Dollhouse Blogs

Sunday 18 November 2012

The Gothic Hall and the Attic Parlour

Hello Everyone,
I hope you are all doing well! Thank you once again for your kind feedback. It means a great deal to me to have other miniaturists enjoy my work. The past few weeks have been busy with the never ending renovations and work has been crazy, but I found time to finish the Gothic Hall and Parlour in the attic.

Gothic Hall

The Parlour 
The fireplace I made was originally all mahogany, but I wanted something a bit more elegant, so I used some marble paper I purchased years ago.

The Gothic Hall is the room between the Nursery and the Bathroom with the attic staircase landing. I had a hard time deciding what this room would be . Originally I thought about a small sitting room, then office, and finally, mostly because of the design, I decided it would serve as a prayer room. I'm not getting into any religious discussion, but I will say that the Dewells share my beliefs: The table will have the religious book of each main religion living side by side peacefully. 
I love Gothic churches and decided to divide the staircase area and the prayer room with Gothic arches. I started by taking a piece of 3 inch basswood and cutting out the arch shapes I wanted with an x-acto knife. I didn't like the space above the side arches, so I cut out openings to add some architectural detail. The second step was adding molding to the arched openings. Again, I scored the molding every 1/8 inch, about half way down, and was able to curve it.

In the next picture, you can see the supports I used to hold a 1/2 inch strip to make the arch piece look wider. I took some cocktail toothpicks, cut them and glued them into the top opening to add a little interest. I didn't put a back to the piece because there is no way to see it.
 When the glue was dry, I added some molding to the front of the piece. Usually I cover the curved molding with Gesso to fill the cuts I made for curving but I liked the detail it added so I just painted the piece as is.
 Next, I had to make the columns to support the arches. I used a 5/8 inch dowel to make the columns and attached the railing pieces to them.
 The next picture is the dry run before I designed the rest of the room. This is when it became clear the room would have a very religious character.
After the arches I took out my books and looked at churches to come up with a design for the window over the staircase. I was going to make a skylight, but decided to make a large dormer instead.
 To build the window I made a frame with 5/8 strip molding and I took a 3 inch wide piece of basswood and carved out the arch details at the top. I used molding to accent the curves and I used the smallest dowels I could find to make the column detail. I just glued them together lengthwise.
 Here is the window in place. All the windows in the manor will get panes of stained glass, but this window will be all stained glass. I have not put a roof on the dormer yet. I'm still deciding if I want to make it skylight so I can have daylight coming in over the staircase. 
 And here is a close up of the arches and window after faux-finishing.
The wall over the staircase was quite large and I wanted to make something interesting with it. I decided to paint the Dewell family tree. You have all heard me say how much I hate painting, but i think I did a pretty good job of it

 I started by looking at pictures and painting the tree. When the tree was dry I paint faces. In the closeup picture you can see some of them look like Wallace and Gromit, but considering I don't like painting, don't to it much, and the tree is only 4 1/2 inched tall, I am quite pleased with it.
The Dewell who live in the Manor are on the top left branch
 The family crest was a present for one of my best friends.When I made the Chinoiserie panels I was asked how I painted the designs. Honestly I have no technique. I look up what I want to paint on line and in books and I try to interpret it.  I use Delta Ceramcoat paints and the smallest brushes I could find.
View before the arches were installed
 When you are standing on the side of the house you can look through the door frame of the Morning Room and you get a good view of the tree and the banisters.
Morning Room and hall view

The Parlour was also a bit of a challenge. I cut out the back of the roof to make room for large windows. You would have views of the ocean from both sides and I wanted to take advantage of that. I built the windows and a fireplace and had a test fit,
 The only sad thing is that the only way to see this room is through the doorway of the Chinese Tea Room. You can see the back windows and the fireplace and that's it! The side window cannot be seen at all
Here is a look at the elements for both room when I was ready to paint them,

 Instead of making a deep dormer I added a balcony being the back windows. The manor will be brick and stone. I am using the Magic Brick system. I painted the balcony wall the colour I want the grout, then I applied the tape that came with the Brick kit.
 I added water to the powder until it was icing consistency, then applied it over the surface, waited 5 minutes, and removed the tape. Here it is dry and varnished. I love the look, but will age and colour the bricks when I do the front of the manor.
This balcony wall was also a colour test. I used the beige I painted the kitchen ceiling for grout colour and also for the stonework. I think it will look better when I'll individually paint certain bricks and age the walls
Next, I made the floors for the rooms and the 2 corridors. For the Gothic Hall I made a pattern using 2 types of wood and I played with the grain took forever!
Gothic Hall Floor
 Since the Parlour would barely be seen, I wanted to make a bold floor that would stick out.
 I used 3 types of wood, played with the grain direction again...really played...then I added 2 coats of shellac. Here is the finished floors connected by the hallway floors.
Finished Floors
 The hall to the left leads to the Morning Room and Nursery, and the other hallway is behind the bathroom. The last thing to do before assembling the rooms was to put a ceiling in the parlour. In the picture below you can see I screwed in a piece of wood on which I glued the double thick illustration board ceiling.
When the ceiling was done I started gluing all the elements down. Here is a look at the Parlour through the back window...a view you'll never see again,
You can see unfinished elements from this view. This room was a lot of work and I decided it was not worth finishing walls impossible to see...although I haven't ruled out finishing the walls at a later date.
 And here is the only view of the Parlour. When the room was assembled I noticed you could see the structure through the doorway. I added a 5 inch wall on each side of the doorway creating an anteroom. It covered up the structure, but it made the view even narrower.
 And here are the pictures of the empty rooms. I wanted chandeliers in every room, but in the Gothic Hall I think I'll hang stained glass lanterns between the side arches and I'll get some floor candelabra.

Gothic Hall. The wainscot was a present from one of my closest friends, as well as the ceiling which is the same as the Chinese Tea Room, only all white.

Parlour behind Chinese Tea Room. I'm happy the floor worked with the anteroom walls.

View of the dormer through the Nursery door

Hall behind Nursery
And that is what I got done since my last post. Technically, all the interior rooms of the Manor are it's time to redecorate! I have to redo the Library Floor, and I have to say I am not happy with the Music Room. It's okay, but not what I envisioned. I will make a new floor, add wainscot,and make more caryatids. I have also been thinking of the Loggia. I know what I want, but just have to figure out how to do it...and of course, there are the shingles for the roof...
 As I mentioned earlier we are still renovating our house and work has been gruelling so I don't have as much time to work on my miniatures, but as soon as another room is finished you can expect a new post. I hope you all have a great day, week, month...and while I don't put up new posts often,  I'll definitely be following your wonderful projects.
Thank you once again my friends.
Big hugs to all,