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After much thought, this is the room layout we decided on for our Maileg dollhouse:

Here is what I had for beds in each room, as well as what paint and wallpaper I chose for each room:

Boys Room

Maileg Teddy Bed

Custom Blue Paint

Girls Room

Maileg White Bed

Custom Pink Paint

Grandparents Room

Maileg Vintage Bed

Custom Mustard Paint


Laundry and Bath

Living Room

Custom Wallpaper from Lella Boutique

Master Bedroom

Shiplap using Birch Wood Edging


Light Blue paint remnant from my house

Things I learned:

  • I painted the walls first to avoid getting paint on the wallpaper. What I found was many of the wallpapers were see-through enough (especially the beige rainbows) that I had to go back and reprime the corners to avoid the paint being seen underneath the wallpaper. So paint your edges cautiously even if they are going to be covered.

  • I would not have guessed it, but small areas are more difficult to wallpaper than large areas. I precut the "wallpapers" to size for each room. I wish I had cut them just a tiny bit larger and then cut them down to room size. But even with that, it was not easy to get them smooth and I did not succeed in most rooms.

  • The wallpaper and contact paper did not stick well originally. So, I used spray glue to make them stick better, as well as to attach the gift bag.

  • I made sure to wallpaper the entire wall, including the window first. I then cut out the window using the xacto knife from the wallpaper smoothing kit when the wallpaper was up. Cutting the windows out was not difficult with a light behind the window so I could see the void easily.


Except for the kitchen, I used Birch Wood Edging and sealed it with Spar Urethane for real wood flooring throughout the dollhouse. The real wood veneer edging comes in many different widths and wood options. They also come pre-glued ready to install using an iron. I precut the 250-foot roll into six-inch pieces so that the dollhouse had more of a realistic floor look with complete. The only tools you need to apply this veneer edging are a regular household iron at cotton temperature and either your xacto knife or the miter shears for cutting.

  • Fill any large holes and sand rough spots. Remove sawdust making sure the surface is completely clean.

  • Preheat iron on the “cotton” setting, position edging, slowly press iron over the edging, and check to see if the glue is melting. Note: Use kraft paper or aluminum foil to protect the iron bottom.

  • While still hot, press the veneer down firmly with a woodblock or roller. I was able to maneuver the pieces so that they fit snugly against the other pieces while it was still warm. If there was a mistake, I simply reheated and moved the veneer.

  • Allow edging to cool completely, and trim any excess with a razor blade or the xacto knife. I then sanded it entirely, especially the front edge, with fine-grit sandpaper until it was smooth.

As you can hear, I was really unsure whether to stain the floor or not. I just didn't feel like you could really see how gorgeous the grains were as is, and thought it might be better if it was slightly darker. But in the end, I love the natural color so much I just wanted to highlight it. I started by spraying it and the wallpapers with spray lacquer. It did not do any damage to the papers (I did spray tests first to make sure), and it definitely helped to pull out some of the wood grain, but it didn't protect the floors as much as I was hoping it would. So I switched to a Spar Urethane on the floors and yes!! This was exactly what I was hoping for. I absolutely love how they turned out.

On the shiplap in the master bedroom wall, I thinned out the Confident White paint and whitewashed the wall to lighten up the wood even more. I did not put the spar urethane on the shiplap so that it looked more natural. In the laundry room, I watered down the Aquamarine Dream paint and used it on the floor.

Lessons learned: the moisture curls the edging up. If I did it again, like spray paint, I would use less paint and instead do more coats to avoid that as much as possible. I ended up having to fill the gaps caused by the shrinking and curling with Patch n Paint on the master wall. In the laundry room, I sanded as best I could, but there are still some gaps.



Measuring Tape



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Exterior Paint

As much fun as doing demo always is, I was so excited to get started on the transformation. I started with the exterior and continued to use spray paint as much as possible. I used white paint on the wrap-around porch, under the eaves, and the ceilings in all of the rooms.

However, after looking at it for a couple of hours, I decided it was too stark and that in the long term we would be happier with an off-white instead ... so I repainted it (does this feel like foreshadowing?). For round two, I used Rust-Oleum's Heirloom White spray paint in satin. I absolutely loved how the color turned out.

If I had to do it over, I would not use spray paint. When I was starting the painting process I was more focused on the ease of painting the small spaces, porch railing, posts, and columns. What I had not thought about was that the paint would be impossible to match for touch-ups. This was a total nightmare as I progressed. I had Home Depot attempt to match it with their very fancy color matching software and it was a giant fail both times.

I knew I wanted to have a cedar shake roof, and if there was a gap anywhere in the roofing, I wanted it to look like tar paper underneath the shingles. I used Behr Marquee Black in satin. I purchase an 8-ounce sample size and it was more than enough to paint the roof.

I really debated on the exterior color of the dollhouse. I initially was going to match the dark petrol color that Maileg often uses in their designs, and even bought the paint, but then decided it was simply too dark. I eventually landed on Glidden's Aquamarine Dream in satin; it coordinates so well with Maileg accessories and I am absolutely thrilled. I mean ... swoon!!!


Next came the roof and I honestly may be the most excited about this. I think that a shake shingle roof will bring such a wow factor. I found an awesome deal on real cedar shingles from Factory Direct Craft. They have several different shapes available, but I decided to go with the classic square shingles to achieve a Craftsman style. I bought six bags of a thousand individual shingles, which ended up being far more than I needed. I did not love the color when they arrived as they are come unfinished, feeling like they were a little too light, so I used two different Minwax stain colors for a variegated look. I didn't want it to be too red, so I chose Special Walnut 224 and Early American 230. A little stain goes a long way and the 8-ounce size was more than enough.

To stain the shingles, we tossed a bunch into a ziplock bag, poured stain in, double-check the bag is sealed (hint: don't skip this step), and rolled the shingles around for about 2-3 minutes (longer if you want darker). I then cut one bottom corner off the baggie and poured the stain back into the can. I spread the shingles into a cardboard box to dry. I didn't spread them out too much so that various parts and corners of the shingles would end up darker than others from laying on each other.

There was a lot of discussion with Nick as to what adhesive and process to use for installation. We thought that using a tile-laying installation process might work best. I used a small v-notch trowel and liquid nails to start with. What I didn't realize was the liquid nails doesn't dry clear. AARRRGGG! I ended up with clumps of white glue everywhere.

Thankfully I realized this after only shingling one half of one side of the dollhouse. So from there on out, I switched to Loctite Power-Grab Clear Adhesive. It worked wonderfully and I would highly recommend it. I originally was going to draw lines up the side of the roof to make sure that my lines stayed level, but quickly discovered they got covered with glue and I couldn't see them. What did work brilliantly was using a square on each side of the roof and moving the shingles after placing each row.

For the roofline gable, I used these miter shears to cut the shingles. The shears would come in handy throughout the process on the interior trim work as well, and I was so grateful for them.

I then had to make some really hard decisions: paint colors, wallpapers, flooring, and what else to use in the various rooms ... continued in Part 3: Interior Paint, Flooring, and Design.



Minwax Early American Stain

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Once upon a time, I saw a picture of this incredible dollhouse from Nonnie's Dollhouses, and since I had this picture in my head and I just couldn't bring myself to let go of the vision. But, I mean, can you blame me?

So when I came across this beauty on Facebook Marketplace and I fell in love immediately. I felt like this dollhouse had the perfect bones to achieve a dream dollhouse for our Maileg mice collection. And so, I bought it sight unseen.

The dollhouse had been custom-made meticulously by a grandpa for his granddaughter, which made it feel even more special. The only problem? When we arrived to pick it up, it was MUCH bigger than I thought it was going to be ... uh, yikes!

In fact, they were so big they could not lay flat in the bed of my truck and we had to stand them upright. Even then, they are taller than the cab.

They are...wait for it...50 inches tall and each side is 38 inches wide, so when they are pushed together it is 76 inches wide. For comparison, Danny DeVito is 59 inches tall. Our daughter didn't know anything about it, so we hid it in Nick and Liisa's garage (bless their hearts) so I could work on it until Christmas without Jenna seeing it.

When we got it back to St. George (Nick and Liisa were kind enough to let me store and work on it in their garage so it could remain a surprise for our daughter) and unloaded it, it became clear that the previous owners were smokers. (I may have forgotten to ask that. Whoopsie Daisy!) My plan to simply redo the paint and flooring got thrown out, and I realized I was going to have to strip it completely and prime it all.

I started by stripping the dollhouse down completely, including removing all the wood floors, the carpet, and the wallpaper. I also removed the windows and took them apart so that I could replace the plexiglass because these were so scratched. I sprayed it all, including the bottom with TSP, (make sure to wear gloves when using Trisodium phosphate). I filled all the cracks, nail holes, gaps, and mars with Patch n Paint, and then sanded it down before priming it.

Next, I primed it with Zinsser Primer; it's the best thing I have found to eliminate odors and stains. If you're ever in the same boat needing to remove odors, don't forget to paint every single nook and cranny, especially underneath the project. I used the rattle can version of the primer in hopes that it would create as smooth a base as possible. I could not believe what a difference that little amount of work made in the appearance. I had a blank slate, but now the work really began! Coming soon... Part 2: Paint and Roofing.

Products Used:


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