The evolving Brownstone

by brae  

Now that the kit is out of the box, I've had some time to consider the original kit measurements and what I ultimately would like to do with the build.  I do love the kit photo, but I won't be building that one exactly.


Golden Gate View kit photo

The first thing I considered was the beautiful 1:14 scale Audi TT automobile I have from the Newport build.  It has been sitting on the bookshelf awhile now, waiting and waiting since the Newport belongs to someone else.

Not to mention the one bicycle I have left over since the other two live at Baxter Pointe Villa.

I don't see any other build in my future where the garage could be revisited so easily.  There is already roughly 4.5" of dead space under the first floor, so adding another 5" or so to the height wouldn't be an issue.  Additional stairs would also need to be constructed, but it's not out of the norm to see this sort of profile.  The garage door can either be flush with the house (third photo) or projected toward the front.  I'm more inclined toward the flush front garage since, in mini, a projected one might take over the house.


image from Clopay

In order to accommodate the Audi, or a larger 1:12 scale auto if I acquire one, in a flush front garage, I would need to add a little depth to the kit as well.

This is where I need to determine if I will also make the house a little wider to allow the additional kitchen and bathroom or if I will make it a lot deeper like a real life row house.  Here's a quarter scale example of a deeper row house with a side opening.

My original inspiration is similar to a row house in shape in the front, but it has an outcropping on the back left side.  If I add to the side, it would remain an open back dollhouse.


image from Old House Online

I won't be adding a roof like this one, either.  Here's an interesting row house with a wonderful rooftop garden (click the lower left photo to see additional views) - this was from The House that Jack Built.  Blondie located a photo of the barebones house in an old miniature magazine, but we've not been able to find out much about that house.  I don't know if I would go as far with the rooftop garden decorating, but it would be fun to have a little something up there.  It, too, is a side opening house.

I like the detailing on Majestic Mansions side openings.  They have a slight finished area on the front and back edges of the open side.  This completes the corners nicely, especially when viewed from the front.  So, my plan is to make a foam core mockup with a side opening to see which way I like it best.  :D

I'm also thinking of changing from a red brick build to a tan stone build.  I've always loved the way Cynthia made her Beacon Hill, and I think that sort of stone would work nicely on the Brownstone.

There's also the Franklin Mint Christmas Memories house.  I would have Bittersweet Chocolate and Warm White trim to accent the tan stone.  This would also mean considerably less egg carton cutting...still a lot, just in larger pieces.

Knotty pine from basswood

by brae  

I had a slight staining mishap while working on the Spring Fling.  I used my favorite IKEA stain, antique.  Well, the can was a little old and had bits of coagulated stain floating in it.  I didn't realize this until after I started to apply it, of course.  By then, I had to just go with it and stain all of the pieces to match.

Once dry, the ratty bits smoothed out with a light sanding but left darker spots as expected.  This ended up being a happy accident since the basswood looked like knotty pine.  Not a bad finish after all.

Once this project is done, I'll be pouring the stain into kitty litter for disposal, but I like the results this one time.  :]

From way back when...

by brae  

I just received two Tinysaur kits that I ordered back in the Mesozoic Era...okay, February, but I was getting worried these would never come.  There's a mad backorder delay for these critters!  :\  The Evolution Store kept in contact with me and let me know as soon as they were back in stock.  I picked up the T-Rex and Stegosaurus.

April has assembled the T-Rex before, which is where I first spotted these delightful mini kits.  I put together one of the regular size wood models back when I was young, so it'll be a nice trip down memory lane assembling these for my mini houses.

I was feeling a bit feisty today, so I decided to wait until another time when I had more patience.  :D  I mean, look how small the T-Rex head is!!!  :O

The Stegosaurus certainly has a lot of parts...oh, my!

Bees and Trees rug - 19.5 hrs and Prairie rug - 14 hrs

by brae  

I've managed to work a little each day on the two rug projects I have going.  The Bees and Trees rug is probably halfway done if you were to transfer the stitching from the right tree over to the empty spot on the left.  I'm at 19.5 hours of work.

I love the way these knotted rugs look in mini...such great texture.  I departed from the kit instructions just a little.  For smaller areas that called for Colonial knots, I used French knots instead since it seems a softer texture.  I might just be doing the knots wrong, but I find the Colonial knots are slightly larger than the French knots.  I'm also using a combination of the two to fill in the background for the same reason...the French knots can get into smaller spots around the trees and other details and they can fill in between the Colonial knots.  :]

The Prairie rug is now at 14 hours of work...not much in time since the last update but a lot more has been filled in.

The Brownstone...the beginning

by brae  

Back in January, I took some photos of the kit pieces since there was some buzz about the Golden Gate View dollhouse kit on the Greenleaf forum.  I put it back in the closet, but today I took it back out to take some more detailed measurements.  The front wall is made from notched trim pieces with the inserts for windows and walls assembled separately.

The side walls are detailed with vertical siding lines.  As you can see, it's a relatively straightforward kit as far as basic structure goes.  It seems some Golden Gate View kits were made differently with studs in the walls, but mine is just plywood.

There are two rooms to the original kit, but I plan to add some space.  There's not enough room for a small kitchen/dining area or a bathroom if I add stairs on the inside, which I always do for realism.  My first thought was to add an outcropping on the back left side, as shown in my inspiration photo.


image from Old House Online

The other thing I can do is make it a deeper kit with a side opening, so I'll give it some thought to see which solution I like better.

After studying the instructions, I taped together the front wall trim pieces to get a feel for the kit.

And then the bay window structure.

The blue marked pieces are to be cut away during assembly.

Also, the pieces didn't fit the way the instructions indicated.  The instructions show the side walls fitting behind the front assembly, but the floor boards don't fit properly when you do that.  In order for the kit pieces to fit, you have to have the side walls on the outside edges of the front wall.  Then the floor boards fit precisely and cleanly.  It throws off the design of the front, though.  So, I can either cut new floor boards or mask the outer corners with trim.

The kit box has incorrect measurements in general and based on the above error.  The building in my dry fit is 14" deep from the outer plane of the front bay window to the back of the building, 15 3/8" wide with the side walls attached to the outside of the front wall instead of behind it, 29 1/4" tall at the highest point in front, and 26 3/8" tall on the side walls.


Golden Gate View kit photo

There are inserts to complete the wall structure.  I would think it prudent to use these as spacers when assembling the front wall and bay window to make sure it all fits precisely, but the instructions don't have you do this.  I will likely do it, though and number the pieces as I go along.  The instructions also have you add these inserts later after you've built the structure, but I think it makes more sense to have a flat surface behind them.  So, in essence, I'm pretty much tossing the instructions at this point.  Haaa!

The first floor room is roughly 4 1/2" off the ground.  There is no support for it whatsoever...just glued in place on the front and side walls.  I will be adding beam structure for sure.  The room measures just under 15" across, just over 10 5/8" high and 11 1/4" deep, not including the bay window extension.

The second floor room has the same measurements.  Both nice large rooms

Now before you jump all over the place now that the Browstone is out of the box, please understand I plan to brick this entire building...with egg carton bricks...which take a lot of time to cut and prepare.  :D  So, it will be slow going, but I have the Spring Fling, Creatin' Contest, Studio and Heritage to keep me busy as well.  I will cut bricks in my spare time (ha!) and it will progress...just slowly.

I did some quick measurements of the original kit side walls to determine an approximate number of 1/4" x 3/4" bricks to cut.  The side walls are 11 3/4" x 26 3/8" and there are approximately 27 bricks in a 3" x 3" sample.  If my foggy Saturday math is correct, that's 1,860 bricks to cover the two side walls.  The small addition and the front wall will require more, of course, but I will start with that number in mind.

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