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Back-to-back Victorianna: cutting pieces

Before I can start assembling the back-to-back Victorianna, I had to figure out where I wanted to cut holes for additional windows, hallways, etc. I scrutinized the dry fit from every angle and drew in the holes I wanted. The first one I tackled is the first floor passthrough from one side of the house to the other, which will be next to the fireplace.

(Note: this wall is technically going to be in the center of the house, but I’m going to refer to it as the “back piece” since that’s what it’s supposed to be in the original kit and I have to call it something…)

For some reason I thought this would be easy to do with a utility knife. But even after many slices, I hadn’t broken through the plywood and my hands were starting to hurt. The birch plywood is definitely stronger than I remember luan plywood being the last time I messed around with a die cut kit.

I finally managed to get the first hole cut, figuring I could clean up the edges with a file.

Here you can see how the hole will be positioned next to the fireplace.

I placed the birch plywood back piece on top of the luan plywood back piece and traced the hole, so it would be lined up correctly.

The luan plywood was a bit easier to cut, but it also splinters more easily. Besides filing the crooked edges I will need to do some clean-up with wood filler. But here’s how it looks now that you can see all the way through.

And from the living room side.

I was grumpy from cutting holes with the utility knife so I took some time out to play with furniture. Here’s what I’m thinking for the living room.

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Categories: Dollhouses.

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Making half scale louvered closet doors

I’ve been messing around with my Victorianna dry fit to figure out where holes need to be cut before I start gluing anything. While doing this I discovered that the Victorianna is twice as deep as its 1:12 cousin, the McKinley. (Actually, it’s roughly the same depth, but since the Victorianna is half scale, the depth would need to be halved for it to be consistent with the McKinley.) No wonder the dry fit looks so much bigger than I envisioned.

This isn’t a terrible thing, because the McKinley has fairly shallow rooms that can be hard to arrange furniture in. But it means that the room I was planning to use for the bathroom is pretty huge, so I started thinking about what I could do to use up some of that extra space.

I have an Acme washer and dryer lying around, and got the idea to build a closet into the back of the bathroom to with the washer and dryer inside. I used half scale shutters to make pantry doors in the Fairfield, but they wouldn’t be wide enough to accommodate both the washer and dryer. Plus, I wanted more modern looking doors, with bigger slats.

Unfortunately, even the small Houseworks shutters are about two inches too tall.

Here’s how the shutter compares to a half scale door.

I spent an hour or so searching online for smaller shutters before it occurred to me that I could cut them down and fit them into the frames of a half scale French door. Added bonus: this way I don’t have to build my own door frame and deal with hinges.

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Back-to-back Victorianna: the plan

Eons ago, I saw this picture in a Nutshell News from the 80s or 90s, of two McKinley dollhouses built back to back.* It always stuck with me as a really cool bash and I wanted to try it, but with the Victorianna — the half scale version of the McKinley, which has been out of production for a long time.

(I actually owned a McKinley for a while that I bought off Craigslist intending to rehab it, but never got very far with it.)

For a while Greenleaf talked about bringing back the Victorianna… it never happened (I don’t know why) but they did do a limited run of “select” Victoriannas in 2008 that they never sold. I was given one as a thank you for being a forum moderator. Greenleaf’s select houses are die cut (not laser cut like Greenleaf’s newer kits) but use birch plywood — much nicer and less splintery than the typical luan plywood. I put the kit on the shelf, hoping that they would someday rerelease it so I could get a second and embark on my back-to-back bash.

Then last fall someone posted a few Victoriannas on eBay — unopened, “new old stock” from a mini store that went out of business — and I was lucky enough to nab one. I was planning to dive in on the Little Belle next and have actually been stocking up on furniture for it, but the Victorianna started calling my name. So last week I pulled out the kits and started playing around with ideas.

Here’s my dry fit. the house on the left is the select version (built right-side-out), and the one on the right is the luan plywood (built in reverse). The Victorianna is meant to hang on the wall, so it’s open on one side and the other side is completely flat.

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Spanish Revival cottage kitchen

Sometime between when I bought the gatorboard house and now, tiny houses have become a thing. After seeing some episodes of Tiny House Nation and Tiny House Hunters I decided that the Spanish Revival artist’s cottage qualifies as a tiny house.

With the addition I’m planning to add it’s something like 460 square feet, so its footprint is bigger than some of the really tiny houses I’ve seen on TV. Even so, I decided it doesn’t need a full kitchen.

I got these handmade cabinets a few years ago for cheap at a mini flea market. They’re made from blocks of wood, with non-opening doors and handles made from pins. They started out bright blue with flowers on them. I painted a coat of grayish blue (left) before deciding to go gray/green instead.

Originally the countertops were a white Formica-like material. I covered them with wood veneer I bought in a big batch off eBay last year.

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