Fairfield rethinking, Progress, and The Sanding, The Sanding…

1. Progress:

I realized as I went through my supply boxes that I had no half-scale stuff. 1/4″ and 1″ yes; 1/2″ is sparse. I used everything I had on the Cotswold Cottage, and I have nothing left (which probably is a good thing, if I think about it).

I gathered my pennies and went shopping. Houseworks staircase kit to replace the stairs that come with the house (we’ll see how that goes); lamps, a door from Majestic Mansions (which I have now decided will be the back door, not front); and parquet flooring from Brodnax I couldn’t resist.

This will be the living room ceiling. Very easy to do with 1/2″ scale moldings, Minwax stain pens, and a knife (or an EZ cutter). The chandelier will hang down, of course, and I’m still figuring out how to hide the wiring (down the fireplaces sounds good–we’ll see).

Speaking of fireplaces, here they are mostly done (they don’t go in like this; I was just seeing how they looked). Brick paper for the backing.

2: The Sanding, The Sanding

The wood in these kits is splintery and rough. They kindly enclosed a piece of sandpaper, but I’m finding that using three different grades in succession is doing a nice job: 100 (rough) followed by 150 or 200 (fine), followed by 400 grit emery paper (“wet or dry”). I wipe away (lots of) dust between sandings. The 400 at the end gives the wood a nice polish.

Minwax stain seals this wood nicely. I find the wood amazingly smooth after the stain has dried, needing minimal sanding with the 400 paper. I’m using the stain to seal even if I plan to cover the walls with something else . . . which brings me to…

3: Fairfield Rethink

This is the first house I’ve had to decorate as I go (well, I suppose I do with 1/4 scale too, but this one seems much more complicated). As a person who loves to make things up as I go along (much more fun!) this is a challenge.

I’m rethinking the entire left side of the house (left as you look at the front, right side of rear opening). I was going to make the below a dining room, but that front wall pretty much seals off the entryway in front of it, making the entrance a tiny space.

Rethink: Since I’m using the purchased stairs, which are wider than the staircase wall in the kit, I’ll eliminate the staircase wall altogether and have a flying staircase.

I will cut off the left side of the front wall shown here (the doorway side leads out to the porch), and leave it open to the foyer. Upstairs, I’m toying with cutting away the tower floor on each level, except for a gallery around the walls (with a railing). If I do this right, that will open the tower from the top floor to the bottom. This will let in more light and more airy spaces. Right? Might even dangle a big chandelier from the top.

In that case, I don’t think the bottom room will be a formal dining room. I envision a plant room / conservatory instead, with the Majestic Mansions doorway with its big window, plus the bay window letting in much light.

My mini family will have to eat in the kitchen, or maybe I’ll put a bistro table or something out here for their dining pleasure.

First I need to wallpaper some rooms, finish ceilings, and decide how to finish the outside. I’m looking at books to figure out paint colors, plus I have to make the big–side or not to side?–decision. If siding doesn’t go on right, it looks terrible, but then can I get the painted lady effect I want with stucco? (Probably, again, if I do it right).


Fairfield Roughed Out

I recommend to anyone who has not built a house from a kit, Greenleaf or otherwise, to take out the main house pieces and fit them together, holding in place with masking tape, before starting to finish and glue.

I’m very glad I did. I went from looking at pieces and schematics wondering what to do, to having “Ah ha!” moments when looking at the mocked-up house.

Plus, the piecing can be tricky, so it’s good to know problems before painting and gluing. Some of the slots were too narrow or tight, but were easily fixed with an X-acto knife. I gained a good idea of how the entire house would go together just by putting together the main walls.

Here we have the right side of the house, first and second floors. The plans call for it to be living/dining; bedrm/bedrm, with kitchen and bath in the wing behind. I’d rather have the kitchen in this wing (to the right of the the living room), with the dining room beyond.  Upstairs, I’ll be putting a bathroom where 2nd bedroom should be.

This is where the kitchen (downstairs), bath (upstairs with tiny partition that I didn’t bother to put in) are to be. I will make the bottom room the dining room (with the nice big bay window); leave out the partition upstairs and make the upstairs hall an open gallery / sitting room.

The front part of this will be the front porch. The area inside the slots will be the front entrance. Note that the stairs are supposed to go up right there, but I boldly cut the stair railing off to make the entrance to the living room larger. I will turn the stairs around and use Houseworks stairs leading up from the back.

On the second floor, instead of roofing over the front porch, I’ll turn it into a balcony, changing the windows of the tower to French doors.

The attic is supposed to be totally open (the hole is for the chimney), but I think there is plenty of space up there for more rooms. I’ll cut my own partitions and make and office and small bedroom, maybe a tiny second bath.

Also there are no stairs from second to third floor. This makes me flinch. So, I turned on my trusty jigsaw and cut out a hole for a second staircase, which will come up right above the first.

The hole (not pictured) is now near the back slot by the tower wall. I will keep this open as a gallery open to the tower beyond.

The Fairfield has some nice details, such as the fireplace / room dividers on first and second floors. The open side of the lower fireplace will contain a bookcase. This is the right side first and second floor (living room below, bed above), with the fireplaces taped together in place.

Backside of the fireplaces. This will be the kitchen below and bathroom above. Why not have fireplaces in kitchen and bathroom?

Taping together has really helped me visualize and decide what to do, even how to decorate each room. I have started ordering supplies!

And of course, the “assistants,” who pretty much stayed in that position the whole time I took all the photos, built the fireplaces, taped them in place, and took more pics. They like to help.

And now, the 1/2″ Fairfield

I vowed I’d go back to the Big House once the 1/4″ bungalow was mostly done, but then the 1/2″ Fairfield arrived. I couldn’t resist opening the box and starting in. I have been so busy (out of town plus ton o’ work) that I’ve only managed to build the founation.

I’ve never done a Greenleaf house before, so I have slowed down to seriously consider what I want to do. I purchased a Majestic Mansions front door (I know I’ll have to modify the front door opening, but that’s fine). I have not decided how I’ll do the windows (Houseworks, Grandt Line, kit windows, build my own?), but I know I want to modify the staircases.

My plan is to rough the house together (without gluing) to give me ideas about what the rooms will be (straightforward house w/ living/dining/kitchen/bedrms? Or another B&B? or…)

Outside–I’d love to do a painted lady. Am doing research on colors.

I’m also looking at blogs of other miniaturists who have done or are working on the Fairfield. Thanks everyone for sharing pics and tips! I love the generosity of miniaturists.

Will have pics as I go along. Above is the “official” picture of the house on the kit’s box. I’m excited!

Quarter inch bungalow essentially done!

Pictures will follow when I have time, but I’m proud to say the quarter-inch Avalon bungalow (Min Collector plans by Debbie Young), is pretty much done!

Roof is shingled and painted, trim (so much trim) applied, inside rafters / trim finished, some of the kitchen installed. Pics to come!

I’m very glad I did this project. Not a weekend project by any means (at least not for me). But I learned so much:

How to make the most of my power saw

How to electrify a quarter-inch house (my own discovery: that’s not in the plans)

The logic of the house’s design and how the pieces all fit together.

The importance of finishing as you go, from the ground up.

Last things to do: Put on a base, a little bit of landscaping, and of course, furniture and decor for the inside.

I’d like to switch back to 1 inch for a while, returning to the Big House until my eyes readjust. 🙂 Have three more rooms to remodel in it.

However, as a reward for the hard work I’ve been doing in the full-scale world, I indulged myself with the purchase of the 1/2″ scale Fairfield dollhouse kit. Have had my eye on it for a while! I’m excited to start more half-inch work.