Sometimes perfect is the last thing you want to be

Tweaking store-bought dollhouse furniture

As I mentioned in my previous post, my mom picked up some adorable white cupboards for my kitchen. Here they are in place, in my semi-completed kitchen:

White cupboards in my mini kitchen. Photos by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

White cupboards in my mini kitchen. Photos by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

They’re a little taller than the window, which is unfortunate but not a huge deal.

I added the refrigerator into the mix, even though it needs some more coats of paint, but left out the stove since the paint was still really wet. It looks very cute, but not exactly mid century, not exactly modern, and not exactly personality-filled like I want my house to be.

I decided to make some small changes. I purchased some cool little gold buttons:

Tiny gold buttons.

Tiny gold buttons.

…and some woodgrain decorative tape, and gave the drawers and doors a makeover. Here’s a look at the “during” portion of the makeover:

Giving my cupboards a makeover

Giving my cupboards a makeover

The great thing about this makeover is that the tape can easily be removed without taking an paint off, and the original brass knobs can be stuck back in place. However, I decided I liked it and felt it was a better fit with the rest of the decor in the house, so I updated everything. Here’s a look at the “after” version:

Kitchen "after"

Kitchen “after”

As you can see, there are plenty of details still needing to be fixed, from paint on the window that needs to be removed, to trim that still needs to be installed. It will all come together soon though. If this new look seems a little weird to you, just wait. When you see the finished product, it will all make sense!

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Modern mini art

Handmade decor for my mini house

As you may recall, I made this mural for my mini house’s office…

Mid-century mural for the office. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Mid-century mural for the office. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

but have since eliminated teal/blue from my house’s color palette.

Also, I realized after creating it that it would have clashed with whatever wallpaper I ended up choosing for that room.

I liked the design of it so much, however, that I decided to create a small painted canvas with a similar design.

I started with a tiny canvas from the local craft store. These sell for about $1.99 each. I drew the pattern on with pen.

Tiny canvas. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Tiny canvas. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Then I filled in the borders using a fine tip brush and the colors I plan to have throughout the house. I painted the edges of the canvas black.

Tiny painting. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Tiny painting. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

This is a quick, simple, inexpensive project anyone can do. The secret is to use a very fine tipped brush so you have control over applying paint to such a tiny space. I can’t wait to hang it in the office!

Creating a stencil for floors

Flipping my mini house

To make your floors fit, create a pattern or stencil using paper, the way clothing designers create patterns before putting scissors to their fancy fabric. This works for wallpaper too. Here are the steps I took to install my living room floor.

First I cleared out my living room. Next I began constructing my stencil, basing it off the shape of the far wall. See (below) how it fits like a puzzle piece against the wall? This required a fair amount of adding and subtracting to get it right. I’d slice a little bit off here, tape in a little extra there, until I had it just right.

Create a stencil to lay on top of your flooring. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Create a stencil to lay on top of your flooring. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Next I added another portion for the section of flooring that is by the railing. Then I put the stencil on top of my flooring and taped it into place.

Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Next I carefully cut out my floors. I ended up with this:

Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Now came the moment of truth. Would this amorphous shape fit just right into my mini living room?

Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Yay! It fits! And since the floor is actually made of individual slats of wood affixed to a paper backing, it’s flexible enough to maneuver into place.

Below, if you look to the left of the stairs going up to the bedrooms, you can see one small piece going the wrong way, where I stuck in an extra piece since the flooring was just a bit smaller than the length of the room. Once I install wallpaper, white baseboard trim, and put furniture in place, this will be practically unnoticeable. Chip clips are handy for holding the flooring in place as adhesive dries.

Use chip clips to force your floor flat. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Use chip clips to force your floor flat. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Finally, I’ll pile some books on top to help ensure it stays flat.

Keeping newly installed floors flat. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Keeping newly installed floors flat. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Living room wallpaper is going in soon! I can’t wait to show you the results!

Progress on my mini house, as of today

Flipping my mini house

I thought I’d share a few pictures of how the house looks right now. As a reminder, this is how it looked when I received it this summer:

Day 1 of my mini house. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Day 1 of my mini house. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Most of the carpeting, wallpaper, and trim have since been removed. Wood floors have now been installed in the upstairs bedroom, as well as some funky retro wallpaper in the master bedroom. All rooms will be receiving white baseboard trim, but a flatter version than what was originally in the house.

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A small part of the original kitchen floor remains, thoroughly glued in place. A friend lent me her heatgun yesterday. She thought it might help loosen up the floor. I’ll let you know how that goes.

The master bedroom has been wallpapered!

Furniture and decor I've purchased

After recently debating between a bunch of different wallpaper choices (using scrapbook paper, not actual wallpaper) here, the master bedroom has been wallpapered! I ended up choosing something completely different from the samples I showed you a couple of weeks ago. As I’ve mentioned, one of the designers inspiring me on my house flip is Jonathan Adler. I thought what I ended up choosing had that fun, “Happy Chic” feeling I was seeking, but it actually looks a little more on the childish and maniacal side of things than I’d intended. The good thing is, if I choose to take it down, at least I can use it for templates for the next sheets I install in that room.

Wallpaper. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Wallpaper. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

I think I will give it a couple of days and try it with furniture, just to see if it grows on me in a good or bad way. What do you think?

Slowly but surely…

Flipping my mini house
A look at my mini kitchen and dining area. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

A look at my mini kitchen and dining area. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

I finally got my breakfast bar removed. It turns out it was screwed into place. Once I figured that out I was able to remove it without breaking it, which I was really excited about since I thought it was such a cute feature. I’ll drill new holes for it and it will get moved a little closer to the bench in the dining area, so my kitchen will be a little bigger than it used to be.

The little bit of flooring that remains is coming out one little chip at a time. I almost cut my thumb off the other day when I was trying to watch an old episode of Survivor and work on my house at the same time. All I can say is, I’m glad this is dollhouse flooring and not something I’m dealing with on a larger scale.

I’m not sure what, if anything, I can do about the fact that the floor swoops down a little towards the carport. I didn’t notice it so much at first, but when you’re sitting on the floor, staring at it for an hour, it starts to become really obvious.

Speaking of the carport, I was able to get the wall propped back up to be straight. So that’s great news.

Here’s a reminder of how my house looked when I first got it:

Day 1 of my mini house. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Day 1 of my mini house. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

The exterior is now dark teal. Also, I’ve decided the exterior trim will be a yellowish color to match my West Elm measuring cup planters. Photos of that coming soon!

Construction Update & Something Old, Something New – Part Two

Flipping my mini house

My house isn’t looking too hot.

Mini house has hit a rough patch. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

As you can see, removing the kitchen and dining area floors has been disastrous. I would say I’ve walked away from the project for a little bit, but since it’s in the middle of my living room, it never really goes away.

Painting the upstairs floors yellow was a mistake. I recently decided to buy mini wood floors for the whole house and be done with it. Construction is on hold while I wait for the floors to arrive, and until I get the kitchen and dining room floors properly removed.

I plan to relocate the small bar separating the kitchen and dining area so it’s more centrally located between the two rooms, making the kitchen a little larger and the dining area a little smaller. It will depend on whether I can move it without breaking it. Right now, just like the floors, it’s glued in kind of like it was welded. Maybe once the floors are finally all out I can wiggle it loose.

Here is a grisly in-progress look of things:

It's always darkest before the dawn. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

It’s always darkest before the dawn. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

To keep myself interested, I haven’t stopped shopping for furniture and decor. Miniature items have been popping up at estate sales and thrift stores lately. Let’s take a look at my recent treasures!

Tiny, fabulous finds. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Tiny, fabulous finds. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Though I already have the Jonathan Adler-inspired coffee table that I made, this one might bump that one out of the running. Let’s take a closer look at it, with accessories and some hand soap to show you scale:

Cute coffee table. Just $.69 from St. Vinny's! Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Cute coffee table. Just $.69 from St. Vinny’s! Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.


Cards and a cup o'grog. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Cards and a cup o’grog. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.


The set of miniature silver pieces was just $5 at an estate sale.
The incense burner is going to make an adorable free standing stove for the dining area.
I will be posting the downloadable, printable playing cards shortly so you can make your own mini deck!

Make your own modern white chandelier

Handmade decor for my mini house

I came across the awesome website How About Orange yesterday. It’s filled with all kinds of 3-D papercrafts, complete with clear instructions, photos, and templates. By shrinking down the smallest template and printing it at 75% of its normal size, I was able to create this mini (non-functional) paper chandelier, inspired by modern chandeliers like this one, this one, and this one.

Tiny, easy to make light. Photos by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Tiny, easy to make light. Photos by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

This will go in the dining area, hanging over the table.

Thanks to the clear instructions on How About Orange’s website, I was able to make two of these in a short amount of time (the first just to see how it went, and to discover that it was a little too large; the second one being the one you see here that will actually go in my dollhouse). No glue or tape is required to form the ball. You could probably tweak the template to make the petals spiky instead of round, or use something like sheets of thin plastic or felt to create decorations or ornaments (the original intention from How About Orange’s blog).

Wooden handles turned modern love seat (and don’t forget the tiny newspaper)

Everyday objects repurposed

Since the only furniture I can find is Victorian, I’ve been busy making my own interpretations of mid-century modern furniture. I made this little love seat from two wooden handles, part of an old napkin, and some wooden balls. Let me take you through the process.

It started with some wooden handles I found at the Habitat for Humanity Restore. I’ve determined, at least in Madison, there is no place better to shop for dollhouse decor than hardware stores. The Restore is great because there are tons of tiny trinkets, washers, nuts, bolts, handles, and hinges. All kinds of things to capture a person’s imagination, all for very little money.

Two wooden handles held with tape while the glue dries. Another in case you are confused. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Two wooden handles held with tape while the glue dries. Another in case you are confused. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

I glued two handles together. Here they are, drying. The other handle is shown in the photo in case you need a little help picturing what these handles looked like before I taped them together.

Once they dried I glued some wooden balls to them. The wooden balls are inexpensive. I got this entire bag at a garage sale or thrift shop for very little money:

Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Here is an in-progress look with the the glue drying:

Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

I turned part of a set of napkins into the fabric for my love seat. Here is the in-progress of this step:

Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Once the glue dried, I painted the love seat and then wrapped the fabric around the love seat and sewed it into place. I topped it off with a little pillow.

The thing the newspaper sits in is some little metal contraption, also from the Restore. Some kind of bracket or something, I guess. To me it just says Magazine Rack. I bought several bags of these. I have no idea what they are actually used for. I have them in other colors too. For a buck a bag, I couldn’t pass them up.

It took me two tries to get the newspaper the right scale. I didn’t worry about the details of printing on both sides of the paper, or having different text inside. I simple pasted in the same image over and over, printed it, cut it out, and put it in the magazine rack. To me, it works fine.

Tiny newspaper. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Mini newspaper by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

The end result is a cozy place to sit and read the paper:

Tiny love seat and a newspaper to read. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Tiny love seat and a newspaper to read. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.