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This Old Dollhouse
A Miniaturist's Descent Into Madness

Front

This Old Dollhouse was recently purchased from a lovely lady in Washington. It was designed by Noel Thomas in 1977 and was number 145 in a limited edition of kit houses produced at the time. It was a work in progress when I purchased it. It arrived on a Friday night - just before our family was going out, so it did not get uncrated until Saturday. The house was lovely and quietly started "talking" to me. While the workmanship on the house was fine, it did not fit in with what my mind's eye was seeing. For the front view:

The siding is cedar and was finished with tung oil and perhaps a varnish. This had to be removed as it would have been to difficult to paint over. I did this with a foam stripper called Premium Stripper (original name) that I bought at Home Depot. The shingles were removed from the roof as I wanted to replace them with cedar shakes from the Thomas's. I did this with a combination of strippers - one I won't even recommend as it was considered a citrus based natural product and I had a terrible reaction to it but only on my left hand! The siding on the top floor arched window area was removed and will be replaced by small scalloped shingle that I will make.

Interior - Back

The first floor was lovely. There was a slate floor in the kitchen - the room on the bottom right. This was removed with LOTS of vinegar and water - as was the wallpaper in this room. The primary tool I used was the exacto knife.

I plan on replacing the floor with oak plank flooring. The ceiling is paneled with wood that was tung oiled and varnished. I removed the varnish and much of the tung oil but will have to redo the ceiling due to electrical considerations. Main room; on the viewers left side there was a fireplace against the left hand wall. As a realist, this was impractical because the fire box and chimney would be on the outside covering the windows on the next 2 floors. The fireplace will be moved to the center of the area and used as a room divider for the living room and dining room.

Against the far back wall, the stairs will be built. Because of the limited room, I will not be able to build the "grand" staircase I would like, so I have decided to encase the stairs in a paneled wall with a closet under the stairs. This will also give the dining room another "wall" without losing any more space. The flooring was walnut veneer with a great guitar banding that I am replacing with specially cut oak parquet to fit the period of the house.

Second Floor:
This floor had the beginnings of a bathroom with light blue "ceramic" tile that was a night mare to remove. I used every method known. Heat, water and vinegar, stripper, sanding, you name it. I think it just finally gave up! The walls of the bathroom had also been plastered and then wallpapered over and I am still working on one of the walls. The ceiling for the second floor, as well as the first floor had been plastered. In the "nook" it had been plastered over wall paper. I used the palm sander to remove this. The wall paper in the hall was removed with the ever faithful vinegar and water. The floor is the same walnut veneer and will be covered by a parquet floor. The floor in the bathroom will be "marble". Haven't decide on the bathroom walls yet.

Third Floor:
The previous owner did a marvelous job planking the ceiling. It was tung oiled and varnished, but again not suitable for my purposes. This area will more than likely be divided into two rooms - one a finished attic room- and I will have white washed ceiling and floor boards (maybe) and the other side will have a small "real" attic room with open beams, newspaper insulation, et. al. All of the wood was stripped with the foam stripper. The walnut veneer on the floor here will be replaced by plank flooring.

Side

The main problems I had in stripping the house was the type of glue used. The stripper was invaluable in saving time. It took me about 10 hours with the stripper, water and vinegar and palm sander (my all time favorite tool besides the exacto knife) to bare the bones of this lovely home. My approximate cost so far, including sand paper $30.

Next step: Ordered shingles, old newspaper sheets for attic and Bug Juice from Pat Thomas - cost $203.

Coming up: I will Gesso and prepare to wire the house.

Figuring out what wood to order to finish the exterior.

Side

This Old Dollhouse -- Page Two

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