Building ‘The End Terrace’ Dolls House (part 3 front wall)

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.

Following on from part 2 I needed to decide on the appearance of the front of the house, window and front door, brickwork, and the ‘curb appeal’ for the estate agents.

To save time and cost I bought some generic premade sash windows, one double sash and a pair of single sashes. Incredibly good value for an otherwise fiddly construction. They came intended for ordinary dolls house use, glued into holes in a 9mm house front, complete with mouldings, sills and decorative lintels.
None of that would be needed for this house so it was all carefully sliced off.

Some bought dolls house sash windows, two single sashes, and one double sash. The fitted mouldings, lintels and sills are being removed.
Don’t need all that fancy woodwork for a terrace house.

I decided the positions of the windows after a lot of careful consideration, mainly to ensure that the windows, and the door, would be a whole number of bricks both in height and in spacing. Having cut the openings carefully I forgot to take any photos! I added spacing battens and then glued on a new facing plywood. The opening were then routed out to ensure alignment. The rounded corners, at this stage, gave the appearance of 1970s sci-fi architecture.

Front of the house with windows and door cut outs with rounded corners from the router cutter.
That is rocking the 70’s sci-fi aesthetic.

Anyway, the corners were squared up and the windows test fitted. They look a lot better set on  the inside face of the wall.

The front of the house with the window apertures squared cornered, and the sash windows test fitted.
That is looking more house like with the sash windows recessed.
A close up of the living room window showing the recess it is fitted into.
That looks right.
Inside view of the living room window flush with the inside wall. The OSB is visible on the outside.
I don’t think much of that view of the woods!
The inside view of the two bedroom sash windows upstairs.
Those walls need a repaint.

To create the brick frontage I carried out some experiments in painting and carving the bricks. I made a couple of test patches using wood filler and polyfiller to see how that would work.

Two test patches for making scale textured brickwork.
The colours work, but looks too neat.

I preferred the look and texture of the wood filler but it was very hard to score the mortar lines into. Also the wood filler, though not as white as the polyfiller, underneath would still need more colour.

A close up of the better of the two brick test samples.
I like the colours on this but the mortar lines are too fine.

I finally decided to use bonding plaster.
Firstly the plywood was coated with PVA glue and then the bonding was also mixed with PVA glue and the front of the house given a 3-4mm coat. The surface was left rough and then lightly sanded to de-nib and scraped in some of the high spots to vary the textures.

The front wall of the dolls house on the work bench covered in wet bonding plaster.
Plastering the brickwork.

Once cured and dry I marked out the lintels and sills and set them at three brick courses high. a batch of brick red acrylic paint was mixed up and the whole front painted leaving the lintels and sills bare. A random range of black, grey and brown patches were then painted and dry brushed to give an aged and discoloured appearance.

The front wall of the house plastered and painted in brick red with weathering and colour variation. The window lintels and sills are marked out separately.
Plastered the front wall brickwork.

Using a square and steel rule the mortar courses were scribed using a piece of broken hacksaw blade, one of the giant ones used on a power hacksaw or ‘donkey saw’.

The front wall of the house with a square and a steel rule being used to scribe the horizontal brink courses.
I hope the pre planning works out and the courses fit!

It was tedious work but not as tedious as getting the brick bond into the courses, so I chose an easy stretcher bond.

The front wall of the house with a square and a steel rule being used to scribe out the individual bricks, working from the centre to the left side of that wall.

“Another brick in the wall…”The bonding plaster really gives the bricks a convincing brick texture and also produces a good mortar colour underneath.

A close up of the scribed brick work showing how the plaster colour is exposed as mortar when the brick paint is scribed through.
Stretcher bond!

I made sure I could continue the brickwork into the door reveal. The chipped edge of the door lintel was left as it looks very convincing as damage to stone work.

The completed left side of the brickwork showing how the brick courses fit in with the window sill and lintel heights, and also wraps around the door reveal.
And now for the other half.

Once the brickwork was done I applied a skim of wood filler over the lintels to make them look smoother then the bricks, as painted stone would be.

The completed brick work scribed into the front wall of the house.
Done, finally!

Using a simple mould the sills were built up with more bonding plaster so that they protruded from the wall. They were then skimmed with wood filler as well, ready for painting.

The house front stood upright showing the scribed brickwork and stone windows sills built up from plaster and wood filler.
Looking good!

I made and installed a door liner

Inside view of the house front wall with the front door liner being fitted.
Made the door liner.

And with the liner in place I cast a door step using wood filler, sanded to give the impression of a very worn stone step. The colour of the wood filler gives a good representation of a donkey stone having been used on it.

Outside view of the door liner from the front of the house.
That fits the brickwork well.

And then made a front door. That was a simple make with a 2mm sheet of wood and then thickness added with 1mm planks to create the four panel door.

The house front showing the ground floor window in place and a yellow front door. There is a 'For Sale' sigh from 'Redi Bricks estate agents' on a post.
Top end of market value?

I made the letter plate from brass sheet, and made sure the letter flap worked. It is hinged behind with some self adhesive copper tape.

A close up of the front door brass letter box showing the letter flap works. A 'letter' is pushed part way in.
‘You have mail.’

The door pull on the cylinder lock, the mortice lock escutcheon, and the number 6 were also made from brass sheet.

The front door in yellow paint with brass letter plate, brass key escutcheons for a rim lock and a mortice lock, and a brass number six.
A very welcoming front door.

So number six being an end terrace? Ether the terrace is very short, or something else is going on here.
I was questioned by Lisa Milne as to the appropriateness of the stretcher bond for the age and type of house, so I had to invent some ‘history’ to this house to explain it.

The end of the terrace has been cut off as part of the creation of the town’s ring road system. The wall that closes off the road is part of the embankment for the elevated slip road that joins the ring road at a junction.
Houses 2 and 4 have been lost on this side of the road, and most of the other side has been lost to the construction of the junction. During demolition of houses the front wall of number six was badly damaged. It was rebuilt with stretcher bond and a cavity as in keeping with building regulations. Matching the original bond was not a priority for the contractor.

Here is an example of a motorway junction cutting off the end of the road.

Screenshot from Google Maps showing a dead end road with a concrete wall and metal fencing closing off the road. The other side of the fencing is where a motorway sliproad has been built.
Copyright Google Maps – Trafalgar Road, Salford.
Screenshot from Google Maps showing the overhead view of a motorway junction that has cut the end of a road of residential semi detached houses.
Copyright Google Maps – Trafalgar Road, M602 J2, Salford.

So that’s sorted then, any more criticisms? 😉

That’s all for now. The next instalment will look at construction of the landscape around the front of the house.

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