Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The new earl's bedroom and the Montreal Miniature show

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all doing well. Thank you all for your kind comments on my last post. As I had mentioned, I have been working on several rooms at the same time. This past week I finished the earl's bedroom.

Here was the room before...

...and here it is after

The fireplace wall before...

...and after

I was quite happy with this bedroom and only planned on changing the crown molding for a more detailed cornice. Unfortunately, things did not go to plan (surprise)...and here we go!

Fireplace Wall

Originally there was a door to the right of the fireplace which led to a balcony. However, when I remade that wing the balcony became the countess' study. The door did not make sense anymore so I had to figure out a way to block it.

I decided to pull of the drapes, the door and the wainscot in that section, cover the entire area, which is about 12 inches tall and 5 1/2 inches wide, with illustration board, wallpaper the top and faux walnut finish the bottom... When I went to order what I needed, the wallpaper was no longer available. The door and transom were 10 inches high, so there was no way to cover it.

After much debate, I decided to cover each side of the fireplace with walnut paneling. Since the room was now a renovation and not just a small change, I decided to base the new design on the state rooms at Chatsworth house which are English Baroque. The first step was to decide what elements would grace each side of the chimney.

The plaster pieces by Sue Cook Miniatures  reminded me of the carved limewood detail in Chatsworth. I painted them to look like darker wood to contrast with the walnut faux finish, and then I took some pictures of English nobility and modge podged them to look like real paintings.

I glued them onto the painted illustration board and glued them in place.

Next, I added some molding to the door to make it look a bit grander.

The doorcase

The leaf frieze is from sue Cook, and I believe the overdoor is by Tony Jones. I left the original doorcase in and added to it. I think it is better scaled for the room. The light walnut in the room was made by painting a mixture of raw sienna oil paint and liquin over an antique gold Ceramcoat paint base, and the darker walnut was made the same way, only using burn sienna oil paint instead.


The new room layout meant redistributing the furniture. Of course I had to move a mirror which ripped paper right above the original wainscot. My solution for this was to cover the old poaneling with a new, taller one.

I used single ply faux painted illustration board. When it was glued into place, I added the leaf frieze as a chair rail molding around the room. I also covered the chimney in painted illustration board. this time I used double thickness because the new fireplace was larger then the original, so the chimney wall had to be bigger as well. Anything structural is better done with thicker board. I glued on some panels over the fireplace, again from Sue Cook. The new fireplace opening was wider then the original, but I was afraid to cut the opening and damage the floor. My solution was to use a printout of some Tudor tiles I covered in triple thick clear glaze to make it look like real tile.

I installed the fireplace and added molding to the wall to create the paneling.

I used a 1 inch strip and a baseboard along the bottom and chair rail molding over and under the leaf frieze. I glued on fluted  doorcase molding to create the vertical sections, then filled in the rectangles with quarter bead molding.

Here is a closer look at the fireplace, once again by Sue. The round panel above is a family crest also made by her.

I had some leaf frieze leftover and added some to the bed nook to tie it in with the rest of the room. At this point I added the cornice which was also painted to look like wood.

Even though I adore the wallpaper, the nook bothered me and I planned on covering it in wood. However, what I would most like is to cover the inside of the nook with a medieval tapestry, so I will keep looking for that before touching it.

The final step was adding molding to the corners of the new chimney to dress it up, and the room was finished.

And now some detail pictures of the room, as well as a few of room empty.

It was not the biggest change I have made, but I think it now matches the countess' room in grander and to me, it feels much more appropriate for the manor...not to mention I always prefer symmetry!

Montreal Miniature show

April first was the Montreal Miniature Show. We had our friends Julie and Brian (Westwinds Miniatures) and Martha Mclean over for a visit on the Friday, and on Sunday we had a visit from Marilyn and Louise. We had a wonderful time, and I found some great treasures at the show.

I love Janice Crawley's china. I purchased the blue tea set, elephant bowl and the 2 birds on the Saturday. I loved the tea set so much when I put it into place that on Sunday we went back to the show so I could get the pink one for the second china cabinet in the family dining room.

Karl Blindheim was also at the show and I want to purchase one of his animals every year. This year, I fell in love with 2.

When the Breakfast room and the study are done, the next big project is the kitchen renovation. I found these at Grandpa's dollhouse and think they will come in most handy.

I also purchased these from Martha Mclean. Her floral arrangement will be perfect in the breakfast room. Some of these were purchases, but some were presents from Martha. She made the egg holder especially for my kitchen. I will treasure it always.

Julie was not selling her artwork at the show, but she made me this incredible hat for the countess.

And finally, Marilyn and Louise commissioned this beautiful vase of flowers for the manor. I was very touche by this wonderful gift which was made by Marijke at pulchinellascellar. Marilyn, Louise, I hope you approve of the new spot I chose for it.

And that is all for now my friends. I am currently working on the breakfast room floor and hope to be finished with that room in 3 or 4 weeks at most. Until then, I wish all of you the best and I will be coming around your blogs for inspiration.

Big hugs,

Thursday, 23 March 2017

The new countess' bedroom!

Hello everyone,

I'm back! I hope you have all been well. It has been ages since my last post and I do apologize. After my last post we started real life renovations we wanted done before we became dads. Everything got done just in time for Christmas and now we are waiting for the call telling us a baby is waiting. I was finally able to start work on miniatures again in January, and last weekend I finally finished the countess' bedroom...again, but for the last time.

Before I go on, here is a look at all the  incarnation of the room.

Originally as a dressing room...
...then as a bedroom for the lady of the house...

...then as a bedroom for a countess inspired by Marble House....
..and finally, a bedroom a  countess can really be proud of, inspired by Rosecliff!

I tried to rework this room many times, as you all know. It always felt too much like a doll's house room: The marble was too pink, the white panels and gold detail was a bit much, the wallpaper bothered me, but most of all I never liked the layout of the room. After several failed attempts, I decided the only solution was to start from scratch. I think it was the right decision...

The Princess Pat chandelier is one of the few survivors of the renovation

Demolition and planning

The first step was gutting the room. I stripped as much off as I could and sanded anything left on. You might remember I made the rooms 6 inches deeper in order to make the kitchen below bigger. The bedroom was now 30 inches by 20 inches and 12 inches high.

I tried different layouts. I used the 6 inches at the back for closets and was going to put the fireplace between the window and the bed across from it.

I had  a brilliant reason to switch the fireplace to the wall in front of it...I just can't remember what that reason was! Anyway, I committed to a plan and cut out all the walls for the room in double thick illustration board.

The design for the room was inspired by the dining room at Rosecliff in Newport. The picture above shows 2 layers of double thick illustration board; one layer was to cover up all the imperfections and old openings on the walls, and the top layer was to create all the paneling.

The Fireplace wall

The fireplace wall was the main focal point of the room. I ordered plasterwork and a mantel from Sue Cook Miniatures and had several test runs.

The picture above was my favorite direction so I reworked the chimney to house the elements the way I had laid them out.

The curved part of the chimney is single thickness illustration board. The double would be too hard to get the curved line and still look clean. I painted everything with 4 coats of Seashell white from delta Ceramcoat. The next step was the mantel...

It took me 7 hours to paint it to look like Pavonazzo marble. It was a long process but worth the work. The base layer was antique gold paint, then a layer of triple thick clear glaze, sponged on seashell white, another glaze layer, sponge on light Ivory, another glaze layer, chocolate colored veins, glaze, white specks painted on in between the close veins, and a final coat of glaze. The layers of glaze are what really make the marble look realistic.

When the mantel was dry I glued on the plaster elements with The Ultimate Glue.

The Closets

Next, I worked on the closet on the right side of the door. I knew you would only see about half an inch of the closet through the door, but since it is  a bedroom and you never know what a mirror might reflect, I went ahead and made a full closet unit.

It is made of basewood and a leftover copper pipe. I taped together the side walls of the unit to make grooves for the shelves.

After the lined were scored with a utility knife I chiseled them out with a jewellers screwdriver.

I assembled it with wood glue and painted it to match the bedroom walls. On the left side of the bedroom door I was going to make a bathroom. I painted faux marble walls and when I had a dry fit I felt the 6 by 6 inch space was ridiculously small in a grand room, so I scrapped that and made more closets. I decided to faux finish them to look like wood so they would be more visible.

The closet on the left was inspired by an antique wardrobe I found online

It was a lot of work for 2 clothes which will barely show. However, when I had a dry run I saw something I had not noticed. You can see right into the left closet from the door that leads to the earl's bedroom

For those wondering what the white dots on the panels of the earl's bedroom are, I decided it also needed a bit of work...I know, I can't stop myself

So, all the work was not wasted. I cut out the ceiling of the closet and will eventually fill it with clothes. I will definitely try making some...but not just yet!

The Window Wall

The last wall section to prepare was the window wall.

I wanted a niche detail to house the countess bed...not a deep one, just to add a bit of architectural detail. When the four coats of paint were on, I added the plasterwork detail, made the window cases, glues on the wallpaper panels with regular wallpaper paste, added the trim, and finally made curtains from some green silk.

I still need to make the actual windows, but I really needed to post something. The wallpaper is Roche from Les Chinoiserie. I picked it up on our last trip to Barcelona at Ananda Miniatures.

The Floor and Ceiling

The only survivor of the demolition was the floor. I always lay my wood floors on illustration board subfloors, and luckily only the bottom part of the subfloor stayed glued to the floor. The rest came out in one piece and in pretty good condition.

When I had a dry fit, I realized the medallion would no longer be centered on the floor, not to mention I had an extra 6 inches to cover. I was able to slice of about an inch and a half on each end of the floor and made a new section that blended in quite nicely. I was so happy I was able to get a pretty close match with the french polish. After I glued it in I cut out a section for the back of the fireplace and the marble hearth.

The ceiling is a piece of illustration board. It really is the simples way to cover any leftover bits of the textured ceiling paper I ripped off. I still need to add the ceiling rose I purchased, but not until construction on the kitchen below is complete and I am ready to install the chandeliers.

The Bedding

I realized the bedding I had made was too pale for the room, not to mention the pillows and the toip of the mattress were really flat. 

I decided the mattress, a simple piece of 1 1/4inch foam, was the problem so I made new ones. I glued together 1/4 inch foamboard and covered the sided with fiberfill for one matress, and covered the sides and top of the other. I then covered each one with white cotton fabric glued down with Aleene's tacky glue.

I tried to stay true to the Victorian way: A bottom straw mattress, a top hair mattress, and a featherbed to top it all off. The featherbed is 2 layers of fabric I sewed on 3 sides, stuffed with 1/4 inch of foam, then sewed the top shut and tufted it.

The final step was to cover it all with a protective sheet (to protect the mattresses from dust and fireplace ashes). I glued it down but tried to make it look like it was tucked under the bottom matress

The final step was making a new bedspread made from the green silk I used for curtains. It is pretty much the same technique as the first one. You can look it up here. The green one looks much better, but I still need to work on a bolster and more pillows... and I'm not entirely convinced the lilac fabric on the headboard is going to stay.

The green one looks much better, but I still need to work on a bolster and more pillows... and I'm not entirely convinced the lilac fabric on the headboard is going to stay.

And that is all for this time. Here are a few pictures of the furnished room...

I will also need a lamp for the nights stand

This is the view from the earl's bedroom door

And since I am really pleased with it, here are a few pictures of the empty room

I am pretty advanced with the new breakfast room and countess' study, so it should not be too long before my next post. Until then, I hope you enjoy the countess' new bedroom and I look forward to following your wonderful work on your blogs.

Big hug to all,