Interlude: Finishing smaller projects


I needed a break from the Beacon Hill so finished up some quarter inch and micro scale projects.

This is the cute little Sunnyside Gardens, a microscale shop in the “Watercolors” series by Robin Betterly. I had completed the shop before, and now I finished the interior and landscaping kit. (I could have decorated the interior myself, but sometimes kits are more relaxing for me).

We have pots of plants, crates of seedlings, garden soil, garden tools, all kinds of fun stuff.

The interior is a bedroom upstairs of woodland themed furniture, and the shop downstairs, which includes a seed rack and display counters for all the garden goodies.

I had to wash out the exterior to get the photo of the interior through the door. Seed counter and pots inside.

A fun little kit. It’s on display in my living room with the first kit in the series (the cafe). Gee, there’s room for another kit next to the garden shop.

Next: Finished up the landscaping and added an outdoor tub to the quarter-inch scale Creekside Studio.

Decided to put a little vegetable garden here.

This kit turned out really well. I got this from Suzanne and Andrews Minis (link in sidebar under Quarter inch Resources). They don’t have this particular one anymore, but they have a similar kit called “Seaside Cottage,” which has a complete second floor.

Obviously, this needs furniture! Which I will do one day. Right now, I’m ready to return to the Beacon Hill and finish the outside details I need to build on.


Creekside Studio (Much needed break from Beacon Hill)


Taking a break from the Beacon Hill, I built this kit. Creekside Studio by Suzanne and Andrew’s Minis. This took me about a week–it’s 1/4 inch scale. Nice to do an entire build in a week!

Front door and porch.

The back door.

Right side of the house.

Left side and interior.

Suzanne and Andrew offer a landscape base for the house as well, which comes with material to do the dirt and grass. I thought ahead and purchased it when I bought the house kit.

The blank base.

The base provides the height for the porch steps to reach the back door.

I’ve painted the stones on the base here and added grass and dirt. I’ll plant a ton of flowers later–thinking of doing a vegetable garden too.

The “creek” looks like it has water in it. It’s triple gloss sealer.

The full creekbed side of the house.

The back door. I’ll put in bushes, flowers, and other fun stuff.

Right side of the house. I’m thinking of putting the kitchen garden here.

A fun kit, glad I bought it.

Beacon Hill: Trimming interior and building outer wall.


I did go back to the Beacon Hill and finish trimming the last room on the top floor, and the secret tower room.

This space will continue the bedroom–be a sitting area.

I had to do a ton of trimming here: Around the corners of the tower ceiling, the corners of the back wall, plus picture rail-like trim to cover slots, the raw edge of the divider wall, plus the usual baseboards and cornices.

This photo shows more how it will be one big room.

I trimmed up the tower room as well, including the window–which the kit has no interior trim for as this room is not supposed to be seen from the inside. The floor is scrapbooking paper–I was feeling whimsical. Maybe it’s an interesting floor cloth. I’ll do more with this room later.

All right–now that the interior is trimmed, time to build the outer wall for the side I cut away and trim the exterior.

I realized that before I could build the wall, I needed to build another wall sconce. The rear of the front hall is dark (chandelier is pretty but doesn’t generate much light). I need a matching one to the first one I built.

Out came my findings and paint. This sconce will go with the chandelier and other sconce already done. Painting the finding.

Gluing together the back, mirror, and arm with candle socket.

Finished sconce (which does light–I checked!)

The base wall. From this I will build a two-story bay window. The sconce had to be installed before the wall went up.

The base wall glued in place. Now I need to build the floors, sides, roof, and outer wall that will hold the windows.

By the way, I did finish the Creekside Studio, one of my interim projects. I’ll post those photos in the next post.

Break from Beacon Hill but back soon

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This time I did have to take a break from the Beacon Hill. Too much!

I turned to other kits I had bought and stashed. First, a microscale flower shop:

I think one appeal of microscale is that you can build a whole house and landscape it in a weekend! That and it doesn’t take up much display space.

These both are kits from Robin Betterley:

Next, I started a quarter inch scale kit from Suzanne and Andrew’s that I’d been hoarding for a year or so.

This kit is called  “Creekside Studio”  in 1/4″ scale. Very small, a first floor and a loft, the first floor divided into two rooms by a cabinet. (I see this kit still for sale on Suzanne and Andrew’s site, so if interested, grab it. Their kits get retired.)  Creekside Studio by Suzanne and Andrew’s Minis

I’m almost finished with the structure. I’ll post pics when I’m done. This one is taking me about a week to finish (maybe two).

But I’m still plugging away on the Beacon Hill. I now have interior trim done for the second-floor room (will be the bathroom):

and the left half of the top floor, which will be a bedroom.

One reason for my slowdown, other than dollhouse fatigue, is having a lot of work to do at my job (real life). Minis had to go on the back burner for a while, always a bummer.

It’s also nice to do simple kits to step back from a more complicated one. Suzanne and Andrew ( ) and Robin Betterley ( have fun ones that look great when finished. (I promise I don’t work for them or do endorsements for them; I just like their stuff!)

I hate to admit it, but I can’t resist a great kit. I keep telling myself I will design my own houses, and then I see a fantastic, well-designed kit, and in it goes to my stash. But I swear I will make them all! I decided a few years ago that there’s a difference between collecting and hoarding …

More Beacon Hill anon.


Beacon Hill–Progress


I took some time away from building the exterior of the Beacon Hill to install more lights. Here’s one I made from jewelry findings from JAF / JAR plus the remnants of a Victorian chandelier I had hanging in The Big House.


This was my first attempt to do a light without following instructions–I based it on ones I’d already done but adapted the findings for what I needed. The glass globes came off the old chandelier.


I like how it turned out!


Next, I finished the first-floor staircase by building a false door which looks like it leads either down to a basement or to a closet.


Since I finished and wired the chandelier in the second-floor hallway, I was able to install flooring and the third floor landing railing.


Another look at the second floor staircase and new chandelier.


When I was in my yard, I noticed this perspective of the house through the window. I like how it looks, so now I’m contemplating leaving this side open. Of course, I’d loose wall space for furniture, but I’ll think about it.


I wanted to put a lamp in the third floor room that will be a bedroom. I’d made this lamp some time ago just to see if I could, but had nowhere to put it. I had to find the window sill for the dormer window in the kit and finish it so I could wire the lamp through the sill and wire it in before I put on the roof.

I still have two more lights to do (kitchen and third floor hall), but I can put those in later.


And of course, my assistants help with everything.

Beacon Hill: First floor staircase


I’ve made a start on the staircase. There are not nearly enough photos in the instructions for my liking, and the instructions themselves can be a tad confusing, so I’ve taken a ton of photos and hopefully will help others building this house.


Here’s a photo of sheet 12 (in my kit). I took it and of sheet 10, below, because I found it hard to locate the small pieces in the middle of these giant pieces of wood! Above is  the two landing pieces and the first riser (as well as treads and risers next to it). Below are G and H (staircase backs).

IMG_6655 IMG_6657

I hit a snag when looking for pieces A and B. They are on sheet 5, on a piece that was leftover from one of the main front walls (it’s what’s leftover after you punch out one of the big bay window openings). That’s fine, and normally I would have kept it safely and clearly labeled, but then I moved. And couldn’t find this piece anywhere!

I hunted high and low and finally found it–very last piece at the bottom of the box. Of course!

Below are the pieces laid out, more or less in order.


From left to right: A, B&C (two identical pieces), D, F, E (to the right of F); below those G and H. The two square pieces are the landings, and then I have piles of treads and risers.  I wrote all the letters on the pieces to keep them organized.


The treads (on the right) are wider than the risers.


It’s a good idea to clearly label the first riser, as it’s different from the others, but similar enough to get lost.


Start with pieces A, B, and C



They fit like this, notches and end of A into the slots.


Another shot of A, B, and C together.


The instructions say to put piece F next. It was confusing to me how it went on, but I finally figured out it’s like this. However, it’s hard to glue F in without something for it to rest on, so I set it aside and put together the next pieces first.


Piece D (my pencil-marked letter D is sideways here) goes onto the end of piece A, forming a wall.


Piece D being glued to the A,B, C assembly. (The light colored wood is a sanding block I’m using to keep the pieces squared.)


Piece E leads up from the backs of pieces B and C and glues onto piece D (confused yet?)


Here is E and D glued onto the A, B, C assembly.


Now I can add piece F–the end of it can rest on piece E.


Pieces A, B, C, D, E, and F, all glued together!


Another view of the basic carcass together.


Piece H goes on the back of the staircase between pieces D and F. Piece G (not shown) inserts into that open space above H.


The whole thing with pieces G and H in place.


The first riser goes on the bottom step. Make sure it’s flush top and bottom. Don’t trust resting it on your work surface to make it flush. There’s a tab on the bottom of piece A, so nothing sits quite straight.


The treads and risers go on like this. I haven’t glued anything here, because I want to paint the staircase and stain the treads. I’ll put the treads on last.


Just a note–I had to cut the notch in piece F deeper, because when I started to put on the risers, I noticed that F and D didn’t quite match up. Once I notched it more, the riser (one that goes up the next turn here) went across straight.


All the risers are on! Time to stop to paint.


Cuteness break. Ok, onward.


I have my steps and risers painted white. The unpainted back here will go against a wall and won’t be seen.


Another shot of the painted steps. Again I’m painting two coats of white, a coat of gloss, coat of white, coat of gloss. This wood is thirsty.


Next, the trim. These are the two trim pieces to be put on the staircase before it’s inserted into the house. Punch out the rectangles and the rectangle with angle cut out and save them.


The two trim pieces will fit on like this.


Pre-gluing the trim to each other at a right angle.


Trim glued in place.


The three panels glued back in place.


I coated the back of the panels thoroughly, using a cut up credit card to spread the glue.


Here is the staircase all nice and painted.


With treads and landings added.

The basic staircase is  ready to go inside the house.


Slots in the floor for the staircase.



Having cut apart the house actually made it easier for me to install the staircase. Maybe if you didn’t glue in the hall / living room partition right away it would help. (??)


The staircase inside the house as you look from the front (without the front tower wall on)


Staircase inside looking from the back.


Trim for piece F.


This trim piece fits down from the top landing and rests in a notch. My notch wasn’t deep enough, so I had to enlarge the cut.


I’ve come to the end of the photos my phone has uploaded, so I’ll stop here and finish the rest of the trim in the next post, and talk about what I’ll do after that.

Halloween Room

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This kit inspired me to build a whole room around it, continuing the dark and creepy theme.


I had a roombox kit I’d found on sale a long time ago (I think from Hobby Builder Supply). It’s very simple–three walls, top, bottom, and glass front. Decided to use brick paper for floor and back wall, which will be a hallway or staircase, seen through an arch.


The false walls roughed in. I had the fireplace in my stash from an old project that never got going, and the Bespaq unfinished table looked right.


I painted the table in Folk Art’s vintage white and then antiqued it with burnt umber and antiquing medium.


The inner walls are foamcore (which I don’t really like, but it’s what I had on hand). I made the walls “stone” by first painting with a coat of slate gray, followed by a coat of warm white mixed with terrarium sand. Once that was dry, did washes of vintage white and several grays. Stones are marked with a very thin lead pencil.


The “hallway” will be lit with spooky orange light, courtesy of this string of battery operated lights I bought at Hobby Builders Supply.


Grunging up the fireplace with washes and dabs of watered down dark forest green, burnt umber, and vintage white. I dabbed or brushed on the runny paint (mixing up the colors as I went), then wiping with a paper towel.


You can see the difference after painting–the stone the fireplace is sitting on is untouched; the fireplace has been grunged.


One of my ever-eager-to-help assistants.


I wanted to do weird light effects so purchased a flickering fire unit from Cir-Kit Concepts. Bulbs go into a fake coal pile.


This will hide the bulbs (I hope).


Bulbs are wired into a flicker unit, which is in turn wired into the regular dollhouse wiring system. Needs a 12V AC transformer (which is a typical dollhouse transformer).


You can see the sequence–bulbs in fireplace, through back of fireplace to false wall, to the flicker unit, and its wires (the black ones), will go through the outer wall of the roombox.


Everything installed, and the false wall glued into place.


Another light will be this lion head sconce …


Now grungy with burnt sienna paint.


The walls set in place.

Next, I will finish gluing in the false walls, trimming everything, then decorating with the fun stuff! More later!

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