Despite my lack of postings I have been busy on the house.
Yesterday was a perfect day. To start, I picked up a large box filled with building materials I had been waiting for. Those contents shaped my plans for the day.
Having received the flooring trim for the dining room, I laid the floor entirely.
detail of dining room floor
dining room floor in black walnut with trim
Then I moved on to tiling the kitchen walls. I had a hard time deciding on the kitchen walls. My Brownstone had wallpaper & wainscot. But after watching a few period dramas (I get much inspiration from these) I chose a white tile with black diamond corners. It it a flooring tile, but fits perfectly for a wall treatment. For the area behind the stove I used an embossed brick paper, which I intend to scuff & blacken. To finish the kitchen, I glued my new plate rack above the door to the butler’s pantry.
Dumb waiter coming along
tiling the kitchen walls
progression in the butler's pantry
Then I moved on to putting up wainscot in the entry & main hall. This was tricky: I had to cut the stairs into the wainscot because of its thickness. I also reinforced the floor & wall under the stair to support the overall structure. In the end it will require some subtle filling to smooth it all out.
Finally, I secured my drawing room landing: there are 2 steps up from the entry hall to a landing where a bay window is. I plan on placing a secretary there with 2 great pillars I purchased from Sue Cook. The landing has 2 steps back down into the drawing room. I decided to also lay black walnut floor on the landing top, but intend to paint the stairs & vertical sides to match the trim in the drawing room.
It was a good day’s work!
I admit to a severe lack of initiative this weekend. But today I shook off my cloak of lazy & go to business. First, it was taxes (just to warm up). Then once the Irish breakfast was kicking in, I got to work on the house. Time flew by. I wallpapered the entry hall, changed my mind on the library & dining room, printed more wallpaper, enclosed the dumbwaiter, built the drawing room landing, made more stairs, added railing to my 2nd storey stairway & I don’t remember what else.
My big disappointment was that my bells arrived & are clearly not adequate for the job: some don’t even ring & those that do can only be heard by dogs. Luckily I have enough work to finish on the 1st storey to give me time to figure out a solution to the servant bell conundrum.
Good news: my 12th scale artichoke rocks.
Pictures are coming…..
Gothic dining room
I have much to catch up on. I’ve been busy working on multiple projects.
I’ve recovered some furniture with silks to go with my drawing room & have many more pieces ahead. I’m waiting until I decide the wallpapers before choosing the fabrics to match.
recovered drawing room sofa
I made a prototype for my servant’s bells (very Frankenstein, I think): but I can’t tell until I get the real bells whether this is workable or not. Because the bells are so light, there is not enough weight to produce a fall & consequently a ring. So I’m using magnets to pull the bell back into place, so the bell pull can be used from another room. I hope it works in the end.
servant bell prototype
I’m having second thoughts about my library wallpaper: it is William Morris & I love the pattern & colour, but it just somehow seems a bit blah.
I am now ready to start choosing the trim colours for the rooms: door & window casings to be painted. And floors still need polyurethane. The dining room floor is waiting for trim to arrive before I can lay it out. That will be the last room on the 1st floor.
I am very pleased to have figured out my secret room in the library: again I used magnet to keep the door secure, so only a small amount of pressure is needed to open it. When closed, it just appears to be wainscoting.
I decided not to rush the dining room floor – I wasn’t sure about the trim I had, so I’ve ordered something else. But, I did test out the printer & I’m happy to report that not only does Open Office suffice for my wallpaper graphics, but our printer rocks.
I’ve been copying wallpapers from various websites for years. One of my favourites is Bradbury & Bradbury. Then I crop & copy into an 11×17 sheet & print. Afterwards, I spray with a fixative. And they look great. Check it out.
Today was the day for the house. I managed to avoid tackling the servants bells & laid wood floors instead. I used a previously laid floor with beautiful trim from Small World Minis on eBay (one of my 2 fave suppliers of building materials). I had to add some extra around the edges (which needs finishing).
I also did the library: I used some assemble-yourself parquet trim which looked amazing once I finished. I really enjoyed the hands-on part. I decided to add a star detail afterwards (it was an extra piece I had kicking around). I even got the wainscot done: complete with secret door….
Afterwards, I set up my newly arrived gothic dining set in the library: chairs from eBay seller pedalcarsntrains & trestle table from online store Bijou. I love these pieces. You can’t tell, but the chairs are resin. To the right are my pocket doors into the drawing room.
And if you look close, you can see the secret passage beside the fireplace.
Considering the peeling wallpaper in my Brownstone I knew I’d have to research for a product that worked (not rubber cement). I found a webpage that told me all I needed to know: thanks Katescats! She recommended YES glue. So I ordered some from eBay. And it works! It comes in a soft paste that can be spread with a palette. I used it to lay my flooring. It doesn’t dry too quickly, so you have time to place & move your paper. And it doesn’t make the paper bubble, like liquid glues. Just spread nice & flat if you are using a thin paper otherwise you’ll be able to see the rise of the paste underneath. I can hardly wait to try it with my wallpaper…..
So after I laid some floors last weekend, I also worked on two extra special projects: building a dumbwaiter & a hidden room behind a fireplace.
The dumbwaiter is going to run from the kitchen, to the 2nd & 3rd storeys. It is large enough for a person (well, a 1/12 size person) to get in. I had to make a tray myself out of balsa wood (easy to cut), which I glue gunned together. Then I added wiring to the corners. I can’t create an actually pulley system until I start working on the next floor.
The hidden room is behind the fireplace in the entry hall (which is placed in a corner against a thin wall). I’ve cut out a square in the wall over where I’m going to mount a painting in which I can cut out the eyes for spying. This may take a few tries, being so tiny. Access will be from the beside the library fireplace: I’m using wainscot to cover the access & will probably use some kind of spring hinge on the inside to keep it closed.
Saturday I spent getting the blog up. Sunday was for hands on construction.
Never use anything with a melamine coating: 1 side of my base floor was melamine & I used wood glue to attach it to a 2 by 2 & 2 by 6. The reason I added this was to allow some space under the house for my wiring to run through – I have enough room to tuck in my plug-ins on either end of the house which I can then cover. Also, I had to extend a 4 inch length of flooring since I wanted the overall size to be 48 by 28, not 48 by 24 (the 2 by 6 secured the 2 pieces nicely, but did add more weight to the structure).
I digress….my point about melamine is that it completed rejected my glue & upon moving the house, the entire 2 by 2 cracked loose. So I took the plunge & added screws on both the 2 by 2 and 2 by 6. Better now before laying the floor…..which I did.
I managed to lay the marble floor for the entry hall, plus wide plank wood for the butler’s pantry, & the encaustic tile for the kitchen. Here are some photos.
marble hall & staircase
marble entry hall
encaustic kitchen floor
The big surprise came when weeding out flooring I didn’t need. Some interesting but rather dull coloured tiling was about to be set aside when I realized it would be perfect for the exterior porch outside the front doors! Have a look…
I have a set of stationary bells on a wood plaque. They look good, but I need more. I want them to work. I mean, imagine Downton Abbey without the incessant ringing below stairs….But I’ve been doing much hunting for something that works. And I’ve found nada, niente, nichts.
I’ve got 7 rooms I want to connect….Clearly, I need to create my own. But how…..
One cannot begin a project of this enormity without some assam. And so it begins…. And by the end of the day: voila! The first floor of my 3 storey mansion has been completed.
Forget Dremmel, or hand saws. I used a light-weight cordless saw & had my windows & doorways done tout suite. Luckily the trim will cover my tiny overcuts.
My dog hates me now that I play with minis & not with her.