Victorian Greenhouse Dupe FAQ
Where did you get the kit?
It's the harbor freight 10x12 kit
We primed and painted every little piece black and made the cresting on the roof with our cnc machine
You don't have real plants in there you definitely suck, right?
Yup I do.
Starting with saying the whole reason we built this was as a set for my home portrait studio and a space for my husband and I to hang out with my cats, and I just have wanted a Victorian style greenhouse for forever.
Plants need water to live, water when heated creates humidity. Humidity creates an uncomfortable environment for spending time, posing for photos. And the possibility for mildew and mold.
My fake plants are cat safe, cat proof and always photo ready.
I am working on making an incredible English cottage style garden outside the greenhouse but you'll need to give me a couple years.
Can I model for a photo shoot in it?
Yes!!! It is one of my available sets, heated/cooled so it's good year round, and when you book a shoot with me you also get professional hair and makeup styling, access to my huge size inclusive wardrobe, and pose coaching (so no modeling experience required!) All ages, sizes, and genders are welcome! And we can go cuddly, light, antique, modern, cottage/fairycore, dark, moody, vampy, happy, boudoir, glam, ETC! So many options.
I am in Lansing Michigan.
We waterproofed the hell out of it and are putting in a Drainage ditch surrounding it with a fancy big drain thing I don't fully understand (but Kevin does so it's okay).
I've only had it up since Oct 2022
It's surrounded on all four sides by houses and buildings so the fastest wind its seen is 24mph. We have a little weather station on our roof that gives us an accurate reading of wind speeds in our exact location. Before we got that the weather report one day said 45mph but we have found its always been slower than the weather claims in our yard vs. the entire area. When I get high wind advisories we wrap packaging plastic wrap all the way around it a few times to be extra safe panels don't fly out/away or the doors dont blow out. So far it seems like that's overkill but if it was in a more open area I think that (and just doing some inner bracing work) would be a good idea.
Snow slides off when it gets too heavy but we also swipe it down when we feel we need to.
We have electric and an electric heater that gets it a good 20 degrees or more warmer than outside in the winter, especially when the sun is shining . Electric was installed by my professional electrician father of 30 years.
Yes bugs get in. I have a bug catcher thing and sticky traps around to keep in at a minimum. They're going to be in there no matter what but i'm hoping to keep it to a manageable level.
Yes the fabrics have been UV treated and the wood has been moisture protected.
The lights are plugged into a smart plug I can control with my echo.
We now having a small standing air conditioner that doubles as a dehumidifier. The air and heater are only used when the greenhouse is in use. I will probably run the dehumidifier on very humid days but as of writing this we haven't had one yet!
Also as of writing this I am planning on disguising the air conditioner in a (non functional) victrola case..we have it, but haven't started on the project yet. Keep an eye on my tiktok for that.
The sun shade curtains do actually help keep it a little cooler.
It's only anchored down by the paver floor, which is extremely heavy and cemented together with polymeric sand.
It's only ever as humid Inside as it is outside.
The morning dew will soak the outside and inside will still feel totally dry.
Where did xyz come from?
If it's something you can buy online it's in my greenhouse Amazon list , (LINK COMING SOON!) It is an affiliate link so if you get something from there I'll get a little kickback.
Anything else was either from local hardware stores or antique/thrift/fb marketplace .
Where did you get the Fabric for the sunshades?
Wholesale fabric direct
Where did you get the cresting/finials on the roof? Kevin designed and made the cresting using our cnc machine, you can see that process HERE.
The finials are altered fence finials purchased from Steel Supply LP.
How much did it cost?
The Kit: $700 (bought on sale)
The Paint (26 cans) and self etching primer (18 cans): $336
patio floor (pavers, polymeric sand, leveling sand and paver base panels): $560
Finials and cresting materials: $95
Weatherizing (flex seal, weather stripping and butyl tape): $73
Obviously adding the curtains/chandelier/Decor and furniture is not included in that total, mostly because I stopped keeping track at one point!
Can I buy the cnc/3d printer design and/or physical item of the customizations Kevin made for the greenhouse: Soon yes! He is working on a shop for the digital files AND will be putting the 3d printed items on a print on demand site so even if you don't have a 3d printer you can still get the items.
How long did it take to build?
We started in I think april or may of 2022 and had it up by late october. Most of that time was spent hand digging out the foundation for the floor, mostly done by kevin as I was already in PT for scoliosis over the summer and couldn't risk helping much. It was a hot, miserable job. I highly recommend hiring someone to do that part if you're able. in between dig days we primed and painted each piece. Then laid and whitewashed the paver floor (which were the cheapest ones we could find at the hardware store) The actual putting up of the frame took a handful of days (definitely 2+ person job) and working out all the little design flaws the kit came with. touching up paint on all the silver screws, getting the cresting on the roof etc. The windows we had to get done in 1 day to minimize risk of them blowing out.
Can I rent it for you for a nap/dinner/photoshoot?
Not at this time, Im in the middle of a normal neighborhood with dogs and kids and I could never promise a peaceful experience. And if you are a photographer wanting to shoot in it, I literally just got it so i'm not ready to share just yet but that may always change in the future so keep an ear to the ground.
If I can convince kevin to build me another one at where ever our forever house ends up being i'm hoping it'll be in a bit more of a peaceful area and i'd definitely love to start a napbnb!
I have specific questions about building this kit: Ask them here! This FB group is filled with people much more knowledgeable than me.
What makes it victorian and who was the original poster?
Literally had one person ask me this on tiktok and proceeded to be rude when I was said I was confused by the question, and it's bothered me...Victorian is a time period. I realize this person was probably born a whole 13ish years ago but google exists.
And I think they meant...who built the original greenhouse I duped? Which the answer is, no one specifically. What I "duped" (which is another way to say I copied on the cheap) was a victorian greenhouse kit that already comes painted black with the cute victorian style greenhouse cresting along the roof line, and those kits are almost ALWAYS $10,000 or more. So I duped an expensive kit that was based on the authentic Victorian style greenhouses which sadly there are not many left of in the states.
I want to know yours/kevin's background and what you do for a living:
If it wasn't obvious by now, I'm a portrait photographer with a home studio in Lansing MI. I went to school for film making and fell into photography and decided that's where my passion lied. I worked from ages 18-20 at an awful chain photo studio, which I left to be the photo editor at my school newspaper for a couple years. I then got a very short lived job at a local, more high end studio as an assistant. I was told I would be full time by the end of the summer but I came to work to find orange stickers on the door and a boss who decided it was a good time to move the studio to detroit, so I was left suddenly with out a job.
Long story shorty I was able to help clear out his grandparent's estate sale left overs in a garage sale which his mom kindly let me keep the profits from. I made just enough to buy a cheap light kit, backdrop stand and a few paper backdrops. I already had a camera and had been shooting people on location and weddings (which I don't do anymore, yay!) but I was able to set up in our living room space with a closet of vintage clothes I was gifted from Kevin's mom and I started offering styled vintage pinup shoots with what I had, with a stylist friend of mine doing hair and makeup.
Since that day at age 23, I have not worked for another person since. Definitely could not have done any of it with out the support of my family, kevin, and kevin's family.
Since then I have always had a home portrait studio, and did it for years out of a very very tiny cinderblock house that we moved to about two years into our dating. It was very hard navigating working out of such a tiny house, with four cats and still needing to live like a normal person, but I was renting cheaply from a family member and the house was a disaster when we moved in, we spent a whole summer making it livable. The relative lived in another state and wasn't able to fix up the place herself at the time. But luckily let me paint design it how I liked, and I managed a vintage style kitchen, cute clawfoot bathtub, leopard print couch in a tiny living room, and a styling room with a cute pink twin bed and vintage tv in the corner. I set up my 4ft paper backdrops directly in front of the leopard print couch as that was the only space it would fit, with a board under the paper because heels would poke right thru to the carpet with out it. And after every shoot i'd have to break down all my equipment and store it under the stairs. (The stairs which were so tiny and went nearly straight up like a ladder to this day I can't believe I had so many clients climb them...)
With my rates as low as they were at that time I was working insane hours with one goal, to save enough to buy my own house...And I did! Which is a 2000sqft home which I only recently found out was the first home of the couple who built the big local shopping center down the road from me. It had a big shop for kevin, many rooms, hardwood floors, a big kitchen, and a huge attic above the shop for storage. It was the only house I looked at and I put an offer in right away and it was accepted.
We definitely have been privileged to have had the support of our families thru building this business because there is no way I would be nearly as far along in life as I am with out them. And luckily was ready to buy a house before the housing market went completely insane because I doubt even at this point I could buy this house at current prices.
We definitely worked our asses off to get here but that alone didn't get us where we are, it was sheer stupid luck and the privilege of a loving family and we are so thankful for it.
Besides offering fully styled vintage and modern/editorial style shoots from my home. I offer antique photo restoration.
and have an etsy shop for my digital backdrops I use to make my high end photo composites, so other photographer's can play with them as well!
Kevin: Kevin went to art school and has been playing guitar and creating music since he was 9 years old. We met on MYSPACE...Yep. Drawn to each other thru art and music we both loved. He is extremely talented and capable at anything he puts his mind to. He not only figured out how to build/use/and design items for a cnc machine and 3d printer VERY quickly, he can fix or build anything. I use to run a burlesque show (tease a gogo) here in Lansing for many years (my head stylist shelby is now head producer and the show is going 10 years strong and counting!) but like a lot of the photo set items I need and cant buy or don't exist, I would dream something up and kevin would make it happen. He's built/painted/staged so many photo and show sets he could easily do it professionally if he wanted to.
He's also a man of hobbies, his office is loaded with more gadgets than I can wrap my brain around. He has been recently licensed for ham radio and morse code and has been enjoying building radio things!
He is working on youtube channels, firstly one that slowly slideshows classic art for those of us with duped Frame TVs to pretend we have the real thing. And wants to make chill out videos and cat tv critter videos eventually too.
We are also together working on resin 3d printed earrings and dollhouse items which i'm hoping to have online shops for in the near future.
I'm still mad at you about the plants:
Deep breaths....I know I am truly vile.
But please rest assured when you're ready to buy my house from me at fair market value when i'm finished with it, you are more than welcome to fill it to the brim with plants. It is still perfectly functional as a growing space.
In the mean time please make peace with the fact that it's ours, we put all the work into it, and can do whatever we want with it
and you can, with respect, suck it. <3