Building ‘The End Terrace’ Dolls House (part 2 changing the house)

A view of a terrace house in red brick with a yellow front door and a double sash window. The house abuts a tall grey concrete wall with a fence above it that cuts off the end of the terrace row and the road. There is small front garden area with two stone gate posts, a very low wall and stone coping to the right with a hedge growing over it, and a taller brick wall to the left leading to the neighbouring house. Daisy is wearing a yellow high visibility work coat and black trousers and boots. She is standing on the pavement with a hand on a gatepost while looking at the 'For Sale' sign placed by an agent called 'Redi Bricks'. The whole scene is hand made at one twelfth scale.

So continuing from part 1 of this build I found I really liked these stairs. The rest of the house, however, seemed ‘wrong’ in comparison. It took me a little while, and then seeing this thread on Twitter told me what was wrong.

The house itself lacked substance. The floors and walls were too thin and so any transition between rooms and floors would show that. I decided to improve the look and remade the house to a more scale appropriate ‘weight’.

The first thing was to remake the first floor and I decided to use two layers of 4mm plywood with a 12mm spacer leaving a void between them. This would also allow wiring for lights to be run in the void.

A shaped plywood hollow core sandwich being clamped in the bench.
There can never ever be enough clamps!

The internal walls were also replaced with 12mm plywood.
I took the opportunity to change the room sizes too. it is no longer a double fronted layout with equal rooms on either side of a central stair.
Just to be different and on the basis that Daisy, as a first time buyer, would be unlikely to buy a grand Georgian house I decided I could change the house to a low budget terrace house.

In this view the front of the terrace house is on the right and we are looking at the house through the party wall from where the neighbouring house would be. Anyone who knows terrace houses would also know that the staircase would be against the party wall leading down towards the front door. This meant a rethink in the back story to the house.

A front view of the dolls house walls and floor, now with a hollow first floor.
Looks good from the front, I will run cables in those voids.
A back view of the dolls house walls and floor, now with a hollow first floor.
Looks good from behind too.

The new story of the house will suggest that at some point in the past the hallway and stairs have been removed so that the living room could be open plan with the stairs sideways in the back room. Then the walls were adjusted again so that the back rooms were smaller and the staircase became open to the living room at the front adding more space.
Maybe someone had been watching too many television house improvement programmes!

This layout also means that I can view and photograph the house interior without any internal walls hiding the view, nor staircase being hidden. Also the room doors could be nearest the viewer and furnishings would be against the back wall. All this matters if the house is to be, in effect, a studio documenting Daisy’s live in it!

I had a bad day here. Having messed up the  the joint between the partition wall and the floor leaving them unattached at the weaker front edge, I planned to rout in a joining splice of plywood. My setting up was imperfect and I routed through the edge of the wall. That meant the splice was no longer trapped in the joint and so I had to dowel it in place and then use filler to cover the damage.

A repaired front edge of plywood at the floor and wall junction of the dolls house.
Opps, repair on repair on repair!
Front view of the dolls house showing the hollow first floor, and scale thickness internal walls.
Gotta get the floor and walls to a scale thickness.

I decided to start painting the internal walls before assembly, something I am still not sure of being a good idea! But I went with the estate agent’s favourite magnolia for the living room, bedroom and stairs…

Sections of plywood dolls house walls and floors on the bench, part painted.

…And then thought the kitchen could be an awful shade of green, and the bathroom pink! Daisy would hate that and would want to redecorate as soon as possible.

Sections of dolls house walls and floors on the bench. the bathroom walls are painted pink and the kitchen is in dark green.
Daisy is going to hate those colours!
Front view of the dolls house dry assembled showing the rooms in colour, magnolia, pink, and green.
That looks appropriately awful!
Close up of the green kitchen room.
That is very green!
A close up view of the pink bathroom.
The pink isn’t as bad as I though.

There is one major difficulty of using a terrace house as a studio, the back drop!
Any external views would require a view of the rest of the terrace beyond the house. I could use a photographic backdrop or back scene as I have done with Harriet’s workshop…

Harriet is returning from a walk with Monty Dog walking in through the driveway gateposts from the road beyond
Who’s a good boy, Monty, did you enjoy that walk?

…but for a row of houses there would be huge perspective issues. That lead me to consider an end terrace, but even then there would need to be a road, or something that ended the terrace.

I have seen roads that are no through, where a wall has been built blocking traffic and, more importantly for me, an immediate view of the world beyond.

Screenshot from Google Maps Street View of Farrar Street in York, showing a row of terrace houses on each side of a narrow road that has been closed off with a high brick wall.
Copyright Google Street View – Farrar Street in York.
Screenshot from Google Maps Street View of the end of Farrar Street in York, showing a terrace house the left side of a narrow road with a high brick wall that has closed off the road.
Copyright Google Street View – Farrar Street in York.

This is a really useful trick and so I started building the back drop to the terrace house with some OSB to create a ground surface and the wall.
This does lead me to having to invent a reason for the wall, a further instalment in the back story of this house I will come to later.

A distant view of the dolls house on the workshop bench placed on some OSB for the ground and backdrop.
Setting the scene with OSB.

Of course, it is very unusual for a terrace house to have a visible gable end roof!

A right side view of the house gable end set on the OSB background.
I think this will be the front of the house, a terrace house.

So that had to go, which also meant it would eventually fit in its new home, on my miniatures workbench and under a shelf.

I think it will have a front garden area, for bins…

The right side of the terrace house, now with the roof gable removed. There is a front garden path and wall mocked up and green and blue wheelie bins.
No visible gable on a terrace house front.

…And a rear garden area too.

A left side view of the dolls house set on the OSB
This will be the back wall of the house, so I guess it will have a garden!

That’s it for part 2. The next instalment will be adding thickness to the front wall and putting in the door and windows apertures.

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