Castle tower toy prototype

Throw Back Thursday – Castle Edition

wooden castle prototype

In recognition of Throwback Thursday we post this old prototype.  It’s one of about a dozen attempts at creating castle themed bookends.  I never figured out how to make them to the level of quality we strive for, and for the price we thought they could sell at.  The idea was for the bookends to be playable toys, outfitted with simple dowel people (much like the little peg people you see everywhere).

Perhaps we need to go back a little further.

Before Happy Bungalow was Happy Bungalow it was Kiddie Kottages.  When Liz and I were first dreaming up this business we were going to create playhouses for children (spurred on by the encouragement of friends, see the playhouse here).  We made notes and sketches.  We created 3D models of the playhouses.  We thought up just the right business name and registered domains (until recently and redirected to

And then we thought up some little products to accompany the playhouses.  The idea was that we’d make the playhouses and everything you needed to put in them.  So the original Happy Bungalow product line started out as accessories to Kiddie Kottages’ big playhouses.  But starting a new business and creating these multi-thousand dollar playhouses was too much, so we focused on the smaller pieces at first with the goal to move on to playhouses later.

We’ve pretty much given up on the playhouses for the immediate future, but some of those original products still hang on (our wooden animal toys being the most notable).  Much like the never realized castle bookends, the dollhouse bookends below went through extensive prototyping (and before that digital models you can read about here), but end the end it was hard to find a workable price-point for them.  It was also difficult to generate the level of quality (again at workable price point).  Though the shop has expanded its tooling, we might take another attempt at it.

dollhouse family

The simple little furniture did prompt a friend to ask if I could make some furniture for her daughter’s inherited dollhouse.  Well, that is a product line that has done quite well (read more dollhouse furniture posts here).

dollhouse bookends

So in the end the castle bookends never made it into production.  The corner joints (box joints) were the problem.  I was attempting to create a faux quoining (fancy architecture word for those stones that stick out on the corner of buildings).  Perhaps one of these days . . .

New Blog

I’ve been working for a few weeks (eek, has it been THAT long?) on a new WordPress blog for  WordPress will give me more flexibility and capabilities than my previous blog software.  BUT – I had to learn some new web programming and remember some other programming I had forgotten.

Now you can comment on the posts you see here.  Go ahead, comment away.

I’ll have some new pictures and blogs up shortly.  Some exciting stuff is in the pipeline.

See all of our completed products for sale at our etsy shop

Happy Bungalow’s First Arts and Crafts Show

Happy Bungalow’s first arts and crafts show was this past Saturday. The show was around the corner and down the street from my house. This allowed the whole Happy Bungalow crew to attend (my wife, the kids, and I). There was a good crowd turnout and a there was a full array of vendors to buy from. Here’s how my booth looked:

Happy Bungalows first show booth

Not only was it my first show, it was my first day selling to the public as well. I was super nervous and for the past few weeks I’ve been focused on little else than the show. Months ago I planned to buy folding tables, but a few weeks ago changed my mind. So I made four wood tables that I could take apart for easier transport. I also made a sign, stands for the clocks, and business card holders. I wasn’t happy with the greenish buckets at the corners, but they kept the awning from flying away (bonus). I thought I could make some (nice) plywood containers and fill them with sand or concrete. We’ll see.

Happy Bungalows show display table

At the finishing stage of the sign I had an accident and before I could do anything the accident dried. My wife couldn’t spot it, so maybe it’s not so bad. Along with the sign I put a sample of all the products on the table. Quite a few people stopped to look. Everyone loves the cute dollhouses and the animals. People liked the knobs too. The tables were unfinished (not enough time) so the rest of the unfinished wood products blended into the table. My wife had the idea to put paper on the table – sort of like butcher’s paper. This worked well as I wrote descriptions of the product and prices on the paper. I like the concept, but I’d like to find a different color paper.

Happy Bungalows first show animals and knobs table

You can get a closer look at the tables – the legs are planed lumber and the tops are birch veneered plywood. They’re lightweight and universally interchangeable. The animals were a big hit – especially the walnut animals. I’ll be making more of those soon. This is where Happy Bungalow’s first sale came from. Not a dollar, but a twenty – I’ll frame it anyway. A super sweet lady at the next booth came over to congratulate me. I made more sales later, handed out business cards, and talked to a lot of people. I can’t wait for the next show.