Repairing a Pierce. My first house

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I hope someone in the group can help me.

This house came fully assembled with lighting installed. It's old and has been well played with by a 16-year-old who has enjoyed it for 8 years. I have questions about repairing and refurbishing the house. I haven't done this kind of thing before but I am beyond excited to have this beautiful dollhouse.

The house has been glued with wood glue (not hot glue) and the interior and exterior were primed. No flooring and a minimum of paper (one or two walls only)

  1. I'd like to put siding on. Can I install that around the already glued in window frames or must they be removed first?
  2. The second-floor bay window roof piece is missing (see image) If I had a pattern of the missing pieces I could make another out of thin bass or balsa wood. Does anyone have a pattern and instructions for making and installing the new piece?
  3. Any suggestions for rehab as per the attached photos are most welcome.

Thanks!

Rosemary

 

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Hi Rosemary! :wave:  You've got yourself a beautiful Pierce!

1. Generally I remove the windows before adding siding - and I like to have the windows out when wallpapering the interior.  That said, they are usually pre-made Houseworks windows, and this is a GL with rather thin wood which makes removing the windows intact a bit sketchy. I think I would attempt to just butt the siding up against the window frames. Maybe someone else would have a suggestion.

2. No help there.

3. When I do rehabs I always start with a clean slate: remove old wallpaper with warm water (you can add a touch of vinegar or fabric softener if you like) and a putty knife, fill in rough walls with spackle and then sand the walls and floors lightly (I have a mouse sander which is great for this!), the back wall and floor edges may be finished off with channel molding. This helps give the floors, especially, some extra support. Broken shingles may be removed using a heat gun and a small putty knife or Xacto blade to wiggle them out. You can carefully lift the shingles above to slide in the replacement.  As for interior work: make templates of floors and even the walls for making cutting wallpaper and flooring easier.  

Good luck and have fun!

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Thank you jbmini,

One more question - I'm reading about people adding rooms onto the kits, but I don't see any examples or tutorials. Do you have any suggestions?

 

 

 

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I haven't ever rehabbed a house....so take this with a grain of salt.

*I can see that it will be so much harder to add siding with the roof on and widows intact. Also, the porch area will be much easier dismantled. Do you want to do this on a first house?  It could be done while still intact but it will be a chore.

I think you can easily mock up a replacement for missing pieces. Thin basswood of Matt board would work well.  If someone has a kit, perhaps they would be willing to give you the measurements for the pieces. You can always ask.

The interior is such a blank slate, only your imagination is the limit.

~~~Good Luck~~~

 

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I was always going to add siding onto my Pierce but as I followed the directions I added in the windows earlier.  To my mind it seemed too hard to butt the siding up around the arched windows well.

I added to the second lower tower to make more room in the attic for another bedroom.  I did it very poorly in my opinion - but I have learned a huge amount since then.  I will get back to is and get it finished!  Your Pierce looks to have been done really well - but do be careful if you are going to remove the window frames.  I think they'll probably be unuseable if you try.

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I am not a huge fan of clapboard siding; After I prime the exterior to seal it I like to spread a thin layer of spackling/  joint compound or drywall mud and texture it for stucco or "carve" it into stomework with a pointy toothpick and texture that.

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I know what you mean. I was just "dusting" it and tugging gently at wobbly bits. and trying to envision cutting the siding to fit the curves!

The loose outside pieces that came off in my hands (the awning sections and the railings) I've tucked away carefully for later repair. I will repaint for sure but rethink the siding.

Inside, the light system tapes are in need of something - they are loose and hanging, the tape is dried and curled, and there's no main plug attached to a cord where it is supposed to be, so I can't test them. I do have a new system that I was planning to use for the Westville so if this one doesn't work I'll install the new one.

The house is large but I don't like the way the stairs look or where they are located. They are installed tightly so not sure if I can remove them and renovate with slender carved posts and a fancy Newell. And lighter paint.  I think the area will look more open if I do that although it does resemble the entrance to the Prince of Whales Hotel in Niagara on the Lake.

The wallpaper that is there looks okay but has some loose bits, so it's coming out too!

The rest of the structure, especially the foundation, is solid and holding well.

Lot's to think about. And lots of work to do!

Thanks for your response.

 

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2 minutes ago, Jazz said:

I don't like the way the stairs look or where they are located.

In order to create an entry/reception area in my Bohemian Inn Pierce, I totally reworked the stairs. It's hard to believe that this was done eight years ago, but a couple of moves and some major life interventions slowed me down. And I've promised the Beacon Hill to finish her before going back to the Pierce. In any event, if you check my blog here and scroll down, you will see what I did with the stairs.  I'm not one for making detailed templates, so I just blundered ahead with the renovation. I learned how to fix mistakes. :D In any event, it still looks good. Lonely and neglected, but good.

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@Jazz Well, Rosemary, to me it sounds like what remains of the electrical system needs to go.  :(  I never quite trust a system that is 30 years old or the tape looks corroded or just in bad shape.  You could just remove any parts that look bad and connect new tape.  But for me it's kinda like mixing old batteries and new batteries- not recommended. 

And if you decide to scrap the siding idea....you could do stucco, paper clay stone or brick, or egg carton stone or brick.  :)  

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I agree with Jackie about the electrical.

I have a love/ hate relationship with electrical. It can be a real pain in the rear, but it does add so much warmth to a house.  When you are ready to take the plunge let us know, lots of sage advice and experience here.....I can tell you what not to do:pullhair:.

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Thank you jbnmini and Mid-life madness. I'm in transit to Victoria BC and sitting in the Calgary airport for an hour layover. (from Toronto) I couldn't wait to get my computer open to see if there were any messages and there you are! 

I'll be back home in about 3 weeks and start on the house then. Thank you for your offers and suggestions. 

Very best,

Rosemary

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Wow you've found yourself a beauty. If you really want to remove items such as the stairs or window, a mix of vinegar and water (mostly vinegar) will help to loosen wood glue enough to get a paint scraper under them and pry them off. Add the heat of your hair dryer and you should be able to get them off if you are careful. The hair dryer for the stairs only not the windows, or you'll melt the plastic panes. Or you could just go for it on the windows too and then replace the plastic with new. The plastic in bubble packaging or poster frames makes good replacements. Remember the stairs probably have tabs through the floor and ceiling so you are either going to want to cut those off or be prepared to do some wrangling to get them out. The vinegar and hairdryer combination are going to stink to high heaven so ventilate your work area. To apply the vinegar, get it in the joins as best you can and leave it there for 10 minutes or so before you start trying to pry with the scraper. If it wont come up, apply more, wait a while longer and try again. You may have to saturate the area quite a bit. I have used this method successfully to remove a foundation from a house. 

Good luck! 

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11 hours ago, Samusa said:

Add the heat of your hair dryer and you should be able to get them off if you are careful.

I was amazed at how easy it was to disassemble a doorframe with just a moderate amount of heating with a hair dryer.  I didn't leave it on for long, as I was worried about possibly scorching it, but with an alternation of heat and winkling an X-acto blade between the pieces, it came apart within minutes -- the extra space revealed by the blade made it even easier to warm and soften the old glue.  That was an uninstalled frame, so it was easier to hold it and manipulate it, but I kind of wish I'd tried it on some crooked sections of my pre-fab shop.  I will remember the vinegar addition too -- thanks, Sam!

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On 4/15/2019, 12:11:23, Jazz said:

I'm reading about people adding rooms onto the kits, but I don't see any examples or tutorials. Do you have any suggestions?

I've not done any bashing myself yet other than adding doors into shop rear walls, but I know that Brae for one does a lot of remodeling with the kits she builds -- she has done the HBS Creatin' Contest for a number of years, and often writes up step-by-step posts of her often-extensive and impressively thorough modifications.  She blogs here --

http://www.otterine.com/blog/blog1.php

with a very helpful organization of her posts into categories, and she is also a member of this forum.

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