The dirty truth...

Fifteen years ago I started working on my Canal house Singel 224.  More than 5 years past my estimated completion time, it is finally nea...


Fifteen years ago I started working on my Canal house Singel 224.  More than 5 years past my estimated completion time, it is finally near to being finished.  The photos you see on my website and here on my blog mostly show the house looking beautiful and pristine.  But that is not entirely how it looks on a daily basis.  I keep the house in my workshop, so you can imagine the amount of dust and dirt collecting in the rooms.  

The grey haze on the floor of the Salon below is not a trick of light or caused by a photographic quirk, no, it is plain old dust.


To make it even more clear, here's a shot of some items the Bedroom.  The jewels have rather lost their sparkle.  You can imagine when there's a layer of dull grey dust, the whole house loses a bit of its sparkle.  


I always intended to cover the front with glass or perspex. In fact, I did have a sheet of acrylic glass screwed to the front for quite some time.  But it was a huge task to get it off when I wanted to work on one of the rooms.  On one occasion when putting the acrylic sheet back on, it cracked.  As I was never very happy with this solution, I didn't buy a new sheet.

While cutting glass for another project a few months ago, I had my aha moment.  Sliding glass panes for every room!  The glass panes slide in a groove of a very simple wooden construction which I attached to each of the floors of the Canal house.  So simple yet so effective.  I can't believe it took me so long to come up with this idea ;-)  



So, going through my stash of old picture frames, I cut glass for all of the rooms.  This was fairly easy compared to my next task: cleaning all of the rooms.  I decided the best way to handle it was to clean the house room by room, tackling any repairs which needed doing as I went.  


I packed all items from one room into a storage box and started cleaning that room first.  Then all of the items, one by one.  It was a perfect opportunity to take stock of what I have in my collection and to take a few good photos of all of my pieces.  I am sure in future you will see some of those photos pass by here or on my Instagram account! 


Happily cleaning the first room.  It wasn't so much fun anymore when I started on the third room.  It was so much work!  It felt like it was more work than cleaning a full sized house.  


Although I do clean my silver fairly regularly, some of it was badly tarnished.  But I don't mind cleaning silver, I actually quite enjoy it.  It is so satisfactory seeing it come to life again!



Not quite finished yet (the attic and basement still need cleaning), but here is an impression of the house with the glass panes in place.  Closed and protected from dirt and dust and bugs and mice! (read what happened when mice visited here)






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51 comments

  1. Beautiful, and so satisfying, right?

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  2. Una gran idea los paneles de vidrio,así queda resguardada!!
    Besos.

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    1. Yes, I think it will make a big difference!

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  3. Hello, wonderful article !!! yes dust is a problem when its in small places ,,,, I discovered a tiny vacuum cleaner that plugs into a computer ( usb) for cleaning the keyboard, which could help for small things ,,, thank you for sharing Stephanie

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    1. little tip put some panty hose over the end of your tiny vacuum cleaner so you suck up dust and not miniatures I speak from experience

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    2. Thank you Stephanie! Like Helen I also use a pantyhose over the end of my vacuum cleaner, my big one, I don't have a small vacuum cleaner. It has saved a few of my items from getting sucked into the vacuum bag!

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  4. I agree with you dust is a real problem, it's always amazing the amount you can find in a dollhouse. Such a beautiful collection.
    Geneviève

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    1. Thank you Geneviève. Miniature houses should have miniature dust :-D Unfortunately that's not the case.

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  5. Hello Josje,
    I laughed when I started reading your post because that grey film covers every room in my house as well. The cleaning does get boring, but it gives such a sense of satisfaction when it is done. As much as I love polishing silver, cleaning my miniature cutlery always makes me panic.
    The solution of the sliding panes is terrific. This miniature house is a real work of art and I always love rediscovering every perfect room.
    Big hug
    Giac

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    1. Thank you Giac. Oh I can relate to the minor panic when cleaning tiny items (like the tiny silver caps on Jens Torp's bottles....) I keep it far removed from the sink. I only use a little tub of water to rinse off the polish! And a little tray to catch them should I drop them while polishing.

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  6. Questa dollhouse resta la mia preferita in assoluto!!! Sono contenta che hai trovato una soluzione per preservarne piú a lungo la sua integrità.❤️

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  7. Een prima idee om deurtjes te maken! Het zal wel aan hele hoop stof schelen :-). Mooie foto's, en het meest ben ik onder de indruk van het gepoetste zilver, wat een verschil!

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    1. Ja dat zilver, een enorm verschil! Ik hoop dat het glas daar ook bij zal helpen, ik denk het wel.

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  8. Beautiful and so worth all the hard work. I need to do a similar cleaning of my houses but I never seem to get to it. Kudos to you for actually getting it (mostly) done!

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    1. Thank you Sheila. Houses? I can understand that cleaning more than one houses is something you don't look forward to and thus it doesn't get done. Cleaning just isn't fun, is it? I'm not giving myself a deadline and do it when I want. But now that it is clean it does make me happy! Good luck with your cleaning! ;-)

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  9. Hi Josje, That little film of your brushing the dust is quite peaceful. It is always surprising how much one can fit into a miniature room. Bruce, handy husband, was reading your post over my shoulder as he heard me say . “This is a good idea!” Re the glass sliding panels.
    I can do that he said.... so maybe I have more glass cleaning in my future instead of mini dusting.
    Thanks for the post, it is always fun to see your special collections.
    Regards Janine

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    1. Hi Janine, so nice to have a handy husband! I hope you too have a lot less dusting to do soon. It is so much easier with the glass panels!

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  10. Stof is inderdaad onze grootste vijand, helemaal mee eens! En ja, die acrylplaatjes voor jouw kamers zullen het stof gedeeltelijk tegenhouden. Zo zonde van jouw prachtige collectie miniaturen om deze te laten 'verstoffen', poetsen is op z'n tijd best leuk, maar een heel huis en dagenlang.....nou, neu ;).
    Mijn eigen grachtenhuis in aanbouw (ja, nog steeds niet klaar na 16 jaar, 't komt er niet van ;O!) heb ik achter aparte gordijnen staan, ook al om het daglicht tegen te houden, om zo verkleuring te voorkomen. Het huis zelf heeft geen open zijkanten maar deuren als buitenmuren, alles is dus afgesloten. Toch check ik ook geregeld de binnenkant, maar tot nu toe gaat het goed. De gordijnen zijn van katoen en die haal ik geregeld even van de haakjes en dan klop ze uit, of ik was ze.
    Nou, van alles ziet er in jouw collectie al weer mooi uit. Nog succes met de rest van jouw voorjaarsschoonmaak, misschien vind je nog meer schatten 'uit een donker/stoffig verleden' ;)!!
    Groetjes, Ilona

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    1. Hoi Ilona, volgens mij hebben we het er al eens eerder over gesproken, want ik herinner me dat je het over de gordijnen gehad hebt. Ik ben van plan uiteindelijk het gewone glas te vervangen door museumglas. Dat is wel wat prijzig, (hoewel het steeds goedkoper wordt) maar dat houdt wel het UV licht tegen. Het is ook nog eens glas dat niet reflecteert, ideaal dus.
      Ik vind van alles. Of vinden is niet het juiste woord, meer herontdekken. Dat is wel weer erg leuk!

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  11. Poner esos paneles de vidrio te van a ahorrar mucho trabajo en el futuro. Ha merecido la pena el trabajo.

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  12. It's an absolute masterpiece, Josje! Honestly, I can't possibly imagine a better miniature world builder on this earth than you! Brava!

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  13. Oh cleaning, sigh! I love the before and after pics of your beautiful silver pieces. There is something about tarnished silver that I find rather appealing.. that is until they shine nicely. So pretty in the little setting, just beautiful.
    Anna x

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    1. Haha, good one Anna! I am one of those people who get satisfaction from seeing the transformation.

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  14. That is one gorgeous house! Yeah dust can be deadly...but it had to be so fun to look through all your stuff, and re-inspiring---

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    1. Exactly right Linda! Handling all of the miniatures is not something I do often once they're placed in the rooms, so it is very nice to see them up close and appreciate them again.

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  15. Dusting is a never-ending dull duty, however when it comes to cleaning the minis, I find that taking things out; touching and handling them again as tidy them up; gets me re-aquainted with my minis all over again.
    And so Josje, the house-keeping in your Canal House, albeit time-consuming, allows you to recall the circumstances and inclusion surrounding each essential piece, on top of which, you get to re-experience the Pleasures attached to each Precious Art Item within your Museum Quality collection, and
    that pleasure alone is worth a good dusting! ;)

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    1. Beautifully said Elizabeth! That is precisely what I experienced.

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  16. Hi Josje! I Love your solution to the "walls" on the front of your house! I have been wrestling with this problem with my houses.... they all have open fronts (or backs as the case may be)and dust and other things is definitely a consequence of the passing of time! I have toyed with the idea of solid real house walls... but I like to be able to see in without having to wrestle with a door.... maybe I will give this a try! At least a pane of glass is easier to "build" than an entire wall to the house! LOL! And seeing your entire house well cleaned and lit is Awesome!!! I do love your house and all your treasures are of such highest quality... it is a pleasure of the greatest kind to see them here! Thank you for sharing! :):)
    And I agree with Janine... it was really peaceful to see your mini dusting video!!!

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    1. That was exactly my dilemma. I do like the real walls but don't want to have to open a door to look inside. I thought I had a good solution for my second canal house with large open doorways in the fourth wall. It is beautiful when you're standing really close so you can see into the corners, but when you're a bit further away it hides so much.
      Give the panels a try. I am very happy with them. And as soon as the glass is installed, something special happens to the room(s). I can't really explain it, but the rooms look more beautiful, special and inviting than without the glass. It is magic ;-)
      Thank you Betsy!

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  17. What a great way of keeping the dust out!! thanks for sharing - I chuckled when you said about a trick of the light or something to do with the camera, let's just say I have the same "effect"!!
    Really lovely to see the last picture with all the rooms together.
    Take care
    Simon

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    1. Hi Simon! Ah you have that special effect on your camera too? ;-)))))) Yes we either have to do photoshop or real cleaning in these situations.
      The house is nearly finished, then I will post more photos of the entire house.

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  18. So beautiful ! the matter dreams are made of.

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  19. Very well done on the cleaning job, and finding a permanent solution! I have the same problem here. Was cursing yesterday when I had to dust the house I'm working on before I could continue with painting. Fortunately, it is not furnished yet and before I start adding any decorations, I am going to build the doors that cover the front. You have just strengthened my resolve to get it done as soon as possible!

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    1. Thank you Megan. So annoying when you want to get on with work and you have clean first. Yes, build those doors!

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  20. Ik was even bang dat er sprake was van een dirty secret. :-) Stof lijkt mij inderdaad een lastig maar onoverkomelijk probleem bij een poppenhuis. Ik hoop dat de deurtjes gaan werken op de manier die jij voor ogen hebt.

    Ook on der het stof blijft het natuurlijk een heel mooi huis met een schitterend interieur.

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    1. Oh dirty little secrets zijn er vast ook wel ;-) Het glas ervoor scheelt enorm! Er zitten natuurlijk nog wel hele kleine kiertjes tussen het glas en de achterwanden, maar die zijn echt maar een fractie van een millimeter dus veel komt daar niet door. Ik zag dat jouw huis rondom dicht komt met vierde muur-deurtjes. Dat werkt uiteraard even goed.

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  21. This is the first time I have seen your whole house, it is stunning, a beautiful masterpiece. The sliding screens are a great idea to keep the dust out. I know I shouldn't, but I did smile at the mice eating your rubber gloves! Did you manage to find another pair?

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    1. Thank you very much Polly! It is almost finished, I still need to do a bit of work to the attic and the room in the basement. I promise to show more photos of the whole house once it is completely finished.
      Oh I don't mind you laughing at the mice eating my kitchen gloves. I find it funny myself. I must say I still feel a bit sorry for the mice, they must have been so hungry! While cleaning the kitchen I also found a fimo lemon with a few bite marks. No I never found another pair of these gloves. I have seen rubber kitchen gloves, but none of them as good as these were. Oh well, it is all part of the history of the house.

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    2. Hello Josje, browsing around a few websites recently I found these rubber gloves and wondered if you would be interested in them. I hope this link works http://www.elfminiatures.co.uk/Rubber+gloves+-+natural+PWdUT3dFRE14b0RkalZIWnZKSGM
      Polly :-)

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    3. They look pretty good don't they! Thank you for the link Polly!

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  22. What a lovely opportunity you gave us to see some of your rooms and items again and I loved the last photo of the property in it's entirety. The beauty of the front opening house is that it keeps some of the dust at bay but doesn't stop it completely and you've just nudged my conscience into thinking about my own mini dust!

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    1. Thank you Irene! I did think of how I could prevent dust from coming through the cracks of the doors/glass. Maybe rubber strips like they use on real windows and doors to keep out drafts are an option. They may be too big but I suppose you could cut them thinner. Or perhaps the silicone they use on handles for golf clubs can be cut into thin strips. Something like that should work as it is flexible and will allow the doors to close while creating a seal. Yes, worth thinking about!

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  23. Oh my! I just found your blog and am in awe . . . even with the dust! LOL! I look forward to scrolling through the rest of your blog for inspiration. Thank you for sharing!

    Teresa
    beaconhilldollhouse.blogspot.com

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    1. You're welcome Teresa. Thank you for the compliment! I hope you've enjoyed the rest of my blog.

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  24. Cleaning always gives me a satisfying feeling. Even if it's a tiny one lol.

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