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

Baxter Pointe Villa - bathroom

by brae  

One of the upstairs rooms is a bathroom with a vintage tub and wonderful light.  As much as I like to zoom in for realism, this house has some nice "dollhouse views" when you show the open back.  :D

This was a tiny, dark room when I first started planning.

I cut out two skylight windows, which completely changed the feel of the room.

I added 2 1/8" to the depth of this addition, which gave me a lot more space to work with in the end.  This allowed me to install a working narrow door (shown here just propped in place before cutting the opening).  I padded the wall separating the bedroom and bathroom with 1/8" plywood to solve the problem of the wall being too thin for the ready-made door.

Because the room has a steep angle on the window wall, I built a wall shelf from basswood and foam core board that I then primed with white paint.  I covered it with pieces of clear plastic tile sheet that had 1/4" squares embossed in the surface.  I used Krylon gloss white spray paint on the underside of the tile sheet and glued to the basswood base.  This is similar to what I did the in Newport bathroom.  I added tiny wood trim around the edges to finish it off and hide any gaps.

I think it makes for a more realistic backdrop for the bathtub.

And, it's the perfect place to keep bath related items.  :]

I made the towels, bath products, scrubby and magazines.  The basket and frog figurine were purchased.

The bathtub was made from an unfinished EuroMini's kit.

I painted the base with Bittersweet Chocolate by Americana, followed by a light coat of Delta Ceramcoat satin varnish.

To get the white porcelain finish, I first spackled the best I could to fill in the more obvious defects.  I then painted numerous generous layers of white acrylic paint to build up the brightness and even out the surface.  In between each layer, I sanded the paint down to a completely smooth surface.  Once I had the best finish possible, I put on two coats of Americana Triple Thick Gloss Glaze, letting the first coat dry overnight before adding the second.  The inside is still a little rough since there was only so much I could do with a flat bottom tub, but the outer surface and the overhang turned out as I had hoped.

I sprayed two brass taps with Valspar Odds 'n' Ends Fast Dry Enamel in Chrome and then dabbed on Testors gloss white on the tops.  I like how this photo makes it look as though there's water in the tub!  :D

Had I not widened the side addition, the original window would have been right over the bathroom vanity.  Looking out the window is not helpful when you're brushing your hair.  :]  I would have had to close up the window.  But, with the additional piece in place, I was able to turn the one small window into two skinny windows instead.

I made the vanity mirror from a metal scrapbook frame by K&C Company that fit just perfectly in the open space.  I built up the back a bit with strip wood and used plastic mirror sheet by Darice to make the mirror.

The vanity is a Mackintosh sideboard and the sink is from ELF Miniatures I dabbed a bit of black paint on the end of the faucet to make it more realistic).  The wall sconce over the sink is by Heidi Ott.

The eucalyptus plants were made from a Bonnie Lavish kit.  The vase is by Alex Meiklejohn, purchased at the Bishop Show.  The soap and dish were also purchased, but I don't recall where I got them.  The shell shadowbox was made with bass wood and tiny shells and starfish from Timber Ridge Studio.  The shells are approximately 1/4" and the largest starfish is about 1/2" in size.  :]

e is polymer clay with a sewing thread wick.  The candleholder is a half-scale cake stand. :]

The toilet started out with a wooden seat that I refinished with Testors gloss black spray paint.  I like the retro vibe of the gloss black seat.  :]  I made the tissue box from a 3/8" wood block, Martha Stewart self-stick ribbon and a tiny piece of real tissue.  I wound some actual toilet paper around the holder as well.  The hook and hangers were purchased.

The wallpaper is scrapbook paper by Recollections, though they don't print the names on the sticker.  I papered the ceiling/skylight wall with regular drawing paper to balance out the green.  The light switch plates are actually stickers from  They photograph nicely!  And, the wastebasket is from a Chrysnbon kit.

The flooring is by Old World Tile, a high quality printed paper you finished with a sealer.  I reviewed this product in an earlier post.  I used Triple Thick Gloss Glaze by Americana that ended up giving me a perfect linoleum finish.

The rug is Seaside Seahorses by Nantucket Brand, printed Velour Card Stock by The Crafty PC.

After the mad marathon finishing Baxter Pointe Villa, I could really use a nice long soak in that tub!  :D

Saltwater aquarium in 1:12 scale

by brae  

One of the main features of Baxter Pointe Villa is the saltwater aquarium room divider.  This post shows the process I followed for my test tank and this final tank below.  Some images can be clicked to enlarge.

There are several miniature aquariums on the market, some with lighting. In fact, I had one in my childhood dollhouse, though I lost track of it a long time ago. Additionally, there are miniaturists out there who have made their own fish tanks. There's a wonderful tutorial on the Greenleaf forum for just such a tank.

I wanted to go one step further and make an elaborate saltwater tank with bright, vibrant fish and custom lighting.  My inspiration for the overall size and feel of the aquarium came from various real life tanks where the aquarium is mounted in the wall and often serves as a room divider. Very posh.  (For real life examples, see Fish World and Shipwreck Cove Custom Aquariums.)

While I did have a few smaller acrylic boxes on hand, I wanted a larger tank...something that would be better suited as a room divider than a fish tank in the corner.  I found these boxes, the original purpose of which was to display diecast cars.  They measure approximately 4" L x 2" H x 2" D each, though the usable area is shorter since there is a noticeable lip around the top that would detract from the illusion of a real life sized aquarium.  Ten dollars for five tanks gave me five attempts to get it right, though I think if it had taken me five attempts I'd have given up around three in a fit of tears and inappropriate words.

It probably would have been better if I had a tank that were tall instead of short and more straight-sided, but I think it works well for what I intended.

Interestingly enough, the bases seem very well suited to aquarium hoods when turned upside down.  Remove the knobs on top (or fashion something over them) and add a quick coat of paint, and you're all set.  They even have pre-drilled holes if you wanted to add lighting.  :]

Since I had never worked with resin water before, I decided to do a test tank.  I started with white sand I bought at the dollar store.  I figured I would need to glue everything in place before adding the resin water, so I experimented with several different methods for gluing the sand in the tank.

I used a mixture of white sand from the dollar store, glue and paint.  For the gravel, I used gemstone beads that I smashed with a hammer into finer bits.  I used the same glue/paint/sand techniques to attach the gravel to see which worked the best.  Here's the result of those multiple techniques.

I ordered some tiny, tiny, TINY shells from Ronni at Timber Ridge Studio, and in my package she included a bunch of slightly imperfect shells.  I dipped a few in glue and pressed them into place.  Actually, these aren't the smallest she carries...she has micromini shells, too!!!  :D

Look at all the intricate detail!  Isn't the natural world a remarkable thing?  :]

I found some great plastic plants from A Little More in Miniatures at a local mini show.  I cut them into varying lengths and used clear glue to attach them to the tank floor.

For the larger stones, fish and other live creatures, I used polymer clays.  Since this was a test tank, I didn't put a whole lot of effort into the sculpts before baking.  Some were baked attached to rocks, while others were glued in place after baking.  I love Sculpey Bake N Bond!  Just a dab really holds so you don't mar your creations by pressing them together.

I bought two sea urchin polymer clay molds from Tina at Beadcomber.  These were cast from actual urchins and they have wonderful details.

I used the smaller one to create a flat sea creature...sort of a mix between coral and urchin.  :]  I dusted it with pastels before baking.

The blue fish was painted with metallic Testors paint; the rest were formed of colored clay.  The rock the blue fish is on was painted with regular craft acrylic paint.  As a final touch, I painted eyes on all the fish with Testors black paint using a sewing pin.  The fish were all glued in place with Aleene's clear gel glue before I added the resin.

I sealed half of the urchin creature with acrylic sealer and added a couple of non-plastic plants just to see how the resin would react with these materials.

Of course, my test tank was looking better with everything I added.  Isn't that always the case?  Now, I was worried about ruining it with the resin.  But, there was no turning back!

I bought Acrylic Water from Walmart since others who have made these tanks recommended it.  It was also way cheaper than other casting resins on the market.  It was super easy to use, but I must say finding measuring cups was not easy.  Sure, I could have ordered them online, but really...a craft store that sells resin kits should have plastic measuring cups.  I ended up buying a pack of 9oz. Chinet cups from Target and made my own measuring cups.  :D

The test tank took 6oz. of resin mixture.  I filled it to the line around the top to make it less obvious.

The directions said to mix the epoxy with the hardener and stir "until clear."  Well, it was clear but it had streak-like formations in it that I didn't notice until after it was poured into the tank.  I don't know if that meant I didn't stir it long enough or if that was just the nature of the resin.

During the first few minutes, some large bubbles rose to the top and popped.  Using a toothpick, I dislodged a few that were stuck as well.  There were some tiny bubbles left in the resin, but I liked the look of them.  That sort of aeration is similar to what a real tank has.

After 48 hours, the resin had hardened and looked good for the most part.

Most of the streaks had disappeared, but there was a halo in the area where I had painted a rock with acrylic paints.  Though I wasn't sure it was a reaction with the resin, I figured it was best to eliminate those paints in the next trial just in case.

Had I intended to display the tank in a cabinet with a backdrop, the halo wouldn't matter since I could likely disguise it...but I wanted to be able to see it from both sides and the streak ruined the illusion of real water.  Still, not bad for a test tank.  :]

For the second and final tank, I skipped the sea urchin creature and instead added two starfish, also from Ronni at Timber Ridge Studio.

I put in more plants as well as taller plants.  I spent a bit more time sculpting the fish and added a bit more detail to them.

I also stirred the resin for close to ten minutes to make sure it was as clear as I could get it before filling it up to the side openings along the rim to take advantage of all the usable space available.  I got a few more bubbles this time - probably from too much stirring, but I think it turned out fab!  :D

To place it in the wall, I built a base that fits just around the tiny lip on the bottom (shown with the test tank).

I used square posts in the corners for stability.

I built the soffit in the same manner, cutting notches for the thin room divider near the ceiling and adding a brace across the inside to glue it in place.  Here it is shown without the back, which was put on after installation.

I bought two cool white LEDs from Evan Designs to light the tank.  To diffuse the lighting at bit, I used a recycled report cover with a lined texture to finish the inside of the topper.

And, here is the final tank set in the wall.  I love it!  I especially love the way the lights pick up the bubbles in the resin.

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

Note: any resin used will likely yellow over time, so use at your own discretion.

Baxter Pointe Villa - 2011 Greenleaf Spring Fling

by brae  

Presenting Baxter Pointe Villa!  :D  Many of the photos in this post can be clicked to enlarge.  For a list of posts about how I made things, please click here.

And, from the back.

Here is what the original kit with the side addition looked like on the Greenleaf website.

Mine's a bit different, no?  ;]  I took a front wall from a second addition kit to make a deck on the second floor of the main house.  I also added depth to the side addition.

The cottage is named after my current dwarf hamster companion who won the lottery by being featured in the Greenleaf Gazette's Critter Corner as Hamster in Half Scale (well, to a hamster, $25 worth of yogurt yummies is decidedly a jackpot).  :D  Baxter is now an old timer (nearly three years old) and has retired to a luxury beach cottage right on the water.  Here he is in his younger days...

The scene in the background for some of the shots is appropriately captioned On the Beach.  Though I am a hobbyist photographer myself and I've been to the beach many times, the only photos I have seem to be in mid-autumn or have a lighthouse in the background.  Not necessarily a bad thing but not what I was going for.  And, any 'sunlight' you see in the photos, well, that's just my dining room ceiling fixture with its GE Reveal lightbulbs.  :D  Even I can't believe how well this fixture lights this house from outside!

I tried to make as much as possible and used some tried and true techniques from the Newport as well as diving into some new territory for me.  I'm very pleased with how the build turned out overall, but I must say the aquarium is my favorite!  I used the Greenleaf tutorial for it, adding my own sculpted polymer clay fish and LED lighting.  :D

I would love to sit in this living room, honestly.  It has such a serene quality to it.  That's real water in the pitcher, and yes, I spilled it three times while photographing.  :O

The painting above the fireplace is Racing with the Moon by Jacqueline Penney.  The candles in the fireplace are polymer clay and are lighted...I just haven't been able to train my camera to actually take a decent photo of them lit up.  I made a lot of the books myself but supplemented the collection with some from The Miniature Bookshelf and other miscellaneous suppliers.

The aquarium divides the living room from the kitchen, and there's a breakfast counter in front of the tank that I made from a curved scrap piece from the kit.

Here's the door I made and posted about's a means to feed the fish!

This is an efficiency kitchen with only a range top and a half fridge.  When you are vacationing on the beach, you don't need to be indoors cooking.  :D

What a view!

Upstairs is a minimalist and serene bedroom.

Adjoining the bedroom is a bathroom with a soaking tub under skylights.  I have a lot of detail shots I'll be sharing in a separate post.  I love how this room turned out especially!

Outside the bedroom is a covered deck inspired by an Amanda Nisbet design.  I painted the ceiling Lilac Love and reproduced the brown and white fabric in her original design using Illustrator and having it printed by Spoonflower.  The journal is by Glenda of Peppercorn Minis.

The cedar shake exterior with white trim was inspired by Catskill Farms.  They have countless beautiful cottages on their blog that are perfect inspirations for miniature homes.  I had to hand split approximately 1,700 1:12 scale shakes to get the right proportion for the build...first lengthwise and then across the grain.

This was easily a six- to nine-month project crammed into three.  Even with all of the things on my idea list left undone, I still think I accomplished a lot in the time I had.  Lots of long hours and late nights.  :D  I plan to continue checking things off the wish-I-had-had-time-to-do list, so you'll see more of this house in the days ahead.

I also want to say a big thank you to everyone who helped with ideas and support throughout the whole process.  Your kind words and friendship mean more to me than you realize.  Thank you!

...more details to follow...but not tonight.  :D

UPDATE: Baxter Pointe Villa took 3rd in the contest.  :D

Race to the finish line!

by brae  

Here is the last sneak peek before the big debut.  I will post my reveal as soon as I submit my photos for the contest...probably Sunday, hopefully before then.  :D

click image to enlarge

The artwork is Racing with the Moon by Jacqueline Penney printed on Art Canvas by The Crafty PC.  It has a canvas texture that really brings it to life.  I installed a NovaLyte can light over the fireplace to illuminate the artwork.

I am off to finish my to do list, which is longer than I wish it were.  :\  See you in a couple of days!

(Now commences radio silence.)

Sunflowers in the window

by brae  

Only a few more days...  :D

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