Sunday, May 17, 2009

Working with Greenleaf Kits

Greenleaf puts out affordable dollhouse kits with attractive designs. This is Alicia's dollhouse. When she wanted me to build her a dollhouse, I started to think about designing one based on some of the Victorian tower houses we had enjoyed seeing in Sioux City.

Alicia felt it might take too long if I designed my own and built it. (She wanted it done quickly.) In retrospect, she may have been right, considering that it took me over four years to build Pam's dollhouse, and I've been "working" on Sara's house now for about 14 years!

So, Alicia lobbied her daddy to go with a kit. She liked the Greenleaf McKinley, and she begged me to buy it and complete it. I gave up my dream of doing my own design and used the McKinley.

It turned out okay, but I wasn't crazy about working with the kit. I don't like the thin walls, which made it difficult to create realistic doorways between rooms, and I really disliked the porous, grainy plywood the kits are made of. I also didn't like the windows that came with it, and I found that due to the tall, narrow design of the windows, I was unable to substitute better quality ones from Houseworks, which I would have preferred to have used. All that said, Greenlieaf makes attractive houses, and this one turned out pretty nicely in spite of its drawbacks.

I made a few mistakes along the way in building it. I chose a roofing material that went on quickly, since it came in long rolls and was easy to glue on, but in retrospect, I feel it was too thick. The copper tower roof was a bear to do. I spent many hours measuring, cutting, and bending the copper foil to make it fit just right. It was also difficult to find a glue that worked well in holding it onto the roof. Last, but not least, I sliced my fingers several times working on it.

The biggest mistake I made, and it's a design flaw of this dollhouse, was not enclosing it so that the rooms don't get dusty. The house has become terribly dusty, and it needs to have some sort of plexiglas cover or doors on the front to eliminate or reduce the amount of dust settling in the rooms.

All in all, I have to say this was a girl's play dollhouse - not a Thorne Room replica. Alicia thoroughly enjoyed her play with it - decorating it and redecorating it for various seasons. To this day, when she's home, she comes in and makes seasonal changes. So, though it's not a museum piece, it's definitely a well-loved dollhouse.


marlies said...

Despite the struggle with the roof, I think it is a very nice house, maybe not a museum piece, sometimes emotional value is more. Like to see the inside.
* marlies

maria bryton said...

Hello George!
I'm Maria Bryton and you left a comment on my blog
I want to thank you for your comment and say that I appreciate your work too!
I am a teacher of arts in full time and miniatures become a very important part of my life now.
Thank you again and be wellcome to visit my blog anytime.
Best wishes
M A. Bryton (Portugal)

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