the Dollhouse Builders of Westview Meadows Wire a Bostonian

John, Julio, and Pat (the Dollhouse Builders of Westview Meadows) had a plan to build the biggest, fanciest dollhouse they could manage in the tiny workshop they have.  It would be finished inside and out, electrified, and (with the participation of the whole retirement community) decorated everywhere. They have made scores or houses for others, but this one they would keep.  This one would be a focal point for all their neighbors to enjoy, share with visitors, and re-decorate for every holiday.  They chose the Bostonian for its size, sturdiness, and many surfaces for decorating, and they asked me to help with the wiring.

The Bostonian from the backEarly in the construction phase, we discussed the various ways a dollhouse can be wired.  The most common way is with tape wire, with a primary run around the walls at the base (here’s a wiring demo on the dhbuilder.com website).  The walls in a Batrie series Dollhouse (the Bostonan is a Batrie Dollhouse) are joined with “Connectors” that make a nice trim detail, but, because the trim is part of the construction, it gets in the way of running the wiring on the inside.  So, when wiring a Batrie Dollhouse, I do the primary tape run  on the ceiling and drop power to the walls from this primary run.  It takes planning to get power everywhere it’s needed, but it doesn’t really take longer.  That’s how John and Julio decided to do the wiring

Mark the Taperun

The Ceiling Taperun is easiest to do before any of the Dividers have been installed.  The ceiling taperun must be behind the stairhole and in front of the Divider’s doorhole (as viewed from the front).  We used a piece of wood the right size (the one used here was 4½”) and marked a line for the lay out the wiring with standard measurements so you can find the wire under paint or wallpaperedge of the tape on each endwall and all the way across every ceiling.  When the house is done, this spacer will be screwed under the base floor as a permanent record of where the tape is, and as a “finder” for the tapewire.  We also marked a base run at ¾” and a sconce run at 5¾” on every major wall (this plan does not do any wiring on the diagonal walls for the Bays, or on any of the small walls, but there is wiring on both sides of every room… we’ll mark the Dividers before they are installed

the ceiling taperunThe Ceiling taperun goes all the way across the ceiling from end-to-end, and all the way down both endwalls.  We tried to keep it smooth and straight, and used a stick to hold the corners tight

horizontal taperuns on the dividersJohn and Julio installed the dividers at this point, and did the horizontal taperuns.  The horizontal runs start on the front, wrap onto the divider, thru the door, down the other side of the divider, and back onto the front in one piece.  This cuts down on the number of connections between runs (which we dollhouse electricians always try to minimize). 

the stairwell dropThe floor-to-floor connection is a “drop” that starts at the horizontal run on the far side of the stairhole in the attic (to make the power connection to the left side of the stairs as viewed from the front – these photos are from the back so the “left” side of the stairs is on our right).  Then it goes all the way over the Tower Ceiling, and down the entire stairwell to the first floor baserun.  Once the First Floor horizontal runs are energized, this will bring power to the other floors.connect the drop to the horizontal runs

The “drops” join the ceiling run with the horizontal runs.  Lay a piece of tapewire on top of the ceiling run, with at least 1″ of overlap.  Keep it tight in the corner, and drop it (following the mark) to the baserun. each horizontal run gets a dropI always line up the colors for the drops so that the blue wire overlaps the blue wire in the ceiling run.  In simple wiring systems, it doesn’t really matter which wire is which, but a Batrie wiring pattern easily gets confusing and following this basic rule saves worry.  Every group of horizontal runs needs a drop, but only one.  Running the tapewire thru the door brings it to both sides of the Divider… it doesn’t need a second drop on that side

connect the runs with eyeletsNow “eyelet” the connections.  Again, it is good practice to keep the copper-to-copper and blue-to-blue protocol as you insert the eyelets.  In the fullness of time, you will want to change, add on to, or repair this wiring, and you will certainly wish to know that all the blue wires are connected together, and all the copper wires are connected together.  Your “good practice” now will make it easier later.

 I’ll keep adding to this blog along the way, but if you’re wiring a Batrie house, consider this way to do it (along with the info on the dhbuilder.com website).

The Dollhouse Builders of Westview Meadows

The Dollhouse Builders of Westview Meadows, Continued

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

4 Responses to “the Dollhouse Builders of Westview Meadows Wire a Bostonian”

  1. Carolyne Swayze Says:

    I have purchased a Bostonian and would like to furnish it in a traditional real home style with overstuffed sofa’s and beds most of which I have made and install a modern kitchen and bath. For decorating purposes, I plan to stucco the exterior and paint the interior walls rather than wallpaper and use siding. Given this, any advice on wiring? Thank you.

  2. gary_r Says:

    Liner paper over a wall with tapewire makes it smooth enough so that, after the house is decorated, you won’t see the tape (although you can still find it with touch and your tapewire tester). I always use it before paint – MUCH easier than spackling the wall.

  3. Deborah Gaffney Says:

    I bought the Bostonian doll house and I’m just about done painting it. It’s such a beautiful house! I painted mine ivory with green trim. I like the way that I can use different porch trim. And what is nice about a dollhouse is it’s like owning a home – I can decorate it the way I like it. Plus I can buy furniture that I could only dream about owning. I was amazed when I went to the miniature shop and saw all the different things that are just like the real things that would be in real home. I love my miniature home. Thanks .

  4. Finishing the Interior of a Dollhouse, part 1 | Building Dollhouses with Real Good Toys' Dollhouse Kits Says:

    […] to this is for dollhouses that use connectors to join the walls, like the Batrie Newport or Bostonian). If the rooms will be big enough, I even prefer to wallpaper after the Dividers are in place, but […]