on February 22, 2009
The box says "Mansions in Miniature", not mansion in minutes. Nothing on the box indicates this is a project that can be put together in an afternoon, or even a week or two. Look at the list of recommended tools that you should assemble before even beginning! It is designed to be an heirloom or collectible, and anyone who thinks a child could move a 25 lb. house around is kidding themselves. This is not a toy! It is for the serious miniaturist. I certainly wouldn't be letting my 6-year old play with something this delicate and difficult to assemble.
on January 26, 2010
We have bought this San Franciscan Dollhouse from OrangeOnions - was delivered fast and in intact box. However, upon opening we found a few wood trim details cracked (kit was made about 10 years ago, so no surprises). But since there were enough trim supplied, with help of glue and careful planning we have managed to complete the house with mostly intact pieces of trim. All decorative details and trim pieces made from different quality of wood, but you will have enough pieces to choose from. My leftovers from kit consist of about 10 trim pieces, several steps and decorative details - enough to repair outside decorations in case kids will accidently brake it.
It took me and my husband about 10 days to put construction together (just a couple of hours per day with painting of each detail with primer and main color for most of that time), and another month for all the trim, windows, doors and inside decorations (again only evenings). It was fun project for whole family and will be a fun playtime for my kids - see photos.
I would suggest to use epoxy glue for walls and main roof to ensure stability of the construction if you plan this dollhouse for kids. I've also found that booklet suggestion to paint it after whole construction is done might be difficult, so we painted it detail by detail while constructing.
Overall the house is sturdy with thick walls and floors, so kids can play with it. I am sure that outside decorations will eventually fall off during playtime, but again, there is plenty of spare pieces to fulfill for missing parts. We put our dollhouse on swivel base (two pieces of wood and swivel base in between), so it is on turntable for easy access. I've also covered dollhouse outside with clear lacquer to prolong it's life.
Hopefully it will survive my kids' childhood and will be passed to generations.
on November 18, 2013
This is a professional hobby kit not really suited to beginners. I have built seven Duracraft kits and even the small ones take many days. I built this one (San Franciscan) and it took me nearly six weeks at about 4-5 hours a day, having added things like wallpaper, Wainscoating and professional hardwood floors plus shellacking (the strips are included).
Even the walls take hours to complete, as you have to glue them together in sections, and then let them dry on a flat surface before installing.
You need several tools not included with the kit, including hacksaw blades, a workbench, a place outside or in the garage to paint the walls, several pencils, a tape measure, a mitre box for 45-degree cuts, a screwdriver, hammer, glue (for the bricks), popsicle sticks (to stir the glue and brick mix), all kinds of spray paint, protective coating spray--pretty much a miniature construction setup. After all, these are miniature houses 1:12 scale, sometimes 1:18.
Like I said, this is a professional craft project, not a toy that you "play with" per se. Even the furniture can costs hundreds or thousands $$. I usually wired my houses with chandaliers, wall lamps, porch lights--the works. Everything except plumbing.
Plus you have to know what to do when you lose a part or a short a part, or if a part breaks. You have to have a good craft and construction sense to do these kits, and also to appreciate how well they are made. They last for decades if they are built right, just like real houses.
I may post some pictures I took during construction and finished projects. I used to sell them for $400 to $650 each. Basically, about $1.00 an hour labor. I did it for the fun of it, and the owners are still enjoying them today, some 20 years later.
Hope this helps to understand what you are dealing with.
on September 25, 2014
This is very late, compared to the others, but if anyone is thinking about building one, it is a satisfying build. Mine was a 'gift' from a friend who sold his house to move to Florida from Maryland's winters. This had no building instructions, but they are available on line to be downloaded.
I'll add some points that seem worth discussing.My kit was short in the shortest siding parts surrounding the entryway and second floor balcony.I replaced the 7" long pieces with solid panels, and added some trim to make the flat space attractive.I then cut the 7" pieces into the required pieces to finish the walls.
The Cedar shingles are multi- colored, and if you're careless, you can end up with lots of dark ones only. I dumped mine out on a table, and separated the light and dark ones, then chose a proportion of each as I added them.-roughly 1/3 are lighter colored.
The 'brick' foundation prove daunting for me, so I sprayed a white base and used a grey / white / black spray "Splatter" paint to add the bricks through the mask. This paint is available in auto parts stores to spray the trunk areas in cars.-there's a little 'build-up' that replicates the raised bricks very well.
The hardwood floors are best installed with contact cement, as they suggest.I tried Cyano-acrylates with little success....the edges lifted here and there, when sanding...The contact cement would do a better job here.
I'm mounting this on a rotating base with a small yard, shrubbery,grass and trees. This will make it easier to view for visitors, and to play with, for my grandchildren..I can see this lasting for generations, with care..
on October 27, 2009
MY FRIEND HAS THIS HOUSE AND SHE PUT IT TOGETHER WITH SOME HELP FROM ME AND OTHER FRIENDS, AS A PROJECT. WE HAD LOTS OF FUN WITH IT AND NOW HER 6 YEAR OLD GRANDDAUGHTER PLAYS WITH IT,BUT CAREFULLY, IT IS A WORK OF ART. IF YOU WANT YOUR LITTLE TYKE TO HAVE A DOLL HOUSE TO BEAT AROUND GET FISHER PRICE, BUT FOR QUALITY AND LASTING VALUE, I LOVE THIS HOUSE
on August 8, 2014
Can't say much as I haven't put it together yet----But the house itself got good reviews on other sites, and the price was good.As this one is no longer MADE---I was THRILLED that my BF got it for me!
on January 31, 2011
I adore this house! I got it when I was 7 (20 years ago) & it made it through unscathed. Clearly, the construction is intense but thats to be expected due to the size of this house. I kept mine on a small table on a swivel. Several years ago it passed on to a family friend's child who was 6). I plan on buying this for my own daughter.
In response to the reviewer saying the tower (turret) isn't a room, I used mine for the bathroom. The roof section wasn't glued down so I could remove it for use.
on September 24, 2010
Is very easy to asembel, and can be done in a week for a chils use. However it is also very inportand to buy a miner box for trim cutting. Other then that glue and masking tape are all that is needed. Im 44 and have NO wood working skills, yet had a great time assembling this hous. I bought it as a new hobby project. One can construct and decorate a little or alot depending on your desires. I recoument this for childern as well as adults, it sturdy and heavy at about 50 lb.
on September 5, 2015
I had my mine's for twenty years. It was challenging. Most of the framing had to be cut, shingles placed one by one, and the flooring was like the planks in the big houses.I worked on house at night. It was a fun experience.
I love my house. I needed miniature mouse traps. Sadly, the mice took the house.
on January 5, 2011
This is my first time with dollhouse making. Its fun The pieces are well made. There is a lot of detail work that needs to be done.I bought a mini table saw and a mini cut-off saw to make it easier. The only problem I have is now that I started with one made from 3/8 mdf I wont be satisfied with the plywood ones!