Lower Town Dollhouse’s … Dollhouse

The niche-ness of this blog post is almost too much. Also, I will shortly be changing the name of my blog to The Interior Dollhouse-er because I have a newfound tiny obsession that you may or may not have noticed.

Last weekend there were two special weather advisory’s here in Ottawa; one was for frigid temperatures [-35°C and below] and the other was a snow storm warning so we spent the entire weekend indoors. Did I do anything productive? No. Did I Marie-Kondo our kitchen? Or paint the hallway? Or make batches of dinners for the week ahead? No. I made a miniature dollhouse for Cora’s Lower Town Dollhouse.

So this week I thought I’d share how to make a miniature dollhouse, or, a dollhouse’s dollhouse. Because I just know there are thousands of people out there feverishly Googling this very niche subject right now and I must ensure I reach them through most excellent Search Engine Optimization.

It was actually fairly straight forward making the body of the miniature dollhouse. For the facade, [try to keep a straight face while I use the term ‘facade’ to describe something 8cm tall], I sketched a rough outline of the windows and cut them with an exacto knife [as seen above]. I did the same with a second piece of cardboard [but a lot less accurately] as I was going to sandwich a piece of plastic between the two to securely create plastic windows that wouldn’t budge thanks to tiny toddler hands [you can see the roughly cut inner piece three photos down in the interior of the dollhouse].

For the rest of the body of the dollhouse, I used cardboard, masking tape and Gorilla Super Glue to create the other three sides [Super Glue because toddler].

Then I tackled the tiny angled roof. I used wooden tongue depressors [you could easily just use cardboard] that I cut at an angle to mimic the angle of the larger dollhouse’s roof [below]. My next worry was how I was going to securely attach the roof to the dollhouse. It needed to be toddler-proof. So I Super-Glued what I’m going to call ‘brackets’ [I don’t know if that’s the right term?] using wooden coffee stirrers to the inside of the roof pieces [as seen above]. This way the roof ‘brackets’ would be able to rest on the top of the body of the miniature dollhouse. And by ‘rest’ I mean be glued to using vast amounts of Super Glue.

The above picture might help to make a bit more sense of my description. I added more brackets to the top of the inside of the roof to once again give the flat part of the roof something to sit on and adhere to. I painted the outside in a few coats of paint and even cut out tiny cardboard shutters which I Super-Glued into place.

This seems like a lot of detail for something so small and unimportant and is in no way contributing to current day society“, I hear you say. Yes, you could very well be right, but there really isn’t anything better than seeing Cora’s little face light up the moment she realized I was making a tiny version of her dollhouse. “OHHHHHHH! BABY DOLLHOUSE!”, she squealed. I could have better spent my time doing literally anything else all weekend, but that would have been far too productive.

Secondhand Victorian-style dollhouse

I’m going to come clean straight away and say this is a project I’m working on as a gift for Cora this Christmas, but it’s also 9,000% entirely for me. I am living vicariously through Cora this Christmas. And beyond. 

I had been looking on Kijiji for a dollhouse for Cora for a few months. Probably casually looking for around six months, but more seriously searching for the last two to three months. I found amazing dollhouses every few weeks but they were either too expensive, located too far away or were the bad kind of homemade that were misshapen and home to jagged edges that no amount of sandpaper or filler could fix. This would after all be a present for our curious toddler so I wanted it to be a practical, special and more importantly a safe dollhouse. 

Kijiji did not disappoint. Kijiji is a gentle creature that rewards those with an abundance of patience. You have to look and look and look and inquire and have a deal fall through and keep looking and change your search words 20 times and then right when you’re about to give up, the most perfect thing will present itself. 

I suspect many peopled passed on this dollhouse because of its lack of a front door, a window and stairs. Ha, I say. HA! You’re going to have to do a lot worse than that to deter me. Before I heard back from the owner if it was still available or not, I was already researching how to make dollhouse doors and stairs and I am up for the challenge. 

As Robert pointed out, the attic is very like the wallpaper in Adam and Barbara’s house in Beetlejuice. It’s really sweet and I might keep it for the time being. 

As for the rest, I will be changing. I’m already overwhelmed with redecorating ideas. It will mostly be for Cora’s current / my old Sylvanian Families [aka Calico Creatures in North America] collection, so it will be decorated to be sweet and adorable. I might try my hand at making some tiny wallpaper, and there will be bits of burgundy here and there, but I’ll try my best to not to impose a gothic look. I’m way too excited to start redecorating Cora’s dollhouse and I’ve even come up with a few moodboard ideas for it! I really can’t wait to start. I love a good project, especially on a scale I can handle for a few hours a night. 

But more importantly, want to know how much I paid for it?

Guess.

Go on.  

No. 

Lower.

Lower … 

$45.

p.s. Serious question – can I say I own a Victorian house now? Because I kind of do … 

Should you be interested, check out my post where I share my

Top Tips for Buying Secondhand Items Online

New apartment tour! (aka Lower Town Apartment)

Between paperwork and meetings and trying to get set up on Canadian systems and entertaining Cora and getting furniture and trying to remember to feed ourselves, we’ve been in Ottawa for 2 weeks already and every day has been full of something. I’ve been wanting to share photos of our apartment since pretty much the moment we arrived, but only this morning did I finally get around to taking some pictures. 

But don’t get too familiar with our apartment as we’re moving in 2 weeks! I know, it sounds insane, but another apartment in our block became available and our very sweet landlords offered it to us as it is a bit different and slightly more suitable for us. I still want to share where we’re living now and where we’ve called home for the past two weeks, so here we go … 

Our landlord [who is very creative, artistic and has a history in design] kindly emailed me sketched plans of the apartment when I first inquired about it in early August. It was a huge help as I couldn’t figure out the layout from the photos, so I figured it would be perfect to accompany this post as the layout can be a bit confusing to get your head around going by the photos alone. 
The character and quirkiness of our apartment [and subsequently our next one] is completely what sold me and pushed us to take the leap of leasing an apartment without ever seeing it in person. Or while even being in the same country, for that matter. It was a huge risk but it paid off bigly, as Donald Trump would so eloquently put it.  

Our apartment was completely unfurnished, which is standard in Canada. After sleeping on the floor for close to a week, I caved and one day went to IKEA and bought a mattress [which isn’t half bad TBH]. We slept next to the heater on Cora’s playmat for a week and while it was kind of rough [especially on my dodgy hips which are still bad since having Cora], as Robert put it, we’ll look back on all our floor camping and picnics fondly. I’m not complaining because I was wholly prepared to sleep on the floor, but it’s just nice to sleep on something soooooooft again. 

Yes, those are grape vines growing across our bedroom window.

To give you an idea of the scale of our apartment, the dining room is bigger than the living room in our Dublin apartment. Now I understand why everyone’s furniture is so much bigger here; because it can be. 

And don’t get me started on the kitchen. There’s a DISHWASHER and you don’t have to crawl on the floor to see into the tiny, non-existant fridge, like standard Irish rental fridges. The fridge is so big that all our food sits on one shelf. I don’t know what to do with myself, it’s so big [#ThatsWhatSheSaid]. And wait until you see the kitchen in the other apartment. It’s even nicer, if you can believe it. 

And last but not least, Cora’s room. Which is the most ‘together’ room so far. I decided months ago that we would be bringing Cora’s crib with us on the plane when we travelled, so the moment we arrived she could sleep in her own bed and have something familiar right away. For some people it doesn’t sound like something to prioritise, but I’m so damn glad we brought it with us. Even though it was incredibly heavy and nearly destroyed us trying to bring it, but it was just awkward for one day. It was doable. Emotionally detatching yourself from a day like that also helps, but it was so worth it in the end. 

We’ve picked up some furniture already [an old high chair for Cora and a second hand dining room set], which I’m hoping to share and update as soon as I can, as both need some work done to them. And of course, I can’t wait to move into and share our next apartment. 
If you follow me on Instagram, I’ll be doing a walk through of our entire apartment on my stories some time within the next 24 hours, so be sure to check them out for more details!