Monday, 2 July 2012

Vacation, Carpet disaster and Chinoiserie

Hello everyone,
I hope all of you are doing well. It feels like I have so much to write about! First of all, we had a fantastic trip. I even found some great souvenirs for the dollhouse.

I found the Three graces staue in a shop near the Louvre, and the figurine in St-Antoni Basilica in Padova the statue stands 4 3/4 inches high and will go in the Gallery or the Music Room.
We flew into Paris for 3 days and it was great. Jo and I went there on our honeymoon and it was just as beautifule as we remembered it...even in the rain. We then flew to Venice to board the ship and cruise the Greek Islands. Corfu was amazing, Santorini and Mykonos were lovely but a little too relaxed and calm for me. Our last stop was Katakolon where we took a guided tour to visit the ruins of Olympia, the site of the very first olympics, and it was one of my favorite stops ever. We got to see the "Hermes of Praxitales", said to be the statue of the most perfectly proportionned man...I believe it. We got off the boat in venice and took  a tour to Padova which dropped us off at the airport...Had I the money Padova is where I would have an appartment in was wonderful!.

That was the trip,and now back to mini-matters. Some people on cruise ships have all kinds of activities...Giac sits at the back of the boat and makes mini-tassels for Library curtains and works on dollhouse plans!
I should start working on the exterior of the Manor by the end of the summer. This means I had to figure out exactly what I want the house to look like so I can order the lumber I need. Here is my vision:
This first picture is of the side of the manor and opens into the Kitchen, Dressing Room and Morning Room. The Manor will be red brick, dark slate tile roof, and beige stonework. I love timber frame and decided only this wing would have it as I want the front of the Manor to look very solid and imposing. Naturally, the minute I finished it, I decided to lose the windows on the left and add a large chimney. I decided there was not enough cooking space in the kitchen so I'm adding a 5 " wide fireplace for roasting meat. The door to the kitchen will become a double door with large glass panes so the kitchen gets more light. 
This drawing is of the drawing Room Window and the Boys Bedroom. I will be using lead tape to make my windows and was not sure what pattern I wanted to use so I drew both onto the windows. In the end, I decided the regular square windows will get the square pattern, and the decorative curved windows will get the diamond pattern. Every window will have stained glass details, but more on that later.

I want a bay window for the Dining Room and Master Bedroom. I have a dremel and a regular 7 inch table saw, so I had to figure out the detail work in order to figure out how to build it since I can't make 45 degree cuts along the entire height of the panels. 

My last elevation drawing is of the Front Door. I want the entrance to be spectacular. while we were walking in Paris I saw several doors and doorframes that I loved, and I combined all my favourite elements of each door to create this design. I will use basewood molding and sculpy, and will finish it to look like stone. The swag detail over the transom will have a lion's head in the center. I know this project will drive me crazy, but I will make it happen.

I also took  the time to figure out my nursery. I decided to seperate the sleeping and play areas by creating a platform.  The platform area will be 8 inches wide and the crib will go next to the fireplace. The area will be seperated with banisters and curtains. The play area will have built in shelves, a built in puppet theater, and a chessboard inlay in the wood floors. I want to incorporate elements of Alice in wonderland without the room being too much of a theme room. This way the children can play with chess pawns as high as they are. Of course there will be a half scale table with chairs covered in lots of tea pots and tea cups. 
And that is what I got done on the boat. However, I had a few surprise when
I got home... Do you rememeber the red library floor carpet...the one that gave me such a hard time...well, the double sided tape worked amazing...but all the areas in between puffed up like a souffle. I think the basement is just too humid and the fabric expanded. I tried pushing it back down but it looks horrible. I've decided to take it out, make a wood parquet floor, and add wainscott to that room. Here is what the parquet will look like.

I will start by making the borders around the room, staining them almost black, then filling in the areas with light colored wood. The center will be a lattice pattern made from 2 tones of pine. I also want to incorporate wood parquet details representing the 12 signs of the chinese zodiac to go with the chinese patterned gold and black wallpaper in that room.

Also, I decided the Music room floor also has to go. It was my first scratch parquet floor ever. It looked great at the time, but the marble detail in the center doesn't look quite real and the large wood borders around the chevron pattern ruin the illusion. I will start over and glue the new floor over the old, and I also want to add wainscott in white and gold to the room. It was just missing somehting and I think I will be happy when it's all done...again, I chose a pattern from a russian palace for the floor..but more on that another time.

Since I've been back I've not really had much time or energy for the dollhouse, but I did decide on a  design for the attic library and had a test run. 

The room will be red and have black lacquer chinoiserie pannels. I hate painting with a passion, but I'm happy with the results of my first try. I will use a finer brush and the pattern should be a bit smaller, but I think I'll do a good job. I've printed out several panel details from furniture and am going to study the designs more carefully.

Also, I had 2 packages when I got home. The first one was the screen Jonquil offered in one of her giveaways and believe me, it is even better in real life. Her workmanship is spectacular and incredibly beautiful. Thank you so much Jonquil! I just LOVE it and will treasure it always.

The second package was me birthday chandeliers for the Library. They were totally worth the wait. The Metropolitan from the Getzans was the first chandelier I fell in love with and the only one I never thought twice about. They look perfect in the Library and go incredibly well with the style of the house...but you'll have to wait to see it until after the new floor is installed.

Another thing that has been on my mind lately and during the holidays were future projects.
I know I talk about deadlines all the time, but the reason is that I have several prjects in my head that are driving me crazy. I want to build a dollhouse for my niece and for the children of close friends of ours. I want to make town house type exteriors, and make the rooms individual roomboxes. They will have things like chalkboard walls so the kids can play, and if they want a collector dollhouse when they get older I will take out the children roomboxes and make higher quality realistic ones.
I also have a few roombox ideas for myself, such as my dream kitchen, and the project I'm most excited about is this:

This picture is my real life Dining Room. My parents bought this set the year I was born and I begged my mother not to get rid of it before I moved out. I want to make 2 copies of the China Hutch and the table with 8 chairs and a  sideboard for the Dining Room of Dewell Manor. I don't have the skills, but want to start experimenting with wood inlay furniture when the Manor is finished. I have started purchasing books on  making miniature furniture and will eventually start investing in  proper tools and equipment. John Davenport's book "Making Miniature Furniture is fantastic and I highly recommend it if you can find a copy.

The last big project on my mind is a family. Jo and I got word a month ago that we were officially on the adoption waiting list. We were going to keep it a secret, but figured we'd share the happy news since the wait will be long. We were told the wait is an average of 7 years. I know it's a while away, but I have to admit it is on my mind a lot and I would like to finish certain project before the tools and wood panels get put away and replaced, temporarily, by shelves of toys and games.

And that, my dear friends, is my back to reality post. I have been swamped with work since we got back, so I have not had time to comment on your blogs. I have read many and have to say I was in awe of the amazing projects and posts I 've seen. It seems like everyone is always getting better and putting out incredible work. I have not forgot about the prizes I was given and will talk about them next post as well as pass them on.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and I will get to work on Dewell Manor soon. Just please be patient with me as I think my next project, the new floor in the Library, will take me a long time to do.

I wish you all the best and send a great big hug to everyone, old friends and newcomers, and thank you for taking the time to follow my work and for your endless encouragement and support. I appreciate it more then you can know.