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High-rise dollhouse ... or whatever children make of it.

High-rise dollhouse . . . or whatever children make of it

This peekaboo high-rise has six legs, sixrooms, three floors, a dozen hinged doors, and a bright red roof. Otherwise, it's what your kids and their friends make it: puppet theater (with front and rear doors opened), sentry house, teddy-bear zoo.

What it's not is a conventional dollhouse.San Francisco architect Mark Mack designed it is a more open way, to encourage more kinds of play.

To make this play space, with the rooftreatment pictured, will take about 20 hours or two full weekends. Cost will be about $160 if you use two birch plywood sheets, or a little less if you use 1 1/2 sheets and a precut round platform. Dispensing with the half-rounds on gable ends and roof would save about $20.


2 sheets of 1/2-inch birch plywood (or 1 1/2sheets, plus a precut round of plywood or particle board to use as the platform)

Box of 1 1/4-inch (3d) finishing nails

6 2-inch #8 flathead woodscrews

12 magnetic cupboard catches

Wood glue, wood filler, paint

48 feet of 1-inch half-round molding(optional)

12 1- by 12-inch piano hinges, withscrews (you'll have to hacksaw longer hinges to length)

You'll also need a table saw or radial-armsaw, saber saw, drill with a 3/8-inch bit and a pilot bit (for the 2-inch woodscrews), fine-toothed saw, screwdriver, hammer, nailset, fine wood rasp, hacksaw, sandpaper, and paint brushes.

Following our diagram, cut one plywoodsheet into 11-inch strips. Cut wall and floor strips to lengths shown. Cut two roof pieces off one end of remaining strip; leave base facings section uncut. Next, cut half the other plywood sheet into three 11 7/8-inch strips for doors and one strip for the gables. Don't cut doors apart yet.

Grooving walls, base facings, and doors

(If you choose not to add the decorativegrooves, proceed to the next section.)

Set the blade of the table saw 1/16 inchabove the table. To make the three grooves along the length of each side wall strip and the base facings strip (after you've cut off the roof pieces), set the fence at 5 1/2 inches from the blade; cut the center grooves. Then set the fence at 2 1/2 inches and cut the two outer grooves.

Groove the door strps, following measurementsin the diagram on page 100.

Cut base facings, doors, gables

Cut the base facings strip into twelve 4-inch-widepieces and six 1 1/2-inch-wide pieces. Following the inset drawing on page 100, set the saw blade at 45| and miter each 1 1/2-inch piece on the back of both long edges and each 4-inch piece on one long edge only. (Use a push stick.)

Cut door strips apart to make 12 doors,then cut a shallow rabbet in one back edge of each for the hings, as pictured on page 100. (If you are using a half-sheet of plywood, allow for the saw kerfs and cut the doors 11 7/8 inches square; be sure to cut the hinges to a matching length.)

Cut out the two triangular gables.

Next come the notches

Using the table saw or saber saw, start tocut the 1/2-inch-wide notches in the center wall, second floor, third floor, and ceiling; also start the 4-inch-wide leg notches in the center and side walls. Finish the notches with a saber saw. Use a fine rasp to square corners.

Windows and roof

Mark the locations of all windows. Drill3/8-inch pilot holes within the marks, then use the saber saw to cut out the windows. Cut other openings between floors and rooms if desired. Sand edges smooth.

Angle the top edges of the center wall,and both ridge and gutter edges of roof pieces, as shown in the detail drawing.

Putting it all together

First, using glue and 1 1/4-inch finishingnails, attach base facings to legs. Fit the notched floors and ceiling to the notches in the center wall; glue in place. Align side walls, apply glue to floor ends, and end-nail side walls in place. Add the two-part first floor, toenailing it to the center wall and end-nailing it through the side walls.

Check fit of gables and roof pieces, trim ifnecessary, then glue and nail in place.

Adding the optional half-rounds

Starting in the center of each gable, glueand nail half-rounds in place, working toward the edges. Extend bottoms about 1/8 inch below the gable, so they narrowly clear the doors to be added later. When glue has dried, use a fine-toothed saw to cut tops flush with the sloping edge.

Cut the remaining half-round into 14 1/2-inch-longstrips (confirm by measuring against roof), with each end cut at 60|; angled ends should be parallel to each other. Glue and nail to roof.

To finish the high-rise

Screw piano hinges to the doors and sidewalls. Add magnetic catches. Paint.

For a stablizing base, cut a circle at least3 feet in diameter from remaining plywood (or use a precut round); attach it with six woodscrews from below.

Photo: Doors swing wide, faces peer through, a doll snoozes, and amouse tries out for a puppet show: it's another busy day in the life of this handsome, multipurpose indoor play structure

Photo: Doors, gables, and platform are cut from 4- by 8-foot plywood panel above: three walls, pieces for base legs, roof, floors, and ceiling come from panel at right

Photo: Piano hinge should first be screwedto 1/8-inch-deep rabbet cut in door, then screwed to side wall

Photo: Perspective drawing shows how floors notchinto central wall. Cutaway details show how roof slopes fit together, meet side walls; lower left one shows three-sided facing that fits around each leg. At lower right: groove patterns for doors, walls, and base facings
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Mar 1, 1987
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