KJ Dollshouses Street Scene

Saturday, 21 July 2012


I would like to post Tudor related stories/photos that other miniaturists and collectors can send me, that includes any other artisans who make Tudor items.

It could be photographs of your own house, room box and collection or something you have seen that you think would be of interest to other like minded collectors.

I am always looking for new ideas with regards to architectural features I can include on one of my houses so you could send me photos of real buildings you have come across, so I can think about including them.

Anyone who has something that they would like posted onto my blog please email me at kjbc@hotmail.co.uk and if I think it will be of interest to other enthusiasts I will post it on the blog.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Looking For A Customer For A Very Special Commission

Although all of my houses are individual and unique, I am currently looking for a customer who would like to order a commission built house that I will design from scratch specially for them.

The process would involve the customer giving me an idea of what they want the house to be, a pub, merchants house, manor house, shop, or something that I have not thought of yet. I would then discuss it with them and then sketch up a few ideas, including elevations, floor plans and sizes etc,  email them across to have them approved and make any necessary changes before starting the build.

Throughout the whole building process I would keep the customer fully informed about the build via emailed photos, and would also give them options with regards to choices they will have including window and door positions, how many lights and where they want them, colour for the stain and the walls, and various other bits and pieces. For those who might feel daunted by having to think about choices, don't worry I am happy to advise and make any decision you are not comfortable with.

When the house is complete, which the customer could name, I would like to take it to exhibit at a show before delivering it to them. It will depend on the timing as to what show I would take it to, but I would like to be able to take it to the Midland Show at the Impney Chateau in Droitwich Spa which is in November this year.

Along with the house I would deliver a CD or memory stick with all of the photos I had taken during the build, and also photos of the completed house and on the stand at the exhibition, which would provide you with a complete record for the build of your house and a lovely thing to keep as a record.

I would also like to to add the resulting design of house to my website, and also to keep updated my blog throughtout the build so hopefully other people will follow the build, you never know it might becoming a debating forum to get advice and discuss the various decisions the customer will need to make.

I have built numerous commissioned houses where I email customers with particular questions and options but never with the express intention of taking it to a show. I would be happy to give you contact details for some of these past customers so that they can reassure you that the process isn't too daunting.

The 3 photos above are of a house I built to order for a customer in America, it was the house that inspired me to build the Pilgrims Rest which I took to Dallas. I love doing commissions because quite often customers ask me for a specific feature, in this case she wanted a plate rack in the kitchen with a pot hanging rail above the fire, I designed it to suit and now have built it into all the houses I have built since.

The next 3 photos are of a customers "Tudor Rose", hence the coloured rose in the centre of the ground floor. In this house she specifically asked for a "Great Hall" so it was the house I developed the 2 storey room on the top floor with a feature window and large access panel. This is now a feature that has become the norm now, and unless I am asked otherwise I build the "Great Hall" into all of my houses. The customer sourced the weature feature to use beneath the external stairs.

The last 2 photos are of a "Market House", which I originally developed to be run as a build project in Dollhouse and Miniature Scene Magazine, which is still only part way through in the magazine. The first house went to a customer who bought it for her sister and it was shipped to New Delhi, I built another which I sold at Miniatura and was shipped to Denmark, I then received a commission to build one for a guy in Bude, Devon, for his wife's birthday.

If there is anyone out there who would like a "Smuggler's Inn", complete with slip way, beach and cave, please let me know. It is something I have been thinking about for a while but I would prefer to be building it for a customer as oppose to building it speculatively.

I would be more than happy to discuss any ideas that anyone has regarding future projects. 

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

 Brigitte's Deluxe Rochester.

 I had been asked several times at shows I was exhibiting at whether I did any courses or classes so I decided to offer this option via my website. I received a few enquiries and then got 2 bookings very close to each other last year. The first was from a guy called Mike Reed from Bristol and the second was a woman called Brigitte from Frankfurt, Germany. 

The workshop is over 7 consecutive days and those days can run over any 7 days the customer wants,  i.e. Wednesday to Wednesday, Sunday to Sunday etc. It is also up to them how early they start and when they want to finish. The workshop is at my home so I am happy to work 16 hours a day if they wish, it is their choice if they decide they want to have a day off and go and explore the Devon countryside.

Customers stay at a local pub called the Rising Sun, on a B&B basis, the pub being ideally located along the banks of the river Taw and is only a mile from the workshop. For those who don't drive I am happy to take them to and fro the Rising Sun, often so I can nip in for a quick pint.

As a house of this size would take me 4 to 5 weeks, there is no way that anyone is going to complete one in the 7 days they are with me, so the idea is for me to show them as much as I can and they can either take the house at the stage it is at the end of the week, or I will finish for them and arrange delivery.
 The 3 Painted Room Boxes and Access Panels.

Both Mike and Brigitte decided on the Deluxe Rochester style house. I prepared the 3 room boxes and access panels by forming them and giving them all 3 coats of paint, so that they could start work on them straight away and not have to turn up and watch paint dry.

 Brigitte Learning the Basics of How to Use Small Bench Saw and Sander.

 The first job was to take them through the safety side of things and show them how to operate and use the tools safely. I made it clear that if there was any of the tools or process's involved that they were not happy to use or do, not to worry and that I would do anything they were unsure about.

 Fixing Ceiling Joists to the Second Floor.

One of the very first jobs when they arrive is to cut, form, stain and lay the individual floor boards to all 3 room boxes, and then move on to the internal wall beams and rafters, before fixing all 3 room boxes together. For the rest of the week I will show students how to make everything from the brickwork on the plinths, the wall lights, Oak panelling, roofing, paving and leaded light windows, every techinique required to finish a house.

I finished Brigitte's house off from this stage, keeping her updated and giving her choices by way of emailed photos etc, and then shipped the house to her in Frankfurt.

Mike came back for a couple of days so he could be there to see how I plaster and sculpt the roof and chimney on his house, I then finished it off and delivered it a couple of weeks later.

I must admit I was a little worried about showing people, who by their own admission didn't have many skills with regards to DIY and using tools, I was especially worried about the language barrier between Brigitte and me, but luckily she spoke perfect English and it wasn't a problem. It gave me quite a lot of satisfaction that by the end of the week they were confident with all aspects of building the houses, and I really enjoyed having company in the workshop.(It can be a very lonely place when you are working a 10 hour day on your own)

Mike is so confident he was going to follow my project in Dollhouse and Miniature Scene Magazine where I show how to build a much larger house, the Market House, and Brigitte has set up her own little workshop at home.

Brigitte is so proud of her house that she wants to exhibit it at a show in Germany next June, and has asked me to go with her so that I can use it as a way of selling more houses.

All in all I can honestly say it was a very satisfying and rewarding experience and I would welcome any enquiries from people who might want to give it a go.

Brigitte Admiring Her Work at the End of Her Week With Me.   

Brigittes Boyfriend, Mathias, Gets The Job of Unpacking the House When it Arrives in Frankfurt.
I Think its Safe to Say Brigitte is Pleased to See Her Finished House for the Firts Time.  

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Furnishing My Houses

When I am taking houses to shows and taking photographs to put new houses on my website or for magazine articles I do like to furnish the rooms so people can get an idea of how the rooms will look and also so they can appreciate how much space is available in each room.

I am lucky enough to be friends with Gary and Heidi Masters of Masters Miniatures, (www.mastersminiatures.com) who always kindly lend me their furniture to enable me to do this.

Although they carry a vast range they are always happy to take on special commissions, which is what they did for the 2 thrones shown in the first two photographs. I found a french website for a company who make the full size furniture and gave the photos to Gary who made them up for me. 

I know I probably don't furnish them to everyones liking and people who buy my houses will have their own opinions on how they should be dressed, but so far every house I have sold either at shows or commission builds, the customer has also bought the furniture I have displayed in the houses.

The first few shows I exhibited at I didn't take any furniture and it therefore only use to take me about 30 minutes to unload my house and dress the table ready for the show, but now I have a new found respect for all of those artisans who exhibit at shows and make their stands look so good. It now takes me a couple of hours to carefully unpack all of the furniture which is individually bubble wrapped and to place it all. I certainly find positioning all of the place settings a royal pain, especially the knifes and forks, as I position one I tend to dislodge a further 2.

I can see why it take ssome exhibitors hours to dress their stands and then to repack it all.

I am always on the look out for new and different furnishing and accessory ideas so please feel free to make any suggestions you may have.

Friday, 6 July 2012


For anyone who would like to build their own Tudor room box like the one featured here, I would be happy to teach you all the techniques and the skills required to do so on a one to one basis via emails.

I would supply you with a complete list of materials required and for the more unusual items such as the door ironmongery, electrical circuit board and spit roast fire I could give you a price for me to supply these to you.

For those who don't feel too confident using small power tools to cut all of the small pieces of timber to form the wall lights and brackets, I could also give you a price for me to make them all and send them to you.


We would work at your pace with me sending you detailed instructions complete with photographs via email at the various stages. 

You would be able to email me directly to ask any questions you have at any time, to which I would try to answer within 24 hours, so if you get stuck at any point you will not be held up for very long.

I would teach you all of the techniques required including how to make the wall lights, how to make the floor boards complete with joints and nail holes, how to form the exposed brickwork on the outside of the chimney, make all of the decorative support brackets, make the working door, how to plaster the chimney and the paving, and finally how to weather the outside of the box to make it appear aged.

I know there are lots of classes being held all over the country, but why leave the comfort of your own home to attend them when you can do it there. Not having to drag yourself out at a time thats convenient for someone else, but doing the work when it suits you, not at a set time for a couple of hours a week, but at time periods to suit you.

The finished room box can be used as it is with the flat roof on and you can fully furnish and accessorise it, or alternatively you could follow my instructions and build 2 more room boxes that stack on top of the first to form a finished 3 storey house.

Please feel free to contact me with any queries you may have regarding my online classes.


Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Latest House For Sale

Below is the full description and specification for the house I designed and built specially for my trip to Dallas. I am currently 3/4 of the way through the build of a similar house which is for sale. If I don't sell this house by the time its finished it will be shipped to The Little Dollhouse Company store in Toronto, Canada.

I met Maria who runs the store in Toronto whilst I was in Dallas and she asked me then if I would be able to make her a house she could display in her store and also take to the shows she exhibits at, which is why I started a similar house as soon as I returned from Dallas.

I am able to ship the house to anywhere in the World and would be happy to provide a quote for shipping. All of the houses I ship come in their own purpose built packing crate, with the house being bubble wrapped and then the complete packing case being filled with polystyrene packing beads before the lid is screwed on. I include the empty packing bead bag so that its easy to pack all of the beads away again when the house is unpacked. The sides of the packing case are all screwed together so when it is dismantled it can be stored flat for use later or for easy disposal.

The lift off access panels are also individually wrapped in bubble wrap and carefully placed around the house inside the packing case to ensure safe arrival. Any accessories that come with the houses, such as hanging signs, hanging baskets, water troughs and fursniture etc, are  packed safely into boxes which are then put inside the house for safety.


When I decided that I was going to bring a house over to Dallas to exhibit at the Texas Miniature Showcase I was determined to create a new house with some new and exclusive features , and the result is the “Pilgrims Rest” in which I have managed to build something that I am very proud of.

This house has a base size of  33”w x 20”d, with the overall house size being 36” w x 22” d x 48” h.                                           

There are a total of 7 rooms, accessed by way of lift off panels, 6 to the front, and  1 to the right hand roof gable.

There are approx 46 working lights, plus 3,  triple arm chandeliers in the roof spaces, and 3 working
fires, all operated by remote control.

All of my houses incorporate certain elements that I class as standard which include, solid wooden floors and beams, hand sculptured roofs, paving and chimneys, exposed brick work panels to the outside of the chimney, hand made leaded light windows, aged and weathered exterior walls, simulated pegged timber frame joints, fully finished access panels, and all of my houses are numbered, signed and dated on the back.

Some of the features that I have incorporated into the ”Pilgrims Rest” include:

1.     The house sits on a brick plinth made with real individually fixed brick slips, with 2 sets of entrance steps leading to the ground floor level.

  1. The lights to each room are wired on individual circuits, so that you can choose which rooms, or combination of rooms to light up, including lights in the rear corridors and the stairwell and balcony. The chandeliers are also on a separate circuit so you can choose whether to have them on with the wall lights, or to use just the chandeliers, or just the wall lights. All of this is complimented by the use of a full remote control system, which can operate each circuit and can dim them as required.

The remote control circuit board has 24 output points, with some not being used which means you can easily connect your own lamps etc and have them work via the remote control hand set.

  1. The fireplaces on the ground and first floors have concealed lights up inside them, and all 3 fireplaces come complete with a fire which includes a working red fire bulb which, again can be operated with the remote control.

  1. The left hand top floor lift off access panel, is a double height panel, providing unrestricted access to the main feature of the house, which is the “Great Hall”, this is a magnificent double height room, opening out into the roof space which has exposed roof timbers. This room will make  a fantastic banqueting hall, and looks great with a long table, suits of armour and tapestries etc.

  1. The banqueting hall features a real stone fireplace, the design of which is made exclusively for KJ Dollshouses, by Gavin Poyner, of Dolls House Fireplaces. To compliment the fireplace I have fitted a metal coat of arms above it, along with 4 colourful authentic shields high up on the back wall.

  1. Solid oak half height wall panelling to the Great Hall and the room adjoining it.

  1. Several mouse holes dotted around the house, some with their own friendly resident mice.

  1. There is a “Salamander” built into the outside of the chimney which was used to ward of the danger of fire in Tudor times.

  1. The house comes complete with a feature twisted effect castellated terra cotta chimney pot.

  1. The house also has 2 hanging signs, which can be printed with what ever text the customer specifies.

  1. The hanging baskets and brackets, fitted to the house, are also included.

  1. I have incorporated a new bracket detail to the internal corners in each room, along with a new decorative detail beneath each internal window sill.

  1.  This is the most detailed house I have built to date, with more than 300 hand made brackets and wooden pegs fitted to it.

  1. The use of very ornate timber mould to the barge boards, door frames and around the feature windows to the 2 top front lift off panels.

  1. For the very first time I have fitted a plate rack in the ground floor room which has the fireplace, along with a hanging rail in the fire itself, ( including hanging hooks and copper pans) so this room now lends itself to being used in a variety of ways, a shop, a working kitchen or an inn.

  1. To get your collection started the house also comes with a hand made tudor handcart, a few barrels and a water pump trough.

The price of the Pilgrims Rest is:        P.O.A.

"Pilgrims Rest" being packed ready for shipping to Dallas
 Being unpacked ready for the show in Dallas

"Pilgrims Rest" before it was shipped with all of the access panels removed.

Side view of house with the gable panel removed.

 Gable attic bedroom

Balcony, beams, brackets, panelling and stair details

 Ground floor kitchen with plate rack and hanging rail over the fireplace


 The "Great Hall"

Figure borrowed from another exhibitor. Do you recognise him?

The remote control unit and connection circuit board.

If anyone would like more information regarding the "Pilgrims Rest" please do not hesitate to contact me.