My Other Life: Jill Wright, dollhouse builder

Jill Wright, salon owner. In her other life: dollhouse builder.

<p>“Everything you can do to a real house you can do to a dollhouse nowadays.”</p>

She started collecting dollhouse furniture as a kid. Then, at age 17, Jill Wright built her first dollhouse from a kit. “It was baptism by fire,” says Wright, the owner of Jill Wright Spa for Nails in Bowling Green, Ky. It was a large three-story Queen Anne Victorian with two levels of wrap-around porches and a third-floor balcony. It had nine rooms, plus an interior balcony overlooking the foyer.

“Everything you can do to a real house you can do to a dollhouse nowadays. I’ve painted, stained, shingled, clapboard-sided, built staircases, wallpapered, dry-walled, mitered baseboards, crown molding, and window trim, applied ceiling medallions, and installed hardwood floors. I’ve done everything but install electricity!” Currently, she’s been rehabbing that Queen Anne Victorian from the ground up. “I work on it every winter and do what’s called ‘kit bashing,’” she says. “That’s where you tweak architectural elements, such as adding more rooms, dormer windows, double French doors, etc. — things that didn’t come with the kit. You can even combine several dollhouses to make one large monster dollhouse.

“Rehabbing is way more of a challenge than buying a new kit, so that’s my favorite way to go. I guess it’s the challenge of problem-solving that thrills me and how you have to think two or three steps ahead before you begin anything. It seems I’ve always had this affinity toward working in miniature, be it houses or nails.”

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