Wednesday, May 20, 2009
The Challenges of Building a Front-Opening Dollhouse
Here is Sara's dollhouse nearing completion. I still have a punch list of "things to do" to complete it, but it's really quite presentable now and becoming more so on a nearly daily basis.
I designed this house using a variety of reference photographs I have taken of Victorian homes. I thought Victorian houses were ugly when I was a boy, but a contest in Sioux City, Iowa put on by the city's history museum gave me a new appreciation for Victorian tower houses. (The museum had over 20 paintings all done by a former Sioux City woman. Each painting featured a different Victorian house in the city. The contest challenged people to find all of the houses that were scattered all across the city. We found all but one of them!) Today, at least half of those houses are gone; so I'm very glad we took the time to see them and appreciate them.
I designed this house with the intention of offering the viewer enough architectural details to give them a real sense of the house's architecture. However, I also wanted the viewer to enjoy seeing the rooms with all of their details. Since I chose to maintain the integrity of the roof because of its architectural interest, that made making the third floor rooms more open impossible. In some ways I regret that, but I also like the unity of the roof line the way it is.
I didn't make any cutouts on the sides, so the viewer can see the bay window on the dining room side and the detail on the left-hand side of the house. I especially wanted to have the front door and stained glass window with its tiny balcony in plain view for the visitor. The brackets near the roof line also were a must to convey the fussiness of this painted lady Victorian.
All of those details made the front opening of this house quite a challenge! I'll share more details with you in my next blog about what all I did to make the house so it can be opened. I have to remove or shift several little pieces before I can open any one of the three different doors on the front.
Please do click on the photograph so you can see the house close-up!