The Den of Slack

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Lower cabinets continued

The Victorianna’s kitchen sink will be centered under the window. After building the cabinet, I next needed to figure out how the window lined up with it.

The window isn’t glued in yet. I held the cabinet up to the window hole and marked the edges of the window on the back side. Then I measured from the edge of the cabinet to these lines, and made lines in the same spots on the front side.

The window hole is slightly less than 1.5″ wide, so I decided to round up and make this a 1.5″ cabinet (36″ in real life). I learned when renovating my own kitchen that this is a standard size for sinks.

I’m using 1/4″ x 1/32″ basswood for the drawers and 1/8″ x 1/32″ for the doors. I cut the drawers first and glued them on. Next I cut vertical pieces for the doors and glued these on, lining them up with the edges of the drawers. Finally I cut the horizontal door pieces to fit inside the vertical pieces. Simple, Shaker-style cabinets!

Next I cut the countertop pieces. As you can see here, the wall isn’t square so the countertop piece doesn’t reach all the way back.

I used the belt sander to sand an angle that contours to the wall (more or less). The crack of space at the corner will be covered up with the backsplash. The countertop is flush where it meets the stove, but slightly overhangs on the other side (just like in my real kitchen). I notched it so it fits around the bay window trim.

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Victorianna kitchen — lower cabinets and stainless steel fridge

When I first started working on the Victorianna, I bought a set of kitchen cabinets from Bruce Dawson, who sold under the name bedMiniatures (he’s since retired). I planned out a U-shaped layout.

Since then, I redid the kitchen in my real house, and learned a lot about kitchens that I never knew before. For example: the upper cabinets should be 18″ inches above the countertop, or up to 20″ if you have high ceilings and can get away with it. Who knew? In my dollhouse kitchens I’ve always just eyeballed it.

(Okay, okay, *I* didn’t redo the kitchen. Geoff did most of the work. But I picked out everything that went in it!)

Now that I’ve been through that process in real life, the kitchen I’d planned for the Victorianna doesn’t look as good to me as it did before. For one thing, the upper cabinets are tiny — this kitchen has the equivalent of 10′ ceilings, but the cabinets are only 30″. (In my real kitchen, which has 9′ ceilings, we used 40″ cabinets.)

I also regretted my choice of white appliances. I’d tried chrome paint for “stainless” appliances in the Rosedale and wasn’t thrilled with how those turned out, so I thought using white here would help me avoid some angst, but they don’t pop the way stainless steel does with white cabinets. Also, while I like the stove (made from a Mini Etchers kit), the paint I used, which was supposedly “glossy white”, came out yellowish and dingy.

Long story short: I decided to put all of these pieces aside for some other house and scratch build the Victorianna’s kitchen cabinets instead.

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Victorianna shingles

You’d think that having just finished the Rowhouse shingles I wouldn’t be itching to shingle another dollhouse — and you’d be right! — but the roof is one of the last remaining tasks on the Victorianna, and I want to get this house finished.

To refresh your memory, here’s the outside of the house:

The roof is the last remaining evidence that this house started out as two separate kits. Not for long!

I’m using Greenleaf’s octagon speed shingles for this house, so it will theoretically go faster than the one-shingle-at-a-time Rowhouse did. I’d been planning to use Minwax Classic Gray, which came out a pretty blue/gray color on the Houseworks shingles I used for the Gull Bay, but they looked very yellow on the speed shingles (the strip on the bottom). Instead I decided to go with gray water based stain (also Minwax). Since it’s water based, the shingle strips curl up, but they flatten out as they dry.

Before I could start gluing on shingles, I had to tweak the bottom of the roof. It comes down in a straight line beside the towers. That would be fine, except that when I cut the siding for the tower walls I cut the sides at too much of an angle, thinking I could just cover it up with shingles.

To cover that up, I need the roof to curve around the tower rather than meeting it with a straight edge. I folded a piece of paper around where the curve should be, and cut it out.

I used the paper as a guide to cut the shape out of scrap basswood.

I glued in the pieces. The basswood is not as thick as the roof – it wouldn’t have fit because the crown molding would get in the way.

Normally I would leave the bottom edge of a roof alone, but this is looking pretty janky. My two Victorianna kits were two different types of wood (birch plywood on the left and luan plywood on the right) — I stained them both with the Minwax Classic Gray but they look totally different. And then the little pieces at the end are obviously tacked on.

I glued on a row of shingles on with the shingles facing up, so the plain wood will cover up the gaps between the first row of shingles. Then I added a piece of stained basswood to the bottom edge of the roof to make it look uniform.

I’m leaving a 1/4″ gap between the rows. I used a piece of 1/4″ strip wood to measure it.

Each shingle strip is 4.5″ long and this portion of the roof is about 6″. These initial rows were tricky, because I both had to cut the angle correctly against the tower and make sure the two strips met up correctly.

Here are the first six rows. I used The Ultimate glue for these, just doing two strips at a time and taping them down to dry in between. It was slow going, and some near the bottom didn’t stick as well as I wanted (the top is fine but the bottom of the shingle is lifted up).

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