Dollhouse Blogs

Sunday 23 September 2012

Nursery and Bathroom

Hello Everyone,
I hope you are all doing well. First of all, thank you SO MUCH for your incredible feedback on the Chinese tea room, I was blown away by your kind words and want you to know that I appreciate all of you, old friends and new, for taking the time to comment. Honestly, after that I was a little worried about how to follow up on that room. I hope I won't dissapoint!
Once again, I am sorry to have taken so long between posts. I wish I could post once a week, but between real life renovations and more complex miniature ideas, it takes me a little longer to finish a room. However, I did manage to get 2 rooms done the past few weeks.

I finished the Nursery



Day Nursery

Night Nursery
 And the Bathroom


Bathroom Fireplace and tub
First of all, the Nursery. I had completely underestimated how long this room would take to build. The dimensions of the Nursery are 21" x 18". I decided to split it into a day and a night nursery. The night nursery is 18" x 8" and is a step up from the rest of the room. My starting point for the room was the puppet theater. After much trial and error I decided where it would look best and got to work.
Front of Theater and built in cabinet
 I started by cutting out each side of the theater in double thickness illustration board. I decided I would also build a built in shelf and cabinet to house my Nursery China and some toys. I used 1/2 inch lumber to frame each piece. You can see the "support" structure in the next picture,
Back of Theater and structural elements
 I had some wainscott panels I purchased and used some for the back of the open shelves. The doors on the bottom do not open, so I glued molding directly onto the illustration board and painted it.

Built in cabinet before painting
When all was dry I made red curtains using the pretty pleater. I glued them to the theater walls so they don't open. I'd rather they hang well and not lose their shape. I left an opening and will put a marionette bend over the stage. I had cut out a square in the subfloor and used leftover marble I painted on illustration board to make a chess floor. I wanted a chess set that the children could interact with...another idea inspired by Alice in Wonderland
Finished Theater and built in. I also made the coat rack to the left of the door using cocktail toothpicks
Before I installed the theater, I glued the wallpaper to the primed walls using regular wallpaper past. The paste workes great with Les chinoiseries wallpapers which are made of good thick paper, but I had a piece of blue non Les Chinoiseire dollhouse wallpaper I put onto the ceiling of the room and the paste showed.

Fixing a disaster
I didn't want to paint it, for fear of getting paint on the wallper on the walls, so I purchased a calender of coastal paintings and used it to create faux ceiling windows. I wanted them to look like paintings, not real windows, so I made sure the calender was of painting and not photographs. I glued them down over the ruined paper, then took illustration board and cut out the openings for the pictures, painted it my white ceiling color, and glued it down. A little molding and I was happy. I used a sunrise for the Night Nursery and a bright blue sky for the Day Nursery. You can see the finished ceiling in the first few pictures of this post.

The next step was the room devider. I glued down a piece of MDF to create the step up and then I made the floors for the room.

 I used lumber to cover the mdf. Every piece of molding or lumber in this room was painted before installation. I often had to do touch ups, but it is so much easier to have everything pre-painted...once I finally decided ont he color palette. I glued in the post at the back of the room and worked my way to the front.
 The railing sections were measured, built and painted before they went in. When I got to the end, I took a piece of mdf and cut it to match the angle of the roof line. I glued it in and added lumber to join the top of the room.
The final step was cutting arches in 1/8 inch basswood to fit between the centers of the posts. When all was dry I took out the pretty pleater and made some curtains. My idea was that the curtains would be closed at night so the heat of the fireplace would stay on the Night side of the Nursary and keep the children warm.

View of Night Nursery from the Day Nursery
Another project I wanted was a roombox over the mantel. I love Alice in Wonderland and decided to re-create "Painting the Roses Red" I started by making a box out of lumber, then I used scraps of the calender I used on the ceiling to fill the box
The scenery
 I then used 1 inch lumber to make the castle wall and painted it grey. To create the hedge, I covered illustration board with suede fabric and painted it with green paint. The rose bushes are pieces I cut off from a sponge brush, inserted onto a toothpick, and painted.
Making the card gardners
 The "card" gardners are made from the thinnest lumber I could find, beads for the heads, and a piece of thin metal I had which I bent into the shape I wanted for the arms. I left one side of the metal longer on 2 cards to look like they are holding paint brushes. I painted on the clubs with a toothpick. The roses are very small beads that were flat on one side, but had a diamond texture ont he other. I painted them white, then went over with red paint to make it look like they were painted.

The finished roombox next to a penny

The roombox installed
Next to the fireplace I created a seating nook. I wanted a cushion for it, but the T shape made it difficult to upholster. After many trials and errors, I took a piece of foamcore board, cut out the shape, glued on some foam around the side, and covered just the side with my fabric. I cut illustration board for the top part of the cushion, covered it with foam, and glued ont he fabric. I used a needle and thread to tuft the cushion. I started on the bottom, pushed it through the cushion, then pushed it back through about 1/16 of an inch to the side. I took both threatds on the bottom and tied them tight. Next, I glued them together and installed them. The only part missing in the Nursery is a half scale table and chairs for a children's tea party. I might try making puppets that look like the Mad Hatter, March Hair (my favourite) and the Dormouse
The top part is on the left, you can see the tufting knots
 While all this was going on, I also worked on the bathroom when I had to wait for pieces to dry. I had the laminated cardboard tiles and mahogany bathroom fixtures from Bespaq. I had to paint 3 different colors of green on the walls before I found one I can see earlier attempts in the first picture.
I also had the Bespaq fireplace. I cut out the firebox and re-did it so it would be deeper and look more correct. Originally, I had planned to have only mahogany crown molding, chair rails,and baseboards. I glued on the floor tiles (a plastic sheet) and the wall tiles using wallpaper paste. There was a gap on each side of the fireplace wall caused by the piece of 1/4 inch mdf for the angled wall, so I used my doorframe molding to cover them. The top of the wall bothered me. The long strip of green made the room look odd, so I used the doorframe molding to create section and then also created some on each side of the bathtub
I had planned to remove the cistern and add a pipe to make it look more victorian, but through research I realised a one piece toilet was appropriate for 1900, so I decided to leave it intact and avoid making a mistake. At first I was worried the tile would not work for a victorian bathroom, but in the end I think it worked pretty well.

And now, as usual, here are the empty rooms

In the last post someone asked what kinf of china I would have in the Chinese Tea Room. The pieces on the corbels will be white with blue, green and red painting...I think, but for the table I did something I've never done before...I commissioned an artist to make me a dinner set. My very first commission!  I met Julie Dewar at the Montreal miniature Show and fell in love with both her and her work. I sent her a picture of a tea set I saw online and asked her to interpret it and create her own version of it. She painted a Cherry Blossom design on a yellow background. The pattern is so small I could not get a good picture, but you can at least see how amazing it looks int he room

Imperial cherry Blossom dinner set
You can see close ups of the set and more of her great work on her website at Westwinds miniatures. Julie, you are an amazing artist and I thank you from the bottom of my heart, I know they were a lot of work, but they are amazing and make me very happy!

And that, my dear friends, is all for now. Next, I will work on the office and staircase landing on the attic floor. I hope you all have a wonderful week, or weeks, and I look forward to catching up on your blogs. I have learnt so much by following all of you and I thank you for your kindness and your friendship. Keep up your amazing artwork

A big, big hug to all,