As soon as I started working from home in October I was on the lookout for a proper office chair to use. I started off using one of our secondhand IKEA Tobias dining chairs [as seen here], which yes, I can physically sit in, but thanks to hip issues after having Cora, sitting in a hard chair all day wasn’t doing me any good. So, I took to Kijiji to see what I could find.
This was a search where my patience definitely paid off. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted so I kept an open mind, but at the very least I knew I wanted something padded [hello, hip separation], sturdy and if I’m honest, something that kind of looked amazing.
I was completely open to the idea of a typical ergonomic office chair, but of that type of chair I found, they were either in my budget, worn down and needed repair, or they were amazing ergonomic chairs but were way outside of what I’d be willing to pay for a chair. So I kept looking. Until I found this chair! It of course immediately got my attention aesthetically.
I arranged to view [and sit in] the chair last weekend and it was perfect and exactly what I’ve been looking for; comfortable and unusual. Much like myself I guess you could say.
I know I may not get a great response to this, but I am planning on updating it. Hold on, let me explain! The wood has a very orangey stain and has sloppy faux-aging technique added to it using a darker paint [you can see this in the first photo along the groove on the arm]. The shape is really beautiful and I’ve already tried sanding the finish off, which has me really excited.
After many late nights hunched over tiny pieces of cardboard, glue and paint, the exterior of Cora’s [now called “Lower Town Dollhouse” because I do love consistency] is finished! It was fiddly and intricate and involved a lot more planning than I anticipated, but I absolutely loved updating this dollhouse ahead of Christmas. It was immediately worth it as soon as Cora saw it on Christmas morning.
It was in good condition, but at the same time it had no front doors and was missing possibly a door [?] on the second floor. Or a window? Or a porch? Or a portal into another dimension? I don’t know the purpose of it or what it was, but while I thought about what to do with that gap, I decided on some colours for the outside of the dollhouse.
I knew quite early on that I wanted to paint the outside of Cora’s dollhouse a shade of green. I mean, for a moment I did consider burgundy, but I wanted it to be light and fun and for her. While secretly also being for me, so I just made it my second-favourite colour instead of my favourite colour. See? Compromise.
I really like natural, muted, mossy, historic, sagey greens and ended up taking inspiration from the two floral paintings [above] I thrifted for my One Room Challenge. I really liked the neutral background shades and so I matched that as best as I could.
Before I commited to any paint, I did a mock-up on Google Sketch-Up to see what combination of colours would look best. I picked up some DecoArt’s Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint in ‘Revive’ green from Michael’s with an accented darker shade of ‘Light Avocado’ from DecoArt’s Americana Acrylic paint for the shutters. I decided white trim all around would be a perfect accent to top it all off.
I next decided to tackle the front doors. Or, lack of front doors.
It was a large opening so right away I wasn’t going to make just one door. It looked strange and a bit off-scale to have two tall, narrow doors so I decided to make two doors with a transom above them because hello my name is Alex and I’m a glutton for punishment and why take the easy route when you can make things four times harder for yourself?
I made the doors using recycled cardboard, coffee stirrers, duct tape [as door hinges], glue, wood filler and white paint. I watched this YouTube video to get an idea of how to make dollhouse doors, but I didn’t follow it as I didn’t have a lot of the fancy materials at hand, so I made a simpler version. To give you a quick rundown of how I made the dollhouse doors, I …
Cut two identical pieces of 1mm thick cardboard per door [so for two doors, four pieces of cardboard]
Add a flap of duct tape to one piece of cardboard then glue two pieces of cardboard together
Cut coffee stirrers with scissors and create a panelled door pattern on each side of the door [as seen above]
Fill in any gaps in the wood with filler
Let the filler dry, then paint [as seen below]
I used the last four minutes of this YouTube tutorial for how to install the doors. In short, I removed the trim from the inside of the dollhouse, glued the duct tape in place to the wall, then glued the trim back on. I was surprised at how perfectly functioning little set of doors they turned out to be! I did the same for the transom except used leftover plastic from a fruit punnet as the window pane.
Next, I started work on the other massive hole above the doors. I decided the best looking option would be to try and mimic one of the existing windows. Remember, I don’t like making things easy for myself. This is a recurring theme you will find throughout my blog. So why not make an intricate little window? No problem.
I first made a little wall to fill the bottom half of the gaping space [as the opening was much longer that the other windows]. I simply glued a few pieces of cardboard together and used duct tape to secure it to the inside wall of the dollhouse [as seen above], much like adding the doors.
I then cut strips of cardboard to mimic the existing siding, overlapped each piece and glued them in place against the little wall I had just created [as seen below]. It’s not perfect because I couldn’t cut away the existing wooden frame that was there, but I’m quite proud with how it turned out!
I then created the window in a very similar style to how I created the doors and the transom; it’s kind of tricky to explain, but maybe the picture below will help explain the piece of recycled plastic, with duct tape on all sides, sandwiched together between coffee stirrers. I then attempted to paint the same window-pane pattern as the other windows onto the plastic. I took zero pictures of that process because it was so tedious and I just wanted to get it over with.
Once the painted window was glued in place, I created two shutters from cardboard [and wooden hearts that I added to all the shutters], painted them ‘Light Avocado’ green and glued them in place alongside the new faux window.
The only things I bought to update the exterior of the dollhouse was the green paint, some Krazy Glue and a pack of coffee stirrers. Everything else was salvaged from either cardboard or plastic that was in our recycling bin.
While I would have liked for the entire of the dollhouse to have been ready for Christmas morning, it took me so long to update the outside that I was realistic and left the inside as it was. I knew Cora wouldn’t understand that the inside was unfinished and I also figured she might like to see the inside being updated as well as have an input for what things should look like.
I loved every minute of updating the exterior of our Lower Town Dollhouse. It is 100% quenching my need to renovate a real house. Except it’s giving me unrealistic expectations as there’s no dodgy wiring or plumbing and I can paint the entire house in a few hours. But it’s letting me make tiny versions of real things; something I will always love.
While I didn’t blog nearly as much as I would have liked to this year, I did work on some projects that I really enjoyed. To cap off 2018 I thought I’d share my five most popular blog posts as chosen by you!
Dining room hutch makeover in Coal Black – One of my favourite painted updates this year by far. Finding and updating such a perfect piece for our dining room makes me want to buy big pieces of furniture for every room and repaint them.
How to repair cat scratched leather – An old blog post of mine from three years ago that’s becoming more and more popular thanks to Pinterest! Turns out a lot of people have cats that also enjoy destroying things. You are very welcome here.
One Room Challenge Spring 2018 – Much like some time after having a baby, you forget the physical pain it caused you and you consider doing it again. My One Room Challenge this spring was pretty intense mentally and physically, but I’m already thinking about the next room I want to tackle.