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Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Beachside Bungalow - Lightwork

This week, I was able to move upstairs and begin the To-Do's up there. By the time the end of the weekend came, I had walls in, trim on, lighting fixtures installed and all of the wiring nearly completed!

I began with the stairwell wall that separates the bedroom. Early on in my dry fits I had decided that I did not want a door here. It seemed like it would just make the stairwell feel crowded. Instead, I cut the wall back to create an open hallway from the stairwell to the bedroom. 

I did not want a lot of dead space, either. It's always hard to know what to do with it, nothing ever fits because it's so cramped and it just leaves me wanting. So, where the back of the stairwell and the angled roof met, I made a knee wall that would bring the wall forward.

A fringe benefit to the knee wall was that it would give the viewer the notion that there was an attic crawl space there. Storage is at a premium, even in dollhouses, so I ran with the idea. I created a faux access door and while it actually serves no purpose, it is fun to imagine that it does.

For the actual stairwell, I wanted it to have an open sky ceiling and the sensation of walking up through a garden. This would give the tight space a much roomier impression. To add to the garden feeling, I decided to make picket fence wainscoting. I made the fence posts 3-1/2" tall, then alternating pickets at 3-1/4" and 3". I rounded off the corners of the 1/16" x 1/4" pickets to embrace the traditional picket look.

I finished this section of wall before I installed it, as reaching in to the stairwell was a tight squeeze! There are more photos below of the finished picket fence with it's cross braces added.

Also, before I could install the stairwell wall, I remembered that I needed to tidy up the wiring. This looks dangerous!

Once the wiring was secure and not a trip or shock hazard anymore, the girls came up to take a look. They all love the cheerful wallpaper, and I love seeing them in the space. They demonstrate for me just how large and roomy this house is, and that makes me excited to begin filling it with everything Kairi needs to live a happy life here. 

On a side note, Betsy suggested the name Roxanne for the lovely lady in leopard (far left). I think it fits perfectly for her personality! I have also begun to imagine a home for her. Perhaps she will be the perfect candidate for the Glencroft Treehouse? But I know Rose (far right), the fun loving owner of Rosie Lee Cottage (a.k.a. the Storybook Cottage), would appreciate her bedroom and living room being finished before starting on another new project. It's so close to being done, after all!

With the wall installed, I could hang the stairwell's pendant light and center it in the space. It matches the island lights on the first floor.

Notice all the pickets and cross braces have been added.

I also installed the edge trim on the end of the wall.

It's always a good idea to check how the occupants will fit in the stairwell, and to see if there is any chance of them hitting their heads on the light fixtures. Though it looks at this camera angle like the fixture is right above Rose's head, it is actually about 2 inches behind her. It passes with flying colors!

In this photo, you can see that the quarter round trim has been installed and blends in with the sky. I am so happy that I was able to mix a paint color that matches the wallpaper so well!

The narrow side strip that borders the left side and back of the stairwell will be the perfect place to add pots of flowers and plants. We'll pretend the fourth wall has loads of windows for plenty of sunlight to pour in.

Later, I was able to install the wall separating the bedroom from the bathroom. There was quite a bit of sanding involved to get it to fit! With the final wall in place it was time to do the rest of the trim work. Those angles on the dormer trim were a challenge, but I really love the warmth of the light oak stain with the cheerful wallpaper.

For the flooring in this house, I will likely make templates so that I can work on them outside the house. Then I can just slide them in, add baseboards and be done. I am still gathering ideas and haven't settled on a material yet, though I do have lots of walnut and cherry lumber left from Tasha's Kitchen's herringbone floor. Colorful Saltillo tile would also be nice so my decision is a tough one. It would be great to make different floors on templates that could be changed out any time. A thought for a future experiment...

Here is a peek into the bathroom.

I have often reduced or eliminated the tall thresholds on dollhouse doors, but because I did not know which flooring I would go with in this house, or how thick it would be, I decided to live with them If need be, after the floor is installed, I can add quarter round to the front of each threshold to ease the transition.

Now for the inside of the bathroom. There is no way you'll be able to go to work grumpy after getting ready in this uplifting bathroom! The combination of the bubble sky, happy stripes and the blooming flower tiles are food for the soul to be eaten with the eyes!

The toilet will abut the shower, then the vanity will sit under the sconces. I will have to come up with a nice mirror for Kairi, and install some towel bars and hooks. Form AND Function, I always say!

Hopefully, with the LED "can" light in the ceiling and the two sconces, she'll have plenty of light to see with. The sconces in this room are sold as Heidi Ott and match the bedroom's fixture with their tropical leaf design. A perfect style to have in a home by the beach!

Now for the big moment! It's always a thrill to test the lights and have everything working properly!

And I had just taken a moment to congratulate myself on all my accomplishments for the week when I remembered that there was still trim work to be done on the first floor! Yikes! Luckily, it wasn't anything complicated. Just some stained crown molding for the great room...

And some painted quarter round for the powder room...

And then, after feeling good about the progress, my thoughts turned to how to conceal the wiring and make it seamlessly function. We'll save that for next week's post, and I may even try to design and print some utility boxes with the 3D printer. So much fun yet to enjoy!

I hope you're enjoying this project with me, and finding inspiration and motivation toward your own mini dreams! Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

xo xo,


P.S. - If you are making minis and sharing your creativity with the community, then you are a worker of light. If you are letting folks know you see and appreciate them, you are just as essential. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart! In many significant and innumerable ways, you are making the world a better and more hopeful place. Let those lights shine!💗

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Beachside Bungalow - Chopped Up!

My mini time since summer began has been very chopped up and disjointed. Getting our Covid vaccinations, my parent's visit, family gatherings and Russ working on an out of town project have all contributed to the wonderful chaos. However, having only tiny stretches of mini time here or there, I have been working on a vast array of side projects for the Beachside Bungalow and in a disorganized order. Hopefully, you won't find this post too jumbled or long as I try to get you caught up to where I am.

Front door stained and installed.
Peek-A-Boo to fireplace and staircase through front window.

A few weeks ago I had settled on the fixtures I wanted to use in the project, and I got them all taped so that I could apply a unifying color: black. I just love a house with all black hardware, so I thought it would be fun to have all the lighting fixtures match all the hardware.
Cutting thin strips of masking tape makes it easier to apply
to oddly shaped fixtures. Just keep adding strips until
everything is covered.

Taping scrap cardboard over plug ends and wires keeps the overspray away.

All the brass/gold is gone in favor of black satin.
Be sure to follow up the spray paint with a spray varnish.

I sprayed the hinges, knobs, door plates and locks, too.
Double sided tape works great to hold tiny bits in place
while spray painting. Be sure to varnish these, too!

Another small side project I worked on was the stairs. I painted the treads with acrylic paint to look as if they were the same wood stain as the stair landing and fireplace mantle. The stairs are made of MDF so traditional wood stain would not work. I also painted the risers in colors to match the green chevron shades on the living room wallpaper. You will only be able to see the stairs by looking through the front window on the porch, but when you do see them, it will be a fun and funky detail. The last two stairs are covered by the landing so did not need painting.

At one point I began working on the gas fire insert for the fireplace. I had collected some great sticks on one of our forest walks. I just loved the look of the bark for these fake gas fire logs. They look very much like my gas fireplace logs. I used a fire kit from Evan Designs. The 5-12 volt can be included with all of the other 12 volt lights in my project so there is no need to run a separate transformer. I printed the log grate with my 3D printer a few weeks ago when I was building the fire box.

I threaded the three bulbs around and through the grate and made sure they would sit flat beneath the logs. I glued the logs to the grate and each other with Tacky Glue. Once completely set, I added a coating of matte Mod Podge to the logs to ensure none of the neat bark would flake away with time.

View from the bottom of the grate.

The wires for the fireplace bulbs will exit the fire box out the back and then be threaded down through the floor of the house where I can run an extension to the power source. The back of the stairs lie on the part of the fire box that is missing. Luckily, you barely notice the funky adaptation in the completed fireplace! The prayers worked!!!

This is how the log rack sits inside the fire box. Notice how the powder room door has been stained, installed in the wall and had it's hardware added? That was another small side project that I fit in when I had a few mini minutes. Betsy - I added the hinges just because I love the look of them. They are for looks only and do not add any contribution to the functionality of the door.

Here is the back of the fireplace wall. You can see the tiny powder room this way and where the back of the fire box will be hidden behind it and under the stairs.

With the gas fire ready, it was time to add a "glass" (Lexan) panel to the front and then the frame. The fill pattern that is a natural side effect of 3D printing adds a neat detail to the frame.

Here it is after the glue has dried.

And in the room with the mantle added and the flames on...

And the video. Sorry for the loud audio in the background - I was listening to a Sasquatch encounter story!!! Yikes!!!

The keen observers out there may have noticed a light fixture installed in the stair landing. Also notice that the front door and window trim are stained and installed.

Yep - another chunk of mini time was dedicated to starting on the lighting fixtures for the first floor. I showed you in last week's post about the four "can" lights for this "open concept" first floor greatroom, but in addition, I added the stair landing fixture, the powder room fixture and two funky retro pendant light fixtures that will hang above the kitchen island. The girls even came by for a look at the progress! 

Kairi, the lady in the red striped top, has been the planned occupant for the Beachside Bungalow project since 2016. She has patiently waited A LONG TIME for her home and is naturally beside herself that I am finally making progress!

I have made a little progress on the second floor, but I'll save that for next week! Until then, hope you are all finding moments to make progress on your dreams!

xo xo,