The Dollhouse Builders of Westview Meadows

John and Julio wiring a Bostonian Dollhouse

Could you give me a hand getting started with the wiring on this dollhouse?

I’ve known John for years – even before he moved to Vermont.  We’ve traded yarns about machinery, the merchant marine (him) and commercial fishing (me); he’s got quite a few years on me but we share a love of tools, a history of keeping busy, and dollhouses.  I’ve known Julio for a lot less time, but we’re old friends who just haven’t known each other very long yet.  It’s been my pleasure to spend some time with them recently to give them an introduction to wiring a dollhouse. 

John and Julio are the core dollhouse builders at Westview Meadows, a retirement (retirement??) community in the next town over.  They always have some project on the table, bird houses, clocks, gizmos to share, and dollhouses.  They build dollhouses from kits all the time!  Big dollhouses, tiny dollhouses, dollhouses to auction for local charities and dollhouses to sell.  But, in years of dollhouse building, they’ve never wired one. ‘Till now

I knew they wouldn’t need much help… just a push in the right direction.  I got a starter doll house wiring kit from CirKit and some extra tapewire (it’s a big dollhouse), but they don’t use the internet much so they couldn’t easily study the wiring help section of the dhbuilder.com site.  Besides, the kit they are building is the Bostonian, which is a little different from the dollhouse used as a demo model on that site, so I went over on a spare morning to get them started. 

We planned the wiring together on that first day.  The thing that’s unusual about how the Bostonian dollhouse kit goes together is that the walls have connectors between them, which makes wiring from one wall to the next awkward.  But it’s easy to wire all of the front-to-back walls and to connect them with a tapewire run across the ceiling.  That gives us power on both sidewalls, on every divider, and on every ceiling – more than enough for a lot of miniature lighting.   

The next time I went over, the dollhouse was built, except for the dividers (leaving them out for the moment makes the ceiling runs easier) and one connector at the back edge was waiting for the house connection to be run underneath it.  We did the ceiling runs and both end walls.  I did the first floor with their help and they did the second floor with my help.  We did front-to-back runs on the ceiling for chandeliers, base runs for outlets, sconce runs for wall lights, and left wire in the right place for coach lamps on the porch.  I showed them how to do a connection before I left.

A few days later, I came over to put some power in the system and found the dividers all installed and wired, and all of the connections done.  We went from one miniature room to the next with the tester, poking it in to the wire and watching it light up.  Each burst of light was a new discovery and a new delight.  The laughter drew folks in from the hall, looking over our shoulders and oohing and aaahing along with us, one room at a time.  That tiny workshop was stuffed with people!  A few of the connections needed an extra eyelet to make them work, but in short order the whole house was ready for papering and painting.  We sat there in that little room looking at the dollhouse with all of the strips of wire marking the places where jewels of light will be, and I could see the glowing excitement in John and Julio’s faces – pride of accomplishment, and delight in anticipation of the finished product.  My delight is rather in the peace of the moment and the joy of working with these marvelous gentlemen.  I sat for an extra few minutes until they were up and at it again, and they needed my space.

I’ll do another post in a while to document the continued progress of the Bostonian doll house at Westview Meadows, but right now, I’ve got a coach lamp to install and two old friends to visit.

The Dollhouse Builders of Westview Meadows, Continued

The Dollhouse Builders of Westview Meadows wire a Bostonian

Vermont’s Governor Douglas admires John and Julio’s Bostonian

Gary

One Response to “The Dollhouse Builders of Westview Meadows”

  1. Barb Says:

    Hi,
    what a wonderful story. These guys sound like my kind of people.
    I have just started the Bostonian house… what exactly did you do different for the wiring with this house? It is my first time wiring a house …so I want to be sure that I get it right.
    Barb