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I wanted to build a dollhouse and, at first, I thought I would just order a dollhouse, read the directions and put it together. To my surprise, I found that there is more to it than that!  There are dollhouses of all different kinds and sizes and I had to keep an eye on the bottom line-MY BUDGET!

First of all, I had to decide which kind of dollhouse I wanted-log cabin, colonial, cottage, farmhouse?  It’s not really that easy of a choice.  All the different kinds of dollhouses come in different sizes.  You need to figure out what size you want and how much you want to spend.  I took a good look at the dollhouses and this is what I found:

Colonial style dollhouses seem to be the largest.
Cottage and farmhouse dollhouses seem to be the smallest.

Well, I decided I wanted a large Colonial style dollhouse.  Good start, but then I needed to figure out how large I wanted my dollhouse to be. Sizes are not necessarily according to measurement alone.  Look at the number of rooms in the dollhouse. When the manufacturer says 9 rooms or whatever, they are counting stairwells as rooms. They are indeed rooms, but they are small. Consider if you would like to count these as rooms or leave them empty.

Then, take a look at the size of the rooms.  Are they going to be big enough to showcase your furniture and accessories (another thing to think about and plan!)?

After making those decisions, you must consider your skill level. If you have never assembled a dollhouse, it will be an interesting journey for you into the world of miniature construction.  If that is the case, I would advise that you start with something simple. Cottage and farmhouse dollhouses are the best for beginners because they are not too intricate in their layout and thus easier to assemble. If you are experienced or very brave, choose a larger one if you wish.

Next, you need to pay very close attention to what is included with the dollhouse kit. The one I chose was the Classic Colonial Quickbuild Dollhouse by Real Good Toys, item #00072.  This dollhouse comes with everything included to complete it as shown on their website (www.realgoodtoys.com) and it comes in either white or pink. Since I am an intermediate level builder, I felt this was a good choice for me because I wanted it to be finished rather quickly, in time for the Christmas season.  This is also a good choice for the brave beginner.

Most dollhouse kits (unless they are a Real Good Toys Quickbuild Dollhouse or something similar) require that you purchase the siding, roofing tiles, flooring, wallpaper, glue, etc. The kits include just the house construction supplies, such as the wood for the ceilings, roof, walls and floors. Make sure you make a list of what you will need to complete the dollhouse as you imagine it should be! There are so many choices for the finishing materials that you might just want to browse www.Dollhousecity.com  to see what is available. There are a lot of choices and careful planning will be required.

Make sure that what you order for finishing materials is in a large enough quantity to complete your dollhouse. Take a look at what is included for window frames and interior doors. Also, windowboxes, flowers and outdoor trees, shrubs and patio furniture is also a consideration.  

Another thing to think about is if you are going to have electricity in your dollhouse.  I opted to have electric lights.  I have never done any wiring before, so I ordered the Large House Wiring Kit and the Basic Wiring Instructions booklet. Make sure you shop for lighting fixtures and lamps for each room you are wiring. Since the lighting is mostly 12 volt lighting, you will have to order batteries to place into the transformer and that will be your energy source.

Making a shopping list as you browse is a good idea.  Check off each item as you order it, that way you can be sure you have done all you can to ensure that you have the materials you need.

As you can see, simply deciding to build a dollhouse is not enough. A lot of thought, planning and research is involved but, in my case, it was a labor of love!
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