Monday, June 2, 2014

The McKinley - A Quasi-Impulse Buy

My husband has found all kinds of great deals on Craigslist lately… power tools, free saws, even a ridiculously cheap kayak. It motivated me to start trolling for dollhouse stuff.

I came across an ad for a dollhouse that could be mounted on the wall. Given the narrow, townhome-ish look, I’ve decided it’s one in a series of European row houses. 

Here are a few pictures that were in the listing:

The house was a good bit more than I was looking to spend, but it came with all the furniture and was completely assembled. I thought about it for a few days (quasi-impulse), but hesitated, since that’s a good deal more than I wanted to spend. But, in the end, I contacted them to see if it was still available. It was!

When I got home, I removed all the furniture and used a paint brush to dust everything off. This took a while and involved lots of sneezing. The dollhouse was built from a kit that the lady had put together for her granddaughter, who apparently wasn’t particular about housework. Luckily the girl wasn’t hard on it otherwise because it’s still in very good shape.

I love the wallpaper on the walls of the house. I never thought I would like dollhouse carpet, but somehow it works here. The baseboards and crown molding are capped off with corner blocks that really add to the appearance. I’m considering adding something similar to Whitebrush Manor’s rooms.

 I touched up a few spots of paint and glued a piece of porch railing that had come loose. Then, the fun part! I put away the furniture I wouldn’t be using (most of it), and played with the placement of what remained.

My husband mounted the house on the wall, and I decorated with the rest of my existing dollhouse furniture.

The seller had used the pink room on the second floor for a bathroom, but I just can’t justify using the space for that. I’ve decided the bathroom is down the hallway instead, past the stairs and out of sight. I’m in the process of recovering the hideous patterned mattress for the daybed and I want to find (build?) a narrow table for the hallway.

The Victorian couch and chair that I’m using here are too big for the space/layout, and in my opinion, a bit too formal for this house. I’ve always had it in my head they’d be used in Whitebrush Manor anyway, so I had to come up with an alternative that wouldn’t cost anything since I blew my allowance/birthday money on the purchase.I'm also slightly worried about the stain on the wallpaper from the furniture they had pushed against the wall. You can just barely see it behind my sofa -- it almost looks like a reflection.

I took a second look at the living room furniture that came with the house. I discovered that the cushions could be removed without much work at all, so I’m planning to recover them. I may also (i.e., will likely) give them a distressed coat of paint with chalk paint. This will make them look less formal/cheap and should give an overall shabby chic look that fits the more relaxed scheme of the house.

To keep dust out of the house, I needed to fit acrylic to the front when it’s being displayed. I went to Home Depot to get some, but it was pretty thick and heavy (not to mention expensive). Because of the construction of the built-in shelves below, the acrylic has to rest on the shelves and I didn’t want to add a bunch of weight to them or the dollhouse itself. Thinking Michael’s might have some dollhouse grade, I went there. No luck. Finally, at Hobby Lobby, I talked to the lady at the framing counter and she suggested poster frames that come with thin acrylic for the ‘glass’. Even better, they were on sale for half price!  

Once I got them cut (using paper patterns first to be sure they’d work) and in place, the acrylic was so wobbly that it wanted to fold in on itself. I remedied this by using a little bit of museum wax on the edge of one of the floors. Luckily it sticks pretty well and isn’t horribly noticeable.

It’s so nice having a ready-made dollhouse, especially one was constructed with such care and finished in paper/colors I like. Even better is that it hangs on the wall, taking up less room than a “normal” dollhouse. The cherry on top is finally being able to display some of the miniatures I’ve collected and stored in an old hat box over the past 20+ years.

I'll give a grand tour in a future post, along with any history I can dig up.

*Update 06.08.2014: While thumbing through a catalog from Hobby Builders Supply, I found this kit listed as the McKinley! Title and tags updated accordingly... stay tuned for more info!

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