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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, July 4

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 looking to spruce it up a little. I decided to take on the project because it will not be very labor intensive and I am sure many readers out there will want to know just how to do some simple changes on an already assembled dollhouse.

First, some facts about this little dollhouse. It is a custom assembly, so the floor plan and architectural design is unique. (If someone out there recognizes this model as being from a dollhouse company, please let me know.)

*UPDATE* A reader just informed me that this dollhouse is actually the "Aunt Ellie" model from House That Jack Built.

The dollhouse was made with pre-assembled Houseworks components. This is what makes it a simple, quick build, dollhouse. All of the windows, clapboard siding, railings and front door come pre-assembled and are just put in place.

It appears to have been constructed properly, with glue and nails, since it is made from cabinet grade, 3/8" inch wood. This is a good sign because if the dollhouse is falling apart, that would be a more complicated problem.

So, the project is mostly about aesthetics than repairing. The interior of the dollhouse was not finished properly and that is what I am going to fix.

The biggest issue is the wallpaper, which was not installed correctly. There is a seam running right through the center of the first floor and the left side wall has a different pattern than the rest of the room. The attic wallpapers' border was not aligned properly throughout the room either. Whoever wallpapered the dollhouse, simply did not know how to wallpaper dollhouses very well.

The flooring is hardwood and it was installed pretty well but not finished correctly. It is very rough and has minor buckling in some areas. The baseboards are crooked. They used a strip of flooring to create the baseboards and this doesn't work because this flooring is way too thin to create a baseboard that will hide gaps and imperfections around the edges. The carpet was folded over the back floor edge, improperly.

The dollhouse was wired at some point but the finishes were not applied correctly over wiring. They should have been applied to templates but rather, were glued directly on top of the wiring. The wiring is damaged and can not be salvaged because of the application of glue over the wiring tape.

The dollhouse is missing interior moldings around windows and the door.

A glossy, oil based paint was used on the dollhouse. This is an incorrect paint to use. I can use a textured paper to correct this on the dollhouse ceilings but there is no leftover exterior paint in order to do touch ups so it will have to be left as is. I will be fixing the exterior white areas because one of the railings is broken. I will probably change the color of the porch floor and add brick paper to the foundation, just to hide some of the bad paint.

I am sure there are many people out there that might have a dollhouse with similar issues, so this will be the blog entry for you to follow. New builders can also get tips on what not to do when finishing a dollhouse. Anyone that wants to wire a dollhouse, using tape wire, should place close attention to this project, as this will be the way you want to finish your dollhouses interior in order to preserve your wiring.

Since I am not a rehabber, I am going to be using a lot of the tips and ideas given to me by expert rehabbers on the Greenleaf Forum.

3 comments: said...

I'm excited to see the rehab. I did a rehab several years ago. What a laborious task. It took longer than anticipated. There wasn't a spot inside that didn't need correcting. Outside paint was terrible but since I wasn't about to scrape and paint, I just cleaned it up. In my case, one problem fixed led to another and then another... Thanks for taking this on because I said I'd never do another rehab.


Anonymous said...

This Is the "Aunt Ellie" model "House That Jack Built" dollhouse.

Gina said...

Thank you so very much for the information on this dollhouse. It is nice to know what name this little kit had. I will be adding this information to the blog post.

Pat, you're absolutely right. Rehabs can be very labor intensive and they require a certain amount of experience and technique. I am a builder, not a rehabber, so that is why I had to first think about taking on this project and I had to consult with experienced rehabbers. I wanted to make sure that it wouldn't be too difficult but thankfully, just because of the type of dollhouse it is, it should go smoothly. I certainly would not have tried if it would have been a tab and slot dollhouse.


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