When I saw the idea of decorating a doll house floating around the interwebs, started by Emily Henderson of HGTV’s “Secrets from a Stylist”, it kind of clicked with me.
See, I knew there was an almost finished doll house sitting in a storage unit in the middle of nowhere waiting for someone to love it.
It was started by my grandfather for his growing family of granddaughters (7 granddaughters, one grandson, AKA “The Boy”)
Oh, Olan Mills, you never fail to delight. But that’s a lot of girls, right? When Grandpa passed away in 1996, my dad, the oldest son, took the doll house home.
Dad passed away in 2004 and now it has come to me, the oldest daughter and oldest granddaughter. I don’t know that my dad ever did much to the doll house, he probably had enough on his hands trying to deal with three daughters.
So I think I owe it to my dad and grandpa to finish this thing off. Thanks to my college experience, I did receive a grueling education in model-making.
There were many late nights spent with balsa wood and exacto-knives.
This one above was my senior thesis project, a modern art museum. While the model is totally shredded, the floor plans don’t look too embarrassing to me like some of my other college portfolio does. My dad died during my final senior semester and sometimes I’m amazed I finished this museum project at all. I think the reality is I had every girl’s best angel looking out for her – her dad.
So, down to brass taxes, as my husband would say. First I’ll need to space plan and layout out the whole thing (because I’m a nerd like that and need an overall plan before I can start moving forward on little pieces). My main goal is to get the doll house structure finished and the interior surfaces finalized (paint, flooring). Furniture can come and go, but it needs to be sturdy and safe for more little girls to play with if I want to do right by my father and grandfather.
I think I’ll need a couple of weeks for the exterior/structure
1. Finish all the siding – cut and attach each piece
2. Paint siding (I’m thinking a dark warm grey)
3. Finish shingles on roof (I’m thinking about leaving those natural).
4. Clear coat roof?
5. Cut all interior openings — doors from one room to another
6. Trim all interior openings
7. Adjust all floors/walls/ceilings
8. Sand all interior floor/walls/ceilings
9. Look at electrical/lighting options (do I even want to go there?)
10. Paint interior walls and floors, decide flooring
But because I couldn’t resist, and because I wanted to be sure of the scale, I did buy a few little furnishing items.
An 80s bachelor man bathroom! It was the best looking one I could find on Etsy. I’m not sure if I’ll keep the fixtures black or what. I think if the bathroom floor was a white mosaic tile with Carrera marble walls, a black bathroom set could be kind of sexy. We’ll see. I’ve also got my eye out for a kitchen appliance type set, as those two spaces (kitchen and bathroom) kind of need to get built-in with the “bones”, right? Maybe that’s just architecture in the real world.
At any rate, I’m going to see what I can do to this baby. I feel like it needs a name, like Frank Lloyd Wright had Taliesin (I just finished reading “Loving Frank”, can you tell? Good book.) I’ll post updates as I go along. If I’m really going to do this I’m A Giant challenge, I definitely need to get moving!
You made me smile thinking of all the late nights with balsa wood and exacto knives! It only seems like yesterday. I can’t wait to see the finished product and I’m sure your Dad and Grandpa would be so proud!!
Thanks Erin! We had a high school student come in the office a few days ago to see what architects and designers do. She was trying to decide on colleges. I wanted to grab her by the shoulders, shake her and tell her to get ready for really late nights, tons of stress and crying in front of her classmates. Somehow it was all worth it in the end. We had some fun too, on those late nights. When I look back on that last semester, I think that was part of how I made it through too — good studio mates like you.
That is so awesome and I love the family portrait! Good luck with the project – I can’t wait to see how it turns out!
Thanks! Aren’t those Olan Mills portraits classic? Thankfully we didn’t go the matching dresses route.