I had always wanted to create a Mansion in miniature (probably my parent's fault for taking me to see Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle in Chicago when I was a child). I started collecting pieces for this dollhouse as a teenager - even envisioned the dollhouse's "set scene" would be a Victorian family preparing for a wedding as I myself was preparing for my own wedding. During a childhood visit to the Biltmore mansion in NC, I fell in love with the two-story library with spiral staircase. And numerous viewings of the movie "The Sound of Music" firmly planted the idea of a formal full ballroom with chandeliers. A trip to see the Newport Mansions inspired me to want a separate his/her bedroom(s) and bath(s), music room, parlor, grand staircase, etc. But no dollhouse kit had these features . . . .
In the meantime I collected things for this Victorian Mansion - Bespaq furniture, some artisan pieces, rugs, a white bonnet hat with a white plume on the side (my favorite miniature at the time). I did get married (at the age of 21), and worked in a dollhouse shop for a few years (inspecting the Newport by Real Good Toys for Victorian Mansion possibilities). Then came the birth of my first daughter and the need for a job that I could bring my child with me (as daycare was out of the question on our salaries).
With my parent's help I opened a Dollhouse, Miniature & Doll shop (http://www.happily-ever-after.biz/). And every dollhouse we got in stock for display I would arrange furniture in and envision different floor plans (what if I moved a wall here or added an addition there?). I debated about kit-bashing a Queen Anne (by Real Good Toys) or a FoxHall Manor (Walmer/now Real Good Toys).
Then, one day in the summer, I was assisting a couple in town visiting from Georgia and she was interested in the Darlington Hotel by Majestic Mansions (http://www.majesticmansions.com/). And as I described to her how she could decorate each room I realized that I was looking at my Victorian Mansion! But it still didn't have my full Ballroom, large dining room, or enough rooms on the third floor for separate his/her bedrooms and baths. But, if I created an addition . . . time to order another kit and start kit bashing! (The lady from GA still wants the Darlington, but she is thinking she'll wait until it comes with siding milled in -- but since I plan on bricking mine the smooth plywood is perfect!). I played with the photo on Majestic Mansion's website and created a rough image of my vision. Then came measurement-taking, alterations (have to increase the foundation and create a lower floor level for the ballroom for the chandeliers), etc. I am currently in the process of getting the wood cut for the addition and altering the display house to accommodate a four-story addition. Which will mean a hinge or two. (Yuck - I HATE hinges!).