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Monday, December 8

The Beacon Hill Dollhouse Revisited Week 38

The Dormers
The dormers are confusing and complicated because they do not assemble in the same way as the rest of the windows. All of the dollhouses windows are installed with the large trim going over the small trim to create a cascading effect but the dormers, instead, have the small trim go over the larger trim.

Remember this difference because so far you have been accustomed to assembling the windows a certain way and these are assembled in the opposite manner. It is easy to make a mistake at this point so always look at the dormer window picture in the instruction sheet and make sure yours looks the same.

I am going to be installing my dormers in a different way than the instructions tell me because I am going to make them moveable.

First, find all of your dormer parts and finish them accordingly. You can see how I finished mines in the photos below. If you want the dormers to have a different color on the interior than the exterior, they have to be finished as shown.

The parts of the sills that will be visible on the interior and exterior are finished to match those areas. I finished the light and dark brown exteriors before laminating the sills together and then finished the white interiors after lamination. The same as I did with the other windows.

After all of your dormer parts are finished, you can pre-assemble by laminating the dormer fronts together. Remember the difference mentioned above. The small trim goes over the large trim. You can also laminate the dormer top trims (with the diamonds) and the L shaped parts.

Laminating and finishing everything together before installation will make the process go easier.

Installation Of The Dormer Sills
I installed the finished and laminated window sills into their openings. You do not have to use glue, in fact, I recommend that you do not. You want the sills to be flexible so you can move them up and down in order for them to sit straight as you add parts to them. You will need a mallet to tap them down. The mansard veneer can sometimes cause a tight fit. Now that the sills are installed, you can see how the white sills face the interior and the brown sills face the exterior.

After your sills are in place and straight, you can add the interior sill bottom trim. This is glued to the wall and to the bottom of the sills. Make sure the sills are straight before you glue. Always step away from the dollhouse in order to determine if something looks straight. Since I used beadboard in the bathroom, I used the top beadboard trim as the sill bottom trim for those dormer windows.

Installation Of The Dormer Sides
The instructions tell you to pre-assemble the dormer sides onto the front trim before installation. I did not do this. When you try to install the dormer fronts on the sills, with the sides attached, it causes strain and warping. This causes for the dormers to not sit straight and parallel to the walls. Also, since my dormers will be moveable, I do not want issues with how my windows operate. If the dormers fronts are warped from the strain, the windows might not move properly. Installation of the dormer sides to the dormer fronts also causes the tabs of the sides to show on the front of the dormers and they are very difficult to hide and make smooth.

Instead of preassembling the sides to the dormer fronts, I cut off the tabs of the sides, sanded the cut tab and primed them.

Then I glued the dormer sides to the openings. Make sure they are flush with the interior wall and the bottom of the sills. I faced the side with the cut off tab towards the interior because the interior dormer trim will hide this edge.

I then installed the interior dormer trim. Even though this trim hides the back edges of the dormer sides, you will still need to use touch up paint and spackle in this section later on.

Doing all of this before you add the dormer fronts makes finishing the dormer interiors very easy because you can reach in from both the exterior and interior to apply spackle and touch up paint where needed.

Installation Of Dormer Roofs
The roofs are made of the same material as the mansard panels. They are a thin sheet of wood veneer laminated to a cardboard backing. This allows for easy bending into a circle shape so they fit in the dormer window opening and rest on the tops of the dormer sides.

You will need to trim the dormer roofs so they fit. This is easily done with scissors and you must trim each one, for each individual dormer, as the amount you need to trim off will be different for each window.

Clamp with masking tape until dry.

Finishing The Dormer Interior
Before you install the dormer fronts, you have to make sure the interiors are completely finished and touched up.

I decided to cover the interior of my dormers with ceiling paper. This paper is already white, like my interior trim, thick, textured and very forgiving of mishaps. This is just what is needed for the interior of these dormers but you can also use a heavily patterned wallpaper or sandpaper. Remember, sandpaper can be painted any color you want.

Covering the interior of the dormers is the best way to achieve a nice finished look in their interiors, with the least amount of work. These dormers have so many nooks, crannies and small gaps, that even with the best finishing job, there will still have visible issues here and there if they aren't covered. You also want to control the amount of spackle you use in such a tight, inaccessible area. It is virtually impossible to sand the spackle smooth because of the tight space so use sparingly.

To cover your dormers, you need a paper template first. Once your template fits perfectly inside the curve of your dormer, transfer it to your cover of choice. I used tacky glue to attach the ceiling paper to the dormers.

You will need to use spackle on the interior of the dormer in order to hide any gaps between the roof edge and the interior trim. Once dry, touch up paint.

Even if you want to apply a textured finish to your dormer interiors, using spackle or stucco texture, I still recommend covering them first with cardstock or a thin cardboard. This will ensure a nice, even surface to apply your texture to.

Finishing The Dormer Exterior
You will have to touch up the paint of your sills on the exterior and paint the exposed sides of the dormer sides. I painted mines a dark brown so they stand out since my shingles will be light. You do not need any spackle along any of the gaps between the dormers and the mansard panel since shingles will be butting up against them and will hide all gaps.

Dormer Copper Roofs
If this was a real house, it would most likely have copper roofs on the dormers. You can create that same look using miniature copper sheets which can be found at some craft stores or at a miniatures store. In the paint section of the hardware, you can find sample paint swatches that are of metallic colors, like copper. They should be large enough for these small roofs. Sometimes you can also find scrapbook, poster board or construction paper in a copper color as well. You can also paint cardstock in a copper color, which is what I was going to do, but the copper paint that I used for my kitchen's copper roof is an antique copper, which is dark. I wanted something lighter for the dormer roofs.

Instead, I found something cheaper than buying lighter color copper paint. I went to the dollar store to try and see if I could find wrapping paper or a gift bag that was a copper color but instead, I found a pack of gift boxes. They sort of look like take-out boxes but they are the right color copper I am looking for.

I took the boxes apart and found a good area, that was large enough, to cover the roofs. I made a paper template of the dormer roof area and then transferred it to the copper box paper. This takes a lot of fitting and snipping and you have to do each dormer separately. One template does not fit all. Each dormer is actually slightly different from the other.

Making the template is easy, if you have copy paper. Just fold and crease it around your dormer tops and always cut out the creased area larger than what it is so you can continue fitting it properly by cutting a little at a time from it. Make sure you get the perfect fit from your template before you make the transfer, especially if you only have a limited amount of copper to work with. I only had four boxes for the four dormers and no room for errors.

Remember that if you accidentally snip just a tad too much, you have shingles that will be butting up against your roof at the top and you have the L shaped pieces which will butt up against the sides of the roof. So you do have a little bit of leeway for any mishap just be careful.

I glued my "copper" roofs down using tacky glue and clamped with glue sticks and small binders since you can not use masking tape on paper. It dries fairly quickly and the area where the binders are, will be hidden with the L shaped pieces so any small dents they might make will be hidden later.

The copper boxes were pretty small but still large enough to accommodate the dormer roofs. I had to cut in an area that had box folds on them because there was no other area large enough to cut from that didn't have a fold. I strategically placed the folds in the center of the roof so the folds look like the seams you would normally find in copper roofs. I made all four roofs the same.


miniaturista said...

Estupendo trabajo, seguro que al terminar va a quedar de lujo.
Feliz Navidad
Un abrazo

Lawanda said...

wish I had seen this when I was working on my BH. Might have to take them out and do a do-over

Lenora said...

Oh, how I wish I had heeded your advice on the dormer window sides! But no, I thought I had better just follow the instructions that came with the kit. Now I'm in the process of requesting new dormer parts online from Greenleaf and am tearing out the ones I tried to install. They just won't fit properly per the directions. I often consult your blog during my Beacon build, especially when I am puzzled by a step. Your tips and advice are invaluable. Just wish I had listened to you this time, but I will when I receive the new dormer parts from GL. Thank you for all the trouble I know you go to post & share you experience.


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