We often pay special attention to the wallpaper, lighting fixtures and furnishings of our dollhouse plans, but by leaving the functionality as an afterthought, we might be missing a lot of fun details. For me, the best dollhouses do a great job of supporting the story: hiding stuff that interferes with the "real" illusion and including everyday mundane things that add to it. The kinds of everyday things that are common to real life houses are what I call The Good Ugly.
Wires can be Bad Ugly, and having lots of lighting means a lot of wiring to run, connect and conceal. So how to hide the wiring? In previous posts on this build I talked about some of the channels I created to conceal the wiring. Here's the rest of the story...
For all of the second floor fixtures and "can" lights, I directed them to exit through the roof. I chiseled out recesses for the LED wiring where they protruded too far above the roof surface. The thin wires are just secured with masking tape, which will then have the roof shingles installed over top.
|The wiring runs for the porch lights and second floor ceiling fixtures.|
All of the wires for the project run to the left side of the house (if you are looking from the front). The second story ceiling wires bundle together near the left roof apex, then make their way down through the roof and under the eave. The first floor ceiling lights exit the bathroom's left wall at the the floor, then join the second floor's bundle. They all run together to one entry point into the foundation and under the house. Here I have the wires bundled and secured with masking tape.
To conceal the wires, I'm using a long utility box which runs from the roof overhang to the foundation. I constructed the three sided box using 1" wide basswood for the front and 3/8" sides. This is glued to the wall over the wire bundle. I covered it in stucco just to add a bit of texture. Trying to match up the siding would have been a huge time investment with little return. Painted the house body color, it nicely blends in. Presumably, it houses some kind of ducting added at some point to modernize the function of the house. Dollhouse builders will know it's where the wiring is hidden and regular observers are not supposed to see anything out of the ordinary.
I am leaving the option open to add some cabinet lighting in the kitchen. If I do, I will probably just house it in some type of additional "pipe" that looks in keeping with the utility side of the house.
The wires exit the utility box and feed into the crawl space where they connect to the transformer plug. The transformer plug sits into the foundation so that it is as unobtrusive as possible. Once I am sure I have run all the lights I want, I'll connect the last few wires together with heat shrink tube and secure them for the long haul. The wires are labeled in case I need to track down a problem at any point.
|Underside of house/crawl space|
|The utility side of a real life house.|
It also provides the opportunity to add some Good Ugly to the project. Once we hide all of the things we don't want seen, we can think about the not necessarily pretty things we want to add for the sake of realism. Gas and electric meters and a phone/DSL box are always a treat for the mini eyes! After looking at some example photos online, I designed and printed like models with Tinkercad and my 3D printer.
|Electrical meter and phone box|
|Sprayed with flat gray paint and then varnish|
|Glossy Accents applied over a printed label.|
|I'll add tufts of grass or weeds to the pipe bottoms with the landscape board.|
P.S. After I shared the name Betsy had suggested for her, Roxanne was thrilled! She said that name makes her feel like herself. How lovely is that? In fact, she said the name has emboldened her to ask for what she really wanted. She explained that, in spite of how neat a "Glencroft Treehouse" sounded, she would feel much more at home in The Travel Trailer!!! Well, dear friends, that was an unexpected twist! But if it's a trailer the little lady wants, I shall be glad to give it to her! She was so relieved that I understood and assured me that there was no rush. You see, Kairi has invited her to stay in the Bungalow for as long as it takes to build the trailer! I just love happy endings, and so we celebrated with a new outfit! Isn't she cute?!? She's really embracing the casual beach style!
|Roxanne Before and After|
And for those that didn't know, Kelly and Chelsea (Barbie Doll) dresses fit Heidi Ott and Zjakazumi Dolls great as tops. You can buy them on eBay from $3 single pieces to $13 for an outfit with accessories. The shoes fit, too. Roxanne's have been made into sandals with a quick Xacto reshaping. You can find pants for around $4.00. No need to shop for expensive couture doll clothing if you don't have the budget for it. If you do, Rock On! There are some amazing mini seamstresses out there!
|Kelly shoes before turning them into sandals and bracelets for Roxanne.|