Piecing Together the Puzzle

After spending a good chunk of time on my thesis this morning (yay me!), my cognitive abilities were pretty much shot – so I happily took a nice break and measured out the walls for my Undersized Urbanite scratch build.  I picked up the necessary lumber and foam core at Michaels on Friday, but our weekend was spent visiting friends so I wasn’t able to get to a whole lot (though I did end up making a lot of changes to the staircase – that will almost definitely get an entire post to itself).


(please excuse the terrible photos, it’s nighttime and I don’t have the best light)

The Undersized Urbanite rules dictate that any decorating done prior to the start of the contest on September 30 will be disqualified, which rules out any painting, staining, or woodwork I plan on doing since that will all be part of the decor.  However, because the contest does allow any dollhouse – pre-built, kit construction, or scratch-build – I did decide to go ahead and cut out the pieces I had drawn up on foam core.  When I start putting it all together at the start of the contest (since I will have to be decorating as I go) it will go together more like a kit build.

IMAG0736Briefly pieced together with scotch tape!

This may have been a really bad thing because now I just can’t wait to get started.  Hopefully I can divert this energy back into my thesis until the contest opens…ideally, I’ll have a finished draft of my proposal at that point and be just about ready to defend it!

Also, stay tuned: Coming soon, I’ll be showing off my absolutely favorite, must-have tools for miniatures work and building.  I always pick up so much when others share their most useful items for crafting, so I thought I would put together a post on it.




Aside from simply being incredibly excited to enter a miniatures contest, I have to fully admit to being entirely obsessed with the planning stage of things.

I’ve finished a floor plan in both Powerpoint and on graph paper, and now I have begun drawing all of the walls out full-size on graph paper to better visualize how exactly things will be cut, as well as provide for minimal waste.  The foam core and initial floor boards have been purchased.  I am ready to go!

Today I thought I would share some of my primary sources of inspiration for this build.  To begin, I am fascinated by the trailers built by Molecule Tiny Homes:

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(All photos copyright Molecule Tiny Homes)

They have captured my interest in particular because a) they have included stairs in their tiny home builds, and b) they have full bathrooms, even if the tubs are incredibly small.  They also have video tours of some of their builds.

Another great inspiration for this build comes from Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.

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(all photos copyright Tumbleweed Tiny House Company; from L-R: Fencl [1 & 2], Walden, Lusby [4 & 5])

Not only do they provide images of floor plans on their website, the photos above are of decorated homes giving a better idea of what it might be like to live in one.  I’ve drawn a little design inspiration from them, as well as appreciated some of their decor.  As I make further decisions throughout the build, it will definitely be fascinating to see how these images influence my choices.

Both of these sites have really pushed inspiration for my Undersized Urbanite build, and I am very excited to see how it turns out!

Undersized Urbanite plans!

I was so – SO SO SO – excited to get the Undersized Urbanite announcement from The Little Victorian today.  I immediately subscribed to all UU updates, and I can pretty much guarantee that I will keep checking the website daily regardless of how often I actually receive updates…I tend to be obsessive about things I like.

So, what am I planning?  Well, I have never entered a dollhouse contest like this.  Most contests revolve around a specific kit, where entrants must purchase it and all build the same thing, putting their own spin on it.  I am always entirely blown away by the pictures posted at the end of the contest; there are always some truly incredible things done, with some of the most amazing and realistic details I’ve ever seen.

But in order to build and decorate a dollhouse, I really need it to “speak” to me – by which I mean I need to be immediately struck with inspiration when I see it.  If that doesn’t happen, I’m not going to build it – forcing creativity has never, ever worked for me, and even if I did end up with a decent finished product, I would never be satisfied with it.

The Undersized Urbanite is different, and I love that.  Entrants can take whatever doll’s house they want, or build their own, or make one from a cardboard box or (as suggested on the contest’s site) a crate from IKEA.  Recently I have been inspired by the idea of tiny living – not just miniatures, but human-sized tiny living 🙂  It’s a lifestyle I think I could really get into myself, and lately I’ve been dreaming of it as a nice retirement or at least a getaway later in life.

And so, I plan to enter!  I won’t share my final floor plans here, but I do plan to share much of the story of my build as I go through.  As part of that, I have also decided to share one of the first drafts of my floor plans with you, as well as my method:

Presentation2I’ve also removed labels, so currently it still really only makes sense to me 😀  (I’m possessive like that, sorry).  I am incredibly excited to get started, and in all honesty I’m going to be drawing out my wall templates today to prepare for cutting things out and fitting it all together!

I’ve promised my husband that this will be a thrifty build (…..relatively. I mean, who am I kidding here?).  I’m hoping to end up spending less than this would cost if it were actually a kit build.  As such, the walls are going to primarily be foam core, with a wooden floor.  I’ll be cutting everything myself, and as I have no power tool knowledge aside from how to use a hand-held drill, I’m really not looking to make this difficult.

Foam core will be easy, and my miniature building wood of choice is actually balsa – it’s classified as a hardwood, but it’s literally so soft I can dent it with a finger press.  It’s incredibly easy to cut with my craft knives.  However, in my work I’ve discovered that it’s also an incredibly thirsty wood – and it will happily soak up large amounts of wood glue, making it just as sturdy as most other woods, as well as easy to sand and paint.  Thus, it’s perfect for my skill level!

Now…off to my drawing board 🙂