Half-inch scale Bungalow–Rethinking the interior


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


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

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.