Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Miniature Fixer Upper {a dollhouse makeover 'before'}

We are used to having a fixer upper to work on ever since buying our first home back in 2010, but when my husband brought home a handmade dollhouse that he found at a yard sale a couple of years ago, I was instantly smitten and knew we needed to show this home as much love as we have our own. Today, I am showing you the "before" pics and sharing the progress we have made thus far on our "other fixer upper."

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been enamored with dollhouses and miniatures. I would literally save up my money to go to a craft store called "Pleasures & Pastimes" that had a large aisle for dollhouse aficionados. The store eventually closed, but my love affair with dollhouses and their accessories never has.

My first dollhouse was called the Tiffani Wood Dollhouse (affiliate link*) and I loved it. I got it when I was around nine and remember my step-dad building it for me. We never painted it or did any fancy work to it, but it didn't matter to me. I just loved collecting furniture and tiny items to decorate the rooms.  I still remember the day when I had saved enough to buy a pair of topiary trees to flank the front door. It was so exciting!

I'm not sure now what became of that dollhouse, but I still have a lot of the miniatures and furniture that I had for it back then. Now, I am passing them off to my children and our next fixer upper...this place that Hazel named, "Flower Cottage." (Although, it doesn't look very "flowery" yet - the girl has vision.)

My husband found it for sale unfinished two summers ago. He talked the owners down from $25 to $17 because that was all the cash he had on hand. Maybe it was Hazel's sweet face that did it...they took the offer and home they came with the handmade house and a box of furniture.
It is pretty basic: made of plywood and partially painted. Whoever started it just never finished it for some reason. The roof came already shingled, along with a bag of extras which was great because when we first got it, the kids were 3 and 1 1/2 so they would pull them off until several were missing and broken. They also drew all over it when I wasn't looking.

Now, that they are 4 and 3 and have a bit better understanding of how to care for it, and they are eager to play with it. Now, seems like a great time to start the renovation process.
Both the inside and outside need a lot of love, as you can tell. But it does have a lot of potential to be something amazing that both kids can enjoy for years to come (and myself too!).
The whole thing needs paint, the roof patched up, floors put down, and wallpaper of course - every dollhouse deserves some awesome wallpaper. Maybe some plexiglass for the windows, ceiling light fixtures (non electric most likely to keep it simple), trim work, etc.
The outside of Flower Cottage will need lots of curb appeal as well, with shutters, window boxes, flowers, a front door, maybe even a little sign that says its name on it and the address Hazel gave it: 630 Hazel Lane (her birthday is June 30th).
Then there's furniture and accessories! I could probably spend all day working on those things for this little house. Most everything we will be doing will be DIY and on the cheap. I have been so inspired by what I have found others doing on blogs and Pinterest with dollhouses. You can check out my board "in miniature" to see what is inspiring me!

Hazel loves it so much, even in its less than appealing state. It is so fun to watch her play with it and develop that same love. 

Both kids have been helping with the decision process and doing work like cleaning it up and painting it. It's become a family affair, and while we still have a ways to go, we are all excited about the opportunity to makeover this sweet dollhouse.
So far, I've been using a lot of what we have on hand like sample paints left over and chalk paint that I already purchased.
I found some Folk Art Home Decor Chalk Paint (affiliate link*) in "Seaside Villa" on the clearance rack at Walmart and we all agreed it was the perfect color for the outside of the house.
We aren't really in a hurry with the house, just taking our time and enjoying the process along the way. The kids and I play with it anyways, even though it's still a work in progress.

Here are some cell phone shots I got of the progress. The roof looked a million times better once I fixed all the shingles and we gave it a fresh coat of light gray paint. Now they can't break them off and it's a lot smoother.
I, of course, had to make a shag rug for it faintly reminiscent of the one in our own home. The kids love it! I'll be sharing a diy for that soon!
Both Hazel and Owen love it so much, that we decided to designate one room upstairs "the boys'" room and another "the girls'". Right now mostly Elsa and Anna live in it, with Yoda. An interesting household indeed.
I hope to share a lot more posts in the future with the house's renovation progress and our diy projects for it. Lots of ideas and plans in the works. If dollhouses aren't "you're thing" I will apologize in advance for the bombardment. I am obsessed and can't get enough of them!

Till next time...
~Alice W.

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