Added Fairfield pics and Blue House

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I started adding pictures of the finished Blue House B&B and the Fairfield.

Fairfield Half-inch–More interior decorating

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I continue to pick away at decorating the interior of the Fairfield half inch house. Click photos for larger views.

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The living room, looking into front hall.

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Kitchen (was dining room in kit’s original layout)

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Bathroom. Probably needs the most finishing touches. (Original house kit has this as another bedroom, I think. I like huge bathrooms!)

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Bedroom

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The original kitchen downstairs became a staircase hall, office, sitting, whatever room. Need much more in here.

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Upstairs hall sitting room with beautiful furniture by Nell Prescott I bought at auction.

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I opened the tower room, extended a staircase to the third floor, and made the tower a writing nook.

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Closeup of tower / writing nook.

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Right side of house all lit up.

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Back of house lit.

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Side porch with coach light.

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Front bay looking toward front porch.

I need more paintings, a little more furniture, curtains or blinds, and finishing touches, but I’m getting there! I’m very happy I did this house.

The Fairfield Revisited

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I’m still in the process of decorating the Fairfield interior, but I have some furniture and decorative touches. A way to go yet, but it’s getting there. Click photos for larger views.

Right open side, rear rooms
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Master Bedroom (right side, front)
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Attic, right rear
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Left side, back wing, first and second floors
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Right side
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Living room
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Kitchen (I put the kitchen where the dining room was supposed to be)
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Kitchen with bathroom above (I turned second bedroom into the bathroom)
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Living room
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Bookcase beween kitchen and living room. Books are leather folds, printed, which I bought on ebay. They look real!
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Gorgeous Shaker cabinet I bought at Small World minis show between bedroom and bath.
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More to come as I get things done.

Thoughts on the Fairfield (1/2″ scale version)

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A little more than a year ago, I opened the box containing the pieces of the 1/2 inch scale Fairfield and decided to give it a whirl.

 

A lot has happened in the year. My mom broke her hip and is still dealing with that. I started self- publishing my  backlist books to which I had the rights and discovered a whole new energy in writing and publishing. One of my historical romances hit New York Times. And I built and finished the Fairfield.

Below I’ll share some tips that got me through the process.

Want to say before I start that this is a terrific house. Its design (two rooms deep), gives it a more realistic appearance–I love looking through doors into rooms beyond. The depth and detail are just wonderful. Kudos to whoever came up with the original design.

Notes on glue and paint:

For this house, I used the Ultimate Crafter’s Pick glue to glue the structure together; Yes paste for wallpaper; white glue for shingles; and tacky glue for other things. Spackling and wood filler are good to have on hand.

Stain: Minwax stain pens.

Exterior wall paint: Glidden eggshell interior paint (color: Smooth Stone)

Paint for everything else: Ceramcoat, Americana, and other brands of acrylic craft paint.

For porch railings and window trim: PrismColor stain markers in various colors.

1. Before punching out the main house pieces, go through the sheets with the guide in the instruction book and label the house parts in pencil.

2. Cut out all the major house parts–foundation, two floors, outside walls, inside walls, tower walls (I saved the roof parts for later).

3. Get out a big roll of masking tape and tape the house together. The instructions have a few photos, and there are photos on the Internet, but nothing is like having the house in 3D in your space.

4. Learn how the walls will be put together, and where everything goes. This also helps you decide whether to use the kit as is or how you’ll change it.

I chose to leave out most of the interior walls on the back/tower side (bathroom wall, staircase walls, interior tower wall). I wanted a more open floorplan.

On the other hand, I added walls to the attic rooms so I could have more rooms to furnish.

I chose to not use the “built-in” staircase that comes with the kit. Instead I purchased two Houseworks 1/2-inch scale staircase kits, turned the staircases around, and cut a hole in the third floor so my staircases could go all the way to the top of the house.

5. Untape. Finish all the walls, inside and out, plus the floors and ceilings, before gluing the house together.  Much easier to finish everything when it’s lying flat.

6. Finish ceilings first. If you’re going to use chandeliers, buy or make the fixtures. Once the ceilings are finished, drill holes for the chandeliers and tape the wires across the unfinished side of the floor above. I chose to then run the wires down the fireplaces and out the bottom of the house, but whatever works (I used round wire, rather than tape wire, which will be different).

7. The flooring on the next floor up then hides the wiring.

8. In the case of the parquet floor, I put it together on a piece of thin cardboard then glued the cardboard onto the floor when all was done.

9. I periodically retaped the house together as I went to make sure everything was where I thought it was.

10. As tempting as it was to put the staircases in place right away, I left them out until almost the last thing. I knew that as I reached into the house and fixed things, I’d knock over the staircases. I would dry fit them from time to time to help see where they’d fall in the grand scheme of things.

11. Were I to do this again, I’d add all the window trim before the walls are glued in place. By the time I came to the window trim section of the instructions, it was very difficult to put my big hands into the small spaces. I would also trim out the doors and the arches.

 

 

12. To trim inside the arches of the bay windows and kitchen and living room doors (covering the raw edges), I stained strips of wood veneer and bent them around the arches, trimming as I went. That was fun. (Read, frustrating). But it came out well.

13 The large living room door arch only has one piece of trim. Because both sides show in my house, I used the arch as a template to make another one out of card (two, because I screwed up the first one).  You can see how it turned out here.

14. Tape the roof on to see how the pieces go and fit. Because I’d modified the tower room to be open rather than enclosed all the way, I had to change the front roof piece a little, and I had to add side pieces to the tower (or else it would be an open space).

You can see how the tower walls now slant back to the roof, instead of the tower standing alone as in the pic of the original house. I cut the pieces to fit, then used spackling and paint to hide the seams. (Tower roof is crooked because it’s not glued on yet).

15. To me, it was easier to buy pre-made windows for the lower part of the house. I tried to use the kit windows, but I just couldn’t make them look nice. The third floor windows and tower windows came out well, but the others defeated me!

 

 

16. Sand, sand, sand. The wood is splintery. Sanding with 150, then 220, then a very fine wet/dry sandpaper smoothed it out pretty well. Wherever I applied Minwax (or other penetrating) stain, then lightly sanded when dry, the wood came out smooth as a baby’s bum. (I’m American, but I love that term).

For painted parts, I found that giving the wood two coats of paint (sanding between each coat), then one coat of gloss varnish, the another coat of paint (again sanding), and a final coat of varnish came out well. Took time–this is part of the reason it was a year to build this house!–but worth the effort.

I sealed walls with stain or paint before I glued on wallpaper as well.

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I’m mostly done now except for furnishing and the final details. I feel like I’ve been baptized by fire, but I’m now more confident whenever I look at the other Greenleaf kits sitting in my dollhouse room. Not that I’ve opened any more boxes!

I did my best to add the category “Fairfield” or “Fairfield half-inch” so if you click on that category all my posts on this house should come up.

I have many other photos of this house, so if there’s an angle you want to see, feel free to ask me. Plus, I still have the house and a camera, so I can take a photo if I don’t already have one in the stash.

To those also building this house–good luck!

 

Half-Inch Fairfield Landscaping / Wiring experiments

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I’ve been quiet on this blog because I’ve been crazy busy in my non-mini life . . . finishing a novel, writing and publishing a novella, going over copyedits of another novel. All in three weeks.

Today, whew, get to talk about minis!

About one year ago, I pulled the first parts of the Fairfield out of the box! This month, I finished it!

Base: In the few minutes I got away from writing in the last couple weeks, I bought a piece of plywood and cut it to size (18 x 18)  for the base of the Fairfield. (Cut it myself, thank you!) Here it is half painted and waiting for landscaping.

Right (open) side of the house. The wiring is one great big mess–am using Houseworks plugs and power strip, an  easy and convenient system, but an eyesore. The only reason it looks neat here is because I wrestled the wires into submission.

Solution? Build a cover. I did this for the Blue House, so gave it a try here. It’s amazing how much better everything looks with a piece of wood over it.

Nice and neat. I’ll figure out a way to hide the transformer lead wire too. As you can see in the above photo, I’ve started furnishing and accessorizing the kitchen.

Landscaping: I want realistic landscaping but I don’t want it to be too fussy. Also, I’m constrained for space. I need this to fit on a shelf in my living room. So the base is fairly small (18 x 18). I decided to go with brick paper to form a walkway to and around the porch, and grassy areas which I’ll fill with flowerbeds, shrubs, trees, whatever.

The flower bed won’t stay there. I’ve put it here out of Temptation’s way (my cats: Temptation 1 and Temptation 2)

But yay! I’m pretty much done with the building and decorating of this house inside and out. (Furnishing and things to come, of course). I’ll try to write up my thoughts of the whole process and post it soon.

Fairfield–The Front Porch

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Voila, the Front Porch. When I researched what colors to paint the house (research=looked at pictures), interestingly, most of the porch posts I saw were a solid color, mostly white.  Many houses used a riot of colors on windows and doors, moldings and trim, but left the posts a single color.

I agonized over the colors for these, wanting painted columns, but not wanting to overdo it. I settled on white as the base color (it’s Antique White). The colors are Prism Color stain pens: Warm Gray, Navy Blue, and Sunburst Yellow. I used the Navy on window trim as well.


The Navy stain pen bleeds a bit (just a tip). The gray and yellow not very much. I went with blocks gray with blue highlights and still fewer yellow highlights. To decide the color scheme, I simply painted one of the veranda posts and played with it until I liked it.

The spindles are antique white with gray highlights.

I’m thrilled to have the porch done!

Fairfield–Nearing Completion

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This is the second floor to third floor staircase I added, not part of original kit. I felt the need for a staircase to go all the way to the tower.

I also added the French door opening to the balcony (plus added the balcony).

This photo gives a better view of the tower room. Added a gallery railing so mini folks won’t plunge down to the second floor.

The biggest changes I made to the house were to this area (the left/back). Where the Wooten desk is on second floor was to have been a bathroom, walled off. The tower is supposed to be enclosed on four sides. The original attic floor extended to the right wall. I also added the window that’s facing us on the second floor.

Reason for the change? “What the heck.”

I wanted a more airy, open feel. If I ever build another kit of this house again (No!) I’ll try it with all the walls in place.

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