One of my unfulfilled childhood dreams was to have a fancy dollhouse. Oh, I had a plastic Fisher-Price dollhouse, but...I wanted one of the big ones you built from a kit. As an adult, I've always got a kick out of looking at dollhouses, and thinking, sort of wistfully, that it would still be fun to have one. And then, when I was visiting one of the local antique shops, I saw a Fancy Dollhouse from a Kit that was on sale, and it suddenly occurred to me: I'm an adult! With, like, a salary and everything! If I want a dollhouse, I can buy one!
And so I did.
However, I also had Lofty Ambitions. Why couldn't I...maybe...build a dollhouse? Or, at least, decorate a built dollhouse? Now, bear in mind that I am not a crafty person (although I'm sure that some of my students think I'm pretty sneaky). I wouldn't describe myself as all thumbs, precisely, but unlike some of my friends and colleagues, I don't do craft-type things (sewing, knitting, woodworking, model building, doll-making, etc.), so any dollhous-ing would be, to say the least, a learning experience.
One go at dollhouse-decorating came to an end when I found that the house (an older kit model) had a fatal structural crack, but it was useful practice (primarily, for figuring out How Not To Do It). In September, however, I found someone on Craigslist who wanted to give away a dollhouse that she had been working on, but unable to finish. The exterior had been sided and painted, but that was about it. And so dollhouse, take two.
Now, Dollhouse Take Two isn't a kit model--it's a custom build by a professional woodworker. On the one hand, it's sturdier than a lot of kits. On the other hand...well, as I said on Twitter, never mind it being hip to be square; it would have been even more hip if this guy had used a square. Because the house is ever so not squared, although it looks square enough when you're eyeballing it. Walls are strangely angled and the top floor is on a very slight diagonal. Not all of the wood was planed flat, either. Moreover, the window openings weren't squared, which was kind of disastrous for the kitchen; my handy rotary tool and I were sort of able to fix the opening so you could, y'know, actually get a window into it (I did mention that the house was already sided...), but the window in question still doesn't fit quite right (although you can't tell from the inside). There were some other funny things that engaged my little gray cells, like the interior door openings, which have standard interior door width matched with standard exterior door height (cute tiny shims to the rescue!), and the staircase opening, which matches no standard staircase on the market. Oi vey.
Also, I'm pretty sure that I've used more spackle on this house than I've used on any real house I've ever lived in.
For some reason, I failed to utilize my previously Hard-Earned Wisdom, which is that painting anything white will lead to nothing but torturous agony. If it's white, it has at least three coats of paint on it.
This did take the entire semester to finish, given that copious spare time was not forthcoming. But there was something nicely stress-relieving about cutting tiny miters or laying little hardwood floors.