Category: "Greenleaf 2011 Spring Fling - Baxter Pointe Villa"

Baxter Pointe Villa - upper deck and stairs

by brae  

The biggest change I made to the base kit of Baxter Pointe Villa was to replace the upper portion with a taller front wall to create a wraparound deck.

My inspiration for the deck came from a wonderful porch by designer Amanda Nisbet.  In fact, her design inspired the cedar shake exterior as well.

To get this porch in front of the second floor bedroom, it took a lot of kit bashing.  :]   Here's what the kit and addition originally looked like:

I used the front wall of a second addition kit I bought to make a new front wall in the bedroom, and that change created enough room for a small deck.  Here you can see how I sheared off part of the outer wall all the way to the floor, making it flush with the new bedroom wall.

I had to piece the wall around the door since this originally had three window openings.  I ended up leaving the mullions out of the French door since I wanted an unobstructed view of the beach!  :D

On the end of the deck next to the addition, I cut off the top portion flush with the new bedroom wall and created a short wall just outside the added door.  I had to leave some wall there since cutting it off to the floor would have caused problems with the roofline of the addition.  I glued a triangle of wood near the front edge of the angled piece to create a square.  I padded this low wall with two pieces of 1/8" thick scrap wood to make it look more realistic in size.

My stairs connected to the deck didn't quite end up looking like the kit photo, either.  :D

Where to start?  I didn't end up using the posts that came with the kit.  Kathi at Beautiful Mini Blessings noted that it was a waste to use all of that perfectly straight laser cut wood just to make posts, and I thought she was on to something!  I bought a bunch of 5/16" x 5/16" strip wood from Hobby Lobby and saved the laser cut wood from the kit for other projects.

I had ordered the base kit plus two side additions, one left and one right, though I planned to use only one or the other -- with the second one used for spare parts.  I quickly opted for the addition on the left, but that presented an issue with what I wanted to do with the stairs.  I needed them exactly the opposite of how they were designed, so I flipped the base and the upper deck upside down.  Problem solved!  Sorta...

The reason I couldn't have the stairs next to the main house is that I wanted a chimney.  But, even with flipping the stairs, the deck was too long.  I cut off a portion of it in the back to clear the chimney and moved the whole assembly flush with the front of the new deck.  This meant I couldn't use the laser cut lines of the stair kit, but I wouldn't have been able to match those with the new deck anyway.

Here you can see my first chimney mockup and the short wall of the deck before I modified it.  I used the original kit posts for planning purposes.

The porch boards were made from Woodsies skinny sticks stained with IKEA antique pine (shown here pre-stain).  I followed a front to back direction until I reached the stairs, where I turned the boards the same direction as the stairs.

 

With all of these changes in place, this is how I managed the roof pieces.  I used the original roof piece for the bedroom ceiling, cutting it off flush with the side walls from the peak to the top of the new front wall.  I also cut it flush with the side walls. I then used 1/8" thick plywood to make a new top roof and a flat soffit board for the porch that I later covered with strip wood and painted.  The white pieces are foam core board cut to fill in between the original house and the new front porch roofline.

I then cut trim to follow the new roofline.

The porch soffit was made using strip wood.  I didn't use skinny sticks here since I wanted a cleaner look than I did for the porch boards.  The floor gets more wear than the ceiling.  ;]  I painted the ceiling Lilac Love by Folk Art.

The light I had originally planned to use for this space was a Clare Bell Brass Coach Lamp, but its wiring was different from what I had experienced.  It had two wires in a single coating of insulation instead of two insulated wires fused together.  I could get it to light by directly touching the wires to the power strip but not by attaching additional wire lengths...which made no sense.  I sent messages to the manufacturer to find out what I was doing wrong, but I was on such a time crunch that I really didn't have time to wait for a reply.  As it turns out, there's an extra plastic coating on these that needs to be burned or scraped off.

In the meantime, I looked through my stash of lights for the Newport and found the brass fixture I had previously painted silver using Valspar Odds 'n' Ends Fast Dry Enamel in Chrome, the same paint I ended up using on the bench.  It must have been meant to be.  :]

The posts are 5/16" strip wood stained IKEA antique pine.  Sometimes when I work late and get a little punchy, I have to leave myself notes to keep from doing things in the wrong order.

The stair stringer didn't allow me to use an even number of skinny sticks for the stair treads, but I wanted them to match the deck in color and general appearance.  I left off the kit stairs (yay...more uniform laser cut wood for future projects!) and replaced the treads with bass wood pieces cut using the original laser cut ones as patterns.  I stained these with IKEA antique pine as well.

Since the stair stringer was laser cut plywood and the rest was light colored wood, I painted the stringers white.  They would not have coordinated with the other stained pieces otherwise.

To keep with the white and natural wood color scheme, I used the existing kit laser cut railings and painted them white.  I had to cut a few down to size and add some pieces that were meant to make the posts since my deck was a different configuration from the original.  I didn't bother adding the supports under the deck, either.  I don't know if it would pass a structural inspection, but I like the clean lines of my deck and porch.  :D

To hide the laser scored lines on the now underside of the deck portion, I used skinny sticks in the same fashion as I had on the top, continuing along the front entryway soffit. 

The settee started out as white wire that I primed with grey Valspar Premium Enamel and then painted Valspar Odds 'n' Ends Fast Dry Enamel in Chrome.

Here you can see I also flipped the opening direction of the French door to open in to the left instead of in to the right.

One of the best aspects of the inspiration design is the fabric.  Since it was a pretty basic design, I drew it out in Illustrator and uploaded the sample to Spoonflower, a place that prints fabric.  I could have printed it myself at home, but computer printed fabric can be damaged by water contact and I wanted something more durable.  I cut and sewed 1.5" squares and stuffed the pillows with seed beads.

As an aside, you used to be able to resize prints on Spoonflower even if the design wasn't yours, so you could have any of the fabrics available for sale in mini scale if you wanted.  They changed this and personally I think it was a bad idea to remove this option.  There were a lot of fabrics I wanted for 1:12 scale and unless I contact the designer and they are willing to resize for me (which is a messier process than it sounds like), I won't be buying the fabrics.  Cuts down on sales, if you ask me.  I think they should have this as an option the seller can choose to allow or not.  I contacted Spoonflower to voice this opinion, and they said they are working on the option.  But, who knows when it will happen.  :\

The purple cotton fabric is from Hancock Fabrics.  I used a double layer to upholster the bench seat since the cushion was originally white and showed through the single layer.  The journal is by Glenda of Peppercorn Minis

The sunflowers were made from a Bonnie Lavish kit, and the vase is from Manor House Miniatures.  I borrowed the stool from Baslow Ranch and used it as a side table.  I like it so much here that I'll likely just reproduce one for this space.  The glass of tea was purchased in a lot from craigslist and the metal coaster is a finding from Bindels Ornaments.

I really love how this deck turned out and wish I could sit there myself watching the waves hit the shore.  :D

Baxter Pointe Villa - living room

by brae  

On the first floor of Baxter Pointe Villa, the living room connects to the kitchen in an open floor plan, with the saltwater aquarium as a room divider.

The fireplace and firebox were among the first things I built for this room.  The fireplace is one cohesive unit built from Greenleaf vinyl tiles, two Houseworks half scale bookcases, foam core board and scrap wood.  The firebox is lined with egg carton bricks.  The hearth is made from the same Greenleaf vinyl tiles but with the paper backing intact.  I used 1/8" by 1/8" strip wood to finish off the edges.

Since this is a year-round vacation villa, it made sense to have a fireplace.  However, it's currently warm and sunny.  What to do with the fireplace?  I decided to make a wooden stand to hold a set of pillar candles.  Since candle flames are hard to mimic in miniature, I opted to make my candles the flameless type.  :D  These are made from translucent polymer clay.  I baked them as solid candles, then drilled holes through them for lighting (used GOW bulbs I bought at the local railroad hobby store).  Drilling and sanding the openings left some white discoloration, so I painted on some Delta Ceramcoat Satin Varnish just inside the rims; it looks like molten wax when you see it in person.

The stand is made from balsa and has a hollow bottom to hide wires.  I adjusted the height of the bulbs inside the clay candles then glued and taped the wires underneath to keep the bulbs from moving out of place.

I twisted the like wires together and fed through the bottom of the firebox and wired them together to act as a unit.

They have a very soft light and this photo is a good approximation of what they look like in person.

But, when I try to photograph the room as a whole, my camera reads them as thermonuclear fuel rods.  :[  I'll have to figure out a good setting to capture the right lighting or modify the bulbs somehow, perhaps with a painted coating.

The artwork is Racing with the Moon by Jacqueline Penney.  I printed the image on regular paper in a few sizes to determine which size would work best in the space.  I then sharpened the image in PhotoShop before printing on Art Canvas by The Crafty PC.  It has a canvas texture that really brings it to life.  The frame is made from framing strip wood painted Bittersweet Chocolate by Americana.

I installed a NovaLyte can light over the fireplace to illuminate the artwork.  These require a 3/8" thick board to hold them in place, but I was able to use this light without building up the entire ceiling since I put in an extra piece of 1/4" thick wood as a stabilizer just above it in the bedroom.  The bed covers this spot.  I painted it dark brown for now, though I will work out a more polished solution for covering it in the future.

I made a lot of the books myself but supplemented the collection with some from The Miniature Bookshelf and other miscellaneous suppliers.

The starfish planter is a replica of one I saw on The Lettered Cottage made from a vintage cricket cage.

The sea sculpture is a cross section of a shell attached to a gar scale from Timber Ridge Studio.

Other accessories include a whale lamp and a half scale non-working clock that I bought some time ago.  The sailboat bookends came from Manor House Minis, and I painted them silver (they were brass).  The basket is from Glenda of Peppercorn Minis, and the large plant I made some time ago.  There's also a seal statue on the side table that came from Manor House Minis.

Another early project included the Millie August sofa and chair.  I found these at a hobby store liquidation sale and had them stored in a box since then.  When I first started figuring out the beach decor, I remembered these and thought they would be the perfect addition.

The white wire coffee table is from Manor House Minis.  It was a closeout and the last one!  The pitcher, glasses and lemon slices were sold as a set that I bought at the Bishop Show.  That's real water in the pitcher, and yes, I spilled it three times taking photos.  :\  I made the tray previously.

My side table is a replica inspired by the Oly Studio Ichibad Side Table.

I scratch built the table lamp from a ceramic bead, a wood bead, a metal bead and a NovaLyte LED.  The base is made from polymer clay (shown here in the original brown before I painted it black to coordinate).  Two jewelry findings hold the shade in place.  The shade is a strip of drawing paper 7/8" wide by 3" long glued with a overlapping seam.  I made the sunflower lamps and bedside lamps for the Newport in a similar manner.

I made a mock outlet out of 1/64in wood veneer to disguise where the wire enters the wall. There's a plastic bead to serve as the plug and the open side of the outlet has a drawn on receptacle. The wire then runs through the wall and into a channel as part of the hard wired system.

Since this outlet and wiring needed to be done before a lot of the work was done in the kitchen and living room areas, I wrapped the lamp in bubblewrap (minus the shade).  Looks a bit like a cocoon.  :O

I added ceiling beams using 5/16" by 5/16" strip wood stained IKEA antique pine.  In between the beams, I cut pieces of regular drawing paper to finish off the ceiling board.  I had painted the ceiling white to prime it, but the kit wood was so rough that I covered it with paper for a better finish.  I did these details before putting the structure together since I find it hard to work upside down.  ;]

I added the front beam after gluing the structure together.  Unfortunately, there were some noticeable gaps along the rest of the ceiling.  To fix this problem, I added some 1/8" cove molding, leaving the natural wood finish as is.

The ceiling fan was made from an existing fixture I bought for the Newport but didn't end up using.  Here is the website photo; I didn't think to photograph it before I started breaking it apart.  It's a lovely fixture to use as is, but the ceiling height was too low and I figured it was just sitting in storage besides.


photo from Minimum World

I removed the globe and fan blades from the top, including the light.  I replaced the original light with a NovaLyte LED, first feeding it through a wooden bead to bring back some of the height I had lost by removing the upper portion of the fixture.  I still needed the blades to clear the ceiling beams.  I painted the top rim of the plastic globe with dark brown paint to tone down the brightness of the LED a bit.  I then cut off the top portion of the original lamp and added it back to the fixture.  I ended up with a nice ceiling fan with a lower profile than it had originally.  Better than building one from scratch, if you ask me.  :D

The entry table is borrowed from the Newport and is a Concord Miniatures side table painted black.  I bought the vase at the Bishop Show, and the flowers were made from a Bonnie Lavish kit.  The camera and film box were from my childhood dollhouse, one of the few remaining pieces I have from back then.  The barometer was purchased from a fellow Greenleaf member.  I changed the bottom sticker since the original didn't fit well.  I still need to replace the thermometer sticker on top for the same reason.  The light switchplates throughout the house are actually stickers from miniatures.com.  They photograph wonderfully!

The wallpaper is Natural Linen by Recollections.  I love the texture, but the aquarium divider certainly made wallpapering a challenge.  I made several attempts with drawing paper first and finally ended up with a precise template measured down to 32nds in some areas.  This was also a popular paper so I had a limited amount to work with...I probably would have cut one of the final pieces again had I been able to find more of the paper, but I am happy with it for the most part.


my drawing paper templates

The flooring started out as Houseworks Southern Pine with 1/4" wide planks.  This is what it looked like before I painted it with an equal mix of Staining Medium by Americana and Payne's Grey paint by Liquitex.  I then finished with two coats of Delta Ceramcoat satin varnish, sanding once between the two coats.  I needed a dark floor to anchor all of the light finishes.

To be honest, the dark flooring I used was a happy accident.  I cut my room pieces and then used the scraps to try out a few different finishes.  It was blueberry but it was the one I liked best of the bunch!  Somehow it just works.  :]

The rug is called Sand Dollar and found at Shor Home.  I printed the image on Velour Card Stock by The Crafty PC.  I love this paper, though my printer put a nice streak down the middle where it flattened the pile.  :\  At least it's not really noticeable.

Update: The custom made aquarium is now available in my etsy shop.

Baxter Pointe Villa - kitchen

by brae  

Half of the first floor of Baxter Pointe Villa is dedicated to an efficiency kitchen.

I added 2 1/8" to the depth of this addition, which gave me a lot more space to work with in the end.  With the addition's window wall flush with the main house front wall, I was able to open up the space between the living room and the kitchen.  I padded the wall separating the two rooms with 1/8" plywood to aid in supporting the ceiling and to give a little more thickness to the walls surrounding the opening.  It wouldn't have looked realistic to have a tiny wall separating the two rooms.

I used Houseworks cabinet kits that were partially assembled but unfinished.  I tried to build one of these cabinets from kit pieces once before without much success.  This was before I had any mini furniture assembling experience, so I might be able to put them together now...but time was short for all the things I wanted to do for the Spring Fling build.  So, I compromised and bought them partially assembled to save time.  These are painted basic white and finished with Delta Ceramcoat Satin Varnish which warmed up the white quite a bit.  I used the brass knobs that came with the kits, but I spray painted them flat black.

I cut the bases off the cabinets since they were going to be too tall with the added countertop to sit under the window trim.  I added a new base from 1/16" thick balsa wood to raise them back up just a bit.

Instead of using a hidden corner unit to connect the sink and side cabinet, I just glued a dowel to hold them together.

To support the countertop in the corner, I added a "post" made from corner trim.

The counter top was made from 1/16" thick bass wood painted to look like stone using a similar method to the one I used in the Newport kitchen.  I started with a cardboard template to check for fit and then used those pieces as patterns for the bass wood.

I primed it with Folk Art's Tapioca and then just spattered a bunch of paint all over it.

I set it aside until almost completely dry and then dabbed it with a paper towel to take away any huge clumps.  I covered the pieces with wax paper and pressed it under magazines overnight.  The next day, I sanded the surface smooth.  I brushed on a thin layer of Delta Ceramcoat Satin Varnish, which I rubbed around with my fingers until I achieved a slight luster resembling stone.  Here is the counter in place before I made the sink.  The sunflowers were made from a Bonnie Lavish kit.

In the above photo, you can see where I added interior mullions to match the laser cut ones of the exterior wall.  This helps keep the acetate window film flat and just looks more realistic, in my opinion.  :]

The range hood is from the same Houseworks line, but I installed a NovaLyte LED fixture under it...also like the Newport range hood.  I accidentally bought a daylight one instead of warm white but I still like it.  The Houseworks range top was plain metal that I spray painted gloss black.  The fish trivet is from The Dolls House Mall.

The sink was made in a similar fashion as the one in the Newport kitchen, minus the last step of spraying it with Krylon gloss white.  Time will tell if I need to spray it due to yellowing of the Triple Thick Gloss Glaze (yes, it says non-yellowing...riiiiiiiight).  ;]

The faucet is by ELF Miniatures.  I offset it from the sink for two reasons.  I was unable to center the sink with the windows so I figured a centered faucet would make this more obvious (I've seen this in real life houses as well).  Second, it would have been a tight fit to get the faucet between the sink and the window behind the sink.

Rounding out the appliances is the Meile half fridge (love mini Meile appliances - so realistic).  Though there was probably room for a full size refrigerator next to the range, I opted for this smaller unit.  I also omitted a full oven.  This is a luxury vacation villa...you don't need an oven or a huge refrigerator!  :]

After coming up with the best layout possible for the kitchen and padding the dividing wall between the kitchen and the living room, there was still extra space between the fridge and the sink unit.  To bridge that gap, I installed a built-in wine rack (shown here before countertop installation).  :D

I built a breakfast counter and stools to sit in front of the room-divider aquarium.  The flowers were from Bonnie Lavish kits.  The metal bud vase is from Manor House Minis.  The apples are by Pat Richmond.

The breakfast bar is made from a scrap leftover from the kit and the two front eave brackets from the main house.  The scrap piece was the exact length I need, but I had to cut down the brackets just a bit.

What I like most about it is the curve.  In real life, you'd likely curve a counter instead of leaving a blunt edge for people to bump into through the doorway.

The counter stools are modified versions of the side chair pattern found in the book Finishing Touches by Jane Harrop.  I made the front leg pieces 2 1/8" in length and the back leg pieces 3 5/8" in length.  I used wider wood for the upper slats of the seat and waited until the stools were constructed before cutting out the seat pieces.  Good thing, too, since I ended up needing to cut them a bit larger than indicated in the pattern (likely operator error and not an issue with the pattern).  :]

There is a door on the kitchen side of the aquarium soffit that allows access to the tank.  I hardwired the lighting, so it's meant only as a means for the residents to feed the fish!  :D

I installed a NovaLyte can light over the sink.  These require a 3/8" thick board to hold them in place, but I was able to use this light without building up the entire ceiling since I put in a false wall in the bathroom above.  I just added an extra piece of 1/4" thick wood as a stabilizer across the front of the upper floor board.  This also evened out the tiny bit of warping left in that board.

The wallpaper is Natural Linen by Recollections.  I love the texture, but the aquarium divider certainly made wallpapering a challenge.  I made several attempts with drawing paper first and finally ended up with a precise template measured down to 32nds in some areas.  This was also a popular paper so I had a limited amount to work with...I probably would have cut one of the final pieces again had I been able to find more of the paper, but I am happy with it for the most part.


my drawing paper templates

I applied regular drawing paper to the ceiling after priming it with white acrylic paint to achieve a cleaner finish.  Unfortunately, there were some noticeable gaps along the outer wall.  To fix this problem, I added some 1/8" cove molding along the ceiling, leaving the natural wood finish as is.

The flooring started out as Houseworks Southern Pine with 1/4" wide planks.  This is what it looked like before I painted it with an equal mix of Staining Medium by Americana and Payne's Grey paint by Liquitex.  I then finished with two coats of Delta Ceramcoat satin varnish, sanding once between the two coats.  I needed a dark floor to anchor all of the light finishes.

To be honest, the dark flooring I used was a happy accident.  I cut my room pieces and then used the scraps to try out a few different finishes.  It was blueberry but it was the one I liked best of the bunch!  Somehow it just works.  :]

I found the adorable semicircle rug image online but have no idea who makes it or where to buy the real deal.  I printed two of the same on Velour Card Stock by The Crafty PC.  I love this paper!

For artwork, I used two images by Steve Terrill, one of which has very long title: Sunflowers Displayed in Enamelware Pitcher, Willamette Valley, Oregon USA and Window with Sunflowers in Vase.


Some of the accessories I had on hand and don't recall exactly where I got them.  I bought the mini watercan above at the Bishop Show.  The light switchplates throughout the house are actually stickers from miniatures.com.  They photograph wonderfully!  I've had the copper tea kettle for some time, and the trivet under it was also bought at the Bishop Show.  The crocheted sunflower potholder is by Blohm Design.

Baxter Pointe Villa - bedroom

by brae  

The upper floor of Baxter Pointe Villa consists of a bathroom and bedroom.  The bedroom gave me absolute fits!  Not in the structural changes but in the bed dressing.  :D  It's still not really the way I wanted, but I do like it for the most part.

The first issue was its being an odd shaped room.  From the front, there were two small windows and a steep, long roof.  I ended up changing the layout quite dramatically from the original kit.

I used the front wall of a second addition kit to make a new wall in the bedroom.

I changed one of the original three windows to accommodate a French door leading out onto the deck.  I ended up leaving the mullions out of the French door since I wanted an unobstructed view of the beach!  :D  I closed up the small window on the adjacent right side wall since the adjustments I made to the addition blocked part of this opening.

Closing that window wasn't all bad since the adjustment in depth allowed me to add a working narrow door to the bathroom, and I really like how that turned out.

There was still very little usable room in this part of the structure because of the steep roofline in the back.  I was able to put in a bed, two tiny side tables, a small dresser and not much else.

For the bed, I started by using my two artist's models (I need to give them names, I think) to determine the smallest possible mattress size that would still accommodate them.  It had to be a bit smaller than exact scale, but I didn't want it to look completely out of proportion.

I took that piece of foam core board and cut five more pieces the same size: gluing three together for the mattress and three for the box spring.  I covered the mattress with thin batting that is meant for millinery.  It’s similar to felt and can usually be found in fabric stores.  I covered the box spring with striped fabric from Hobby Lobby.

In the photo above, I just used some wood scraps to see if the height was okay.  I ended up putting 1/2" wood cubes on the corners and painted them black.

For the sheets, I used a very finely woven cotton poly blend.  It's so soft and photographs wonderfully true to scale.

I used this process for the Newport guest bedroom and master bedroom.  It was probably unnecessary to do these steps, but I know it's there and I like realistic details even if ultimately unseen.  :D  I also wanted the option of showing the sheets and box spring fabric, just in case I liked it that way as I put the bed together.

I opted to add a headboard at the last minute since the room is so tall and there was so much blank space on that wall.  I used a scrap of plywood to make the basic shape.  I added a bit of padding to the top and then upholstered with Hanami Circle Dots Onyx cotton fabric.  I apparently cut the board too small, so I added a 1/4" strip wood border painted black to make up the difference.

The first bedspread I tried was made from cotton broadcloth I picked up from Hobby Lobby.  I made panels and vents sewed to a topper.  It was beachy and fits well, but it looked just a bit too casual for what I had intended.

This faux lace afghan looked nice, but it's for sale in my etsy shop.  ;D

So, I dug through my stash of fabric, found some lace I've had for years and cut a piece to size.  I pressed the pleats at the end slightly to keep it in shape.  So much better!

The folded blanket was made from a poly cotton blend, a remnant bin find.  I sewed two pieces together, pressed into shape with an iron and then tacked together with a tiny bit of glue.  The leather purse and shoes were made by Patrizia Santi.

For the pillowcases, I used white cotton sateen since the sheet fabric was a bit too sheer for believable pillowcases.  The peacock pillow was made from a resized image of tiles by Jerusalem Pottery which I then printed on fabric.  I fill my pillows with seed beads to give them some weight and to make it easier to shape them.

The dresser was made from a House of Miniatures Bachelor's Chest kit.  I painted it black and used scrapbooking brads for the hardware.  It's the perfect size to sit next to the narrow door.  Not a lot of storage in this room, but we'll just pretend the closet is behind you on the open wall.  :D

The flowers are Bonnie Lavish dahlias in orange.  The vase is from Manor House Miniatures and is the companion to the bee vase I used for the sunflowers.

The side tables were made from precut wood shapes for the tops, scrap kit wood for the base and Houseworks legs.  I kept them simple since the overall décor of this room was meant to be minimalist and serene.  :]

I had originally planned to make two bedside lamps from metal beads, but they were very uncooperative during the creation phase.  :\

I didn't have time to order and wait for a shipment of any ready-made replacements, so I dug around in my Newport box and found two Reutter Porzellan copper lanterns I was saving for the conservatory.  They actually ended up being better than my original idea.  There is so little color in this room, they really pop.

On either side table I have modest decor.  First, the sailboat I made based on an original from White Flower Farmhouse that I first saw on on The Lettered Cottage.

And, second, a tiny laser cut wooden whale from Pepper Sprout Designs.  There is a larger companion piece, but it is out of scale for this house.

The wallpaper is scrapbook paper in Dusk (bottom) and Stonehenge (top), both by Bazzill Basics.  To cover the seam between them, I used strip wood painted white.  I used regular drawing paper on the visible ceiling and painted the non-visible back ceiling white to reflect brightness back into the room.  I added ceiling beams using 5/16" strip wood painted Liquitex Payne's Grey.  The one over the window wall disguises the seams between the new porch roof and the added wall.  The one in the peak of the ceiling holds the lanterns and hides their wiring.

The floor started out as walnut sheet flooring that I experimented with to obtain the deep color it is now.

I installed a NovaLyte can light over the fireplace in the living room below.  These require a 3/8" thick board to hold them in place, but I was able to use this light without building up the entire ceiling since I put in an extra piece of 1/4" thick wood as a stabilizer just above it.

In this photo, you can see not only that extra bit but also the channels for the other wires situated around the house.  With 1/8" thick plywood, you have to be careful and remove only enough of the top layer to get the wires to lay flat.

I painted it dark brown and the bed covers this spot besides, though I will work out a more polished solution for covering it in the future.

The artwork is Zhen-Huan Lu's Days Gone By.  I printed the image on regular paper in a few sizes to determine which size would work best in the space.  I then sharpened the image in PhotoShop before printing on Art Canvas by The Crafty PC.  It has a canvas texture that really brings it to life.  The frame is made from mass produced matchstick craft wood glued on a bass wood backing.  The sunlight through the window effect in the painting is actually part of the painting, not a light reflection.  :D

The light switchplates throughout the house are actually stickers from miniatures.com.  They photograph wonderfully!

Baxter Pointe Villa - exterior details

by brae  

When I first saw the stairs kit, I immediately thought of a beach house.  But, I wanted to take it one step further and make it a luxury vacation cottage, Baxter Pointe Villa.

I've had a photo of a wonderful porch by designer Amanda Nisbet in my electronic inspiration file for some time now, and I thought it would be a perfect starting point.  For me, the main draw is the warm cedar shake exterior as the backdrop for the white, brown and lavender hues of the design elements.

I searched online for cedar shake cottages and happened upon this wonderful house by Catskill Farms.  They have countless beautiful cottages on their blog that are perfect inspirations for miniature houses.

I love the way the cedar shake exterior pops with the white trim and grey roof.  I was sold!

Once upon a time, I had a Dura-Craft dollhouse that never got built and whose pieces were lost to a flood.  Some pieces survived since they were stored elsewhere, and included in those miscellaneous parts was a huge bag of cedar shake shingles (say that phrase ten times fast).  So, no need to buy materials for the exterior!  :D

I made a sample of the exterior finish on a piece of scrap board and positioned it next to the dry fit structure.

Whoa!  Those windows are a little Amityville Horror, no?  :O

First, I didn't care for the wide variety of shades in the cedar.  It looked like a cedar polka dotted house.  :\  So, I spent my lunch hour one day at work sorting cedar shakes into three piles: light, dark and broken.  It sounded like I was playing poker, counting out the chips!  :D  I used the darker shades since I planned to leave them natural.

Second, I thought the shakes were too big for scale.  I looked up the real life size of cedar shakes online and found them to be pretty close to exact 1:12 scale.  But, for looks, it just didn't work for me.

So, I commenced to splitting 1,700 cedar shakes individually by hand.  I first split them lengthwise to a width of 1/2" with an Easy Cutter, and it was easy.  I then split them across the grain to a height of 3/4" with the Easy Cutter, which was not easy.  :\  Even with a new blade, the shakes were hard to cut across the grain and were prone to splitting.

But, the end result was a better scale match and well worth all the work.  This is also one of the most forgiving finishes I've worked with so far.  Unevenness in application and splits in the wood add to the realism instead of detracting from it.

In addition, it was easy to remove and then replace a section of shingles when I accidentally cut my wiring while installing the kitchen floor.  With siding, I would have had to tear a lot more out than the 2" x 3" section that I did.  After the repair, the new shingles just slipped right into place as though it had never happened.  :]

Speaking of wiring, most of the wiring flows toward the chimney wall, down the outside through a channel in the foam core underside of the chimney and down through a hole in the baseboard.  For the three wires I had to repair, there is a hole through the bottom of the kitchen (under the floor of course) and through the baseboard.  There are two channels on the underside of the baseboard into which I've taped the wires.  I also have a removable felt sheet situated under the board to save my display table from wear and to protect the wires as well (felt not shown here).

I painted my egg carton brick chimney with brown tones to mimic the stone used on my inspiration house.

To prep the kit for building, I primed the interior walls with white craft paint and the exterior walls with black except around the windows, which I also painted white.  I pressed the boards flat while they dried to knock out most of the residual warping.

I drew guidelines on the pieces before putting the house together and cut trim from 1/8" thick basswood and corner trim to emulate the style of the inspiration house.  Those pieces I painted white before attaching to the house, though I spackled the joins and touched up the paint after they were attached.  I also installed the window trim and doors before applying the cedar shakes.

I also added a 3/8" foundation painted grey.  Here it is shown from the underside.

I put the roof of the addition on and shingled that with grey asphalt shingles by What's Next before applying the cedar shakes on the adjacent wall.  There are a number of cedar shake houses in my area, so I was able to see some real life examples of how to handle some of these structural challenges.

The back roof piece of the addition was a challenge.  I don't know if it was my alteration of the design or just a stubborn warp in the outer wall of the addition, but I could not get the main house roof, the new flat top roof I put in and the addition roof to square up.  Finally, I just attacked it with duct tape.  It worked!   There is still glue at the joins, but the duct tape is the main support for the bond.  I used Quick Grip glue to attach the shingles and cork piece of the upper roof and had no problems with those things adhering, which was my only concern in using it.

I then created a parapet on the flat top portion using some of the left over kit wood from the stair posts.  Inside this wood frame, I painted a piece of cork sheet to simulate the tar and gravel covering.  Now, I can't take credit for even knowing what a parapet was...that was all mom's influence.  :D  I had no idea how to finish this part of the roof until she came up with the idea.  Hooray for mom!!!  The wind turbine I added later is from ELF Miniatures.

The front porch structure is a purchased frame.  When I'm on a deadline, I love shortcuts that cost $1.49!  :D  I covered this with skinny sticks stained IKEA antique pine.

Here are the original Greenleaf stairs. :D

I flipped the assembly of the stairs upside down to get the stairs in a different configuration and cut down the deck portion to make room for the chimney.

The lower side deck is made partially from the original Greenleaf stairs kit.  In order to have the side deck meet up with the front deck, I added a piece of 1/8" thick balsa wood to fill in the missing areas.

I then continued the skinny stick coverage on the entire lower side deck.  Since skinny sticks come in predetermined lengths, I used some strip wood to break the deck into areas and tried to create a nice pattern for the boards.

To finish off the front deck and lower side deck, I added strip wood stained to match along the outer edges and curved the last board down just under the first step (stairs obviously not shown here).

I upgraded the front door and eliminated the recessed entryway of the original kit.  The color is Robin's Egg Blue from Jo-Ann Craft Essentials.  The planters on either side are from Manor House Minis and were originally pale green (I bought two sets to have matching pairs of each style of planter).  The flowers are a mix of Bonnie Lavish kits held in place by a styrofoam ball stuffed inside, held with a bit of glue.

The entry light is a NovaLyte LED.  These require a 3/8" depth for installation, so I glued two 1" by 1/8" precut wood circles together.  I painted them silver followed by a wash of black to dull down the color and glued them where I wanted my light.  I then drilled the hole for the LED in the middle of the circles.  Well, it's not exactly in the center, but we won't look that closely.  :D

The grass door mat with daisy is from A Little More in Miniatures, purchased at the Bishop Show.

Around the side behind the bicycles, I have a wheelie bin from The Dolls House Emporium and a recycle bin that I've had for some time now and don't remember where I bought it.

Though I've outlined the chimney build in previous posts, I didn't get to the flashing until I put the roof on.  It's just made of black-brown paper cut to fit.  You can also see that my topper came apart (the chimney did a nose dive off the table one too many times).  I decided to leave it as is due to time constraints.  :]

I kept the landscaping modest, using white sand from the dollar store mixed with Aleene's tacky glue that I spread on with a palette knife and a few tufts of sea grass by Woodland Scenics added later.

The sand mixture evened out in texture as it settled but before it dried, I sprinkled on more sand.

I brushed off the excess after letting it set a bit.  I used my knuckles to press footprint indentations around the front of the deck and the bottom of the stairs.

I also created lines with an awl to simulate bicycle tracks.

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