Happy Holidays, Dear Readers.
‘Tis the season for Joy and Japes and Merrie Olde Jestes and all that sort of thing.
However, they’re working on the new extension on the house behind ours, and there’s a crew still rebuilding the snot out of My Sainted Mother’s favorite house down the block. Construction budgets know no holidays, only cash flow. So it is with my dollhouse, which I am determined to finish by the end of this year, or at least within the first half of January. Fortunately, I’m broke and only able to mount a pretty mingey Christmas for my loved ones. In this way, the miniature world is the opposite of the full-scale world — in miniature, the less money you have to throw around, the more work you can get done. 😉
Anyway… Observations on the third dry fit to mark room dimensions. With this fit, I’ll mark out ceiling light fixtures and measure floor and walls for the bathroom tiling.
One problem with these quaint old cottages is that their bathrooms are really, really tiny. I suppose most of them were built as mere waterclosets before people had baths upstairs as opposed to hauling out the tub in the kitchen. The itsy-bitsy old-house bathroom is an issue in life just as it is in the Orchid Dollhouse.
The room comes out equivalent to a mere 6.75 feet long by 4.5 feet wide. Watercloset indeed. With some placeholder props and tons of small-space bathroom design inspiration photos from Google and Bing, I think I’ve worked out a reasonable floor plan.
The two windows, side and dormer, pose a challenge, especially the one full-sized window, for which I blame Greenleaf for designing it that way, not myself for failing to notice and to cut a smaller window, which would have been smart of me. A bathroom with a view is nice for both the residents and the neighbors, I’m sure. 😉
Because of the narrowness of the room, the only reasonable placement for the shower is against the dormer at the back. With the toilet and a streamlined sink console on the one solid wall, that leaves easy pass-through in and out and access to the shower. I can put shelves over the sink and toilet for storage. I might even be able to fit in a compact clothes washer, possibly under the sink, perhaps with rods for hang-drying clothes in front of that big-ass window. At least my tiny tenants won’t have to worry about mildew with that much sunshine flooding in.
Like many real houses of its type, altered over generations, the Orchid has features that don’t make sense but are not unusual. For instance, why are there two windows in the only spot that works for a bathroom, but only one smallish window in the only spot that works for the master bedroom, under the gable in the center front? (Note: These windows will be installed when the roof is completed.)
That big triangular gable in the center is prime interior real estate. It would be silly to put the bathroom in it. Anyway, the bathroom should be on the same side as the kitchen in a house this size. The smaller the structure, the more compact the plumbing lines are going to be.
The kit originally includes only one partition wall for each floor, so for most Orchid Houses, the bedroom is much larger and has three windows — the gable, the dormer and the side window. It also has the stairs coming up right in the room. That makes me twitchy. It feels too much like a loft for this kind of house. If it was of an older period or if it were a converted carriage-house type of cottage, it would be fine, but for houses of this type, a bedroom without a door just doesn’t seem right. There may be such cottages of this style and period, but internet searches for “Nantucket cottage floor plans” pretty universally show bedrooms with doors.
So the way I’m envisioning this:
A) You go upstairs to the landing and turn left, then right. You are in a short, narrow hallway. On your immediate right is the door to the bedroom. In front of you at the end of the hallway is the door to the bathroom.
B) You turn left off the stairs and on your right will be the bedroom door. You pass through the bedroom to get to the en-suite bathroom. Not the ideal arrangement for overnight guests sleeping on the sofa, but not unheard of in a small one-bedroom home.
I’ll decide which of these I’ll go with after the gable is constructed and I see how the furniture fits in. Either way, it makes for a dark bedroom, unless we assume windows in the back roof.
This runs into one of the ways dollhouses are never realistic. You can count on three things to break suspension of disbelief in most commercially pre-fabbed dollhouses:
- the stairways will always be too tight;
- the bathtubs will always be too small; and
- the open back will always require you to assume structural features that couldn’t possibly work.
In the Orchid’s case, the pitch of the roof and the length of the second-floor partition wall make it impossible to have a passage from one room to another that wouldn’t be at least a head too short for an average miniature adult to use without stooping significantly, if the back roof actually existed.
With the original roof angle, the bedroom and bathroom doors would be 4.5 inch/feet high at their tallest point, tapering down to less than 1 inch/foot high. If we assume residents who are 5-6 inch/feet tall, this would clearly result in a lawsuit against the architect. “Your honor, are we supposed to crawl in and out of the bathroom like mice?”
Either the walls need to be cut shorter than 8 inches long, which would make the rooms impractically small, or the back roof needs to be angled differently. Only you can’t easily change the pitch of the roof because of all the gingerbread and other exterior details that go with the house. If I ever decide to build a back wall and roof to enclose the house completely, for exterior images or just to be totally obsessive, I will have to construct an extension of the back roof and possibly a second gable, widening the second floor in the center and leaving the two sides as they are.
I suppose I could fit in a tiny home office/guest room that way…
Wow, this rabbit hole sure is deep. 😛