Laser Cut Brimbles Mercantile Review
By Deb Roberts
I’m going to tell you right up front that I’m biased about this kit. I’ve wanted a Brimbles Mercantile almost from the moment I opened my first dollhouse kit box. I know it’s not a Victorian Painted Lady or a cute little country cottage, but for me the Brimbles has always had a certain charm. Well, to be honest, for me it had a certain, “If I don’t get one of these I will hold my breath till I turn blue” sort of appeal. Was it the roomy interior and all the cool shelves that came with it? Or was it the old country store charm of the front porch just waiting for a miniature “spit-n-whittle” club to come along? I’ve never been exactly sure what I found so appealing about the Brimbles but I was willing to throw a full blown hissy-fit to get one if I ever got the chance.
Getting one was the hard part. Brimbles had been out of circulation for years and was such a coveted kit that when one rarely appeared on eBay, the competition for it was fierce! I heard tales of miniaturists willing to sell their cars, cats and kids to come up with the money for one. (I hope they were joking about that, but for a Brimbles... well, you never know)
I’d had a plan for my Brimbles all along. The very first dollhouse I ever built was an Orchid and I made it as a little cottage for my witch. The witch hadn’t even taken up residence before I knew that I needed a shopping opportunity nearby. By the time the Wizard’s Glencroft joined the street, the shopping situation became dire.
The only house that would do for a witch’s supply store was the Brimbles. I knew that deep down in my heart, but alas, the availability of Brimbles made that impossible. I had to settle for another store for my “Wise Ways Emporium” and while it was pretty, it just wasn’t the same.
So when Greenleaf re-released the Brimbles, my heart just about burst out of my chest. Oh wonderful and glorious happy day! Then when I found out that it was being released in laser cut, my knees just turned to jelly and I fell flat on the floor. As long as I was down there I rolled around, kicking my feet in the air and squealing in delight. I can’t remember when I’ve been that happy. Really and truly, I’m not kidding you at all. This was a dream come true. Needless to say, I got my hands on one as quickly as possible. The poor UPS guy may never recover from my running out the door to grab the box from his hands and start jumping up and down. I can’t remember for sure, but I think I may have kissed him.
I’m fairly certain that I got all the way inside the house before I opened the box and started petting the wood, but there’s a distinct possibility that I may have been sitting in the middle of the sidewalk for a couple of hours, happily petting the pieces and mumbling sweet nothings to it. I do know that I had it in dry fit within 15 minutes after setting the box on my building table.
The Brimbles wasn’t my first laser cut kit so I knew what to expect of the smooth edges and almost “builds itself” ease of assembly. Those smooth laser cut edges meant that I didn’t need to even think about sanding all the bits of curvy trim on the windows or the porch pieces. For those of us who love instant gratification in building, the lack of sanding is one of the best things about the laser cut kits. It saves so much time!! And when it comes to those hard to reach places in the pieces of trim, it’s so much easier too. There’s no need to cut an emery board into slivers to try to sand inside a tight corner or wrap sandpaper around a pin to sand curves. Laser cutting has made all that a thing of the past.
What did surprise me is the amount of space inside the Brimbles! I knew that it was roomy, but I had no real concept of just how much space there is to play with! The kit has two huge rooms but believe me, there’s lots of space for kit bashers to play around with in this one. Installing interior walls would be a breeze. From a builder’s point of view, the potential for this one is awesome. Regardless of the type of shop you want, from frilly to country, this kit can pretty much do it all.
The footprint of the kit is 18½" W x 25" D x 21½" H which fits a whole lot of house into a small space. With the side opening, the Brimbles makes the most of its space too! I have more miniatures in this house than most of my other houses and yet it doesn’t look crowded at all.
The side opening also gives a really nice space out back for landscaping without adding much to your foot print. I extended the base under my Brimbles by a mere four inches and was able to landscape a spacious garden.
Even the front porch is large enough to add rocking chairs or patio furniture, plants, décor, etc. I would love to do this house again and make the front porch screened-in.
Another fabulous feature of the Brimbles is all the extras that come with it. No shop is complete without counters, shelves, signs and displays. Greenleaf makes sure that you have enough of those to open up shop without having to dig into your wallet to buy those fixtures.
There’s a lot of potential with these pieces as well. I used a couple of grain of wheat bulbs in the bottom of the display case to create a lighted display for my crystal balls and wands. Not even Harry Potter could resist this display!
The deep set windows at the front of the shop are perfect for displays too. Everyone knows that the best way to draw in customers is to have beautiful displays in the windows! Brimbles gives you ample opportunity for that! And just look how pretty it is with the light shining in from those huge windows. I can sit and look at that for hours.
All in all, the Brimbles was even better than I had hoped it would be. The witch and wizard are thrilled with their store and I no longer feel a need to hide in dark alleys to try and find the shop of my dreams.
However, I do have a really intense desire to build another store and go from rustic to an old west ghost town look. Maybe even a saloon with a bar downstairs and rooms to rent upstairs, or possibly even a hotel. I’ve had that urge ever since the Taft was re-released in laser cut. Good thing it’s easily available so I don’t have to go back to the dark alleys again!
Newsletter Home Page...