a look inside greenleaf’s westville

The Greenleaf Westville has beautiful interior features, including a tall staircase with pointed arch cutouts–the arch pattern common to Carpenter Gothic-style homes, which the Westville is–and two intricate woodwork panels framing its bay windows. The bay windows, as all of its windows, have pretty faux traceries. As with the exterior, all of the interior trim parts have to be sanded and wood-filled to achieve a decent finish.

The rooms are a fairly good size. In fact, I added a divider to the second floor, which gave me a bedroom, bathroom, and “secret hall” that led to a set of pull-down stairs (bought separately from Earth and Tree) to access the attic. I also added narrow doors between the three upstairs rooms, features that made the home a little more realistic and practical. The living room and kitchen both had a few extra inches of floor space tucked between the bay windows and the fun, artsy panels.

Although, the interior touches made for a unique interior, they also created some challenges. Some of the spaces were pretty tight, so I found it particularly helpful to cut patterns for floors, wallpaper, and beadboard/shiplap, et cetera, from the house body parts prior to glueing together the walls. The tight spaces and angles also put me through my paces with the baseboards and crown moulding. My interior is pretty dark, so you can’t see all of the wood putty I used to mold the angles of the crown, but let me just say: wood putty is going to become your best friend with the Westville.

Also note, if you’re a “turner,” as in, you like to turn the house on its top and side as you’re working on the electrical and interior finishes, note the exterior architectural features of the Westville make this a challenge. I mostly managed, but I found I had to think several steps ahead with this house as compared to my prior kit, the Real Good Toys Beachside Bungalow.

Speaking of electrical, I had a hard time wiring the “crunchy” walls of the Westville. I don’t know how much came down to the quality of the materials versus my minimal electrical experience, so, grain of salt, but I had a remarkably difficult time with wiring, compared to the bungalow. I lost power to two tapewire lines that initially tested fine. And I had to rewire three of my seven lights because they failed after installation. I restored power to one; a second came back but then failed permanently down the line; and a third just never worked after installation. Very frustrating.

The other frustrating part of the interior was the staircase. I’m glad the steps are concealed by the nature of the floorpan because I thought the finished staircase was a disaster. I’m sure there is a secret, but I couldn’t balance the sides long enough to place the stairs and risers. Then, it was a bear to slide into the second floor opening, and it never did seat properly in the first floor slots.

I encountered another problem as I was installing the roof. Again, the tabs and slots didn’t seat well, which caused huge gaps in some of the upstairs corners. I improvised by adding a shelf in the bathroom and one in the bedroom, and then added strip wood and extra wallpaper where gaps remained.

The bottom line: as I mentioned, it’s a pretty house. If you’re a skilled hobbyist, you may not encounter any of the problems I mentioned. If you’re a novice builder and you end up with the Westville, be patient, be prepared to innovate, and chalk up all of the ughs and oopses to lessons learned for your next great project.

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