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Greenleaf's Pierce 6: Foundation Walls

 This will be a MUCH shorter post!  Victorian foundation walls can be brick, field stone, block, or concrete.  Foundations do not provide as many choices, and each type has a couple of different methods of achieving that affect.  I decided on a field stone foundation because the house was already solid brick! Field stone can be achieved by using paper clay, patterns printed from the computer, real stone (very heavy) or cardboard egg cartons.  If there are other methods, I am just not aware of them yet.  I quickly settled on cardboard egg carton because of the texture and how some of the pieces on the curved part can be incorporated to give the impression of the round side of a stone. Tear the carton into round, stone size pieces.  You will want large and small pieces.  I pre-painted the foundation a slate grey to simulate mortar.  I didn't want to fill in the spaces with anything afterwards because I did not want to lose the depth of the stones.  Then I began gluing them on by comp

Greenleaf's Pierce 5: Floor Treatments

 In previous posts I've discussed how many choices there are in building and decorating a dollhouse.  Flooring has no fewer choices, possibly even more than other decorating areas.  Similarly, materials used in dollhouse flooring are vastly varied as well. Flooring needs to be chosen with scale in mind. The Pierce is 1:12 scale, also known as 1:1 scale, meaning 1 inch in the dollhouse equals 12 inches or 1 foot in real life.  So wood grain in any floor material needs to be in scale as well. In other word, you can't really use a whole tile of self-sticking faux wood vinyl floor for a real house in a dollhouse because the scale of the wood's grain will be off. Some materials that translate scale well are: popsicle or craft sticks in regular and jumbo size, coffee stir sticks, adhesive wood veneer, faux stone adhesive floor tiles, air dry paper clay bricks or stone, cardboard egg carton stones, designs printed on computer paper, just scoring floorboards in the plywood floor, a

Greenleaf's Pierce 4: Paper and Paint Before, During, or After Assembly?

 Every dollhouse is different. Each one has its own way of being built. So there are different approaches. The first is to build the house completely and then paint and paper the walls, finish the floors, and turn the house on its roof line to paint the ceilings. A second way is to prepare all the walls before final assembly. Last, a mix of approaches, depending on the type of house.  For example, some people may assemble the house, only decorating the hard to reach spots before assembly then decorating the rest after assembly. It depends on you and the house. I chose to decorate before assembly. If I build another Pierce, I will choose paint or paper on various walls differently. I abhorred the idea of light shining through the cracks in the wall joints. So during assembly I clamped the walls together so tightly, it created problems later on for the roof assembly.  I think the value of papering two adjacent walls after assembly is that those joint cracks would be covered up. A much be

Greenleaf's Pierce 3: The Pierce Staircase - Keep or Ditch?

 I've heard many people say that the Pierce staircase is one of the most challenging dollhouse staircases.  Aside from assembly, the way it connects the first and second floors creates "dead" space in the dollhouse. Some of this area can't be accessed nor seen after assembly from the back opening nor from the windows. If you are a purist, you will still want to decorate this area. However, be forewarned...any decoration must be done before the second floor is permanently installed! Window view of 2nd floor landing and attic ladder. Some people decide to eliminate the staircase all together to have a larger area in the downstairs. Some people decide to use custom spiral staircases to save space and still have a way for their small people to access the 2nd floor. Others use the staircase, but relocate it to another part of the room to change the shape of the first floor layout. Yet others will embellish the staircase by customizing it with shelving or adding a closet. I

Greenleaf's Pierce 2: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions and A LOT of Research!

 There are so many decisions to make when looking at the blank slate of a dollhouse, if it is a kit.  I think building from scratch would bring an avalanche of even more decisions!  Style is the first thing you have to determine.  That will lead you to other decisions.  Not just style, but the time period as well. Photo by David E. Taylor, reprinted with permission I chose to do a late 1800s Victorian style house on my Pierce.  If I ever build a Pierce again (and I hope to!), I think I would do a 1920-1930s farmhouse.  But since I chose a late 1800s Victorian I had to first research the features.  I learned red brick would be a common building material, depending on the location as brick was typically made of local materials. I wanted a tile ceiling inside.  And I would love to have some kind of ornate tiled floor. Color...color was the bane of my existence.  I'm color deaf like some people are tone de

Greenleaf's Pierce 1: Beginning a Remodel

 The Pierce is a rather large 1/12 scale dollhouse, but by no means the largest the Greenleaf sells. Assembled, the dollhouse measures 36" wide X 25" deep X 33" high, so it's important to consider the dimensions of the doorway in the room in which you are assembling it, and stairs which may need to be navigated if you plan on moving it after assembly. Original packaging I purchased my Pierce almost fully assembled but undecorated from an acquaintance. She had assembled it about 10 or more years prior and stored it in a musty, damp basement. While it smelled moldy, and there were two mouse droppings, it had also been glued together with hot glue. I left some charcoal pieces in the house in an attempt to deodorize.  Also I used a bleach and water solution, applied with a damp cloth, to clean the wood of some slight mold and a great deal of dust. Dollhouse was put together by a previous owner The kit instructions do say to use hot glue, which my friend did to great effe

Welcome to a Human Bean's Mini Blog!

  "Human beans are  for  Borrowers - like bread's for butter!” ―  Mary Norton,  The Borrowers The Borrowers and Miss Hickory were among my favorite books growing up. The idea of using BIG things to serve as functional objects in a tiny world was and still remains fascinating to me. I became interested in minis and dollhouses when my Grandma purchased two house kits when I was 12 and we spent many weekends working together to assemble and decorate them. Fast forward 40 years and I find myself drawn back to the craft as a hobbyist.  I am by no means an expert nor a high level craftswoman, but I wanted to document my journey in this hobby for my own satisfaction of documenting (hopefully) my growth in skills and knowledge. Also, as I started down this path I had so many questions, so hopefully I can leave a few breadcrumbs to help those on their own pathway to mini satisfaction. So I hope you find as much joy in this blog as I have in creating it!