Dollhouse Blogs

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Great Dining Room: renovations complete

Hello my dear friends,
I hope you are all doing great and that you had a lovely month of July. Once again I thank you very much for your wonderful feedback on my last post. I appreciate it very much. I wanted to post sooner but as you know love testing my limits. Sorry, this will be a long post...again! Today I am glad to unveil the renovated Great Dining Room:
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the great Dining Room of Dewell Manor

I actually was happy with the original dining room design. It was a good dining room for a well to do middle class family. However, since I decided Lord Dewel was to be an earl, I wanted a more elegant room. Also, I felt that the Breakfast Room of the manor was grander then the formal dining room which made no sense to me at all.

At first I thought of just changing the floor and adding a little gold trim here and there but soon decided a renovation was in order. So here is the old dining room:

The room was just not fit for an Earl!

 And here is the new Great Dining Room:

Sorry, I will not put back the carpet

The chandelier is the Tiffany by the Getzans, as well as matching sconces

The Parquet Floor
The one detail I most disliked in the original room was the floor

It was okay, but it did not go with the rest of the floors I made from scratch and you could see white lines between the tiles. I removed the baseboards and prayed the floor would come off easily...luckily, I had not glued it down but used double sided tape. It came off in 1 piece very easily and I was able to use it as a template for the new floor.

I can honestly say, the grapevine floor was my biggest challenge to date! I don't know why but I had a grapevine border in mind. I had a test run to try out making grapevines and I was not too happy with it

It wasn't right and I was not sure I wanted to invest that much time in such a complicated pattern. I was about to give up when Ray emailed me and said he thought the grapevine idea was a good one and worth working at. I went back to the drawing board. After a while I figured out there were not enough grape clusters in the border, so I set to cutting many more and of different shapes and sizes

It was a time consuming project but fun. I traced each cluster onto the cardboard floor template I made, cut them out and then used them as cutting guides for the iron on wood veneer. So far so good. I then  glued them down on the subfloor

I then painted the grapes purple and the vines green

Then the nightmare began. I had to fill in the space between the grape clusters. Every piece had to be cut to fit a cluster at each end. It took forever but in the end I was really happy with it

Contrary to my original test run I decided to paint on the vines because I could not get the wood cut thin enough. I also added some veins to the leaves

With that done the next step was creating a fan design around the central medallion

I had drawn out each section on cardboard and used that as a cutting template making sure each piece was in the right sequence. I only ironed on about 1/3 of each piece near the medallion so I could lift the top edge, slip a different piece of wood underneath and used the partially glued down piece as a guide to cut the rounded end piece (I hope it is clear in the above picture). After they ends were all cut and glued down...

...I took a different wood veneer and cut out the 1/4 inch border that went around the fan, placed it over the edges and used it as a cutting guide to remove the excess wood, then I ironed the border down

In the above picture you see the border in place, then the excruciatingly long step of filling in the rest of the space. I decided I would make a lattice pattern. Why take the easy way out? It was a long process, but an enjoyable one that I found very relaxing. The pieces were really small so they had to be held with tweezers against the iron to heat up and activate the glue. I dulled and threw out 25 scalpel blades to make this floor. they are sharp on skin, but dull very fast on the wood veneer.

When the space between the central fan and the grapevine border was done I added fan details in each corner of the room. It just looked right

Then more filling in with rounded ends and lattice work. Finally it was done

Normally I use an electric sander to smooth the floor before I finish it, but since parts of the floor were painted I had to sand by hand using 600 grit sandpaper...I hate sanding! The last step before installing it was coating it with 3 coats of Shellac (I used 2 ounces of amber colored shellac flakes dissolved in 8 ounces of isopropanol). When that was dry I added a coat of clear wax and in it went.
 I know I wrote a lot about this floor, but it did take just over 50 hours which is also why it took me so long to post...everything else took 2 weeks to make.

The Doorframes and molding:
The doorframes were inspired by my favorite English country house, Chatsworth. The Great dining room at Chatsworth is spectacular and has gorgeous marble doorframes and over doors, so I decided to make my own version of them.

I apologize but I did not take as many pictures as I should. Here was the original test using bits of wood:

I liked the weight they gave the room. Luckily, I was able to remove the old doorframes I had made, which were only simple doorframe molding. I was thrilled because I originally thought I would have to work around them. My main concern was that Les Chinoiseries discontinued this wallpaper in green and I did not want to damage it. So here are the new doorframes

On the left you see that the inner frame is just 2 vertical pieces and 2 horizontal ones to make the frame sturdy. The bottom horizontal piece is 8 inches from the floor. On the right side you can see I covered that frame with simple 3/4 inch wide basewood, glued on 3/4 x 3/4 inch lumber strips to act as the column base, and in the space over the door opening I used basewood and illustration board to create a frame detail. Then I made the over doors:

On the left you  can see the back of the over doors were made using the same 3/4 x 3/4 lumber strip with basewood added on to support the molding trim. On the right you see the front of the piece, covered in 3 strips of molding and covered in gesso. the final step was faux painting them to look like marble.

To make the marble I paint on a basecoat, spray on glaze, sponge on a second color, spray on glaze. then a third color, then spray again, then paint on the veins.
The white marble was made using, in order, rain Grey, off white, pure white and the veins in grey. the green marble for the column was made using black, antique gold, dark green, medium green, then antique gold veins.

When the doorframes were in I replaced the chair rail molding with a wider window frame molding also painted to look like white marble.

I loved the original blue, white and gold fireplace, but it made no sense to have a painted fireplace with all the marble in the room. I removed it carefully but it broke, so I ordered the same model from Braxton Payne and marbled it

Pepper, I hope you approve of the candlestick's new home

I was going to paint the swag detail on the mantel gold, but I actually liked it plain so I left it as is. The final step was the baseboard molding. I wanted a grander baseboard so I used 2 different styles.

In the above picture you can see I glued down a spacer strip over which I glued the larger baseboard, and then I glued a smaller baseboard molding to cover the spacer.

The ceiling:

I did not plan on changing the ceiling, just adding some gold paint to highlight detail. At this time I emailed Ray and sent him a picture of the Dining room at Chatsworth to show him what I was planning for the doorframes. He emailed back that he had grids that looked very much like the ceiling in Chatsworth and offered to send them to me. I accepted Ray's generous offer and he mailed me the grids. Thank you so much my dear friend.

The first step was removing the textured ceiling in the room:

The textured vinyl part came right off. the paper base stayed glued on perfectly so I sanded it and cut a sub ceiling template and got to work. the first step was cutting the grids to fit. I did not have enough fot the entire ceiling so I came up with a design I liked. after the grids were cute I had to paint them

Again Mr. fancy Giac here decided the surface of the grids should be simple white, but the inner sided of the octagon and diamond cut-outs had to be gold...why does gold paint always need 2 or 3 coats. I then painted the sub ceiling and glued on the grids

The sub ceiling is a different shade of off white then the grids to add interest. In the above picture you can see the gaps between the grids. I filled the gaps with gesso and did and then touched up with paint. And here is the installed ceiling

I think it was worth the effort. I just love it. I plan on adding gold medallions in each octagon, but I have not yet decided on a size or style, and since I need 76 of them I will wait until my budget permits the purchase. Another addition are the 2 gold borders that line the crown molding between the ceiling and the frieze. The plain white crown molding just looked odd. The medallion in the center is just to show you where the chandelier goes. I will not install the chandelier permanently until the structure of the house is finished and does not need to be moved.

And here are some no flash picture of the room.

I am really happy with this room now and think it is perfect for Lord and Lady Dewell. I love the furnished room, but here are a few pictures of the empty room which showcase the changes I made:

My next post should not be too far off. I have a few small renovations to do, mainly new doorframes for the main floor of the Manor and an update of the floor sections of the Great Room...however I am not even thinking about the new floor section for at least a few weeks. Oh, and another little thing I plan on starting soon...the exterior panels...Finally! But more on those projects next time.

Thank you all my old and new friends for following my adventures. I wish you all the best and look forward to catching up with all your projects. You constantly supply me with great ideas, fantastic inspiration, and valued friendship

Big hug to all,