Sunday, April 15, 2018

Ta Da - Problem Solved

American dolls houses are wonderful.  Because they are viewed from the back, the front can be intricate and feature all sorts of things that are very difficult to incorporate into a front-opening house.  BUT the huge disadvantage to this system is that the backs are usually left open. 

Yikes! What about dust? Spiders? Or even worse….cats?  This was clearly a problem I needed to solve when building Goose Cove.  So before I did anything else, I had to find a way of closing up the whole house to protect it when it is not being viewed or worked on.

Hours and hours of work went into various prototypes and ideas.  Sheets of acetate, cloth screens, you name it – I considered it.  But I came to the conclusion that the only thing that would truly satisfy me, in terms of protection of the contents  and aesthetics, would be to build a back wall and roof.  Great idea.  Yes.  But then I had to come up with a design that would allow the back to be removed easily without damaging anything.

Hinging a door was out of the question for two reasons.  Firstly I would have had to fortify the walls to take the strain of hinges holding a weighty back wall.  Secondly the roof configuration  meant this wall would not open without having to leave a significant gap in it to ‘clear’ the eaves. 

Instead, this is what I came up with.  It is a two-part structure.  This shows the house with and without the back wall/roof in place.

Both the roof and wall are held in place by magnets and gravity.  The magnets are visible but I think it is a small price to pay for protection and peace of mind. 

This shows the bottom wall on its own

And this the roof.   Although they are they are designed to work together it is useful to be able to lift off one section on its own if needed.  

To make the back wall more attractive, I added two downstairs windows.  They are not exactly the same as the ones on the side or front but in the same style.  I wanted to try to use the supplies I already had rather than buy anything new.  I think they blend well.

As they say in scientific circles, this is an ‘elegant solution’, or at least I think so!  It is simple, it looks good and it works.  I am really pleased with the result and the effort was well worth it. 


  1. Hi Carol! I must say this solution is looks PERFECT in every "Elegant" part! I have struggled with this dilemma for ages... almost all my properties have the open back problem! I am still building most of them... so I have not decided on the perfect way of closing them up to keep them tidy and safe... but I think this solution is the best I have seen! I have been using magnets to hold the doors closed on my Tree House project... and have considered using them on other builds. Do you find that they slip? That is the one concern I have had... with weighty sections that they might not hold well enough or be too hard to "separate" without shocking/jerking the entire building. I am thrilled to see you have addressed this problem in such an elegant way! It looks Wonderful! :)

  2. HI Betsy. Thank you for your kind words. I am really pleased with the results. The back wall is quite heavy but it rests on the baseboard which is under the dollhouse. If you look at the photos there is a drawer with a slot (for electrics) and under this drawer is the baseboard. It sticks out by about 1/2 inch which is plenty of room for the back wall to rest on. I positioned the magnets quite high up on the wall and they really just keep it in place to allow gravity to do the heavy part.

    The roof part is much lighter. As you can see, it stays up on its own with just the two magnets, but has even more support when the back wall is in place.

    With regard to jerking, this is not a problem. The magnets I used are actually quite small. I did consider heavy duty stronger ones, but when I was doing my prototype I found that the light magnets were just fine.

    Best of luck with whatever solution you find and hope that lilac tree is coming along nicely!!

    Carol :)

  3. Hello Carol,
    Brilliant! This is a terrific way to make sure the dollhouse is as dust free as possible and to keep your collection safe. You did a great job.
    Big hug

  4. Hi, Carol - You came up with the perfect solution to the problem of open backs on miniature houses. I especially like the two-part idea for the roof and the back, and the addition of the windows creates a very natural look. The open back has always been a problem for me, because my houses are usually large and movable, but heavy. To save space, they must be placed against a wall, so the front is never seen. To avoid that, I decided with my first house, and the subsequent ones, to have a solid back wall and leave the front open, with front doors and windows only implied. That has worked well for me, although I do need to dust occasionally. I have no pets, (spiders don't bear thinking about) so that doesn't pose a problem. But my next build will be a small one (!!) that will be placed so that all sides are visible. I've been pondering having an actual front with actual windows and a door. Your elegant solution has encouraged me to pursue my design plan - so that I can have it all! Thanks to your hard work and creative thinking in solving your problem, I feel encouraged to try to figure out an elegant solution to the similar problem with my next project.

  5. Una idea genial,si tienes gatos y traviesos has dado con la solución:-)

  6. An elegant solution - and a brilliant solution too!


  7. The magnetic back with the roof and windows is a Ideal Solution for both protection and for some extra realism too.
    The interior is fresh and very pretty and looks move in ready- Can't Wait! :D