Die 70er Jahre roten Puppenhaus

(According to BK, the title says “The Red Dollhouse [from the 1970s]”. No wonder I ended up taking French in high school! This makes no sense to me at all!!!)

After gaping drooling taking inventory of my newest vintage acquirement (did I use that correctly? Hope so) – and after sleeping poorly during the night because I couldn’t stop coughing – I pretty much knew what I need to do in the next couple of days.

That’s right folks – das roten Puppenhaus (as BK suggested I use if I want to use German) is gonna get a cleaning. At least to give me an idea of the overall condition of the house. Plus, it felt like I was kicking up a cloud of dust when it was being unpacked last night.

To begin, I started with the furniture. And in true fashion….this village idiot forgot to take pictures until near the end. But hopefully the following paragraphs will give an idea of what I did.

Batch 1 cleaned and drying...

Batch 1 cleaned and drying…

For starters, I split up the furniture into two groups. Batch 01 consisted of furniture that was entirely made of plastic. Or in the case of the living room chairs – majority of the parts were plastic and the rest was something that I could salvage somewhat easily. The second group (Batch 02) were furniture that had something that I absolutely must not allow to get wet. An example would be the master bedroom’s white wardrobe – the front and sides are plastic, but the back uses some kind of particleboard. Which I was afraid would fall apart if it ever comes to contact to water….

With the furniture split into the groups, I began to work on Batch 01. In terms of materials, I tried to use just warm water, some dish washing soap, and paper towels (yay for my grocery store having a crazy sale on these – I loaded up big time). But the dust was so thick, it seemed like I was simply wiping the topmost layer and pressing the bottom layer into the plastic.

So as a solution, I mix a small amount of baking soda, dish soap, and warm water to make a paste. Then with some paper towels, cotton swaps, and a nail brush I got at the dollar store (these suckers are really useful), I started to rub a little bit of the paste. And it worked like charm!I was pretty happy to see the dust/grime get scrubbed off.

Once all the pieces were rubbed down, all (except the living room chairs) got dunked into a bowl of warm water to rinse the baking soda paste, and rubbed down with an old towel. Then I used one of my dish drying mats to set them all down to air dry.

In the case of the living room chairs….since I didn’t want to soak the fabric, I just used a wet paper towel and slowly wiped off the baking soda/soap paste off the plastic as much as possible. I ended up cutting up a new kitchen sponge and using that instead (was going through my paper towels quickly). 😦

I did notice that the drawers had a bit of a musty scent to them. I ended up tossing them back into a plastic bin, filling it up with warm water, and tossing a bunch of denture cleaning tablets in it. Once the fizziness disspiated, I rinsed the pieces and air-dried them once. No more funky smells.

(Got this tip from a coworker actually – but it was more on how to remove the food smells you notice after cleaning your tupperware containers…)

dasRotenHaus-02

Woot! Nice and clean!

I did the same with Batch 02, except I didn’t soak/rinse anything under water. I had to painstakingly wipe each piece down of the cleaning paste before letting them air-dry.

Once the furniture was done and drying on top of my stove and counter, I turned my attention to the house itself. At first, I thought a quick wipe down with some damp paper towels would do the trick. But I had more leftover baking soda/soap paste, so I figured why not try it on the dollhouse floors. Especially since whoever built it, used contact paper for the flooring and walls.

I’m not gonna lie, I was partly horrified/fascinated when I tried the cleaning paste on the hallway/staircase area first.

Well this was totally unexpected.

Well this was totally unexpected.

I thought the darkish brown floor was the color of the contact paper. Not contact paper + god knows how many years of accumulated dust  and grime.

With a long sigh, I donned a new face mask and starting cleaning. I used a damp paper towel to apply/lightly scrub the cleaning paste on the floors. Then used a dampened kitchen sponge to wipe away the residue until the floors didn’t feel gritty to the touch. Think this took about a good 2 hours…but all the floors are now clean.

Man...yeah, TOTALLY unexpected.

Man…yeah, TOTALLY unexpected.

As for the walls and ceiling, I did do a wipe down with damp paper towels (then followed with a wipe down with dry ones). I’m a little nervous about the walls because actual wallpaper was used. And there was a little part of me that was worried about damaging them. Which would mean figuring out how to replace the wallpaper. Not like I can find exact matches at my local stores and what not. 😦

The good news though is that it looks like the first floor walls are okay. I might need to trim or reglue any corners that are not sticking to the walls. But that’s not a big deal. The upper bedrooms however, were pretty grimy. And the wirings for the lights are so damaged, I’m starting to consider removing them and opting not attempting to restore them.

Anyone have any advice on vintage dollhouses? Should I look at replacing wallpaper and possibly flooring? Or just leave it as is, torn wallpaper and all? Given this is my first “vintage” dollhouse, I’m seriously torn.

 

Deutschland Goodies (Part III)

Finally! I can write about the last item from my delivery last week. And I had to save the best for last.

In all honesty, I actually found this on Aparello.de – which I guess I can best describe as an online antiques/vintage store that’s based in Germany. I found it by accident during my search for German mid-century mod miniatures, and upon finding this item, explored the site some more….and found the two sets I mentioned in Part I and II. But seriously, even if the other sets didn’t exist…I still would have found a way to bring this home.

After talking with BK about this (he was totally game with it thank god), I initially tried to purchase them through the Aparello website – but for some reason, it wouldn’t allow me to complete the transaction. I was so close to giving up until BK suggested that perhaps the vendor is selling the same merchandise on eBay. That was such a brilliant idea – becuase it turned out the seller not only had listings on eBay…but he was also selling all three miniatures. And even better – I had the option to submit a best offer!

Not sure about you all, but apparently the mini gods decided to smile benevolently on this village idiot.  Because I did put my offer on each item, and they were accepted a few hours later. [imagines a huge yellow arrow pointing above her head going “AW YEAH!”]

Now if anyone (at least those in the United States) is thinking of hunting for miniatures in Germany for the first time, I’ll pass on the following advice:

  • Keep an eye on the currency exchange rates.  When I bought my items, the exchange rate was 1 USD = 0.901 EUR.  If it had been the other way around…I would have been forced to walk away from these goodies because it’d be just too darn pricey.
  • Be prepared to not just possibly pay alot for shipping but also expect to pay for the VAT (value added tax). And customs fees.
  • And be prepared to wait for a bit. Found out that my shipment arrived almost a week late because my shipment stayed in a warehouse in Frankfurt before it was shipped to New Jersey (as port of entry) and handed to the US Postal Service for delivery.
  • If you don’t know German…use a good translator. Or in my case, bribe my husband to read and translate German for you. And use Google translate on days he’s too busy/annoyed to help.  Now I owe him several dinners at his favorite Thai restaurant. 😀

Okay, I’ve rambled enough….let’s get to the finale yes?

So the last item was pretty big….well, it was large enough to begin with. But the vendor made it even bigger thanks to the…I dunno, several yards worth of bubble tape and shipping tape used to wrap this mysterious beauty. I tried to be careful but after 10 minutes for frustration, BK saved the day by procuring some scissors and cutting at some strategic locations.

Once the wrappings were removed, BK and I moved the item to our dining room table, where he left me alone to gape (and drool) at what’s to come. Prolly a good idea too – because once the wrappings were removed, I started coughing at the amount of dust that was disturbed. I ended up going upstairs to get a face mask before resuming.

After removing the bubble wraps...this is what I was presented with.

After removing the bubble wraps…this is what I was presented with.

After removing the papers, more of the mystery item was revealed. Wow, the vendor did a really AWESOME job packing it.

GermanGoodies-21

Left side exterior. Check out the huge windows!

Left side exterior. Check out the huge windows!

Exterior right side view.

Exterior right side view.

Am sure you guessed what it is at this point. This is actually a handmade dollhouse that was made sometime in the 1970s. But the sweet part about this house? The vendor was selling not just the dollhouse, but all of its contents. And I mean EVERYTHING.

But before I could show you the contents, I pulled out the wrapped items because I wanted a closer look of the house. The vendor provided pics in the original eBay listing which were lovely and all. But it’s definitely different seeing it as the new owner…

GermanGoodies-23

Overall view of the rooms.

We’ll start with the living room….I was surprised that the wallpaper was still intact. And the curtains were still in almost perfect condition.

GermanGoodies-24

View of living room.

Moving onto the next room – the kitchen. I didn’t realize how small the doors were….and how they were framed with red electrical tape! Similar to the living room, it looks like the ceilings were covered with some kind of white vinyl contact paper….I might have to look at either trimming the loose edges or possibly stripping that off and replacing it. (still mulling)

The kitchen.

The kitchen.

As weird as this sounds…this room captivates me. Not sure if it’s the wooden stairs, of the flower pots glued on the window sill….or the yellow wall lamp and plug on the wall. I’m gonna have to figure out if these light fixtures are working! *crosses fingers*

The hallway/stairs leading to the second floor.

The hallway/stairs leading to the second floor.

The second floor was set to display two bedrooms. The first room is pretty huge. Sadly, I was bummed to find out that the wires for the wall lamp on the far right wall was cut. Hopefully I can figure out a way to rewire it.

The second bedroom’s ceiling light was in just as bad a shape. You can see whoever installed the lighting used strips of white contact paper to hide the wire leading to the wall….which was also torn in half along the wall. Looks like I got some seriously pondering to do in terms of fixing this…. 😦

Bedroom #1

Bedroom #1

Bedroom #2.

Bedroom #2.

With the rooms inspected, I started the long but ridiculously fun process of unwrapping the contents of the house and putting them inside my newly acquired property. Huh, guess there’s a color them going on here….

Das rote haus (I think that's right)...

Das rote haus (I think that’s right)…

The (furnished) living room

The (furnished) living room

GermanGoodies-31

The kitchen.

The kitchen.

View of the kitchen units. Check out the pattern on the table!

View of the kitchen units. Check out the pattern on the table!

Once I started placing the furnishings for the bedrooms…I was wondering why the white parts were looking gray and dingy. Only to realize that all the furnishings were covered with a thin layer of dust. And my fat-ass sausage-like alien-shaped clumsy fingers were smearing them everywhere! 😦

(To do list #1: Clean the miniatures alongside the Modella and Crailsheimer sets)

The children's room.

The children’s room.

(To do list #2: make mattress and new bedding. The “bedding” the pieces came with….smelled really funky. Enough to make me not want to find out what it is)

The master bedroom. Need to figure out a better configuration.

The master bedroom. Need to figure out a better configuration.

GermanGoodies-36

In my excitement, I forgot to take pics of the accessories that came with the furnishings. It was actually funny opening up drawers and doors and having mini cups, lamps, pots and pans, etc., spill out onto my dining table. Or in most cases, on my lap. And like the furnishings, they were all dusty.

(Update on to-do list #1: clean up LOTS of vintage minis)

And of course…what’s an apparently loved and cherished puppenhaus (or puppenstube) would be without its miniature occupants?

The dollies of das rote haus.

The dollies of das rote haus.

If I’m right, the mother and father (and the baby on the far right) are Caco dolls from Germany. The other dolls I’m sure of, but I did find them wrapped with the children’s bedroom set.

Close up of the kiddie dolls.

Close up of the kiddie dolls.

While the children dolls look like they’re in good condition (they’ll need a good dusting/washing I think), the Caco dolls were in not so good shape…

Uh-oh.

Uh-oh.

I’m gonna throw this out there to my dear readers: anyone interested in giving these dolls a home and possibly a makeover? The father and mother doll’s necks look like they’ll break at any second, and the father doll’s head/neck is completely seperated from the body.

I was tempted to borrow a soldering iron to maybe connect the head/neck to the body (since they have a wire skeleton inside). But I’m worried that even the slightest bend will cause them to seperate once again. So again, if anyone thinks they can fix these dolls, let me know and they’re all yours.

That’s it for now. I have to think of a name for this vintage beauty. And I got a pile of minis to clean in the next few days. And prolly cough my lungs out from all the dust.  But hey, totally worth it yo!

Victorious Dilemmas – Oh Noes!

Given the last entry was on the cathartic note…hopefully this one will give you all a chuckle at how inept I can be sometimes.

A few weeks back, someone posted a listing on eBay on the CB2 Miniature Neville House. I was pretty excited when I saw it because I had meant to get one when Crate & Barrel’s more mod sibling store released it around 2011. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a CB2 anywhere near me so it was definitely a no go.

Anyways, so once I saw the listing, I put a max bid and left it at that. Next thing I knew, a bidding war erupted. I gave up in the end because the price just got too high for me to justify it. So the listing ended, and off it went to its new owner. Until a new listing showed up. The start price was a bit high at $75, but I put a low bid thinking that I’ll probably get outbid yet again. That is until a few minutes ago — and I got the notification from eBay saying I won it.

Finally! Ye miniature gods, thou hath answered my call!

Picture of CB2's Neville House. Photo found on Houzz.com

Picture of CB2’s Neville House. Photo found on Houzz.com

I saw blog entries about this house from Call of the Small and MiniModern (which inspired me to keep an eye for it). Granted, it looks like it can accommodate stuff from 1:16 down, but given BK and I are moving things into storage….I’m only allowed to keep smaller scale minis to display around the house. Yes, the ARC III is safe — that’s permanently taken residence on my dining room table as part of the decor. That’s partly why I’m trying out other scales to circumvent the whole space issue going on at home. Yeah, sneaky on my end. But hey, it’s an obsession — and sometimes, ones does desperate things. 🙂

[Update: Modern Mini Houses shared her entries about the Neville House since she owns one too! Thanks for sharing the pics with us!]

Sorry, digressing here. Back to the post!

So while I’m shaking off my stunned surprise that I won the Neville House (really, really thought I’d be outbid at the last second)….I also came across this beauty on Etsy.

Half scale (1:24) DIY cardboard dollhouse.
From Melissasminiwereld.

During my hunt for half scale items on Etsy (just to see what’s out there), I found this shop called Mellisasminiwerld where Mme. Sipma creates 1:24 and 1:48 scale minis out of cardboard. Talk about intriguing! I love the details around the windows and door. And the fact it’s cardboard….it almost screams a delicious challenge to find ways to decorate the exterior.

I contacted Mme. Sipma on the dimensions for the half scale version, and the lovely shopkeeper told me that it’s about 30cm high x 18 cm deepx 23 cm wide (about 11.8 x 7 x 9 inches).  Hmm…I can definitely fit that atop the bookcase….

Egads! I want this house too! But now I have the Neville being shipped here soon….and I need to flesh out The Retreat! What am I gonna do??? Even more, how am I gonna explain to BK why there are more kits coming home when I’m putting a good bunch of my currents ones into storage?

Curse this obsession! No…wait – yay for obsessions!

But I guess there’s only way to settle things. And that’s playing rock paper scissors lizard Spock!

Schematic of the game.
Image from The Recidivist.

Though Sheldon definitely explains it way better (sorry, my love for the Big Bang Theory knows no bounds).

What do you guys think? Should I go for the cardboard house? Maybe use that as the Retreat? Or as a counter to it? Ack, this and the flu’s making me loopy again!

Meanwhile…Weird Nostalgia

I’m not going to lie to you folks. Being stuck in bed sick…actually sucks.

BK was right in guesstimating that I have some kind of flu bug. Getting the tell-tale aches and pains, the fever and chills. It totally, utterly, completely sucks. While I initially enjoyed sleeping in a bit (versus getting up at 5 am every day to get ready for work)…it got old fast. Luckily, BK put a pile of books on my nightstand, some bottles of water to go with medication, a sleeve of crackers….and my laptop before he left for work. Talk about best nurse ever.

That was until he sent me a message from the office. Well, more like a directive.

Sweetie,

Hope you’ll feel better soon. Take your meds, stay hydrated, and munch on the crackers if you’re slightly hungry. You need to eat.

Also, I want you to stay in bed and rest. You can go downstairs to watch some TV or make your ramen if you want. But no working on the minis.  I know, I’m a stinker for saying that. Just want you to rest.

My brain did do a mental pout, but BK was right. The aches and pains will make it a little hard for me focus on the minis. Especially the next project now that the ARC III is done (still doing decorations, but the main work is officially done).

Then again, not sure if the flu’s making me somewhat loopy, but…I kinda found myself thinking back to my past. Bear with me though – it does end up being connected to the new project.

About 8 years ago, I had been dating a guy for almost 3 years. We moved in together, practically ran a household together….I seriously thought, in my (retrospect) naive self, this was the guy I was gonna end up marrying. He was nice, smart, and definitely hit my wish list at the time of what I found physically attractive in a dude (tall, dark, and handsome). But just as I thought things were going in that direction….he suddenly announced over dinner that he and I needed to live separately. Suffice to say, things went extremely downhill after that. I later found out he was seeing someone behind my back….that he referred to me as just a “female roommate that’s moving out”. And later on, after I finally had the strength to confront him, admitted that he just didn’t see me attractive anymore. It literally felt like the world exploded, then got sucked back in to the point it imploded.

When I finally moved out, I stayed at my sister’s place. In my haze of trying to keep myself together at all costs, I made the crazy choice of buying a place – a tiny studio apartment in the relatively expensive area of North Bethesda, MD. My friends I could tell were shocked at the decision, but they supported me, and in their way, tried to keep me busy by visiting me. I threw myself — and my savings — to renovating the studio while I worked longer hours at the office. I guess in a way, I wanted to focus on something else other than trying to fix the hurt.

It wasn’t until my best friend MC came over one night, and (ever being the movie nut), commented that “you’re doing exactly what Frances did in that movie, Under the Tuscan Sun.”

I actually have that movie, as it was one of my favorites flicks to watch. So we pulled it out, and watched. And by the time the credits rolled, I was sobbing uncontrollably. At that point, I knew I couldn’t hide from it anymore. And that I needed to move on.

In a weird sort of way, things started to perk up after that movie. I started to sleep in my new place, and actually rested fitfully. I started thinking less of my ex (and was actually distant when I returned the last of his items). My studio became more and more like the home I wanted to return to after work. I continued making improvements of the studio. Though it was my uncles who helped me, not “…the muscular descendants of Roman gods.” Ah well.

And after allowing myself to lose a bet, my friends pushed me to try meeting someone online….and I met BK. Soon, what started as a nervous Friday night dinner turned to a July 4th holiday weekend together…to him and I practically taking turns staying at each other’s studio apartment. Until he suggested two years later that perhaps we should get a place together. At this point, he was practically living with me in my tiny retreat…and we needed more space for ourselves and for our pet rats.

I did end up selling my studio…and we were both teary eyed about it. Think for the both of us, the place helped BK and I meet and cement our relationship. It gave us a place to help me mend and become the person I turned out to be. And for BK, who moved from his home state to DC for work…it gave him a chance to establish roots.  In weird sort of way, it was just like indeed like the movie. The place helped us find the happiness we were looking for, but in unexpected ways.

Then it hit me…maybe for the new project, I should build a such a retreat. Not an Italian villa (they’re not really to my taste actually)…but perhaps a cozy cottage where a recently single, brokenhearted soul is trying to start fresh.

For starters….it’s definitely going to be a different scale. Half scale (1/24) that is. And am using this as my base.

JJ’s Cottage from Real Good Toys.
All rights reserved.

Instead of using the base and foundation sides, I might see about getting an MDF base cut out. If you look at the image above, the parts create what looks like could be either a front porch — or a somewhat narrow base at the front of the house. Not sure if I’m feeling that though. Maybe it was from the landscape work at the ARC III, but I want more space at the front to set up a garden. With a patio, bushes….maybe flowers….and definitely a tree or two.

I started to search around for images to help me flesh out features. Then I recalled BK discovering this website called www.circaoldhouses.com when he was searching for historical homes for sale. The listings here are amazing — definitely worth checking out if you need some ideas. Or dream.

And from this site…I saw this house and knew this was going to be my muse.

Gingerbread Cottage in the Woods  Photo from  www.circaoldhouses.com. All rights reserved.

Gingerbread Cottage in the Woods
Photo from www.circaoldhouses.com. All rights reserved.

Gingerbread Cottage in the Woods-2

Gingerbread Cottage in the Woods
Photo from www.circaoldhouses.com. All rights reserved.

I’m hoping to give the exterior a shabby, quaint feel…as if the house too is being renewed as its new occupant.

For the interior, a sample of the pieces in use (I can’t wait to use the bed and the pieces assigned to it). I definitely want wallpaper, but on the fence about going for something shabby chic, or stick to more modern/neutral patterns. I definitely see the new owner as someone from the nearby big city, but who’s also experimenting on some new tastes….

Bed, table and credenza are part of the Butterfly House furnishing set from 3StarStudioArts. Couch was an eBay purchase.

Bed, table and credenza are part of the Butterfly House furnishing set from 3StarStudioArts. Couch was an eBay purchase.

Just another angle. Sorry for the use of flash.

Just another angle. Sorry for the use of flash.

As for who will be lucky occupant of this place (calling it “The Retreat” for now. Yeah, I know, talk about creative huh)? We’ll have to wait and see. Well, I’ll have to wait and see, given it’s coming from overseas. Stayed tuned.

In the meantime…I think I’m gonna play “Under the Tuscan Sun” on my laptop to help me get sleepy. Methinks someone is due for a nap. <yawn>

Achievement Unlocked!

After displaying my slightly embarassing pics of the packages I’ve received over the holidays….I did try to be constructive with the loot I’ve received. Mostly to keep track of what I have in order to work on my first build of the new year….which I’m pretty excited to do.

Yes, I still have the CC. Seriously, the whole egg carton into bricks is making me cringe. I’m still working on Dasha and Lena’s home, so please don’t yell at me. I haven’t forgotten it. But BK got me something over the holidays that’s making me dance in pure excitement.

Hah! I wish!

So most of you know that after building the ARC II, I ended up giving it to my mother to enjoy. And despite that generous gesture….I was missing that house. My dining room felt empty without it. I guess BK picked up on my mood because on Christmas Day, he actually got me another ARC dollhouse kit from the ever talented team at 3StarStudios. My in-laws were definitely surprised at my reaction given I almost tackled my husband to the ground and gave him numerous hugs & kisses.

The ARC Dollhouse. Image used with permission by 3 Star Studio.

The ARC Dollhouse.
Image used with permission by 3 Star Studio.

Of course, the challenge was that I had to wait until BK and I returned home to do any work on the (yeah, I know not imaginative) ARC III. But in the meantime….I went online and began to order my supplies. Which all arrived (luckily) a week after I’ve opened the packages that were held during our absence.

So now I’m ready…so ready to get to work! I have a plan…and I want to see if I can make it a reality!

Oh sweet mother, I hope it doesn’t come to this!

Really Need to Curb My Insomnia

You probably know of someone who ended up buying something very ridiculous in the middle of the night. Perhaps it was due to insomnia, or maybe they had to pull an all nighter. Either way, it seems that loss of sleep always leads to receiving a package at the doorway and going “I ordered WHAT?”

Apparently I need to add myself to that growing list of folks. The last two nights have been pretty crazy with last minute projects that needed to be done before the end of the week. So instead of being in bed at a normal time…apparently I’ve joined a program where sleep is a nonexistent concept.

I guess in between emails, coding, and reviewing one inane document after another, I did a random search on more Lundby items….and realized I got an email confirming that I’ve purchased this.

Lundby Stockholm dollhouse. Photo from www.lundby.com.

Lundby Stockholm dollhouse. Photo from http://www.lundby.com.

While my miniature obsessed side is clapping her hands in joy (a vintage and modern Stockholm dollhouse under one roof? Capital!), the sleep-deprived, supposedly mature self immediately though “okay, how am I gonna explain this to BK?”.

Before I could gather my wits together, I found more emails for order confirmations for more Lundby stuff. To put in said Stockholm dollhouse.

Good lord, I need to get some sleep. And probably change my PayPal passwords and hide my Visa card before it gets out of control…..

Old Town Classics

(I promise this will be the last entry for today. You can tell I’m seriously stalling from doing the work I’m suppose to do for the office….)

As promised in the previous entry, this is more of an update on another miniature project I created for BK’s and my wedding back in 2011….

Cardbox-1

Which our wedding photographer Sarah Culver somehow made magical on that day. Seriously.

The cardbox at our designated gift table. Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

The cardbox at our designated gift table. Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Some cheeky humor from us.

Some cheeky humor from us.

Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Made bunting to indicate that this was a card box. Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Many of BK’s and my relatives didn’t know my obsession love for miniatures until they saw this cardbox and arbor. Not only was it popular with our guests – even OffBeatBride.com surprised me by posting about the arbor in their January 2012 montage. For awhile, I was popular! 😀

After the wedding, I ended up storing the card box (which is actually the Seabreeze roombox from Victoria Miniland). I knew I was going to reuse it as another miniature setting for my collection. But at the time, I didn’t know what I wanted to put in it. Because the roombox was designed based on the old townhouses from Old Town Alexandria (where BK and I lived up until a year after our wedding), I was going to aim for its interior to reflect its exterior. At least, what I could see from outside the townhomes during walks around Old Town.

Again, thanks to my obsession, – apparently I did pick up a couple of pieces here and there — I think this as close to the classic styles I was able to glimpse in those townhomes. And of the old hometown that BK and I miss from time to time.

Rewaxing the hardwood floor.

Rewaxing the hardwood floor.

Though before I could move the pieces in, I had to do a thorough scour of the roombox. For starters, I had to wipe off the years of dust that accumulated using a damp rag and a cheap nail brush from the dollar store (definitely useful for brushing dust in corners). Once everything was wiped down/brushed off, I used the beeswax polish to re-polish the walnut flooring.

Once the floor was polished and buffed, I started to hang some pictures and moving my pieces in….

Movin' them in....

Movin’ them in. Check out the newly polished floor! Shiny!

…and before I knew it, I was done. Well, I should have finished quickly. It is a single room for crying out loud!

The finished sitting room.

The finished sitting room.

I wanted the setting to be a formal sitting room of sorts. A mix of antiques and comfy seats. Someplace I’d imagine the owners would want to curl up with a good book to pass this lovely Sunday afternoon. Versus sitting in front of a laptop and reviewing contracts like this crazy blog writer <groans inwardly>.

Left side of the room.

Left side of the room.

Right side of room.

Right side of room.

In terms of what I used: the in-laid writing desk chair was purchased from dheminis.com. The chairs were an eBay purchase from Small World Minis. The bookcase, side table, rug and tea chest were random pieces won from eBay. Lamp, tea sets, other accessories were purchased from Manor House Miniatures and local miniature shops.

Upper view.

Upper view from the open ceiling panel. I popped out the plexiglass sheet to take this shot….

Bastian - my chipped ear dog.

Bastian – my chipped ear dog.

As for the dog (Bastian) — he was actually a gift that I got back in college. Even though my parents wanted me to focus on schooling, I did some odd jobs here and there to earn some extra money to pay for other expenses (like books. And eating out with friends). I had a short stint of being a French tutor for this kid. He learned about my hobby for miniatures, and on our last day of tutoring, he actually surprised me by giving me this porcelain pup. I can still see his embarrassment when he pulled it out of his backpack – the ear fell off from getting jostled around his bag. Despite that little accident — Bastian has remained one of my most prized minis.

Close up of the portraits.

Close up of the portraits.

RevampedCardbox-07

RevampedCardbox-08As for the portraits — I did a random search on Google images for 18th century portraits. Specifically American portraits. Not sure why, but I got the feeling that whoever is living here, would have traced his/her ancestry to the period. Which could be plausible, given that Old Town Alexandria was founded in 1749, and was incorporated as a town around 1779 (source: Wikipedia).

Sorry…digressed there. Once I found the pictures I wanted, I resized them in Photoshop and printed them on cardstock. I had some that had a canvas texture – which nicely replicated the feel of the pictures of looking hand-painted. At least that’s my take on it. 😛

Now that the room’s completed, I moved in the new occupants. I actually found these guys inside the cardbox when I pulled it from storage. Guess I had assigned these two to be the master and mistress of this residence.

The room's new occupants.

The room’s new occupants.

Because we were going for an Old Town Alexandria theme….I ended up naming the male doll as Mr. Philip Alexander. After a Captain who in 1746 created an estate on what eventually became the town of Alexandria itself.

In terms of (the doll) Philip’s bio, he used to teach history at Georgetown University up until this past May, when he decided to retire and work on his books. Mostly the history of Alexandria and on maritime trade of the late 1700s. If he’s not writing, he’d be doing his next favorite activity — taking Bastian around for walks in their hometown. As you can see from his outfit….he likes to wear a coat and tie whenever possible.

Close up of Mr. Philip Alexander

Close up of Mr. Philip Alexander

Despite being a history professor, Philip is considered somewhat of an eccentric by the locals. Even though he was able to trace his lineage as far back to the Revolutionary War, there are rumors that there’s a bit of madness that runs through his family. In fact, there were rumors amongst the faculty that Philip would sometimes be seen having spirited discussions with portraits of his ancestors. Whether these rumors are true or not, no one could contest the fact that Philip is also known for his generosity and love for pranks. Especially during finals week.

Admiring (maybe chatting?) at the portrait of his ancestor, Sir Francis Alexander.

Admiring (maybe chatting?) at the portrait of his ancestor, Sir Francis Alexander.

Philip’s wife Tess (or Theresa), is also a history buff. In fact, she volunteers at the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association – the nonprofit organization responsible for the care and maintenance of George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate. Like her husband, Margie was able to trace her lineage back to the 18th century – it turned out her parents came from a line of sea merchants in Connecticut. In fact, the portraits on the right side of the sitting room are portraits of her distant relatives – Lawrence King and his wife (and Tess’s namesake) Theresa Christina. Which is oddly appropriate for Tess, given her love of the water. She hopes that now that Philip has retired, perhaps they can finally look at getting a boat. And start taking Trent and George’s kids on boat trips on the Potomac River during the summer months.

As for how they met…they actually met at Williamsburg, Virginia during their college years. Philip was visiting friends who were attending summer school William and Mary. Tess in turn got an internship at Colonial Williamsburg and got to play the role of a seamtress at one of the shops. Philip was taken by Tess’s bubbling personality and her passion for the historical period. Tess in turn was smitten by Philip’s sweet nature and his never ending supply of jokes. Even after 25 years of marriage, they’re still acting like newlyweds — much to the amusement of their nephew Trent, whom he sees as his honorary parents and grandparents to his and George’s kids.

Philip's wife, Margie (Marjorie).

Philip’s wife, Tess with the portraits of her predecessors.

Like Philip, Tess is fond of jokes and pranks. So it doesn’t help that they both seem to encourage that characteristic from each other. 🙂

Philip and Tess joking around.

Philip and Tess joking around.

Hopefully these two are enjoying their new home — and I sure as heck hope I don’t get surprised from one of their pranks. For a moment, I thought I saw Tess put a whoopee cushion on Philip’s chair when he went out to walk the dog. This is going to be interesting…..