To Dream of a Dollhouse....
A few years ago I thought I was "done" building---after all, I had Chessington Plaza, The Joseph English House, a simple Victorian, the French Country Manor, a Christmas House, a Tavern, and a greenhouse--not to mention a sprawling plain house which was my very first dollhouse and held the secrets of my very first mistakes! But I wasn't quite satisfied.....and as it turned out, I have created several structures since that time. But while I was searching the web for new miniatures treasures, I found Jeremy Collins, an artisan advertising his structures.
Step 1 Jeremy Collins
and Gable End Designs
The very first step in creating a structure (and by structure I mean house, apartment building, store, factory--any building) is targeting the structure. For me, something always really fascinates me and I know I want to create it. In this case, Jeremy had a replica of a factory from the Gun Quarter and Jewellry Quarter of Birmingham England. There was my factory and next challenge! And so the planning began.
PLANNING IS CRITICAL TO THE SUCCESS OF ANY PROJECT.....
Jeremy and I spent weeks discussing the plans over the internet. We discussed size, interior design options, layouts, exterior designs, wiring, lighting, stairwells and every problem the two of us might consider. We also discussed the more practical aspects of the plan, including shipping, payment, American Customs, crating, and special needs. Finally, with all of the plans complete, Jeremy began the task of creating MY FACTORY!!!
As Jeremy created the factory, I created the Mission of the factory. And what possible mission could there be but a factory to make dollhouses?
Mission: To create a dollhouse factory named "Dream of a Dollhouse" in which custom houses are created by only the most talented crafts people!
Click here for an enlarged view of the factory crafts people.
Step 2: The Interior
While Jeremy created the factory, I created dollhouses---many, many dollhouses. I created complete houses, partially built houses, built but not painted houses, and more...House plans, miniature paint sets, and extra wood pieces for each house were a necessity.
Click here for an enlarged view
Note: All of the enlarged views have a description attached to them. So if you are interested in the interior, check out the red arrow! If not, just keep reading.
Many of the finished houses were provided by fine artisans. Tom Gudgel, Pat Russo and others made their "mark" in this factory. Every house on display in the factory is one inch scale and all the pieces, finish woods, tools, paints and supplies (including the nails) are to scale. (I have found when building houses, keeping all items to scale creates the illusion. Scattered pieces in varying sizes creates a three dimensional optical illusion and is uncomfortable for me to "live in". Imagine, if you will, living in your own home with a plant that is 20 feet high, or a hammer that is four feet long???? Get the idea?) Please click here if you are interested in seeing the close-up on the completed artisan houses.
And so the story continues.......If you followed all of the links, you have seen the extension, but there is more to the story yet. (If you didn't follow the links, don't worry, you'll still end up at the extension!)
The Factory has two floors. The upper floor houses the general work room with the crafts people, their tools, supplies and general items, and the office. In our factory, the Office Supervisor is also a working supervisor. He is responsible for plans, painting, general completion and all of the paperwork. This office certainly shows it--scattered papers on the desk and floor and houses all around him to be painted and repaired. There really isn't much room for him to move about!
The lower floor of the factory contains a Showroom, the storage area, and the shipping and handling area. The warehouse is an extension of the shipping area. This factory is so busy because so many people are actually dreaming of a dollhouse that an extension was required for the factory! The photo directly above is, in fact, the extension (a warehouse) with the doors wide open!
Step 3: The Extension
The extension has a history...Shortly after I started filling the Dream of a Dollhouse I realized that the factory showroom and warehouse were not going to be large enough. There were just too many fine houses for me to display. The factory Craftsman had been very busy! Well, the Extension is the result of my growing concern. Once again, thanks to Jeremy Collins, I had a solution. He designed and built my Extension. He rather cleverly created a solution to the electrical dilemma and successfully matched brick, wood and interiors. Please click here for a fresh view of the New Warehouse and it's treasures!
And now, for a few final details...
Step 4: A Few Final Details and in Summary...
There are a few other items, special pieces and details that have not been listed above but deserve some mention...
Shortly after the house was complete, a need for a woman within the factory became clear. She was needed to handle the shipping, record keeping and inventory control of this fine flourishing business. Kay Olson created just the person for me! She rules over the lower level, staying within the confines of the shipping and warehouse area, maintaining a pen and paper where ever she goes!
Several people have asked me where I found the wallpaper borders...Well, one border was created by a Libby of Lilliput Arts. I created the other border on the computer. Jeremy supplied plenty of extra paint, baseboard and other items. Although I generally finish the interior of all of my houses myself, Jeremy did the majority of the work in Dream of a Dollhouse. I was left with only some wiring dilemmas, finish woodwork in some areas, minor paint, border and odds and ends. My challenge was filling my factory. I will leave it to you to determine how well I did.
A full article on Dream of a Dollhouse was featured in Dollhouse Miniatures in September 1999. For more information on that magazine, please click here to visit their website.
Now, I have a secret for you...I have created large and small houses, detailed and plain structures , character pieces, specialty rooms and more...and this factory is my favorite. Perhaps it is my favorite because of the massive detail work that went into the workroom and the hours of dedicated planning to create the right effect. But rather, I think Dream of a Dollhouse is my favorite because it is every person's imagination. We are able to create in this world, our world, because we have dreams...We give hope and challenge to each other each step of the way. Whether we are creating a miniature, a missile, a company or a country, we create using our imagination, our values, and our aspirations. This building, this Dream, is my favorite creation because it reminds me to continue to dream. Enjoy.. Please feel free to contact me with questions or comments.
If you would like to visit Gable End Designs, the home of Jeremy Collins, click here.