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A Dollhouse for our Maileg Collection: Part 1 - Demo & Prep

Updated: Sep 2, 2022

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.

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