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Lori's Projects

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Like any miniaturist, I have several projects happening at once.  My beach house (A House That Jack Built house) is awaiting it's shingles to finally be "complete". 

 Lori's Beach House Downstairs Left Lori's Beach House Downstairs Right Lori's Beach House Upstairs

The Hunting Cabin (Real Good Toys "Junior Cottage" or "Light Keeper's Cottage", started in 2009) is at a stand-still due to a bathroom configuration issue.  My longest running project is my Fantasy Victorian Mansion (started in 1993 with a purchase of a Tudor-style bed and a wedding veil) and another long-term project is my Modern Townhouse (Real Good Toys, "1 Country Lane" kit, started as an Irish Cottage in 2006).  I'm also tackling a series of kitchen roomboxes as well as a Fairy Tree Stump house.  And, in 2016, I became distracted designing some roomboxes for friends (The New York Shop Windows roombox and the "Shark Tank" roombox) which are now also available for sale in the store.  As you can tell, I jump around between projects frequently!  My blog covers all my "works in progress".

My Dream: The Victorian Mansion

As a teenager I envisioned a grand Victorian Mansion (probably my parents fault for taking me to see Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle in Chicago when I was about 7 or 8), with the mansion dwellers excitedly preparing for a wedding (thanks to a gorgeous veil I bought at my local miniature shop with my first paycheck when I was 16).  The wedding party would (of course) mimic my own visions of my wedding.  I collected accessories and furniture (in that order), dreaming of the most important aspects of my Victorian Mansion: it must have a two-story library (thanks to Mom and Dad for dragging me to see the Biltmore Mansion in NC when I was a child!), it must have a ballroom (thanks to "Sound of Music"), and it must have a Grand Staircase (thanks again to my mother for taking me to the Marble House and various other historical homes in Newport, Rhode Island).  Surprisingly, no dollhouse manufacturer had a dollhouse with these rooms being standard in the kit.  Go figure.  So I drew up the plans.  By now I have been married for almost 7 years, was quite pregnant, and was in discussion with my parents about opening my own store.  Great timing!

My VisionYears passed, I had more children, and one day while discussing with a customer about how wonderful the rooms were in the Majestic Mansion "Darlington" dollhouse, I realized: Here is my Victorian Mansion!  It's just missing the Ballroom!  But an addition onto this house would not be out of place.  I would just replicate the bay from the right side of the house onto the left side of the house.  Hmmm . . . could I kit-bash two Darlington kits into one Grand Mansion?  I jumped on the computer, copying and pasting pictures to replicate my vision (see photo at right).

July 2016:  Right side of house is almost completely decorated!  Lighting on this section of the house is connected to a remote control.  Most wallpapering and flooring are cut and installed...two-story library turned out fantastic!  Also have to build and attach the upper conservatory room...


Library in the Daytime     Library at Nighttime 

Hit a stumbling block: can't go any further until I finish the exterior blocking so I can install the coach lights (wiring for this goes thru foyer and center section of mansion).  Can't really tackle exterior blocking until addition is assembled; addition can't be assembled until Dad gets base pieces cut and assembled so that I can put addition up next to main house.  So it's on pause again.  For now...

The Modern Townhouse

Several years ago (2006) I started this Real Good Toys kit to be an Irish Cottage.  It was advertised as a 5-room house.  What a crock!  I immediately realized that the divider walls would be taken out so that my rooms were wider than 6" and I was going to add a staircase to the third floor and a back door and a window.   I cut holes, I primed the exterior with a green-tinted primer (yes, it looked gross) and then I finally admitted to myself that it just wasn't going to work as an Irish Cottage.  So the house sat for a few years, missing an identity.

Yuck - where it started . . . kit was assembled and primed in green for the Irish Cottage.Holes cut in floor for stairs . . . Back wall had holes too . . .

Not sure when exactly the inspiration hit me, but it occurred to me one day (in early summer, 2010) that I would like to do a more modern dollhouse.  But I didn't want to have to furnish a whole bunch of rooms in the modern motif as I am more in love with the classic, traditional style.  And I thought of this poor little forgotten 3-room house with holes and hideous green paint job.  Wouldn't it make a perfect urban, young couple's first "pad"?  With brick backsplash on the kitchen counters? And black furniture? And a curved stone shower with glass walls?  I was excited now!  But to get the most out of my floor plan, it would be best to put fake doors on the back walls and pretend there was another room or a stairwell back behind those doors.  So, first came the hard work of filling in all those holes (window, back door, extra stairway, etc.).  And the fun step of choosing the paint color scheme.Painted Creme, shingled, missing some windows still.

Color scheme on windowsNow that the holes are filled, the exterior is painted creme color and windows/door are painted, in dark colors and the roof is shingled (early Winter 2010), now comes the decor!  However, the cobblestone in the shower is giving me cause for concern - it does not look as realistic as I'd like.  So that put the project on hold until I can come to grips with that issue.

June, 2011:  The first floor is (sort of) finished!  Walls were painted.  Then came the hard part of installing the indirect lighting.  Four LED can lights were installed in the ceiling which involved four 3/8" holes and routing out the floor in the room above for the wires to run out the back wall (only because I like to make my life difficult - I could have just drilled the holes and that would have been enough, but since my second floor will have a sliding floor I wanted the electrical wires to be "buried").  "Bricking" (wallpaper) was put on the kitchen backsplash and four LED lights were installed in/under the cabinets.

Before I installed the hanging divider wallsNext I drilled holes in my plywood divider walls.  Which caused huge problems as the plywood holes had jagged edges and I needed smooth clean holes for painting.  So I returned to the drawing board and switched to MDF (which did not splinter as much when I drilled the various-size holes into the divider walls.  I painted the holes black and then spray-painted the flat wall surface with a stone texture.  Next I installed the hooks and chain (both needed to be spray-painted black first as I did not want bright brass hooks and chains).  Once the corresponding ceiling hooks had been glued into the ceiling I could then hang my "stone" divider walls to separate the dining room from the kitchen space.  Before I hung my walls though, I needed to install my marble floor.  Now the first floor (kitchen and dining room) is finished - with some minor decor exceptions!

 The foyer, looking into the kitchen.Hanging Divider Walls separate the Dining Room from the Kitchen.The entire first floor.

Now, the first floor still needs some baseboard (painted black? stained a light natural wood color?) and crown molding (ditto for the decor color question there too).  Obviously accessories are needed in the kitchen, and maybe some art on the Dining Room wall?  And, although you can't see it in the pictures, the false door on the back wall (behind the back Dining Room divider wall) needs to be stained a light wood color, like the cabinet color, and glued on the wall instead of propped, leaning against the wall back there.  I am thinking of gluing the false door closer to the frig so that maybe I could put a black work desk against that wall behind the divider wall with a lap top on it?  Still brain-storming ideas on that  . . . Then on to the second level (Living Room and Bathroom) with the glass wall and curved pebble/stone shower!  Check back in Summer, 2017!

First Floor lit up with LED NovalitesKitchen cabinets lit with LED Novalites

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