The half-inch will fit nicely onto a shelf or table.



So, here I go.

First step, identify all the parts. This kit doesn’t have that many main parts–the details (posts, railings, rafters, trim) makes up the bulk of the pieces. The house itself is beautifully simple.

I then painted the clapboard walls with a base coat of latex paint. I had some leftover from a recent wall painting in my real house. The final color won’t be this–I’m going to do a deep red/brown.



I like to do a tape together to see what I’ve got, and the instructions to this kit actually have you do that as a step. The foundation is taped in place on my table.


Foundation plus base / first floor.


Dormer window taped together.


First floor walls.



Second floor, which also forms the porch roof, plus the second-floor walls.


Roof added.



The inside with room dividers. I’ve decided to put my downstairs room interior wall to the right of the front door (looking from the back of the house) as opposed to the left in the prototype. This makes a big room with front door and staircase; the smaller room will be the kitchen.

Upstairs, there’s not a lot of choice but to put the room dividers to either side of the big dormer, as they support the roof.



The dormer added to the roof front.

Once I had the parts together to see what I was going to have, I started on the porch railings and posts.

I made the horrifying discovery that my kit contained no layout diagrams for the porch railings. The instructions kept saying “tape the railing to the diagram…” I looked at every page, made sure nothing was in the box, checked and checked again … nuttin’

I went online to RGT, and there I found downloadable instructions for the Bungalow, which has the layout diagram I was missing:

Thank you Real Good Toys.


House with posts and rails and paint chips.


Here I have the rails assembled–which were not that difficult. The balusters are thin pieces of stripwood that fit into the grooves in the top and bottom railings. I sanded out the groove of the railings before I tried to glue in. It’s a bit tricky to get the top railing on, but I positioned and repositioned the balusters while the glue was still wet, then squeezed down on the top and bottom rails.

The posts and rails are not glued yet in these photos–this is a test fit. When I paint everything I’ll do pics of what the process of building the posts and rails looks like.

Now I need to take everything apart and paint before assembling. I also need to decide how I’m going to decorate the interior.

I lived in a bungalow when I was very little, and remember that the house was built in a square–living room with dining room behind it on one side, a den with kitchen behind it on the other (dining room led into kitchen). The stairs were in the exact middle of the house, or close enough.

This dollhouse is typical of many dollhouses, basically a cross-section of a house. Instead of depth, it has one long area on first and second floors. I understand why–ease of access. If a dollhouse is meant to be a toy, then of course, this layout makes sense.

I’m going to try to think of how I can make it more realistic. Or I might just go with the layout as is, and make it so nice it doesn’t matter!

More as I build.

Garage–Basic build done



I’ve pretty much finished the basic build of this kit. The windows are in and all the trims.


Because I put my kit together a little bit backwards, I had to sand down the trim around the garage (which is supposed to go on the interior, where it fits perfectly). I sanded a little too much, so the beam has bowed a bit, which made the windows not fit. So I had to sand down the windows until I could get them into the slots. Also, the track for the garage door sits too close to the walls, so the windows now don’t fit flush to the front. This is what I get for changing things.

But–I sanded and trimmed, painted, and installed, and it all came together.


I took the windows apart to paint them, otherwise, the panes would be one gray mess.

To get them apart, I painted rubbing alcohol on the corners of the end piece, let it soften about a minute or two, then pulled off the end. The alcohol dilutes the glue.

I took the glass out of the panes the same way–alcohol brushed on corners of one end, end comes off, panes slide out.

I didn’t paint the tracks, to make sure the windows slid open and closed again when I finished. It was tricky to get the windows glued back in place exactly so they would slide into the slots and also open and close.


The back trim: The back trim is a u-shaped piece designed to wrap completely around the raw edges of the walls.


The fit is very snug, so snug I didn’t even glue the trim to the wall. If you are using wallpaper, I suggest you either 1) put the trim on, draw a line, then cut your wallpaper at that point, or 2) put the trim on and leave it there, and wallpaper up to it.


Clamps help keep on the top trim piece which goes over the screw holes.

Note that top trim fits against back trim, not flush with the back. Yes, I had to pull mine off and glue it again.

Another tip–it helped me to drill a starter hole with my Dremel before screwing the screws in. They went straighter. Drill bit was 3/32″.




The only thing I haven’t done is paint or stain the foundation, which I should have done first, but I didn’t.

I’ve also decided not to put the roof on. I will display this against a wall, so the front can always be seen, and then viewers can look down inside.

I will put in a bathroom and lighting, and then decorate, but overall, the kit, as it came in the box, is done.

I’m glad I chose to make it a garage. Grunging it up has been fun.

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!

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