my new house arrived: first impression of earth and tree’s rye

The new house arrived and I couldn’t resist peeling back the plastic and taking a quick look. As with all house construction, Earth and Tree recommends the hobbyist read the instructions before beginning any actual work, but I like to dive right in, tearing open boxes and hopelessly mixing up the parts. Maybe it’s the added challenge.

If I were to describe the kit in a word it would be “organized.” The parts come in a neat bundle and the full color instructions are detailed and clear. In addition to instructions for building the house, Earth and Tree included advice on wallpapering and roofing, glue selections, sealing the house, build order, and electrification. Owner Kari Berkner also included personally-written notes. I’ve purchased an item or two from Earth and Tree before, but this was my first kit from the shop, so I’m not particularly familiar with them. My impression is this is a small company whose owner cares for her products and is committed to her buyers’ success in building them. Along that line, Earth and Tree manufactures much of its own inventory via Tom’s Mill. This is important because I am a huge proponent of US-based manufacturing and small, family-owned businesses.

The kit itself is a combination of MDF and furniture-grade birch plywood, which I hadn’t seen before in my previous houses, one by Real Good Toys and the other by Greenleaf. Originally, I planned to try something new on this one, which was to lay down mahogany hardwood plank flooring. But I’m going to try staining the birch floors first, since that’s what Tom’s Mill recommends. I’ve always got the planking as a backup.

Earth and Tree has a couple of lines of dollhouses. Some are complete kits with windows, doors, and trim, while others, like the Rye, are more “bare bones.” Earth and Tree carries an “extras” package for the Rye, and some of their other house body-only products, but I saw a few beautiful modifications on Earth and Tree’s Web site, so I decided to go with the basic kit and then choose parts a la carte.

Earth and Tree offered fast service, which is important to me. I ordered online and within a half hour I got an update notice that my order was being processed. It began its 3,000 mile trek to my house the next day. From order to arrival was eight days.

As I mentioned, this is only my first impression, and I reserve the right to reverse everything I just said. I’ll let you know as construction begins. In the meantime, I hope you all are enjoying your projects, too, and we’ll connect here again soon.

(For more on Earth and Tree, read this.)

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