I've continued to work away on the Orchid kit. The basic house is now assembled and here you can see the small extension that houses the stairs.
The stairs are made from balsa wood and modelled on the ones that came as part of the Pumpkin Cottage kit from Petite Properties. I started by cutting two holes in the side wall of the house to create access to the stairs then cut and built the stairs to join the space between them. The stairs were then painted and glued into place.
After the stairs were fixed in place I added walls to enclose them and was left with a small but effective extension.
These stairs have worked really well and are a great solution to the common problem of how to fit stairs into a house - just move them outside!
In the house itself I've added a rear wall (remember this kit was supposed to be left open at the back and I've come to the conclusion that is something I hate in a dollshouse). An extra wall has been added a couple of inches in from the back on the top floor. This serves a few purposes; first it helps support the roof which due to my modifications has a large patch filling in what should be open space. Next it creates a back wall against which furniture can sit rather than having to have everything pulled out to fit under the slope of the roof and just looking messy. It also creates the opportunity to add some recessed shelving - hence the cut out on the left.
Downstairs there is a small jut in the rear right corner which will house the oven. You'll notice in this photo how the top floor bows upward. In most photos of this house I've seen on the internet the floor is sagging downward. My plan is to add beams to the ceiling that will hopefully hold the top floor level and flat (or at least as level and flat as the beams turn out).
This house is the first 1/12th scale, plywood, rear opening American made dollshouse and on the whole I think it will probably be the last. Firstly, houses left open at the back don't work for me. Its impossible to layout the furniture nicely and well, it's open to the air so how are you supposed to keep things like dust and cats out? Secondly I am really disliking the ply wood. Sure, it's light and the house weights virtually nothing but it warps and it splinters. I have been trying to get the front of the house to sit nicely against the main structure and then realised why I couldn't, the front was no longer flat but bowed out at one end. I suspect this is why plywood kits all tend not to have removable/opening walls; if it isn't forcibly glued into place and thus unable to warp, it will warp. And the way the edges splinter this house needs ten times the sanding of an MDF house which all adds to the time and irritation factor not to mention the chances of getting splinters painfully lodged in your flesh.
If I ever go for another plywood house it will be in a smaller scale (24th or 48th) where the smaller sizes involved will hopefully minimise the warping and bowing of the wood, even if it doesn't solve the other issues.
And moving along now to my other current project, a new room for the Tower of Magic. This is the ToMs bathroom. The round structure in the middle will be a feature tub (but is currently doing a great job of storing bits and pieces). The toilet will be behind the partition in the back left corner for extra privacy (and to hide that the loo is a dodge homemade job). The remaining furniture is from my stash with the exception of the 'stove' or heater in the back left corner. This is a small plastic spray bottle with wooden bead feet, jewellery finding finials on top and a cardboard door on front. At the moment everything is painted a pale seafoam green, but I'm not sure it's the right colour. The stove definitely will go white. Um, maybe. Should the rest of the furniture stay the colour it is, or should it be darker, lighter or a different colour altogether?