A picture is worth a thousand words, or so the saying goes. I'm not sure the 'right' thousand words are conjured up by the following (selected) thumbnail gallery of the dollhouse transformation without saying that by yesterday all we wanted was to get it "out" of our garage!
So, a picture is almost worth a thousands words. And two weeks of endless labor are worth five hours of co-op credit. But, there were plenty of oohs and ahhs when we dropped it off at the school today. I guess that's worth something, too.
Here's a peek at the start-to-finish process.
A few things to help annotate the gallery, in case you're coming up short on the thousand words…
1) The windows had no moldings but were caked in some form of white tape that, through time, had gotten sticky to the touch on the outside.
2) Pictures were stuck on the exterior and on the interior roof.
3) Floors had nasty carpet and, in one room, nasty tile.
4) Layers and layers of wallpaper had begun to fall down inside.
5) The house was red to mirror the school, which is a traditional, straight-out-of-a-book little red schoolhouse. But the director begged us to not bring it back red.
6) We spent a lot of time deciding on colors and painting and repainting until it felt right. As you can see from one picture, I went down a Lily Pulitzer pink and lime path but it just wasn't right. Plus, we didn't want it to be pink, really, since it's a dollhouse that gets lots of use from both boys and girls. Ironically, throughout the whole process, Matthew kept saying, "I think you should use pink now." No matter what other color I was working with, he'd say he wanted pink. Pretty funny.
7) M. mitered all new moldings for the exterior and interior windows. The frame, however, wasn't exactly straight. Hence, the new windows are a bit askew. I would sit in the basement contemplating the color and exterior paint job and feel overwhelmed by the Picasso-esque (or simply cubist) quality of the new jams.
8) M. installed all new laminate floorings in five of the rooms. One room boasts a new, freshly-stained wood floor.
9) The dining room has coordinating papers and even a new chair rail.
10) M. cut up an old kitchen rug to make small area rugs for each of the rooms.
11) Until the last day, I was still tempted to go buy lumber and start from scratch!
12) M. hand-sewed curtains for all the rooms the last night and then glued them in on their new wooden dowels this morning before delivery to the school.
13) We have three sewing machines.
14) At Matthew's urging, I painted light purple triangles all over one of the windows on the outside. Then I sat back and thought about the significance of that. A fresh coat of lime washed over those triangles! (Ultimately, red went over the lime, too.)
15) We just happened to have wavy molding in the basement that we bought once before in preparation for a project for our own house and never used. It was a perfect touch for the dollhouse - and helped hide some really uneven and bumpy edges of the frame.
16) At the last minute, immediately prior to starting the polyurethane layer, I decided the bag of small wooden hearts I'd bought on our first shopping excursion for the dollhouse renovation would work great on the wavy molding which I'd left plainer than I'd originally planned.
17) The two longish red hearts on the back added a nice touch to the space between the windows.
18) This project had us in the garage/basement a lot, with the garage door open - so we saw the neighbors more as they came in and out, and Matthew got the chance to make friends with the little girl next door. The lack of a "front porch" really hit home when we realized how many people we saw just by being "out there" so much.
19) It's hard doing a project like this with an infant! Other than oh-so-brief interludes where he was in the basically-unused stroller, one of us held him while the other worked.
Comments overheard from the 3 ˝ year old during the renovation:
1) Those are beautiful stars, Mama.
2) Did you see Mama's beautiful stars and dots and hearts and flowers?
3) Come look at what Mama painted.
4) That is a beautiful room Mamadu!
5) I like the beautiful paper, Mamadu.
6) Can I help?
7) Can I paint?
8) Can I use the hammer?
9) Can I use the pliers?
10) I think the boys are gonna like it.
11) I'm going to tell the boys at school that this is the dollhouse I helped my mommies make.