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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 kiddiekottages.com and kiddiecottages.com redirected to happybungalow.com).

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 . . .

Fairy Friendly

What do you do with an afternoon and some wood left over from last decade’s kitchen renovation?  Break out the paint and make an appeal to the neighborhood fairies.  My three year old daughter and I were working under a tight dinner deadline to whip up a welcome sign, build a fairy house, outfit it with comfy furniture, and paint everything.  Turns out we missed the deadline, but we just finished up after dinner.

Fairies Welcome

So far we’ve seen no fairies, but there have been a few old walnut shells laying around, so who knows?  At any rate, it’s a hit with the resident one-year old.  He takes the roof off the house and fills it with mulch.  To be fair though – he likes to fill everything with mulch and dirt.

The Playhouse that Started it All

As I mentioned in my last post, here’s the indoor playhouse that I built for my daughter (before my son was born). The concept was a gypsy-wagon – the fabric roof and the swing out doors that make up the back wall (also handy for an adult entrance).
HappyBungalow-original_playhouse

The siding is recycled wood from a previous kitchen renovation project (wood that has been involved in three other projects). It turned out I had JUST enough wood to do the trick, though it took numerous layouts on the floor and swip-swapping of pieces to make it work. Sort of like a devious math puzzle.

wooden playhouse for kids

I made the hinges (except for old metal hinge pins) from wood and finished them with a torch – a technique I used for the knobs in my kitchen. Inside is a metal wall perfect for magnets. The roof is a cool old tablecloth.