Current obsession: German Schmearing

No, German schmearing is not a sex position. That I know of. German schmearing, otherwise known as lime washing or whitewashing, is a treatment for updating brick. It’s also something I’ve become obsessed with since becoming a homeowner. I randomly came across it on Pinterest one day and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.

When we had our house inspection ahead of finalizing purchasing our home, one of the comments our inspector made about the exterior of our house was that the mortar needed to repointing in places and the brick had unfortunately undergone some kind of treatment over the years [he suspected power washing] that removed the veneer or finish from the original brick. Because of this, the brick is a muted colour and was susceptible to damage, and when I later found out about German schmearing, I thought it could be a perfect solution to our strange orange brick.

While the brick is original and is from the Victorian era, it’s pretty basic. Really basic. It isn’t laid in lavish patterns and isn’t fancy. I’m not complaining, but this is another reason why I am partial to giving our house the schmearing treatment. Repointing the mortar as well as dealing with the washed-out orange brick colour might make it look less barfy.

Since then I’ve been obsessed with finding more German schmearing images on Pinterest to further convince myself that this might be a practical solution that would ultimately validate my want to change the strange colour of our house.

But I am hesitant. I would be completely covering the original brickwork. On the other hand, our home is one of very few homes in our neighbourhood that is original brick. All the homes in our neighbourhood are from the same era, but 97% of the houses have been covered in siding over the years. So in my mind, I’m helping to preserve the brick, kind of. By covering it. Kind of.

I’m definitely having a “yeah, but” back-and-forth in my head. I still don’t know what to think, so I’m putting it here for some feedback. And validation. Please validate my ideas. Because I think I could really nail it.

What do you think? Honestly.

Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6.

Lower Town Dollhouse – Part II*

I’m fairly certain the moment I brought Cora’s secondhand dollhouse home and started working on it [now referred to as her Lower Town Dollhouse], I went back online in search for MOAR DOLLHOUSES. Specifically, one for myself.

I set up email alerts for the words dollhouse and doll house on Kijiji in the hopes to find another one just like it, but without the commitment of having to check Kijiji every day [it happened a few times where I found incredible dollhouses for free, but I was a day late in finding the ad and replying to it].

Months went by and nothing. I should say, nothing that I was interested in. Every morning I would get an email full of large, hot pink, plastic dollhouses, which wasn’t what I was looking for. I happened to be talking with my Work Wife last Monday about it and she suggested checking this, how do you say, Facebook Marketplace? I used my dormant Facebook account that I use strictly for posting to my Interior DIYer Facebook page. I logged in, searched for ‘dollhouse’ and there it was. Immediately. A beautiful 90’s Linfield LN190 dollhouse still in its box, in perfect condition, never been assembled, just waiting to be bought.

It’s so perfectly what I’m looking for and is in keeping with Cora’s dollhouse design. It even has little windows that open and close [!!!] and, wait for it, it has it’s own doors. I don’t have to make my own! Though TBH, they were pretty fun to make.

I quickly messaged Robert. “You’re going to think I’m crazy, but I found another dollhouse, but this one is all for me … ” and his response was, “I still play video games. You should start with that as the justification.” I knew there was a reason I married that man.

We collected it the next evening after work and I can’t wait to start working on it. But I have it in my mind that in order for me to started assembling this dollhouse, I first have to complete updating Cora’s Lower Town Dollhouse, which includes making a second set of stairs from scratch and decorating 3 more rooms. This is just how my brain works. I realize it makes no sense, but I also feel like there’s an order to things.

AFTER MONTHS OF SEARCHING ONLINE, I FOUND THE MOST BEAUTIFUL 90’S SECONDHAND DOLLHOUSE AND IT’S ALL FOR ME. THAT’S RIGHT, I AM A FULLY GROWN ADULT THAT PAYS BILLS AND HAS A KID AND NOW I HAVE MY OWN DOLLHOUSE.

—Alex C. (@InteriorDIYer) May 14, 2019

*I need a new name / appropriate hashtag for my new dollhouse. Any and all suggestions welcome. Especially double-entendres and lyrical geniuses.

Lower Town Dollhouse – stairs

When I found our Lower Town Dollhouse online secondhand, it was a great price for a reason – because it had no front door and no staircases. This didn’t deter me at all so I bought it knowing I’d one day be able to make some proper little dollhouse stairs for it.

I started by measuring the ceiling height and dividing it by however many steps I wanted [20.3cm ÷ 15 steps = 1.35cm high per riser], and then I measured the depth of the space for the stairs [ie – the hole in the floor] to find the depth of each tread [14cm ÷ 14steps = 1cm deep per step]. I ended up with 1.35cm high steps that were 1cm deep and after a few sketches it looked just right. I tested the measurements using a cardboard template before committing to the real thing, and luckily my second template worked out perfect.

Having to assemble the stairs was one of those things that got more difficult in my head the longer I left it when in reality, as soon as I started, it didn’t take long to make. I used the template to cut 4 copies of the stair silhouette on corrugated cardboard; gluing two sets together to form sturdy supports for each side of the stairs. I wish I took a photo of the assembly stage, but I either forgot or was distracted by a something small yelling at me.

I first glued the risers in place with superglue, followed by gluing each step on top with two layers of cardboard sandwiched with superglue to really toughen them [see: to withstand a sweet and thoughtful yet unrelenting toddler]. I also used masking tape on the back side of the steps to further secure them in place and reinforce the sturdiness.

Again, I didn’t take a photo, but I next used filler to fill in the gaps and toughen the edges. Once that was dry I painted the stairs white and using superglue along the entire right side, along the top step and under the bottom step, I glued the entire staircase in place and I have to say, it is so sturdy that I think Cora could actually stand on it with her real feet and the stairs would survive.

Using wooden coffee stirrers and an existing tiny chair rail, I created [or, attempted to create] a bead board look. I carried the bead board look around the rest of the hallway. It at first looked awful as I was adding it but as soon as I painted it, it looked like a real little room.

Above; the hallway as a work in progress. When I first bought the dollhouse, there wasn’t even a window here. It was just a giant hole. It really was tore up from the floor up [you can get an idea from these photos]. I know it doesn’t look perfect as it is now, but I think it’s an improvement and TBH, because the stairs are glued in place, you can’t get a proper look down the hallway.

It’s quite difficult to see from the only ‘before’ type photo I have below, but you’ll see that the stairs that once were here used to face the other way. For Cora’s sake, I thought it made the most sense for the stairs to be facing toward the back of the dollhouse so Cora could actually use them. Yes, they break several health and safety standards this way, but I don’t think any of the little creatures are part of a union, so I think we’re safe. And let’s not mention the lack of a banister either [purposefully left out until toddler is a bit less smashy].

I have to do an entire second set of stairs for the next floor, so I’ll be following my own set of instructions again soon. But this time around it won’t take nearly as long now that I know what to expect. It’s tiny work but I really do love it so much. To the point where if dollhousing was a career, I’d be trying my best to get into doing that.

Click here to see the rest of my Lower Town Dollhouse updates!