The Littlest Vintage Cottage - Dollhouse Exterior Makeover

January 17, 2018
Recently I shared with my subscribers that I bought a house... a sweet little dollhouse! (If you aren't on the list and you want to be among the first to know about things like this you can sign up right here! You'll also get the free ebook mentioned!)
I had a dollhouse when I was young. My mom built it and a lot of the furniture from kits. It hung on the wall and was a Victorian style, kind of a mustard yellow color, and I think it was 3 stories! We just got rid of it a few years ago.

I found this cute little house at Goodwill and it was only $6.99 so I could hardly leave it behind! πŸ˜‰ I like the size too.

But, it is in desperate need of a complete makeover though... inside and out which is why I decided to rescue it. We all love a good room reveal even in miniature form, don't we?

I have some exciting things planned for this little house. I'll be working on this throughout the year and I'll be DIYing most everything... even some of the furniture and of course I'll share along the way!

Let me introduce you to The Littlest Vintage Cottage!

Dollhouse exterior makeover with a new sandpaper roof!!

And here is the interior (obviously nothing has happened in here yet.

But to get the full appreciation of how far this has come already you must see the before!

This was a little kit house that someone lovingly assembled and decorated but obviously, it was either played with a LOT or it just wasn't very well cared for, maybe both.

I mean, look at how dirty!!! The front steps are missing and window boxes are broken.

And those hearts... they gotta go!

There are four rooms... I'm thinking living room and kitchen on the main level and bedroom and bathroom upstairs... speaking of stairs... there aren't any... yet!

Some trim is missing on the side.

The first thing I did was remove all the hearts, those hideous flowers, and broken trim pieces and clean!


Then I used wood filler to patch it up.

I found a little sample pot of paint at Lowe's for just .50 cents! Perfect!

I mixed in a little white paint to lighten it up a bit.

I made new trim pieces to replace the broken areas from wood left over from my kitchen backsplash.

And I used the one remaining window box to create new fronts for the others.

The shutters and window boxes are painted light grey.

It looks much better already don't you think?!

But then there's that roof... they tried to imprint what is supposed to look like shingles into the wood but I just think it's kind of sad.

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I decided to make shingles from sandpaper. I found this package of black drywall sandpaper.

I marked lines on the back every inch.

Cut each strip and then marked those strips with a line down the center and vertical lines every inch along the strip.

Cut up to the halfway line on every inch mark to create the look of shingles.

And then start roofing the house! I used wood glue to adhere the strips to the roof of the house.

By the time I was finished I felt like it took about as long as it would have to roof a normal size house!! 😜

And you use what you have to weigh down the shingles while they dry... even a can of spam!

Doesn't it look nice though!!??

I'm excited to get started on the interior! I've ordered a staircase already.


What do you think of the exterior now?

Did you have a dollhouse when you were young?

Posted by: at January 17, 2018 Tag:

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  1. Tania, I was literally saying to myself..."hope she keeps those hearts," when you said they gotta go! Hehe. I kinda liked 'em. But wow, you have improved it a whole lot with just that paint job! And the sandpaper for the roof is really clever. Great start! Even if you didn't keep the hearts.

  2. Hi Tania, so cute! Love the sandpaper roof. Can’t wait to see the entire process. I did have a doll house. I would have fallen in love with the little cottage you found too, but I’m not as handy and clever as you, so I’ll have to enjoy your renovation vicariously.
    Thanks for sharing...

  3. Too cute! Love the sandpaper shingles! Very realistic looking. You may find that a lot the mini projects turn out to take about as long as a full size one would. :-}

  4. Ooohhh darn, sorry I disposed of the hearts. I guess they were kind of cute but my vision is more like a mini version of a real house and I don't see hearts on real houses. lol!


  5. Hi Linzey! I'm so glad you like the little house, I'm really excited about it! I bet you have more talent than you know... all you need is someone (like me) to create fun tutorials for you!! ;)


  6. Thank you! I bet so too!


  7. handmade by amaliaWednesday, January 17, 2018

    I didn't have a dollhouse growing up but I'm beginning to think it is more fun having one as an adult :-) What a fantastic project, I so looking forward to seeing it completed. The exterior promises great things.

  8. That is just too adorable for words. Love love love the roof shingle you made. So clever. Looking forward to seeing the inside/

  9. Will you be doing the inside too?

  10. Thrifty Mom In BoiseThursday, January 18, 2018

    I had this particular dollhouse several years ago. I had grand plans for it, but no time as it sat and collected dust. Eventually I let it go. Now i"m going to live vicariously through you. Can't wait to see what is next! The shingles are brilliant!

  11. Hi Sarah! Yes, I will be working on the interior and sharing throughout the year!


  12. Thank you so much! Maybe when you retire you can get another one to work on.


  13. I definitely think it's going to be more fun having one as an adult!


  14. Thanks Lora! Maybe you'll be inspired to get yours out!


  15. This is absolutely adorable! I totally would have bought it for that price, too! I've got one in my basement I'd love to refresh and I love your shingle idea! Can't wait to see the progress!

  16. Stephanie AbbottMonday, January 22, 2018

    Beautiful job! Clever roof idea. Thanks for sharing at our link party!

  17. Tania the attention to details that you have put into this dollhouse is incredible. It turned out stunning.

  18. JoElle @ A Crafty CompositionThursday, January 25, 2018

    I love how you redid the little roof shingles - so clever. You are inspiring me to drag out my old doll house. My great grandfather made it from scratch for me when I was a little girl and I have been toting it around with me. It's quite large so I'm not sure where I would put it if I did 'remodel'. I can't wait to see how you complete the inside of yours because I just know it's going to be darling!

  19. Thanks JoElle! Oh, I sure hope you decide to remodel yours!


  20. Brilliant using sandpaper for shingles! I am renovating the dollhouse my Dad gave me for my 5th bday. My cat pops the wood shingles off my house! I don't think he'd do that with sandpaper... 😈 wha-haha! πŸ’•

  21. Lol! I bet your kitty wouldn't like that sandpaper! I don't know if you saw it or not but I'm having a giveaway for a $25 gift certificate to on this post:

  22. wow! That was so fun to read. The roof looks great! I'm excited to get started on our exterior and basically gut the inside lol!

  23. I wouldn't have been able to pass this gem up either. Oh my word, brilliant idea for shingles! So fun and can't wait to follow this series 😊


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