Saturday, August 7, 2010

Greenleaf Fairfield Dollhouse


Warning !!! This is my first time blogging ever so I don't know what I am doing.

This blog is about the build of a half scale dollhouse called the Fairfield made by the Greenleaf company. I am bashing it, which simply means that I am changing it around a bit. I have had it sitting in a box, in the garage for a few years now and this summer it was time to start "the build". I was greatly inspired by Sharon who I am closely watching and following the blog of. She is bashing her Fairfield to look like the Lydia Picket house. (The Lydia Pickett house is a quarter scale house designed by Robin Betterley and can be seen at the Suzanne and Andrew's miniature site). Sharon's addy is:, Please check it out because she knows what she is doing and does everything precisely. I on the other hand, am shoot from the hip type builder. I eyeball things most of the time!

My plan for the Fairfield is to build a "shabby chic" type cottage. I envision the inhabitant living by herself and finding things at flea markets to fix up and paint. She is an artist and loves to make things. Since, there are no men living in the house she can make it as feminine as her heart desires

I'm sorry I didn't start this blog at the beginning of my build, but I will do my best to explain what I have done so far. 

Here is a pic of my house so far. As you can see, a few things have changed. The first thing I changed was the tower. I really love the Fairfield tower but I wanted a wider tower so that I could have a larger front door, one with sidelights. I made my tower as wide as the base of the house. I did this by taking the front and side tower piece of the original house and glueing them together, side by side, to make one large piece. I did not punch out the original window or door openings. Once, I had the two pieces glued together, I filled all of the gaps and punch out indentations with wood putty. I then sanded both sides with the Mouse, a small electric sander made by black and Decker. Once the wood was smooth, I held it up to the side of the house and marked it where the floor ended. I then cut the extra length off with a chop saw. You could also use a table saw with a fine blade or a scroll saw or a jigsaw, whichever you have.

There wasn't enough wood in the original kit to make a new side wall. So, I had to use a scrap piece of wood. I used 1/8" plywood and cut it to size.

Moving on to the left side wall, you will note that by making the tower wider the portion of the side wall, which extends into the house was much too long. So, I shortened it a lot so it would meet up with the new tower side wall (the one I built from the plywood.)

Here is a picture of the right side of the house. This is the long side. I have eliminated the fireplaces and the chimney which went from the first floor all the way up through the roof in the original house. You can barely see them in the stock picture but I think the Greenleaf website has a bigger picture for you to see.

It was a hard decision to remove the fireplaces because they add such nice detail to the house but since the bottom left room will be the dining room and the bottom right room will be the kitchen, I needed to make a doorway between the two. I was really amazed at how much space I gained by not putting the fireplaces in. The first floor and the second floor had punch out openings for the fireplaces, I again, left the punch outs in, filled the indentations with wood putty and sanded the dickens out of it. I wasn't too worried as to how it would look because I knew that flooring and ceiling paper would cover it up later. But, the floors and ceilings did need to be flat.

Another change here is the opening from my dining room into the foyer. If you are familiar with the original kit, you will remember that the opening from the living room to the foyer was fairly large and had the stairs showing into the living room. Since, the living room will be the dining room in my house, I didn't want a big opening. So, I cut a piece of scrap wood from the kit leftovers and glued it into the opening to make it smaller. I also had to shorten the opening, since it was too tall, So, I cut a piece of scrap wood to fill in the top, rounded opening. I held the wood behind the opening so I could trace out the arch. I also shortened the opening which went from the old dining room into the kitchen. Because, the old dining room is now the kitchen and the old kitchen is now the living room. Is anyone else confused?? simply said, both of the door openings you see in this picture, on the bottom floors, leading out of the rooms, will have french doors. This should balance out the first floor nicely when looking at it head on.

Here is a shot of the front of the house and you will notice that it has a new bay window. Building this bay has been the hardest part of bashing this kit so far. Now, if I were a really good builder, I would figure out all the angles and do the math and have something on paper, but alas, I am a shoot from the hip type and must live with my limitations, So, I took two Houseworks windows, laid them side by side on a piece of wood and determined how wide the piece of wood would need to be to accommodate both of the windows. Then I actually measured
( I know, shocking isn't it?) the inside dimensions of the windows, and drew them on the piece of wood. I then clamped the piece of wood onto my work table in such a way that the cut out areas where hanging over the edge of the table. I drilled four holes in the opening, one at each corner and then used a jigsaw to cut the openings out. Words cannot begin to describe how much I hated doing this part and how much I stink at doing it. Let me just say that I had to do a lot of sanding to straighten my lines. Some rather colorful language was also used to aid in this part of the project.

For the two side pieces, I followed the exact same procedure only this time I used only one window and did one of the walls and then copied it exactly (more or less) for the second wall.

Then it was time to see how the bay would fit onto the house. It was a tight fit with not a lot of room on either side. So, I then cut the sides of the opening of the house, for the original bay, much wider. I ended up with about a quarter inch left on the inside wall and about a half inch left on the outside wall.

I continued the original floor into the bay. I did this by making a paper template and then cutting a piece of wood to fit. Of course, it didn't fit very well but I filled the gaps with little splinters of wood and wood putty and sanded it. It really didn't have to be all that pretty since I ended up covering it with the flooring anyway.

In order to cover up my style of building and to make it look as if everything was measured and drawn up first, I use trim. If you enlarge this picture you will see that I put vertical trim on all of the joints, horizontal trim under the windows and at the base, and more vertical trim below the windows. Once the paint is on, it actually looks as if I had known what I was doing all along!! :)

Above the bay window, on the second floor, will be a balcony. Again, I did not cut out the window openings on the second floor, I filled the indentations with wood putty and sanded them. I also cut off the piece that stuck out from the second floor and was to be the ceiling of the old bay.

I cut an opening to fit a Houseworks french door. A note about Houseworks doors and windows. They are too thick to fit into Greenleaf kits. I solve this problem by shaving them down and I will show how I do this in a later blog. That's it for now!

If you have questions or suggestions please let me know. Thanks again!

Here is the left side wall. As you can see, a few changes have happened here as well. I removed the fireplaces that were on the wide side of the house and which I will show you later. So, I decided to put a fireplace here. This side wall looks very similar to the sidewall of the Pickett Hill as well as the one on Sharon's house.

Here, I again left all of the punch out pieces in tact. I did not punch out the Bay window opening as you are supposed to do in the original house. Instead, I built the chimney and the fireplace out of blocks of wood. I don't have the dimensions handy but if you need them let me know and I will get them for you. Again, I just used scrap wood and eye balled the appropriate size. (note the roof pieces have not been glued on yet that is why the roof is askew!) Also, the original house has a single window in the center of the second floor, I eliminated it to make room for the chimney. I then cut out two new openings for two new windows

Here is the back view of the house so far. I went to all the trouble of notching out a hole for the fireplace only to realize that if I use a commercial made fireplace it will cover up my hole!! Duh!! I have not glued on the chimney wall because I need to electrify the house and I will have much easier access if I can take that wall off. I also have not installed the second floor yet for the same reason.

I built a new little bay window in the back. This window will be over the kitchen sink so the inhabitant can look out the window while she is doing the dishes! (I am putting the kitchen in the room that is supposed to be the dining room in the original house.) Here is how this came about. I determined that the original windows, on the first floor, where too low for me to put the kitchen sink under. Since, I had a 1/2 scale 9 divided window I decided to use it instead. I left the window punch outs in and did the wood filler, sanding treatment to the walls to fill in the the punch out indentations of the old windows. I figured out where to place the new window so it would fit above my kitchen sink and cut a hole in the wall to accommodate the window, sideways. I didn't like the way it looked though so I built the bay underneath it to make it look more substantial.

The trick to building the bay is lots of trim. I cut the two side pieces to fit under the window and one bigger piece to fit on the front. After glueing them on, I framed in all sides with trim and also put pieces vertically in the middle.

The trim will cover a lot of mistakes, so it not only looks good but serves a purpose as well!

That is it for now! Let me know if you have any suggestions or ideas or questions.


  1. This is really fascinating. I just joined the half scale Yahoo group and saw your post about your blog this morning. I can not tell you how many times I have put the Lydia Picket quarter scale house in my shopping cart and almost checked out - only to bit my lip and admit that it is just too small... Seeing that one can use a Fairfield half scale kit to make something similar that is a bit larger is SO exciting. I will be following your blog with great interest.

    Thank you also for the link to Sharon's blog - tried it and it is missing a hyphen so should be:

    Best Regards! ~Christine

  2. Wow momma you are an awesome Blogger and an amazing minituarist (ignore my spelling) I love you I'm so proud your sharing your skills with the inter-web world! :)

  3. I love the Fairfield as a Pickett Hill house and have read all of Sharon's blog several times with great interest. Your bash looks as though it is going to be just as lovely. I have the quarter scale Pickett Hill and the Fairfield and would never have thought of doing this. Very imaginative and interesting. Sandie