Category: "Watson Mill"

Watson Mill

by brae  

Greenleaf Dollhouses held their Spring Fling contest for a number of years, including some years before miniatures became an everyday thing for me.  The 2009 kit had an arch roof and an interesting shape.  The kit is still available today, but I bought one some time ago for a someday project just in case they went out of production.

Jen Barrick's Loganberry Mill was one of the first miniature houses that drew me into the hobby.  She dropped the scale down to half scale and made the most amazing sail set.  It's truly an inspirational build from the inner mechanisms to the realistic landscaping.

So, this is where I start...with an idea for my own take on the kit...Watson Mill.  The kit is simple yet elegant in design, a cozy place.  I punched out the upper window even though I will be adding sails here, because the kit had trim pieces die-cut there that were falling out.  I'll just have to patch it.  I won't be using the cardboard roof pieces, but they complete the dry fit.

I will definitely need to move the door to one of the side walls so I've left it and the lower window intact for now.  We don't want to send anyone ass over tea kettle.  :O

I will keep the full scale aspect and make this more of a fantasy build in the vein of Roland's Retreat.  That saves the hassle of adding a full kitchen and bathroom. :D  This will also be a mill rehab with most of the inner workings of a proper mill long gone and replaced with the cozy decor of its current resident, Gustav.  He's independently wealthy, so he dines out all the time anyway.  There might be room for snacks and a tea kettle.

Gustav is an otter with a thirst for knowledge and culture.  He loves the written word, so I foresee a good deal of books to be made.  I can't go stealing them from grandma at the Heritage, after all.

With his simple tastes, we'll need a place to sleep and a place to read....maybe a stove to keep warm, too.  Since the upper room is small, I can make a daybed for the space.  This will leave room for a short dresser and a bedside table.  I prefer the realism of stairs in my builds, even in the realm of fantasy, so he will also need a ladder between the floors.  While I do love this rug from dalesdreams...I think a fox rug might look nice here in the bedroom.  ;D

I think this Bespaq chair might stay.  I have two of them, so we will see if there ends up being enough room for Gustav to be the social type.

For the exterior finishes, I am drawn to both wood shake and brick, so I might end up with a mix of the two if I can't decide.  I will likely build up the ground as Jen did to make the landscape more interesting.  I'd also like to add an arched door to keep with the storybook feel.

As for the sails, they are going to have to actually spin, right?  :D  Bruce Hirst has some great instruction on how he made his working mill, so that will be a great starting point.  I have the challenge of an open back structure so I will need to be creative in disguising and setting any mechanical details.  I will have to close up at least the arch near the upper back.  The mechanism will have to be addressed fairly early since that will determine if I have to adjust the height of the second floor space.

First, though, I will determine if I want more depth to the kit to make the rooms larger.  That's very straightforward since I'll just need wider side walls.  I will likely have to cut an additional front wall as well to have a good thickness for a working window and to brace the sails.  I'm 99% sure I want more depth since there are a couple of things I'd like to add that will require a larger lower room.  The kit is relatively small to start, so there's plenty of room to add while staying with my current landscaping board (the original Aero Squadron Lounge board before it outgrew it).

So, I've put the kit in dry fit so I can stare, think, plan and play.  I even have some furniture kits out to ponder and perhaps assemble when I need a side project.

I will get to this build in a couple of months.  I plan to work on Milo Valley Farm right now, but there will come a point when all that is left is the Datsun, and I will need spray painting weather for that.  :]

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