Dutch Gambrel Colonial Renovation

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Posting this here so my updates don't keep hogging up the main General Mini Talk page and shoving everyone else's posts away. :/

I'm going to try to renovate this sad little wreck of a dollhouse that someone gave to me. It has been crying out to be saved. Does anyone recognize what manufacturer made this? I think it might be an old Batrie kit. It is constructed of nearly 3/4" thick, 3" high strips of wood with milled-in clapboard. The openings don't fit standard-sized components. Rasping those out has been a task!

I'm modeling it on my lovely Quaker great-grandmother's 18th Century home in Newport, RI. Wonderful memories of summers spent there! Getting the correct shade of exterior paint has been a nightmare but that's finally been sorted. The sides will have weathered gray shingling.

Going to have another go at authentic-looking Colonial raised paneling. Haven't had much success with that in the past. Still looking for just the right shade of blue for the living room.

Going to recreate her narrow U-shaped staircase with all its angled steps that was so treacherous to navigate. Already found the perfect apple green for the treads and lemon yellow for the risers just as I remember them.

Will have to mess around with the heights of foundation boards for the house and addition. You had to step down into the kitchen, almost as though that part of the house didn't have a foundation and was built onto the ground. I think it was the original tiny home on the site, and then turned into the kitchen with a bedroom above after the main house was added sometime in the 1770s or 1780s.

I've renovated dollhouses that were in worse shape than this one, but this has offered up its own host of unique problems. I guess we'll see if I can pull it off.

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Layering matboard makes terrific-looking paneling when painted.

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1 minute ago, havanaholly said:

Layering matboard makes terrific-looking paneling when painted.

That's the technique I'm going to try. I'll be picking up a mat cutter when I come to that. I think my issue in the past was that I was trying to use stripwood. It sounds like it would be easy enough but somehow I mucked it up each of the several times I attempted it.

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It's easier to work matboard to scale.

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I love a gambrel roof! What a great house. I think your plans for it are fabulous too. :D 

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A trick I learned for cutting mat board for various projects is to make your markings and cuts on the side that will face in.  This provides a neater looking outward appearance. 

I look forward to your progress. 

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1 hour ago, Keifer said:

A trick I learned for cutting mat board for various projects is to make your markings and cuts on the side that will face in.  This provides a neater looking outward appearance. 

I look forward to your progress. 

Thank you Keifer, I will take all the tips I can get! Your contemporary house is amazing, btw. I envy your skill.

I'm not so delusional to think I can accomplish anything close to what Peter Kendall does but the first pic on this page, the Bartholomew-Coppock house, and the Dutch Colonial in the second row are my inspirations for the interior of this house. If I could get anything even close to those, I'd be thrilled.

http://www.peterkendallminiatures.com/historic_homes.html

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I'm getting ahead of myself but there were some quirky things about that house that I am just dying to get to. I have to share one example. At some point in the home's history, someone decided the wall between the living room and the foyer should be removed. I suppose to aid air circulation, give a sense of space, and let in more light. Well, those homes were post-and-beam construction. You can't just take those out or the house would collapse!

So there they remained, uncovered, no wall, just a jangle of upright posts, lintels, and angled cross-beams. You looked right through them from the entry into the living room, as well as from the stairs at the back of the foyer.

One of the funny things is that when the door was removed from that wall, it left the sub-floor visible. So a new board had to be fitted into place where the threshold / door jamb had been. Of course, it didn't have 200 years of patina like the floorboards to either side so it stuck out like a sore thumb. I'm going to do the same. It'll probably look stupid and no doubt most people would question my judgment, but that's what the house had IRL so I'm going to do it in miniature.

I think quirky little things like that make a house fun.

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44 minutes ago, KellyA said:

I'm getting ahead of myself but there were some quirky things about that house that I am just dying to get to. I have to share one example. At some point in the home's history, someone decided the wall between the living room and the foyer should be removed. I suppose to aid air circulation, give a sense of space, and let in more light. Well, those homes were post-and-beam construction. You can't just take those out or the house would collapse!

So there they remained, uncovered, no wall, just a jangle of upright posts, lintels, and angled cross-beams. You looked right through them from the entry into the living room, as well as from the stairs at the back of the foyer.

One of the funny things is that when the door was removed from that wall, it left the sub-floor visible. So a new board had to be fitted into place where the threshold / door jamb had been. Of course, it didn't have 200 years of patina like the floorboards to either side so it stuck out like a sore thumb. I'm going to do the same. It'll probably look stupid and no doubt most people would question my judgment, but that's what the house had IRL so I'm going to do it in miniature.

I think quirky little things like that make a house fun.

I agree the quirks make the house. I live in a 140 year old house and there isn’t a straight wall or doorway in the place. I wouldn’t have it any other way. :D 

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2 hours ago, KellyA said:

...the Bartholomew-Coppock house, and the Dutch Colonial in the second row...

Looks like three layers of matboard for the Coppock paneling and two for the Dutch Colonial; for the beadboard walls you can't miss with the Greenleaf flooring strips, but strips of matboard would probably work as well.  And I'm all for realism in miniature!

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1 hour ago, Samusa said:

I agree the quirks make the house. I live in a 140 year old house and there isn’t a straight wall or doorway in the place. I wouldn’t have it any other way. :D 

Our house was built in 1907 so not as old as yours. Our quirks are . . . well, let me put it this way. I have the electrician's, plumber's, roofer's, and carpenter's phone numbers on speed dial.

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7 minutes ago, havanaholly said:

Looks like three layers of matboard for the Coppock paneling and two for the Dutch Colonial; for the beadboard walls you can't miss with the Greenleaf flooring strips, but strips of matboard would probably work as well.  And I'm all for realism in miniature!

How funny we were posting at the same time. I've posted before how much I love Greenleaf's siding for a variety of uses. Greenleaf siding will be covering nearly every square inch for the planked ceilings. Horizontally, it makes for perfect early Colonial, non-paneled wainscoting. Also vertically for planked walls. Those I may not be doing in this house but I've done it before and it looked awesome!

P.S. thank you for bringing that up. I think the hosts of this forum deserve a shout-out when one of their products works so well for so many things. And five bucks for 360 square inches? Impossible to beat that!

https://shop.greenleafdollhouses.com/miniature-clapboard-siding/

 

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Well slap me upside my head with a fistful of wet spaghetti!  I meant siding strips; I used them for both beadboard walls and floors in Maggie.

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33 minutes ago, havanaholly said:

Well slap me upside my head with a fistful of wet spaghetti!  I meant siding strips; I used them for both beadboard walls and floors in Maggie.

I deserve a slap upside the head too, for my inability to read. I didn't even notice you said flooring. I must have read it as siding because I've used it so many times, and I just ran with it, lol.

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2 hours ago, KellyA said:

Our house was built in 1907 so not as old as yours. Our quirks are . . . well, let me put it this way. I have the electrician's, plumber's, roofer's, and carpenter's phone numbers on speed dial.

Haha, I know what you mean... luckily we did a full Reno of all the electrical & plumbing less than 10 years ago, so we don’t have that problem anymore... but I’m definitely in need of a good handyman regularly.. and we are gearing up to need an exterior paint job done. Which over here is very expensive.. like multiples of tens of thousands, expensive! Saving up is well underway. :D 

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5 hours ago, Samusa said:

Haha, I know what you mean... luckily we did a full Reno of all the electrical & plumbing less than 10 years ago, so we don’t have that problem anymore... but I’m definitely in need of a good handyman regularly.. and we are gearing up to need an exterior paint job done. Which over here is very expensive.. like multiples of tens of thousands, expensive! Saving up is well underway. :D 

Painting isn't near that expensive here, ouch! Other things probably cost more though. We replaced the Spanish barrel tile roof a few years back. That was multiple tens of thousands. I figured if the original had held up for over a hundred years, why try anything else?

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36 minutes ago, KellyA said:

Painting isn't near that expensive here, ouch! Other things probably cost more though. We replaced the Spanish barrel tile roof a few years back. That was multiple tens of thousands. I figured if the original had held up for over a hundred years, why try anything else?

Yes we, replaced our roof a few years ago and it was multiples of 10s of thousands also, and it’s only tin! (corrugated iron). Australia is incredibly expensive for everything. Imagine, we are at the bottom of the world and hardly manufacture anything anymore. Most things other than food (and even a lot of that too) are imported. We do have higher wages than in the US though. I used to do the same job I have here in the Los Angeles, but my wages are more than double what I earned over there so it all evens out I guess. 

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Posted the floor plan (TWICE! I'd like to know what I'm doing wrong). Just thinking out loud here. Still don't know if I want to do this up as an authentic Colonial, or how I remember it in my pre-teen years in the 80s. Yes, I'm old enough to remember when MTV actually played music videos. Put teeny versions of my Kylie Minogue and INXS posters on the walls of the attic bedroom, haha. I was determined to look like her and to marry Michael Hutchence! Neither happened.

I've been playing structural engineer on-line to find the weights of plywood, how much weight piano hinges can bear, how to double-hinge the gambrel roof so the dormer roofs don't shove into the back shed dormer roof . . . etc., etc., ad nauseam.

Bathrooms will be optional depending on the setting. I'm in love with the idea of both. While the original house retained most of its Colonial-era charm, part of me would soooo love to do my Great-grandmother's tacky metal 1950s kitchen, and her family room with every inch clad in honey-pine ship lap paneling. I don't think she remodeled since the 50s. I last saw the house at her funeral in 1992 (she was 100 years old!), but what teenager remembers decorating and architectural details? Anyone who would is dead now, sorry to say.

Would it be tacky to put this nearly exact match to her awful 1970s faux-Early American sofa set in that family room? HAHAHA! Don't answer yes, I might do it.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-1970s-Doll-House-Furniture-Brown-Gingham-Sofa-Chair-Wood-Cook-Stove/113727155884

There will be a blown-up photo mounted to posterboard behind the house, on the other side of the backyard fencing. I'm loving the one below but obviously can't use one with the Newport Bridge over Narragansett Bay if I go Colonial. Eh, I'll think of something. It's only $15 to have a photo blown up at Staples, who knew?!

Enough of my stream-of-consciousness. Here's a couple 80s flashbacks for you youngins who missed the fun.

 

 

Narragansett Bay Bridge Sunset.jpg

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You must be the age of my sons.

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32 minutes ago, havanaholly said:

You must be the age of my sons.

Maybe. Are your sons starting to get gray hair? Not that I'm stocking up on L'Oreal or anything, no sirree, nuh-uh, nope. :ermm:

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5 hours ago, Kells said:

...Are your sons starting to get gray hair?...

When his little girl was born I mentioned to the eldest how becoming his gray hair looked and the next time we saw him to greet the baby boy I could have cried because he was using Grecian Formula and all that gorgeous silvery hair was black once more (eldest is half Samoan and half Japanese and with the gray hair he looked a LOT like the prime minister of Japan at the time).  I have yet to go gray, will be 78 later this year.

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5 hours ago, havanaholly said:

When his little girl was born I mentioned to the eldest how becoming his gray hair looked and the next time we saw him to greet the baby boy I could have cried because he was using Grecian Formula and all that gorgeous silvery hair was black once more (eldest is half Samoan and half Japanese and with the gray hair he looked a LOT like the prime minister of Japan at the time).  I have yet to go gray, will be 78 later this year.

So adorable! I forbade hubs from covering his. He's graying at the temples but lucky guy, his isn't even gray, it's like polished silver. I love it! 78 and no gray? My mom went gray in her 40s like I am. I was kidding about the L'Oreal. She fought her gray for years and tried to keep her auburn color. Most of the time it came out maroon/burgundy and didn't look natural. No thanks.

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KathieB asked what the house was telling me it wanted to be. All it's saying is, "IT'S ABOUT TIME!" But I did realize that I'm trying to talk myself into doing it as I remember it. Talking yourself into something is never a good idea. If it were right, you wouldn't have to convince yourself.

I once wanted to do a Hofco front-opening mansard like this one (or as close as I could manage with my limited skills!), which I posted a while back.

I didn't end up doing that with the Hofco. I'm thinking this is the house to finally give it a go. Not an exact replica since I want to capture the details I remember, like the aforementioned apple green and lemon yellow staircase I always loved. Similar in feel and style anyway.

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If the house doesn't like what you want, it will let you know; maybe you can reach a compromise with it, but in the end, you'll both be happier with the outcome if you go with what it wants.

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On 29/07/2019, 4:15:28, Kells said:

Maybe. Are your sons starting to get gray hair? Not that I'm stocking up on L'Oreal or anything, no sirree, nuh-uh, nope. :ermm:

Just bought myself a box of L’Oréal yesterday.. haha... I was a teenager in the 80’s too and these greys are really starting to get out of control. :eekout:

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