San Fran 550/555 - ceiling heights? Also, how hard to add building additions?

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I have a San Fran kit (almost certain it's the 555 but it's in my basement and I figure it probably doesn't matter for my question) and have imagined the occupants and interior designing and decided that they need 9 or 10' (in real size) ceilings. Could someone measure their completed San Fran for me to see if the bottom two floors have 9-10" ceiling heights please?

Also, the future occupants need more space. Interior furnished shots of the San Fran that I've found online look pretty cramped. I gather through reading threads here that the walls are assembled in pieces (and that for wood expansion and contraction reasons it'd be better not to glue the wall pieces together horizontally but instead to glue them at the ends into the slots at the side. I think I'm getting that right) rather than in 1 solid piece and that this kit is difficult to begin with. How complicated would it be for me to add an extension to both sides? One side would be a circular/hexagonal conservatory and the other would be a square 2 story bump out with a simple pitched roof. Both would require a cut in the wall shaped like a rectangle with a triangle on top. (I'd also put a dormer or two in the attic but that shouldn't be too difficult, right? Oh, and a basement. But disguised as a giant rock - they live on a cliff, apparently - so architecturally not complicated. I hope.)

The alternative is trying to find a different Victorian kit altogether that is bigger but I'm not finding anything I love. Thank you everyone.

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Thanks for asking this question. I have this house in a box too and am looking forward to the answer.

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2 hours ago, LauraLark said:

I have a San Fran kit (almost certain it's the 555 but it's in my basement and I figure it probably doesn't matter for my question) and have imagined the occupants and interior designing and decided that they need 9 or 10' (in real size) ceilings. Could someone measure their completed San Fran for me to see if the bottom two floors have 9-10" ceiling heights please?

Also, the future occupants need more space. Interior furnished shots of the San Fran that I've found online look pretty cramped. I gather through reading threads here that the walls are assembled in pieces (and that for wood expansion and contraction reasons it'd be better not to glue the wall pieces together horizontally but instead to glue them at the ends into the slots at the side. I think I'm getting that right) rather than in 1 solid piece and that this kit is difficult to begin with. How complicated would it be for me to add an extension to both sides? One side would be a circular/hexagonal conservatory and the other would be a square 2 story bump out with a simple pitched roof. Both would require a cut in the wall shaped like a rectangle with a triangle on top. (I'd also put a dormer or two in the attic but that shouldn't be too difficult, right? Oh, and a basement. But disguised as a giant rock - they live on a cliff, apparently - so architecturally not complicated. I hope.)

The alternative is trying to find a different Victorian kit altogether that is bigger but I'm not finding anything I love. Thank you everyone.

I'm building a 557 and I'm pretty sure the ceilings are at least 9 or 10 inches tall. I'm on vacation so can't measure for you, but if no one answers I will check when I get home. I've added a basement to my 557 and it wasn't difficult. Just build your house without the included foundation and cut new foundation pieces the height you want your basement to be. Just make sure you use wood strong enough to hold up your house. The 557 is made of milled MDF and has a different construction method than the other two so I can't comment on the glue situation with the wall construction. I am adding dormers to my San Franciscan also but the 557 has a 45 degree roof angle which makes it straightforward to add ready made purchased dormers. I believe the 550 & 555 roofs have a steeper pitch which will increase the degree of difficulty and require you to either custom make your dormers or modify pre made ones.     The rooms in this house are quite narrow and deep so can be difficult to furnish. I'm only in the early stages of building mine but my basement is almost complete. You can see pics at my blog (link in signature) or in my greenleaf album. http://www.greenleafdollhouses.com/forum/?app=gallery&module=gallery&controller=browse&album=7869

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My SF555 came with a VHS video in which the tongue and groove pieces that form the exterior walls were glued together into sections per the instructions.  I laid strips of masking tape as suggested in the video, and lined the sections up using my steel carpenter's square, and spread the bead of carpenter's wood glue into the groove and crammed it onto the tongue, mashing the pieces as closed as possible.  I built the foundation with the corner longframe pieces in place as plumb as I could get them, and slid the wall sections into them for a "dry fit".  When I was ready to glue them in place I slid them all out and stacked them beside the foundation between the longframe pieces they went in.  I put a bead of glue along each section' edges and slid them back down he longframes and where I had to build the windows (in the towers) I did so.  BTW, that's a royal pain in the patootie.  The VHS suggested whittling away excess wood to get the windows even and the wall sections the same height. If I ever were to build another & not slit my wrists first, once the walls were up I would take my container of spackle and my putty knife and slather the interior of those walls to get a nice smooth, EVEN surface for painting/ wallpapering.

This was my first build, BTW.

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I have seen the house with an addition on the kitchen side....I cannot find a picture, but I will keep looking.

I have this house in a box, and want to do some sort of addition so there is a formal dining room....It is a great house!

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I found the picture that I have saved of one with an addition.  Mine was too far along to enlarge when I saw this picture.  I don't know who the builder was on this one.

5a8319ae23e2f_AdditionIdea.thumb.jpg.3c3

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@1martinimomma Colleen, that is the best addition I have ever seen on a San Franciscan! I'm sad that I'm too far along in mine to do that! :cry:

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It really is, thank you! And thank you everyone :) Thought of another question - how hard would it be to replace the tricky wall construction with solid plywood? I've never done a dollhouse or any woodworking before and I have no idea how hard it is to figure out exactly what size those wall pieces would have to be.

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I personally don't think using plywood will save you any time or effort.  The siding is already grooved into the pieces, plus after you read the directions (if you haven't already) you need to construct each floor as you go.  The windows and some the trim are applied as part of the build for each floor.

I had no problem with the construction the way the kit came.  What did annoy me was the structural beams that run up the front of the bays.  I didn't like that you could see them on the inside of the rooms.  I just cut pieces of thin basswood plywood to fill the spaces between the structural beams on the inside.  I will say, this was my second house I built, the first being the Beacon Hill, so I think some experience with dollhouse building is very helpful when building this house, but not necessary.  You can do it, just take your time, and if it doesn't look right, it's not.  A small level is also very helpful when applying the side panels to make sure your level all the way around the house.

There are plenty of people on this forum who have built this house that you can reach out too when you run into a problem.   Good luck, and can't wait to see what you decide to do with your house.

3 hours ago, Samusa said:

the best addition I have ever seen on a San Franciscan!

Isn't it.  I love the extra space and look at the way they did the split stairs on the first floor.  If I ever decide to buy another one, this will definitely be on my to-do list of bashes for the house.

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Oh, ok. Yeah, I haven't gotten the instructions out yet. I'm just still concerned about the wood expansion thing. And was hoping it'd be simple to swap those walls out for plywood, this kit is intimidating enough on it's own without adding expansions lol.

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It  really depends on which model you are building.  Mine was wood construction,  a 555 model and  SAMUSA is building a 557 which is a  mdf construction.  So, it depends on what model you are building.

 

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When I checked the other day, it was to make sure it wasn't the MDF version. So definitely a 550 or 555, just can't remember which. I'll haul it out tomorrow and get the actual model number.

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I measured my 1st and 2nd floor (ceiling to floor heights) and both were a bit over 9 1/2".

SanFran4.JPG

SanFran5.JPG

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I can't believe I'm asking this, but how hard would it be to do all my intended alterations as well as raise the ceilings? Lol. I'm so so tempted to trade it in on a Beacon Hill, I love the idea of 12" and 10" ceilings on the first and second floors (I think that's accurate, anyway) but I already have this kit and I love the detailing. And the fact that it doesn't have a Mansard roof - I'd end up with 3 dollhouses with that style roof if I went for the Beacon Hill (though to be fair, one of them is only 1:144 scale). Plus I think I'd have to bash the Beacon Hill too to make it big enough for my picky intentions. Sigh. Sorry, thinking out-loud. 

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1 hour ago, LauraLark said:

I'd end up with 3 dollhouses

You can never have too many dollhouses! Plus, once you have the mini-bug there is no cure.:doh:

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1 hour ago, Mid-life madness said:

You can never have too many dollhouses! Plus, once you have the mini-bug there is no cure.:doh:

That's what I was afraid of...I suppose I should just accept the fact that I'll end up with a small village's worth of houses either way and just go with it, heh.

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Looking at the house with the addition, I think they might have created the addition from the parts of a second kit. Note the windows in the addition are the exact same as the kit originals. I think they have used the second kit's side walls to create the front and side of the addition. The large gable for the gable end. And the roof pieces with an access whole cut for the back and angles to meet the original roof. The floors would also be used. Using a second kit would keep the milled siding and trims consistent also.

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Ooh...good sleuthing! A second kit actually exists in my house - my sister and I each received one as gifts from our parents when we were kids (I remember the boxes being opened, starting to lay out the wall pieces, and then everything going back in for 20+ years. Lol). Maybe she'd let me have hers *fingers crossed*

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On 2/13/2018, 12:01:27, 1martinimomma said:

I found the picture that I have saved of one with an addition.  Mine was too far along to enlarge when I saw this picture.  I don't know who the builder was on this one.

5a8319ae23e2f_AdditionIdea.thumb.jpg.3c3

This link wasn't working when I tried it (several times) in the wee hours of 28 July 2018. If possible, would you please repost the photo, 1martinimomma. 

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Gail, if the original poster of that picture has deleted it, it may no longer exist online...

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If I have it it's on my computer at work.  I will check on Monday.

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Okay, @GailGW I found the picture of the addition.  Hope this help.5b5eefbfa224a_AdditionIdea.thumb.jpg.086

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