Sunday, October 21, 2012

transforming a "real life" house design into "the dollscottage"

To begin, thank you all for "signing on" to follow the construction of "the dollscottage".  I appreciate your enthusiastic comments and I'll do my best to keep this blog informative . . . and fun.

As promised in my last post, here's a little background on the design and the logistics of how the cottage comes apart.

the design

My goal was to create a small cottage style house with relatively simple geometry to minimize the construction costs . . . should it ever be built for "real"!  I also wanted to incorporate large windows to maximize the natural light.

The first floor has an open plan with the main living space consisting of a large kitchen open to a living room with fireplace, and a formal dining room.  Additional amenities include a half bath, mudroom, and laundry room.  Beyond this, my indulgences are a spacious front porch, large entry hall with a dramatic staircase, and a screened back porch.  The square footage for this floor is approximately 1615.  The second floor consists of two bedrooms, each with a walk-in closet and private bath.  The larger, "master suite", also features a roof top deck . . . another indulgence!  The square footage for this floor is approximately 960 which brings the total for the cottage to approximately 2575.  This of course, doesn't account for the garage . . . but that's another project!

the interior access
. . . or how does the cottage "open"

My goal is to conceal how the cottage comes apart as much as possible.  To best describe my approach, I'll start with a couple of drawings.

Front Elevation "open"

First Floor "open"

Second Floor "open"

Congratulations to those of you who guessed the cottage splits down the middle.  In addition, the front porch is built on a separate foundation so it easily "slips" in place beneath the overhanging second floor.  This is done so there's no visible "seam" in the porch.  Also, when the front porch is removed, the "boxed out" front wall of the dining room comes with it to give better access to the dining room.  In addition, the screened walls of the back porch are removable for easy access to this room.  Since the design of this cottage is being adapted to 1:12 scale, there will be secondary rooms with limited visual access.  The half bath, mud room, and laundry room are three of these spaces so my intention is to finish these rooms from the outside before the exterior wall is closed up.  They will be seen only through the windows and a door left cracked open!  To conceal the "seam" when the cottage is "closed", the flooring is cherry with the planks running from the front to the back.

Access to the second floor rooms is a little more challenging since the floor plan isn't open.  The wall running down the middle of the structure is constructed in such a way that when the cottage is "open", it can be removed for access into the bedrooms.  As with the half bath, mudroom, and laundry room on the first floor, the bathrooms for each bedroom will be finished from the outside before the exterior wall is closed up.  I'm relying on the large windows for visual access to these spaces.  The largest walk-in closet will actually conceal most of the electrical components for the structure, but more about that later.

I'm finding that, as the cottage is being constructed, modifications are becoming necessary to insure its success.  I'll be sharing these with you along the way.  I love the challenge . . .

the preview
 . . . "laying" the foundation

The Cottage Foundation Walls
The exterior foundation walls and intermediate support walls are 1" x 2" poplar.  This view shows the two parts of the cottage separated.

The Completed Cottage Foundation

The sub-floor is 1/4" MDF.  This makes the foundation very strong while keeping the weight down as much as possible.  Special credit for this foundation must be given to my talented sub-contractor.  You know him best as  . . . Ray W.  He surprised me by completing it in between his tasks on  La Maison des Grands Rêves!!!

I hope your curiosity is piqued and that you all plan to stay tuned for the exciting third installment of "the dollscottage" where the sills will be laid for the first floor walls!

Until next time . . .


  1. Oh yes my interest is totally piqued! I am going to love watching this cottage go up---

  2. je continue à suivre ce projet.
    Cuisine ouverte, cheminée... ce que j'aime !

  3. Oh, yes, I am curious for sure, This must be one of the best ideas ever for opening a house. I don't like the open back houses and neither the ones with front doors, the room walls with windows and curtains and nothing else always look so.....mmh, just weird. Alas , my present house will have these doors, but you sure are giving lots of food for future houses, my thoughts have already gone some way to a better solution, but I have never thought of splitting a house right down the middle. Looking forward to see this unfold.

  4. You're making me want to build my Bethany House all by myself! .... Just that I have no experience and no tools whatsoever of the trade! However, I will follow and take notes. Write simple and translation with Google translated is so precise. Thanks Scott!

  5. It will be interesting to see this floor plan come together. curiosity peeked 100%

  6. Hello Scott,

    I am intrigued! You are really "thinking outside the box" and I am looking forward to seeing this new concept in construction unfold.


  7. Hello Scott,
    I think your thought process is justw onderful. The project is very exciting and I can't wait to see it take shape. I really love your very realistic floor plan. It's great to see a minitaure project that fully works like a real building. I can't wait to see more.
    Big hug,

  8. Oh my goodness! I've never seen such elaborate plans and one that could work for a real house. I'm intrigued! :o) A mini mudroom too! lol

    I love the idea of it splitting in two.

    Michelle :o))

  9. Exciting plan! I suspected it would open in the middle but how are you going to prevent dust and false light to come in through the closing/opening line?
    Oh well, I'll just wait and see I suppose :)


  10. Sorry I'm so late, Scott --your blog doesn't show up on my 'list' for some reason...but anyway, I'm also fascinated with your plan. Can't wait to see how the mechanics work.

  11. Hello, Just discovered your blog. It looks great. We share the same backgrounds - architecture and interior design. I am looking forward to seeing your progress. Troy

  12. Hi Scott,

    I just wanted to say that your out-of-the-box approach to the way the cottage will be opened to allow access to the interior is absolutely brilliant!

    I can't wait to see the progress on the building