The Westville–Building the Shell

Note: When I talk about right and left walls, I mean as you’re looking at the house from the front.

The first step is to slide the right front wall onto the first floor. (I have masking tape around the door, because a door piece broke off when I punched it out. I’ll make it more stable when I add the actual door.)

Note that the Right side (on the right here) and the Left Front (on the left here) look almost identical. I had these pieces punched out and unlabeled, and it took me a few minutes (and staring at the schematics) to tell them apart. The left front has a notch on the side that slides over the second floor. (You’ll also see that my pretty cutouts on the bay window openings are a mess. They crumbled to nothing when I punched out the pieces.)

Below: The right side glued in place to the first floor and the right front wall. Masking tape holds while glue dries.

Back Foundation piece: Mine is warped (notice bend at the bottom).

I don’t think the foundation pieces in these kits are anywhere sturdy enough for the house. I like to add extra and thicker strips underneath for more support. (I talked about this also when I built the Fairfield and the Beacon Hill).

The foundation piece is 7/8″ wide, so I’ll have to find or build up strips to that width. I will put them in later, though, because A) I need wood strips; and B) I want to make sure I don’t block slots or other pieces on the bottom.

The back foundation piece goes along the back part of the first floor.

The next step is to put on the second floor. The instructions say to slide this into the slot on the front wall at a steep angle, and they’re not kidding. It’s next to impossible to slide this without holding it almost vertically to the front wall. (I seriously wrestled with it during the tape together, and learned.)

Once the second floor connects with the slots on the right wall and front wall, I found it easier to lay the house down on the back to keep it stable while everything dried.

I let each step dry for a couple hours each.

The partition wall is next. The long straight parts face the back of the house; the slanted part is the front.

Again, I had to kind of wrestle this in. It was easier to stabilize and let dry with the house lying on the right side.

Below: The next step is to insert the partition wall extension. I puzzled over this piece a long time, because there are no drawings or photos in the instructions as to where it goes.

I got a clue when I fitted it against the left front wall (the one that hasn’t been glued on yet!)

This extension fits between the left front piece and the right front piece, forming the wall of the front porch.

This is the extension piece glued in place on the first floor, butting against the right front wall. You can see the staircase end of the partition wall here.

Also note that the extension piece juts under the house to form part of the foundation.

I hope that’s clear. This piece really baffled me for a while.

Now to put on the left front piece!

The notch on the side of the left front goes over the second floor.

The left front piece in place below. You do have to wriggle it and wrestle it into place. Once again, lying it on the back and letting it dry like that helped.

At this point in the instructions, they say to stop and build the staircase.

You’ll noticed, I haven’t finished any of the walls yet–I am doing this differently from the Fairfield and Beacon Hill where I finished a lot before I glued together. I’m trying it this way because:

  1. I’m trying to minimize warpage
  2. Bare walls stick better when glued
  3. I want to use tape wiring so don’t want to put in wallpaper or paint beforehand.
  4. I’m not sure how I will decorate yet.

What I might do at this point is put a quick layer of latex paint on it. Latex paint is good at sealing the wood, and I’ll use a light color (the Almond Paste shade of white left over from the Beacon Hill) so that I can paint and wallpaper later.

I have a bunch of wallpaper / ceiling tiles / flooring in my closet, bits and pieces left over from other projects. This house is more or less my “use up my supplies” house. I’m having fun already!


The Westville–Prep and Tape Together

I’m doing it! I opened the Greenleaf kit, the Westville, and started in. I’m committed now.

I’m going to do a “build along” because again, the instructions don’t have nearly enough pictures or drawings, and they can be a bit confusing. Hopefully I won’t be confusing either! 🙂

This is my third Greenleaf kit. I’ve learned to take a sharpie and mark the sheets with their numbers, so I can find them quickly. (The numbers are etched on each sheet in faint dots, and they are hard to read.)

What I usually do first is punch out the pieces of the main body of the house (most of those listed in Step 1 of the instructions). Then I do a rough tape-together so I see more or less what the finished product will be like. Here are a few photos to give you an idea.

The pieces taped together here are: Right Front Wall, Right Wall (on the side); Left front wall; first floor, second floor, and (inside), Partition wall.

Below is the front room on the left side. This room will have the staircase.

This is the first floor room inside the front door.

I’ve decided to make this into an antique shop. I have furniture and bits and pieces in boxes that I’d love to use, but they’re kind of a mishmash. I figure in an antique store, it doesn’t matter that things don’t go together. Plus, I can use it as “storage” and take pieces out for houses that I build later.

I debated cutting up this house and kit-bashing it, but I probably will stick fairly closely with the kit.

My only change will be to use this door instead of the kit’s door. I had to cut the door opening larger, but that was easy.

BTW, this kit comes with all the shingles and all the siding! Terrific!

Though I am thinking about making the outside brick. I bought some brick textured siding paper a while back for something I didn’t build, and it might look nice on this house.

Next post–putting together the shell.


Way Cool Miniatures

I want to share some of the coolest minis I’ve found. The first is a box of Lord of the Rings books and maps in Spanish. I bought this from the artisan (who is from Spain) on an online sale that was chock full of wonderful things. I had to restrain myself.

(Señor Anillos means, in literal translation, “Ring Lord”)

The side of the box with the cast of the film version.

Inside are the three main books of the series (Fellowship; Two Towers; Return of the King), plus a secret drawer!

The books are printed throughout. This one is The Fellowship of the Ring.

Inside the secret drawer all all kinds of maps! There is one from the Hobbit and also the ones that lead to Mount Doom.

The craftsmanship on this set is wonderful. I first read The Lord of the Rings when I was about twelve, and nerded out on it big time.

This set satisfies both the nerd in me as well as the miniaturist. It really is beautiful.

Next is the Metamorphic Desk by Ferd Sobol.


Backing up–When I went to Europe a couple years ago, one reason I booked the trip we did was because it ended in Basel, giving me a day of free time to go to the Miniature Museum there. (I know how to plan…) I’ve posted photos of what I found there elsewhere (Basel Miniature Museum (Spielzeug Welten Museum)

There they displayed a metamorphic desk:



I loved it! When I saw that Ferd Sobol had built one, I ordered one from him when I attended the Chicago show last year. He makes limited editions and I knew that when they were gone, they’d be gone and I’d regret it forever if I didn’t grab one, so I indulged. Hey, I work hard. I should have a beautiful desk, right?

Here it is in the left half of my Beacon Hill. The chair pulls out, the two halves slide open, and a drawer compartment pops up. (The drawer contains secret letters!)

I got to choose the wood, the inlay design, and the fabric for the chair.

You can see it a little better here, and below:

It’s beautiful, and the workmanship is superb (he is brilliant). Here’s a link to a video about the desk, from Ferd Sobol’s site–you can see it better than in my photos.

These two are so far my coolest minis. Both are displayed in the left half of the Beacon Hill, which is my “show house.”

Beacon Hill, Left Side–Interior pretty much done!

After taking a break from the Beacon Hill, I was inspired to go in and finish the left side’s interior furnishings. Except for the garage, I pretty much have it how I want it. Click photos for larger versions.

The first floor music room.

Second floor living room / study, with gorgeous desk by Ferd Sobol. I knew I’d kick myself for not getting this desk that I absolutely love, and I am so glad I went ahead and bought it. It’s amazing, and I’ll do a separate post on it.

The bedroom. The showpiece in this room is the bed by June Clinkscales. Isn’t that beautiful?

June also made the bed stairs, which I turned into a nightstand.

I filled this house with the beautiful things I’ve been collecting either at shows or through auctions. It’s my fancy house.

More shots below! Click for larger pictures.

Below is a cellarette by J. Guthiel and a Lord of the Rings kind of collection of books and maps in Spanish. I’ll put that in a separate post too. (Way Cool Miniatures)

One final thing I did is to use posts to support the side of the house that I cut away. These are Houseworks porch posts, painted and cut to fit.

As you can see, I have much more to do on the garage. I’m going for woodshop-y clutter. I’m looking for and collecting more tools and benches / shelving. The car is a little too small (I think it’s 1:18 scale), but I like Mustangs so I’ll try to make it work.

There we have it! I’ll do a future post on the right side of the house, which too is almost done.

More Nob Hill and Mini Framed Art tutorial

Before I could put the roof on the Quarter-inch scale Nob Hill and hook up the electricity, I had to furnish the entire second floor.

I needed to finished the bathroom, bedroom, and room in the front–so here’s what I did.

Bedroom before I put the roof on.

Finished with roof and lights. You can see the front room, which I decided to keep simple, like an extension of the bedroom.

The bathroom is a kit created for this house by Suzanne and Andrew’s Minis. I added the towels, bottles, decals, and plants from my own stash and leftovers from other kits.

A peek at the bathroom through the window.

For the pictures: I search the net for vintage pictures or classic paintings and then size them for the house I need. I measure real pictures and posters and calculate the dimensions (easy for 1″ scale). These are quarter inch scale, and about 1″ x 3/4″ and 1″ x 1/2″.

I line these images up in a Word doc file (inserting each image and making columns), and then print on card stock using my color printer (when it has ink, which it usually doesn’t). I do many of these at a time and keep them in a folder. As you can see, I have more than one copy of the same picture, so if I mess it up, I have a second one handy.

For the frame, I cut pieces of molding that I’ve stained or painted. In this case, since it’s so small and informal, I cut straight pieces of 1/16 inch wood strips, stained them, and then glued them around the picture. For bigger pictures, I will use picture-frame molding and miter the corners or, even easier, buy a frame and size the picture to fit before I print it.

I glue the frames right to the cardstock and then cut it out with an X-acto knife.

This makes for quick and easy art to stick on the walls.

So now the Nob Hill has a roof and lights! Next, I need to furnish the downstairs.

Minis last month

I haven’t posted a lot since Christmas, but I’ve been making minis. Mostly kits, as they are soothing after a hard day’s (week’s, month’s) work. As usual, click photos for larger pics.

What I’ve mostly been doing is decorating the interior of the Petalstone (1/4 inch scale), which is this house:


I’ve put together kits for the hall benches at both entrances:

Plus the dining room table and chairs:

In the attic is the writing nook. I am in awe of anyone who can design a 1/4″ scale computer and printer. I never would have thought of that!

The kit makes about 162 individual books. In 1/4″ scale. (Wow.) I have made about 90 of them. I’ll make the others when I can, and use them in other projects.

This is the conservatory kit: Potting benches, plants, plants, plants, pots, crates, etc.

We even have some gardening boots!

I had only planned to do the kits for the conservatory and writing nook (because I loved all the accessories), and then decided, what the heck. I’ll just do the kits for all the rooms.

This is a Robin Betterley house and room kits (Link in my sidebar under quarter inch scale).

I am, though, getting the hankering to do another Greenleaf kit that’s sitting in a box in my closet (the Westville; so much smaller than the Beacon Hill!). I’ll see.