A System of Peek-a-boo


Open and Closed

Sweeping statement #1:  There are probably as many choices and methods for ‘sealing off’ and closing the internal gubbins of a doll’s house model as there are makers.
Sweeping statement #2:  On average, particularly if you are using a kit, it will have a hinge opening (or openings) at the front or, giving a bit of a reversal, be a totally open view from the back whilst presenting the front as a complete, sealed facade.  In either case there may be further hinging or removable bits of the roof to give access in a loft area.

If not using a kit, the choice is yours whether to follow the main designs available for study or to go for something else.  The BBC program, Newsround, had an item on architect designed dolls house produced for charity, 13 flights of fancy with some variety in the box shaped ones whether they should open or close.

In-house variation — the sealed room

I started out thinking of going for the hinging, as in the first image.  There is plenty of advice and how-to information around to keep you on the straight and narrow when doing this, and it struck me as being the safest course to follow.  Then I thought the open back was a good idea, as in the second photo, cutting out the hinge entirely.  However, this would work well only if the building was one room deep.  Meanwhile I was happily building away.

I built the Great Hall.   It was the first room along with the entrance hall, that I’d worked on.  It was followed by the kitchen basic area and I realised that the first installment of the Grt H felt OK for height but was not big enough in length to suit my tastes and that I would also like to add removable outer offices to the kitchen; pantries, store rooms etc.

That sealed the fate of the sealing of the house, or at least the back part of it.  The Great Hall acquired a second, removable half, allowing the hall to be completely closed and lit from within.  The kitchen work and storage areas have yet to be added but their designs exist in my head and are being internally resolved as they revolve.

Having made one sliding panel for the upper room in the Grt H extension, further removable panels for other rooms became lodged in mind as a possibility.  Probably sliding, if their movement is not going to be impeded by some great balk of wood.

Hinged only if I it looks a better bet.

Peek-a-boo comes in

From this point on my view of the model embraced the idea that what I needed was a camera with a flexible scope for viewing the secrets within.  I’m still working on that.  For now, the Great Hall, when the two halves are closed up, can only be viewed by a camera thrust into the main door or seen blearily through the windows.  When cracked open slightly like a very neat egg, there are different perspectives as you can still view from one end to the other,- (see gallery below).

I know;  all a daft idea but, indulge me and we’ll have a laugh together when I fall flat on my face over it 😉

Removable sections present and future

Great Hall

Kitchen and Entrance Hall/Office

Sliding panels

In choosing the layout of the upper floors, it became important that viewing angles might need to be different for various areas.  For example, the Long Gallery needs viewing from two of the narrow ends of its ‘T’ shape to enhance the whole idea of it being a long gallery.

The Arnolfini bedroom has a very definite point of view of a room whilst I wanted the rest of the room to exist as well.  This has meant cutting down the immediately visible in order to echo the Van Eyck painting and giving it a small sliding opening.  The rest of the room can be viewed through windows, and hopefully through its doorway when viewing from a leg of the Long Gallery (always assuming I can get the angles just right).

Guess what:  to make the above three things possible would mean openings on three different faces of the model and cutting in lots and lots of hinges is just not for me.

Candidates for the sliding wall treatment

Other possible sliders

  • 2nd bedroom
  • Long Gallery 2
  • Chapel

What will need deciding in the future?

  • Attic areas
  • Lighting boxes

Jigsaw puzzle problem?

Note to self:  A discreet labelling system is called for to reduce angst when someone removes all sliding walls and is faced with the joy of sorting them!

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