In using the Foxhall Conservatory kit for the garage, I had six windows and one double French door left over. I still wanted to have a conservatory for the Newport, so I decided on an enclosed deck off the master bedroom on the second floor. I looked at other kits and real life conservatories for inspiration and found a lovely veranda kit from Artesania Latina.
It's fairly expensive once you factor in shipping costs. Besides, the whole point of using the conservatory kit for the garage was to have the spare parts to create my own conservatory. I also wasn't sure the arched windows would match the overall look of the Newport. But, it gave me a starting point for my own mockup. Here's a rough idea of what I'll be going for.
There will be a bit of room around the enclosure to have plants on the outside, so I will need to replace one of the six windows shown with a single French door for access to the outer balcony area.
The double French door from the kit will serve as the entry into the conservatory from the master bedroom. I haven't decided if I want a glass or covered roof.
The Newport has prefinished brick walls that would be near impossible to replicate, so I have been trying to figure out something that will make the garage seem like an addition to an historic house but not be an eyesore. I first tried DAP Stucco Patch painted to match the red bricks. While I liked the result, it looked too contemporary and just off in some way when put next to the Newport. (But, if I build another dollhouse, I will definitely consider this finish - easy to do and beautiful.) Remarkably, since I had primed before applying the stucco and had then painted it, the stucco lifted off the plywood rather easily.
The next idea was clapboard siding. Brick houses often have sided counterparts, but I wasn't sure what color to paint it. I made siding swatches of stained wood, white paint, ivory paint and the same brick red color I had used on the stucco. The wood was out immediately since the rest of the house is trimmed in white. The white siding with white trim was too much white. The ivory looked better in contrast but there was nothing to tie that color to the house. And, finally, the red with the white trim made the garage look like a candycane.
Driving home from work the next day, I noticed most garages on brick homes have brick facades with siding on the rest. That brought me back to the same problem of replicating the brick, though. I then remembered when I cut the new opening from the kitchen to the garage, the brick surface of the mdf walls would pop off along the edge. When I got home, I took the doorway cutout piece and slowly, carefully slipped a sharp hobby knife under the bricks.
The mdf split pretty easily, and I was then able to get a putty knife further under the surface than the hobby knife would go.
I tried to get the bricks to come off in rows since I couldn't get the full surface to lift intact.
I taped the painted trim to the garage and placed unpainted strip wood in place of the garage door trim to mark the area I would need to brick. I applied the bricks evenly on both sides of the garage door from the bottom up, using tacky glue to adhere them. This way, if I need to stop due to running out of brick (or patience, I suppose), I can use siding on the rest and garage exterior will still tie into the house.
The bricks vary a bit in thickness though I've tried to even them out, so the surface it a bit uneven. Overall, though, I am pleased with the result.
I have other doorways to cut which should give me plenty of brick surface to use for the two areas on either side of the garage door. If I can't get enough bricks to also cover the area above the door, I will use decorative siding to fill in that area. The "unseen" side of the garage will be covered with clapboard siding.
The garage is made from the Foxhall Conservatory kit by Real Good Toys. I bought some 3/8" Baltic birch plywood to replace the two pre-cut walls that came with the kit. I also lowered the whole structure by using the spacers included in the kit as the foundation. A friend with a jig saw helped me cut the walls down from their original height of 12" to a new height of 10 15/16". This height allowed for most of the original trim from the conservatory kit to still be used on the outside without the garage having too high of a ceiling on the inside. It also accommodated the height of the doorway into the kitchen. The stairs originally meant for the front porch of the conservatory will serve as the entry stairs to the kitchen from the garage.
Finding a Timberbrook garage door kit was an adventure. The few places that had them online were sold out. I called several local dollhouse shops and happened to find a store with one left in stock. I heard from one shop owner that Timberbrook is either out of business or selling their business. It's a shame, too, since it is a good quality kit.
I've tried three cars for this space during the building phase. The first goes back to my original hobby of building model cars. Instead of making them showroom new, I would beat them up and make them the type of cars that make you wonder how they are still running. :D One of the first ones I built was a Datsun 240Z. So, when I happened upon a diecast metal 1970 Datsun 240Z in bright orange, I decided to go for it.
It is a beautiful model, but it is too small for the garage space. Usually 1:18 scale cars can hold their own with a 1:12 scale house, but the Datsun is a small sportscar in real life making this particular car smaller than most 1:18 scale models. Now the Datsun sits on a display shelf instead.
The second one I tried was a 1:14 scale remote control Audi TT. I like this one better for size but mostly for the fact that it has working lights (though annoyingly only when in motion). However, it's a cheap, plastic car lacking in detail when compared to the Datsun. It is, after all, made to be driven fast and bumped into walls. :]
Then it was on to the third car: a diecast metal Audi A8. It is hampered by being 1:18 scale but it's larger than the Datsun and has finer detail than the RC car.
In the end, after I finish the garage and put in some filler (boxes, folding chairs, tools - basic garage stuff), I will decide which of the Audis will take a permanent place in the Newport. The likely winner will be the RC car for its more accurate size proportion. But, who knows? My garage might get so crammed with junk that only the Datsun will fit, thus saving the day...as always. ;]
I added the two story addition to the Newport but to the right side of the house instead of the left (it is made to fit on the left side). Real Good Toys sells the nosing needed to fit this kit to the right side, but in my experience it wasn't necessary. Perhaps this was because I added the addition while the original house was still unassembled. If anything, I had to cut one of the original nosing pieces from the kit down to fit properly. Some might need the additional nosing, but I didn't end up needing it after all.
I had a couple of issues fitting the addition. First, although the first floor of the original house kit and that of the addition are 1/4" thick, one is mdf and one is wood. This made for a slight difference in height in the materials.
Since there was a bit of the house floor that extended into the addition, I used some 1/16" shims on the addition foundation to make the floor flush.
Second, there wasn't enough room to fit a door adjacent to the front door under the stairs as they were originally intended to be installed. Instead, I cut the door opening toward the back of the house.
As a result, the stairs needed to be flipped in the opposite direction. I traced the outline of the new stair opening and used a coping saw to make the cuts.
The excess opening will be filled when I get to the ceiling/flooring finishing.
I actually like this layout better since it makes sense to me that when you enter through the front door, you would either go directly upstairs or into the main part of the house.
Though I had a dollhouse in childhood, my main interest for as long as I can remember has been cars. I wanted an all-terrain vehicle for my second birthday, and grandpa bought it for me. :D I am not sure exactly when I got into building model cars, but I still have three completed 1:25 scale models - one showroom quality and the other two junkers. These were made sometime in the late 80's - early 90's.
The first is a Jaguar XKE. It's the most polished of the three. It has a gold metallic undercoat covered by sheer deep green. I used an airbrush on all the models. Other than on the wheels where I was able to use a small brush, the chrome details were painted gold using the tip of a sewing pin. That same method was used to paint the dashboard details.
The second is a Volkswagen Beetle in a lovely shade of oxidized army green. :D Of course, the kit body was originally pink. Ech!
I cut mini vinyl floor mats to cover the holes in the floorboards. It has broken windows, dents, rust, a missing rearview mirror, multiple city stickers and a now-missing CB antenna mounted on the back. That's railroad paint called dirt as accent.
The third, and my personal favorite, is the Datsun 240Z. It has a cockeyed suspension, which - if you have ever seen one of these on the road - should seem familiar to you.
Occasionally, I will see one that is showroom new and I just have to smile. This model has the same issues as the Beetle - the dents, rust etc., but I did a few extra things here.
The spider web crack in the front windshield is done by poking a heated straight pin through the plastic then using a hobby knife to etch the pattern.
I upholstered the hatchback just to put a greasy tire mark there.
There are cigarette burns in the seats, a missing headlight and only part of the nameplate remains on the back. I painted most of the car in a mix of gloss and flat black, but the hood and rear piece have a bit more gloss to represent replacement parts. It, too, got a splash of dirt to finish it off. Interestingly enough, the dustier these models get over time the more realistic they look.