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Custom Rehab Week 01

This upcoming project is a little different from my usual ones. This is a rehab. This custom dollhouse belongs to a neighbor and she was ...

Monday, April 13

The Willowcrest Dollhouse Revisited Week 14

Since I have a lot of sub-assemblies done, I can begin installing them on the dollhouse by section. I don't want to move on to the very complicated second floor interior just yet. I need to take a little break from such extensive detailed work and refresh my eyes by working elsewhere on the dollhouse. I began working on the exterior front of the dollhouse, first floor section.

I sided the dollhouse up to the porch roof. I glued my siding using Quick Grab Tacky Glue, as I always do. You have to sand the siding, using a fingernail file, once installed so the edges are smooth. There is no need to do this before installation. In fact, if you do, you might get a lot of splitting and breaking of your siding. Wait for it to be securely on the wall before you sand it.

Since I am not cutting my sanding around components, but glueing them over the siding, there was no need to prime the exterior walls before application but you can, if you'd like. Remember to prime them with the same color you plan using on your siding.

Porch Floor
I stained the porch floor with the same stain I used on the interior staircase steps and hand rails.

French Window
I installed the large french, exterior window. I had already painted and pre-assembled it so it was very nice to have it waiting for me instead of having to work on it now. And it does need a lot of work.

There is no one right way to install dollhouse windows. It all depends on the model of your dollhouse. For the Willowcrest, I personally like to sandwich the "glass" panes between the interior window trim and window opening. This is because I like to apply my exterior window trim OVER the siding, instead of cutting the siding around the windows.

Binder clamps hold the window firmly in place as the glue dries.

Because the exterior window trim is being placed over the siding, the siding will leave a gap between the exterior window trim and window opening which has to be sanded, spackled and painted. This finishing step is very important so that you have a nice finished window along the inside edges of the openings. This extra finishing procedure will make the "glass" pane an obstacle if it is installed on the exterior window trim so it's best for it to be on the interior trim instead.

The siding does not inhibit, in any way, the installation of any component. It just requires a little more finishing to hide any gaps it might cause along the openings' edges.

Leaving the window panes off until I install the interior window trim also helps with the assembly. I am no where near finishing this dollhouse yet so I will need the window openings as access points to reach into certain areas and also to be able to turn the dollhouse upside down.

Some of my acetate windows were damaged but that's fine because I am making my own wooden mullions so I will just replace the damaged windows with clear acetate. The missing silk screened mullions will not be noticed. These mullions have to be added later on, after the windows are installed.

You can begin seeing the color scheme take shape.

Porch Roof
I installed the porch roof trim.

I had wanted to use sandpaper on the flat porch roof but unfortunately, I was unable to find light gray sandpaper. I painted black sandpaper, which I have for another future project, but the outcome was not any different than painting the flat porch roof directly so I scrapped the idea. I am going to leave the porch roof as is for now and paint it later.

Hinged Front Storm Door
I had to give the foyer one last look and make sure that I had all of the baseboards installed and I had done all of the touch ups before installing the front door. Your foyer must be completely done before you proceed. Your front door must be installed before you add any porch trim.

The front door is a little tricky. The exterior trim of the door is composed of two layered trims. If you plan on hinging your door, like I am, you will need to install them a certain way to get the best outcome.

This is for doors hinged on the exterior of the dollhouse, opening outwards, like mines. If you hinge your doors on the interior, that is easier, just hinge them to the interior front door trim. I like seeing the doors hardware on the exterior so I want them hinged to the exterior trim.

For this, I had to finish and install the larger, bottom exterior trim first. This part is vital because you need to finish the inside edges of the doorway so they look finished when the door opens. The inside edge must be sanded, spackled and painted.

I finished and then hinged the front door on the smaller, top trim. This is the trim that goes over the one we just installed. I decided to paint it white, rather than the color of the door, so it stands out more.

You have to dry fit your door many times so you know where you have to sand in order for them to fit. They should open and close smoothly but you will never know their true outcome until they are hinged and installed. That's why you should sand enough so there is a leeway for touch up paint, spackle, etc. Do not sit them too tightly into their opening, especially with double doors.

Once my doors were hinged, I added the hardware. For these storm doors, I not only added the knobs but also the raised "nails". They are filigreed beads that I then painted over with the doors paint.

Let your door dry over night before playing with it and be gentle with your tab and slot hinged door. They are heavy and fragile.

I misplace my front steps. I just can't find them anywhere so I had to make my own with balsa wood and since I am already doing that, I decided to make them a little nicer by rounding their front corners.

I am going to leave the porch as is for now because I want to make sure the front door is working correctly before I proceed with any porch trim. The porch trim will make accessing the front door difficult.

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