The Den of Slack

Victorianna exterior progress

I’ve been working on the Victorianna’s upstairs bay windows exteriors so I can finish the upstairs porch. This is the same process I did with the downstairs bays, and I finished those in one weekend, but work on the upstairs bays has been dragging out for months. Maybe it’s not as exciting now that I’ve already figured out how to do it.

The second floor is shorter than the first floor, so I don’t have as much space under the window. The embellishments I used downstairs (which are 1:12 corner blocks) barely fit. I shaved the backs off these, so the thicknesses are inconsistent. I didn’t think I could get away with using just the corner block with no trim above it.

This is some trim I bought to for the porch and didn’t end up using. The segments are exactly the right width for the space under the window and the height is slightly shorter than the corner blocks.

I glued on a piece of strip wood to give the trim it a back, and painted it with my Tuscan Beige trim color.

This leaves a little space at the top to add a trim piece. It’s a tad too deep and sticks out slightly, but it won’t once the window casing is added.

In the photo above you can see how much the tabs stuck out over the window. The crown that will go at the top of the bay window pieces will be directly on top of the tabs and they were sticking out enough to interfere with gluing. I used the mouse sander to sand them down.

Here’s a mock-up of the pieces. I orignally planned to put the crown lower, so it ran under the roof eaves, but that wouldn’t have left enough space above the window for casing.

I cut the top/center pieces to size, then removed them to paint. The unpainted quarter round is already glued in here. The downstairs windows needed at least three rounds of touch-up paint, so I figured I could just paint that piece in place.

Fast forward a week or two. Slowly making progress…

By this point I was so bored with these windows that I was putting off working on the house at all, so I moved on to a different but related task: completing assembly of the towers. I started by staining the roof pieces. These will get shingled; the stain is just in case any wood shows through between shingles.

While the stain dried, I prepared the tower wall pieces. (I didn’t take any “before” pictures of the tower so these are out of order. Pretend they’re not painted yet!) The Victorianna’s 8-sided tower has two sides cut away so you can peek inside. (Here’s an example of a finished tower.)

I was planning to remove the diagonal wall to create a space like the bay windows underneath the tower, but once I started playing with the pieces that didn’t seem practical. The wall that I removed would still need to have a top part above the roof, and gluing partial walls to the roof seemed like a glue disaster waiting to happen. It also seemed like it would be harder to wallpaper if the walls didn’t go all the way to the floor. I just couldn’t wrap my head around how to do it.

I love closets in dollhouses and already have two in this one (a laundry closet in the bathroom and walk-in closet in girls’ room #2). I started thinking about how this tower space could be turned into a closet.

A French door will provide a partial view of the inside of the tower. Positioning it with the trim on the inside will make it easier to finish the inside of the tower — I can’t imagine trying to add my own trim in that tiny space, reaching in from the top! Also, with the trim on the inside, the door opens out into the room, which makes more sense in this little space. The problem is, the header’s too wide.

Not anymore!

Cutting off the ends of the header made it sort of funny looking, but you’ll barely be able to glimpse it through the oval windows in the tower. I tried it out with the wall piece from the second kit to make sure this idea was going to work.

Next I found a scrap piece of kit wood to cut a wall piece from. It doesn’t need the tab at the bottom (no slot to fit into), but it does need the tab at the top.

As I’ve mentioned before the birch plywood is much harder to cut than luan plywood. A sharp blade did the trick, but I had to go over the lines many times before I cut through.

Here’s how it looks. Of course, that door frame will have a door in it! I’ll also add a piece of wood to close in the gap above the door, but I’m waiting to do that until the roof is glued in.

Here’s how it’ll look with the roof in place. Will this be more weird or less weird than a tower with cutaway walls? I’m not sure yet.

And here’s how it looks from the outside. I drew a pencil line along the edge of the roof to know which part of the wall you can see from the outside.

Then I painted the exterior sections Tuscan Beige. I didn’t want to paint the whole piece and have paint interfere with the roof, which is a tight fit. (Also, I’m lazy!)

Next I glued in the tower walls. The top piece is not glued on yet, but I put it in place to make sure the walls dried in the right position. These pieces have huge gaps between them. I filled them with glue and used scraps of quarter round at the top where the gaps were too big for gluing.

I’ll glue on the roof pieces a little later, but for now I slid them on to make sure the towers dry in a good position. (Note to self: don’t forget to install that porch door before gluing on the roof.)


  1. This is coming along fabulously…what a great deal of calculations you have done to ensure that the door and trims fit and look as lovely as they do. Love the idea of creating a closet in the tower…now what treasures will this closet hold? Looking forward to seeing it develop further! Cheers, Alayne

  2. Great job! San Fran Victorians are a joy to model. Thanks for showing the build process. Picking up tips from your blog entries.

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