i think i’m falling in love with room boxes

I’m waiting for some things to arrive before I can take the next steps with The Beautiful Bride, aka the Tilton, so I thought I’d share how I came to build a room box instead of another full-sized house.

Frankly, I’d never considered building a single room. But then the idea was put in front of me twice, so I felt like the universe was trying to get my attention.

I follow a blogger who is a professional writer, but who also enjoys miniatures. A couple of months ago, she posted about a little kit she had done and mentioned how the smaller project was not only fun, but also offered a relaxing break from her writing. My niece made a little kit from the same company and she, too, reported she had a great time.

It was these recommendations that got me thinking about trying something new. I decided to go with a room box rather than a little kit because I really enjoy buying all of the elements individually, and the kits are pretty much “plug-and-play.”

I’ve been gravitating toward Earth and Tree products* because their houses and room boxes are made in the USA, a big deal to me, so I visited their site and ordered the Tilton. I liked the irregular shape and the front patio offered an opportunity for a little extra interest.

After it arrived, I spent the first few weeks staring at the pieces on the kitchen table without a lot of enthusiasm. Sure, it was different, but I liked building whole homes. I turned over a few ideas and finally settled on a bridal salon. I took a couple of half-hearted steps forward by staining the floor and buying some chinoiserie wallpaper, but it just wasn’t clicking.

I’m not sure when or how it happened–maybe my poor unloved little Tilton whacked me upside the head one night while I was sleeping–because I began to look at the project from a new perspective. It’s just one room, and that’s the point. Previously, I’d let the house do the work for me. The room box made me do the work. And I loved it.

So, I hand-cut new floors, and built a tray ceiling, which I’d seen done, but had never even considered attempting. I made French doors. Faux-painted walls were a pretty addition.

Along the way, I did a little research and came across the Thorne Miniature Rooms. If you’re a fan of miniatures and you’ve never heard of them, they’re worth a look. As I understand it, they’re replicas of real rooms. I am considering trying a replica of the replica beginning with that sort of “hidden staircase” in the Cape Cod Living Room. I’m working my way toward the Tennessee Entrance Hall. Hey, shoot for the moon, right?

Before I sell them too hard, I want to point out a few things to anyone considering a room box.

First, I thought a little project like this would take up less room than a full-sized house. It might, depending on the size of your room box and your planned design, but it’s not a sure thing. The Tilton’s footprint is smaller than my medium-sized houses, but it takes just as many tools, paints, and trims.

Second, depending on how elaborate you get, the build will likely take as long as a full-sized house. The little kits mentioned above might be faster, but if you’re going to design and build a room from scratch, don’t pencil it in for a weekend.

And third, it can take just as much money as an actual house. Of course, you can control the costs in room boxes just as well as you can in full-sized projects. But the costs do add up faster than you might anticipate.

Even with these “drawbacks” I’m quickly falling in love with room boxes. I enjoy the challenge of a totally blank slate, and the single room helps me focus.

At first, it was a bit daunting to stare at four blank walls that don’t offer a clue as to their identity. But I love mysteries: books, movies, people, and room boxes.

*I don’t get compensation for endorsing Earth and Tree. I just like their products and their service, and I feel strongly about supporting small, family-owned, US-based businesses.

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