The Den of Slack

Tower with a bell-shaped copper roof

For months, I’ve been looking into options for the Victorianna’s tower roofs. I didn’t really like the look of the roof that comes with the kit, plus I suspected it would be hard to assemble. You can see what it’s supposed to look like in the box photo.

The Victorianna is a half scale version of the McKinley (pictured at the bottom of the box), but the proportions aren’t quite the same. The McKinley’s tower roof lines up with the roofline of the house, while on the Victorianna the tower sticks up over the roofline. The Victorianna’s tower roof also seems more squat, but that may be an optical illusion.

I spent a lot of time looking at photos of real houses with towers, particularly octagonal towers. I’m not a big fan of towers that come to a point at the top, but I really like the ones with bell-shaped turrets. I started looking for bell-shaped items that could sit on top of my towers — lampshades, candle holders turned upside down, and even (duh) bells.

After hours upon hours of searching for just the right solution, I finally placed an order with an Etsy seller in Russia who makes large wooden bells. They’re available in three sizes, with the largest, about 3.75″ in diameter, slightly smaller than the octagon trim at the top of the tower. Not knowing yet exactly what I wanted to do with it, I asked her not to drill a hole in the top and insert the clapper.

(I thought about adding a dormer between the two towers and went as far as making one out of foam core, then decided it’s too busy. Disregard!)

The bell isn’t perfect — a bit too tall, I think — but I do like the curved shape. Some of the turrets I found online have seams on the dome to correspond with the eight corners of the tower. I thought that adding my own seams might make the bell look more like it belongs.

I cut eight lengths of braided leather cord and taped them together at the top.

Next I drilled a hole at the top of the bell, large enough to push the ends through.

I put the bell on top of the tower and marked the corners of the octagon with a pencil. Then I glued the pieces of cord to the bell to line up with these marks.

Looking less like a wooden bell and more like a turret roof? Maybe?

Next I painted the bell with metallic paint.

Here’s how it looks with a coat of plain copper paint. I think this is a good start, but it needs some weathering, and maybe a finial or weather vane at the top. I’m waiting for some patina paint to come in the mail so I can dirty it up.

I wallpapered this tower a while ago but never posted pictures, so here’s how that turned out. I’m running dangerously low on the pink wallpaper I used throughout the Victorianna, including in the master bedroom (which this tower room is connected to), so I did this tower with a Victorian damask wallpaper instead. The baseboard edges are cut at 67.5-degree angles with my new Midwest Products miter box.

This room will be a tiny office / writing room for the woman who lives here. (Funny, my dollhouses are always inhabited by writers…) This is plastic furniture from Shapeways that I painted black. I splatted on different shades of paint to create a “marble” tabletop, and made a fabric seat for the chair from a Restoration Hardware fabric swatch. I’m not sure about the gray cushion… I might swap it with something that’s more brown.

The French door leading to the tower room has an insert that matches the recently added window muntins.

I cross stitched an octagonal rug to go in the room, but I don’t think I’m going to use it — it’s too bulky. The desk doesn’t sit nicely on it with two feet on and two feet off, but pushing the rug all the way to the back so the desk can sit fully on the rug looks dumb from the top view. I still need to do window trim and crown molding in I want to wait on those until the outsides of the towers are finished. (I have my reasons!)

One tower down (sorta), one to go! But what I have in mind for the other tower is even more complicated, so I’ll save that for another post…


  1. I like it. The copper color is perfect. I covered a tower roof with cooper sheets. It was hard and the top edges were sharp. Painting it a good alternative. Your blog is the best.

  2. A pretty tower room for a lady writer…a quiet spot to let the inspiration and thoughts flow. Looking forward to seeing your idea for the second tower roof that ties in with the rounded copper roof of the first tower.

  3. I really like these tower roofs. Have you seen the Parisian roof dormer that Vintage Victorian dollhouse woodworks makes? They look very different form other dormer windows.

    • Yeah I have seen those and I considered them. The oval would complement the oval windows in the tower. But the angle isn’t right so I’d have to bash them somehow, and they’re expensive… I’m not sure they would look good and don’t want to take a chance at that price.

      I was thinking about a shed dormer that would span the two roofs, so the house would look more unified and less like two houses back to back, but I’m just not happy with everything I mocked up. I dunno. It’s still a possibility, but at the moment I’m leaning against it.

  4. I love the copper paint and I think with some patina it’ll fit right in with your house. Perfect little writing room!

  5. I love the wallpaper. But thanks for the miter box tip. My metal one is so old and this one really is interesting with the extra angles. I may have to get one.

    • It’s invaluable for the 37.5 degree angles, but the plastic is really and easily chewed up by the saw. I wish I could find one in metal that has this angle.

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