An Inspiration from an Unlikely Source

After getting the lights set up, it was time to move to figuring out the exterior. I mentioned in an earlier post that I was going to turn this into a townhouse of sorts. The original gameplan was to just install some single windows  and double windows in the openings, and a matching door. I did a dry fit of the components…it looked fine and all, but part of my brain was saying “meh”. Something didn’t look right — like I should be doing something else.

So it was back to my (numerous) bins of mini supplies and find something else. I thought maybe I needed to use a different window, but then came across a pair of these.

French sliding doors. Image from

I bought two of these a long time ago — probably for a mini project that I’ve long since forgotten (surprise, surprise *facepalm*). I know these are meant to be patio doors….but then again, they’d look neat as one of those floor-to-ceiling windows right?

But just to make sure…I did a random search on Google Images for examples of urban townhomes with huge windows (as reference) and actually came across this image.

Keizersgracht 474. From

I thought this photo looked pretty cool — and close to the current structure of the CC. But when I actually read the Wikipedia entry that was using this photo…imagine my surprise when I read that the above loft stands of what used to be the residence of Sara Rothé and her husband Jacob Ploos van Amstel.

In terms of who these folks are….Sara Rothé was a well known art collector during the early 18th century…and is also known to have owned dollhouses that are currently on display in museums in the Netherlands. She actually owned two dollhouses — which were actually finely carved cabinets with rooms that she decorated with exquisite miniatures. It was considered fashionable at the time to have such pieces for display as a sign of wealth. But Sara Rothé continued to add and improve on her collection until her untimely death.

((In)Decorous actually wrote an excellent entry on Lady Rothé’s dollhouses — they’re definitely a sight to behold!)

So I’m kinda finding this ironic on so many levels. That I’m using for my cabinet dollhouse kit an image of a modern loft where over 2 centuries ago, a fellow miniature collector once lived. And owned cabinets that were essentially dollhouses. Weirded out perhaps, but hopefully what I did next would have met Lady Rothé’s approval.

After unscrewing the front panel of the CC, I took a ruler and pencil and marked where the second and third floors are located. Once that was marked, I used one of the French sliding doors to trace the opening I’ll need to cut out. A quilting ruler was used to make sure everything was square and even against the edges of the panel.

Tracing out the openings using the french sliding doors.

Tracing out the openings using the french sliding doors.

Once the tracing was completed, it was time to start cutting. I didn’t have any fancy power tools to make it easy for me. Had to make do with my trusty box cutter and a box of replacement blades (yay for Home Depot! No, that wasn’t an attempt to get their attention so they can give me free stuff. Though gift cards would be nice).

Making the openings the old-fashioned way.

Making the openings the old-fashioned way.

After 2 hours of constant cutting, it was done. I had the TV running on the background to help pass the time — though I should have changed the channel instead of leaving it on the Cooking Channel. Was craving a bunch of random dishes by the time I made the new openings.

Woot! It's done!

Woot! It’s done!

The openings were then sanded down before I put the windows to test them out….and capital! They fit!

Woot again!

Woot again!

But as you can see in the above photo, there’s those pesky openings that are flanking the new windows. Luckily this was a (somewhat) relatively easy fix.

I tend to keep a supply of cellfoam 88 sheets (notably the 10mm or 3/8″ thick kind) whenever I need to do some kind of fabrication on the kits.  So I took an 11.5″ square sheet and (using the lower windows on the front panel), traced out 4 rectangles. Since the openings I needed to seal off used to be the regular windows, at least these would be the same shape/size.

Making the tracings.

Making the tracings.

Once the pieces were cut out, I measured the excess openings flanking the big windows. And applied those measurements to the cutouts and cut them to size. I had to use a thick layer of tacky glue (and some painter’s tape) to make sure the new cutouts were flush when I applied them to the openings. I had to adjust the cutouts a bit to make sure they were even with the front panel’s inner wall — the last thing I wanted was to wallpaper over an uneven wall. 😦

The openings are now sealed.

The openings are now sealed.

Looking good so far. Had to wait for the glue to dry a bit before applying the painter's tape to secure everything.

Looking good so far. Had to wait for the glue to dry a bit before applying the painter’s tape to secure everything.

I let the glue set for about an hour, then I tentatively did another dry fit — this time with the new windows, door, and lower windows. And instead of “meh”, my brain actually went “oh, hells yeah. now we’re cooking with gas baby!”



Now it’s time for me to leave this alone. And hopefully tomorrow, I can resume working.

So Lady Rothé…if it was you who put the inspiration in my head, then I salute you. Hope I do you proud! Now please don’t haunt me or something.

Family Sara Rothé and Jacob Ploos van Amstel with Sara’s mother, by Juriaan Buttner, 1735. (Image from Wikipedia)


4 thoughts on “An Inspiration from an Unlikely Source

  1. This looks awesome! 😀 I use my utility blade all the time. I’ll be giving a Dremel tool a whirl shortly, and I’ll be sure to let you know when I do.

  2. Pingback: This is Going to Hurt… | A Miniature Obsession

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