product review: earth and tree’s tilton room box

This post is a little out of order. I like to review each of my kits right after I’ve finished the project. The Tilton room box concluded a few weeks ago (it turned into The Beautiful Bride bridal salon). But since I’m still awaiting furniture delivery to complete and photograph the remodeled Westville, and I neglected to offer a Tilton review at the time, I figured I’d put a dot at the end of a previous sentence by offering my review now.

Bottom line up front: I loved the Tilton and plan to build another one in the future. It’s large for a room box, or at least I think it’s large. This was my first one, so I don’t have a strong point of comparison. I’ve mentioned that I’ve become quite attached to Earth and Tree, so I tend to go straight there to buy my houses and supplies. They have a few styles. The Tilton is not only the largest choice, but it’s got a great irregular shape. There is a little bumped out area in the back that makes for an interesting niche, and you also have a small patio to decorate.

One of the things I griped about when I was working on another Earth and Tree house, the Rye, was the nails. The instructions said to add just a few to hold together the walls in addition to the glue. Things went OK-ish around the sides of the house because I could “see” to get them into the right spots. But when it came to interior walls, I was left measuring and guesstimating from the nearest outside wall and just hoping I’d hit the spot. Plus, I’m awful with a hammer and nails. I had so many bent nails at the end I was ready to scream. (I went for the Cabernet Sauvignon instead.)

With the Tilton, all of the walls were exterior, so it was easy to drive a nail into the right spot. I made small starter holes with my Dremel–fine drill bit attached–then bam! Nail in, no fuss, no muss.

The other thing I liked about this project was the fact it was a single story. I wish more dollhouses offered a one-story option. I suppose it’s like “real” real estate: you can fit more living into a two-story home with a smaller footprint, and most dollhouse builders–as most homeowners–want the space. But I enjoyed just the one-story with electrical pulled through the roof. I sort of “hid” it with a few sheets of basswood glued together and painted gray to look like a flat roof.

One thing I hadn’t encountered when building regular dollhouses was the glass panels to showcase the room. I liked the idea, although I ended up making a coffered ceiling and I didn’t measure correctly, so the glass panels wouldn’t slide shut. I had the same problem with the floor. Some of my pieces blocked the track. Keep this in mind if you tackle the Tilton or another room box kit and you’re adding ceiling or floor features. The glass panels would have really finished the place. I’m sure the light from the chandelier and sconces through the glass would have been stunning. Next time.

I can’t really speak to the price. As I frequently mention, I favor made in USA products and am willing to pay extra. The Tilton runs $94. For that price, you get the room box, including furniture-grade floor panels, which take stain beautifully, and front and back glass panels. The door is separate, as is anything you might choose to finish the sides, floor (if you do anything besides stain), and roof. That suited me fine because I love personalizing “a la carte” houses.

I think that’s it. It’s a pretty straightforward build. The Tilton is fast, simple, roomy, and it leaves loads of room for creativity. Another winner from Earth and Tree.

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