Or, “You can’t always get what you want!”
If that song gets stuck in your head for the rest of the day, I refuse to accept the blame. Except you’re welcome.
I would like to take a moment and point out the major differences between decorating a house and decorating a dollhouse. You see, back when Mark & I were still living in campus housing (barely a year and a half ago) and I was dreaming of the day that we would have our own place, we built dollhouses. I poured all of my creative effort into decorating the dollhouses, many of which we sold on Etsy or Ebay. We have probably built over 30 dollhouses!
Here are a few of the ones we’ve made: (the top left house we actually shipped to the Netherlands…yes we are that good)
We really enjoy the construction process- painting pieces, hand-shingling the roofs (I could shingle an entire roof in the time it took Kate & Leo to become the world’s most famous lovers) , installing windows and porches and trim- but I gotta say, my favorite part was the INSIDE. Which shouldn’t surprise you at all! Now I’m going to shamelessly show off the decorating I did in the big yellow house- my own personal dollhouse. This one I’m keeping!
Yep, I got pretty hardcore! A lot of the pieces in my dollhouse I’ve had since I was a little girl. I first got into dollhousing when I was 11 and built my own out of a cardboard box. I’ve also made a point to collect mini furniture on vacations. A couple of Christmases ago Mark & I visited some of my extended family in Massachusetts. We dug up this tiny little shop in Braintree that was a veritable treasure trove of spectacular minis! I ended up leaving with a miniature violin & horsehair bow in its own blue velvet lined case, to go with the mini grand piano I have had since I was 13. My mini family is very musical=P
Anyway, my point is that dollhousing is not like owning a real house. AT ALL. In my mini houses, something just has to “look” real, at least real enough to fool people in pictures or a cursory glance. If wallpaper (aka fancy scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby) tore, I would patch it as neatly as possible. Mini rugs layered over stains or holes on mini carpeting. The fantastic mini chandelier in the dining room distracts from the fact that my dining table set is practically falling apart, it’s that old (I found it for sale on Craigslist in a lot of vintage minis- SCORE).
In a real house, that’s just not kosher. Which is why I’m completely surprised that my “trompe l’oeil” project actually worked! Trompe l’oeil is French for:
“To deceive the eye”
Or as I like to put it, “faking it!” (keeping it classy) and it refers to all kinds of crazy stuff, like this:
But for the purposes of this blog, it refers to this:
Something’s different about my kitchen… Figure it out? The window! It didn’t use to be multi-paned like that! Can you tell I’m still excited?? =D It used to be your average plain-jane window, albeit a new one.
I’ve always loved the look of multi-lite, or multi-paned windows. They’re a design leftover from when glass panes were made by spinning a glob of melted glass on the end of a metal rod. The faster you spun, the wider the glass spread out, into a “plate” shape. The shape could then be carefully cut down and used in windows- but these panes weren’t very big. In order to make large windows, multiple panes would be inserted into a window frame, hence the moniker, multi-paned windows. Now that we have the technology to make sheets of glass any size we want, it’s no longer necessary to use multi-paned windows, but many people (myself included) still love the antique, cottage-y feel of them. I remember my mom had wooden “mullions” made for our windows when I was growing up, pieces that fit together in a criss-cross pattern and snapped firmly into the window frame. I knew that mullions would be perfect for my own windows- but there was a catch.
Wooden mullions are expensive.
*insert ugly crying here*
There are a lot of windows in our home and I am obsessed with the amount of natural light we get- but I wanted to dress them up, dangit!
My artsy-fartsy brain got spinning, and I hatched an idea. One that is apparently completely unique, as all of my searching online for “DIY mullions” or “fake multi-paned windows” found posts with lots of wood & cutting & gluing…ick. Following these tutorials, I would be gluing wood DIRECTLY TO THE WINDOW. I don’t think so. Thank god I have a brain (yes, leaves me wide open to sarcastic comments, I am aware of that. I do, after all, have a brain). When you see this you are just going to wet your pants that you didn’t think of it first.
How to DIY faux multi-paned windows (that are easy, completely removable & non-invasive)
STEP ONE: Get some white electrical tape. $3.80, Lowe’s, 3/4″ is pretty standard.
STEP TWO: Measure your window and decide how many “panes” you want. The height of the window was 14 inches, so I put the horizontal strip at 7″. (I also discovered during this step that the two kitchen windows are different sizes- 26 inches wide and 27 inches wide, respectively. WTF?) Vertical strips were placed about every 8 inches. Handy tip- dry erase marker can be used during this part, it goes on easy and wipes off easy!
STEP THREE: Using a straightedge (or handily placed sheet of scrap paper), carefully measure where each strip goes, place the edge of the paper right next to it, and lay the strip of electrical tape on the window. Make sure it’s positioned correctly before pressing down firmly- don’t worry about the cris-crossed bit or any extra along the edges yet. I wasn’t striving for perfection, I just wanted to see if this was going to look stupid or not.
STEP FOUR: Trim up! Using a sharp Xacto knife, carefully cut & peel off the excess electrical tape at the ends of each piece, and also where the tape criss-crosses.
STEP FIVE: Stand back and enjoy!
My multi-paned windows even look great from the outside (although for the love of all that’s holy can I please find some inspiration for that FLOWER BED???):
So far I’ve only done the top half of each kitchen window, despite the fact that my ever-optimistic self purchased two (TWO!!) rolls of electrical tape. Apparently I have hours to spend taping every window. Not.
I haven’t decided if I want to DIY the lower half of the windows- I think they look pretty cool as-is. Next step: mustering up enough courage to do this to the massive picture window in the kitchen. If I can tear myself away from staring at my lovely “new” windows all day…