what’s in the (remodeled) westville attic?

Several posts back, I mentioned I gain inspiration from Tim Gunn, formerly of Project Runway. He was the designers’ mentor and his catchphrase was “Make it work!” It was usually said to contestants whose designs fell short and the clock was ticking. It’s Tim’s admonishment I hear whenever I get into a tough spot while dollhousing. Like this week.

In the course of the Greenleaf Westville remodel, I hit a wall. When I first built the house, I found the second floor ceiling/attic floor panel was warped, which bugged me because it looked sloppy. I tried to flatten the panel by laying it beneath some weights for a couple of days, but once a panel is warped, it’s warped.

There was another issue with the second floor/attic of the original house, too. The upper floor rooms didn’t have doors, so I found some narrow interior doors online and added one to the bathroom and one to a secret hallway that led to the attic. I thought I was clever until I noticed it wasn’t logical architecturally, based on the roof line. Oh, well, at least my bathroom had privacy.

While I never loved the finished design of my Westville, at least I thought I’d done a decent job with the first and second floors. Not so with the attic. It always looked slapped together and unconnected to the rest of the house.

So, back to today. I began the Westville rehab by removing as much of the existing wallpaper and floor paper as I could, trying to get it as close to the original bare house as possible. But the attic was tough to access. Half was relatively reachable, but the other half was too tightly angled and deep. I pulled off a little of the wallpaper, but I couldn’t reach far enough into the space to do a decent job. Neither could I access it well enough to just paper over the whole thing. It was time for Tim. “Make. It. Work.”

Think, think!

That’s how I ended up with a plan that solved most of the problems: I made an unfinished attic, complete with pink insulation and joists. It resolved the issues of the half-removed wallpaper because it was designed to look like an unfinished attic–not something pretty and perfect. The insulation hid the floor warping, and it also allowed me to logically connect the “extra” part where I’d added the second floor doors.

(FYI: For anyone in a similar bind, the “insulation” is batting dyed with red food coloring; the wires are plugs cut from previous lighting projects; the large pipe thing is an object found on one of my dog walks.)

I’m not over the moon with the finished product, but I think I made the best of a bad situation. In other words, I made it work.

So, thanks, Tim! Love you lots, wish we could be friends! But Tim is best suited to be my imaginary mentor. We’d never click in real life. I can’t put together a “put together” outfit to save my soul and Tim is perfection personified. (My other favorite “Tim-ism” is, “If you want to dress to feel as though you never got out of bed, don’t get out of bed.” Hmm. It’s as if he knows me.)

I’m a walking disaster, but the Westville’s attic has turned the corner. Five rooms to go.

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