Wednesday, 10 July 2013

A Tale of Two Libraries...

Hello everyone.
I hope you are all doing well and that life is treating you kindly. Before I go on, I just want to thank all of you for taking the time to comment on my work and a big welcome to all my new followers. I never would of thought so many people would follow my adventures.

This week, I finished the two libraries of the Manor
The Mahogany Library
The Walnut Library
Mahogany Library
First let me start with the Mahogany Library. Here is a picture of what it used to look like

 You may remember the carpet, a piece of red velvet I glued down with spray adhesive, came undone. This was not a bad thing because while I loved the red the carpet was boring and not what I really wanted. The other thing that bothered me, just like in the Ballroom, is that the paper, which I love, was so busy things got lost in the room. I decided to add some panelling to help balance the room...but first, the floor

The first step was to make a template using thin cardboard to cut a sub floor in illustration board. This was difficult because the bookcases were permanently attached and could not come off
Once the sub floor was ready, I started by gluing down the Greek key and borders that I wanted to stain black
I stained it by mixing about 3/4 black oil paint to 1/4 liquin, brushed it on, and then let it dry for a week and a half. The next step was to figure out the pattern inside the borders. I decided on a diamond pattern so got to cutting them
I am often asked about the iron on wood. I believe it is used to line real life furniture and counters. It comes in rolls of different sizes and has an adhesive back that is activated when heated with an iron. I used the red thing to cut off the sections of the blade of my utility knife as an angle guide, and a 1/2  inch lumber strip for the size of the piece. You can see the diamond under the small metal square before I cut it. Next I had a test run for the pattern I was thinking about
On the left is my original idea. I would glue down the diamonds, stain them red, then add a small wood strip between it all.. like a lattice design. however I hated the way the red stained squares looked. too much stain and it looked like plastic, and if you put less the yellow of the maple wood showed through and the effect was bad. I was going to use different shade woods and not stain when I accidentally brushed all the tiles together and that is when I saw the star pattern. I liked the idea so I put more down, and before you knew it I was seeing 3d cubes. I loved it, cut many more hundreds of diamonds, and glued them down.
It went pretty fast compared to other floors. I then went over it all with an iron, weighed it down for 48 hours, then added 3 coats of shellac and waxed it
The floor went smoothly and took about 45 hours to make, which was about 2/3 the time the ballroom floor took. The only problem I encountered was about 20 diamonds came loose after I applied the shellac. I glued them back down with wood glue, but the edges absorbed a bit too much shellac
It does not look too bad and I put a table and a plant over looks like a little water damage.

The next step was the wall panels. For some reason I did not take pictures, but they are just faux finished illustration board with baseboard and chair rail added. Then it was time for my mini nemesis...curtains.

After I came up with a design I cut out the top part in double thick illustration board and covered it with fabric
I glued the fabric to the back of the illustration board. Next I took out my Pretty Pleater and pleated the fabric. When it was set I glued on a piece of illustration board so the drapes would keep their shape
Finally I added a little gold braid around the top pieces (same as in the Ballroom) and then I cut out cardboard rectangles and covered them with a yellow/ gold cotton fabric to look like roll down shades. I also added a little braid to them
When all was dry I glued on the wall panels, then the drapes and that was done...I almost killed myself reaching in to attach the drapes in the desk nook, but one must suffer for art.

The gold border in the panelling was an after-thought. Originally this was to be the family library, but now it has become the room where gentlemen would gather during parties. I decided Lord and Lady Dewell  are now the Earl and Countess of Truro. Honestly, I decided this because the Ballroom felt a little grand for an every day family, and countess is one of my favourite words in the English language.
And here are pictures of the finished Mahogany Library with the 2 gold Metropolitan chandeliers from the Getzans. These are my favourite fixtures and I will order the same ones in bronze for the Great Room


Walnut Library

While I was working on the Mahogany Library, I also worked on the Walnut Library. This was originally the Bedroom hall. It was such a big space I felt it a waste not to use it better. Since the Mahogany library became a show off room, I decided a second library outside the bedroom doors would work. The children could have their lessons here, and Lady Dewell could read to them in the evening. Here is the original room

The first thing I did was figure out how big the bookcases could be. The main problem was accessing the room
there is an opening for the attic staircase on the top of the structure and 3bedroom doors. In the picture above you can see my arm through the door. I had to make sure the bookshelves would fit in those door openings.  When I had figured out all the measurements I cut the backs of the bookcases and the fireplace chimney in illustration board. I glued 1 inch wood strips for the sides of the bookcases and had a test run to figure out how to design the bookcases
This is the test run. I placed them the exact way and distance they would fit in the can see it was a big space to waist. Here is how I made the bookcases

Here you see the bottom part of the bookshelf wich has faux doors. I just glued on the shelves and added a few leftover bits for extra support for the bottom section
I decided to go with a Gothic arch design. I cut out the arch shapes, then I used quarter bead molding which I scored about 3/4 of the way down every 1/8 of an inch. this is how I was able to bend the molding. In the picture above you see pieces with the molding covered in gesso to fill in gaps, and on the left the base colour painted pieces. At this point I faux painted the bookshelf structures, the arched tops, and all the lumber and molding I would need. Then it was just a question of gluing on molding. They are easy to make.
I also worked on the fireplace. Again I used basswood trim molding. I added a mirror to reflect the bookcase that would be facing the fireplace. I added a family crest over the mirror. At first I painted it to look like walnut, but then I added the gold...they are a noble family after all
The firebox is just cardboard and some plastic 1/4 inch brick sheet I had left over. I also assembled the crown molding because I knew it was going to be hell to assemble from those small opening...not to mention it had to fit around the existing crown molding on the room
Finally I added ogee molding, fake doors, jewelry bit key holes, and some thin lumber strips on the sided of the bookcases just for detail

Now I do not have any good picture of this room because you can only see it through the doors. The bookcases are not glued in. I want to first fill them with books, permanently glued down, before I glue them into place. So here are all the views:

View from the Young Master's Bedroom door

View from the Young Lady's Bedroom door

View from the My Lady's Dressing Room

And a view from the Gallery, which can only be seen with a camera...but I love this shot

I agree, you cannot see this room well, but it really adds to the realism of the house, and besides, I've done crazier things...

And there you have it my friends, the opulent Mahogany Library and the family Walnut Library. Mu next project is the painted fresco dome over the Grand Staircase and last Sunday I placed a large order for lumber for...yes, finally, the front windows and doors. I should be working on the exterior of the Manor by August.

Thank you all once again. I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoy and learn from all your wonderful blogs. Now I am off to bed as tomorrow is a very special day... tomorrow Ozzy turns 8.

 I send you all a great big hug and much love,