Dollhouse Blogs

Saturday 24 January 2015

Winter Parlor and big renovation news

Hello my friends,
I hope you are all doing well. Thank you very much for your comments on my last post and a big welcome to new followers. I finally was able to start commenting on your blogs again. I was sick over the holidays and then I was running to get the winter parlor done in time to send pictures to a British magazine that is doing a feature on the manor. We are also in the middle of real life renovations, the bathroom this time, so it might be a bit longer until my next post but I will be commenting on yours.. However, today I present to you the latest upgrade...
The Winter Parlor

This is the room in the attic you can only see through the Chinese tea room. Here is what the room looked like before:

I hated this room. I did not like the fireplace, I did not like the layout and I got tired of the wallpaper. It did not make sense to me that you had to go through this simple, rustic room to get to the Chinese tea room where the earl and countess brought important  guests. I did what anyone would do...ripped out the entire back wall, ceiling and floor and started over.

When demolition was done I made a mock-up of the new back wall and had a test run with the furniture for that room.

You can only see this room through the doorway to the tea room so it was important that it stand out. The first step was re-framing the room. I used double thick illustration board and basewood lumber to do this.

I took off the entire back roof panel and built out the room. This made it much bigger which made more sense as a parlor used for entertaining.

With the old parlor, when you looked through the doorway you could see the structure of the roof. I decided to take make a vaulted ceiling over the passage just long enough to hide all the beams. I did this by taking single ply illustration board and scoring it to help it curve

I then glued it into place

I used leftover wallpaper pieces and basewood strips to decorate the arch. Here is what it looks like right side up

Since you will never see the room from the back, I decided to leave the opening over the arch the way it is. As long as there is no mirror in the room, it won't show.

I kept the floor simple so it only took me one day to make.

Now I got started on the back wall which is the most important part of the room. I built it out of double thick illustration board with basewood to reinforce it. I purchased a great fireplace from Braxton Payne and some half columns I liked from Jim Coates.

I was a bit fed up of gold details in rooms and wanted something to stand out behind the red, black and gold Chinese tea room, so I decided to go with a winter theme. I used a pale wallpaper from Les Chinoiserie, painted all the trim white, and used Delta Ceramcoat's Platinum color paint for detail. The fireplace and niche were painted to look like blue marble I loved from The breakers.

Here you can see the detail of the columns and I used leftover pall panel pieces to make the window frame.

The walls are thick because I wanted the curtains in this room to behind the arched opening. The final touch was finding the right centerpiece for the niche. I saw a statue from sue Cook and I knew she was the perfect focal point.

The next step was the ceiling. I used the same ceiling piece as in the Chinese tea room, but instead of white and gold I painted the background with Americana's Winter blue color and all the detail was painted with the platinum paint and a few white square details.

And here is the "finished room:

For those of you who are wondering why there are no curtains and no baseboards on the back well...well you'll find out in a minute...
Kitchen ovens and second exit

Before we tackle that can of worms, I also took a minute to update the kitchen back wall. I had 2 problems with the kitchen. Firstly, when the Dewell's had guests, the staff would have to go through the Dining Room to get out of the kitchen. Secondly, years ago someone commented that I had a lot of sinks in the kitchen but not much cooking areas. I took care of both problems.

The door is a false door I made from illustration board and wood strips. I just glued it on to the tiled wall. The other side of the door is a secret panel in the Tudor hall

I just added a door knob and cut the baseboard to create the illusion of a door...Nobody can see it, but it's there.

The wall oven unit was made with more illustration board.

I cut out an opening in the wall so the ovens would fit properly. The front of the unit is made from leftovers

The doors are singly ply illustration board, the hinges are made from jewelry bits and the tip of decorative cocktail tooth-picks. I painted the whole thing with matt charcoal spray paint. I purchase 2 glowing ember sets from Braxton Payne. Here is the unit installed

The camera flash ruins the effect of the fire so I took a dark non-flash picture. It is one of my favorite features of the manor.

Well, that it is for my progress, now the big renovation news:

New South Wing

I have decided to remove the south wing and make a brand new one. I was unhappy with some of the rooms and was trying to figure out how to improve them. The wing measures 21 inches wide and 37 inches deep, and the new wing will measure 32 inches wide and 38 inches deep. This means the manor will measure almost 9 feet or 274 cm. wide. Here are the reasons for this dramatic change. Firstly I was unhappy with the ballroom.

I like it but my sculpted atlantides on the columns always bothered me. I just don't have the skill to get the detail I want. The marble columns were too pale against the wallpaper and the room was big for a dollhouse room, but small for a ballroom. Also, I love the panels I made, but they felt like and afterthought...the room just wasn't working for me. After I spoke with Jo about what I did not like, the most wonderful husband in the world said something that shocked me, that I had thought of but did not dare suggest, he said "if the room is too small just make it bigger" . He said it, I'm doing it. The ballroom will go from 20 inches by 37 to 31 inches by 38 which will be much more realistic.

The library was a great room and very Victorian...the most Victorian in the house. When I first started the manor I wanted a floor to ceiling walnut paneled library that was calm and welcoming. I fell in love with this wallpaper and redesigned the room around it. To this day my only big regret is that I do not have my walnut paneled library...but now I will. I am thinking about a library a bit wider then this one with a covered loggia overlooking the south. If I can get the fa├žade of the house to look good with the loggia that will be the direction I take, if not I will have a library the same size as the ballroom.

Because the structure will be almost a foot bigger the attic section won't fit anymore. At first I hated the idea of redoing the Chinese tea room, but then I realized it was a good one. I will keep the exact same design for both rooms, but they will be 10 inches wider. The tea room was lovely but with the table and chairs there is no way the staff could properly serve tea, and the women next to the fireplace may catch fire. the room will be wider and have a sideboard for serving and a bigger table, and the arched doorway will be much bigger so you will get a better view of the Winter parlor ...yes, I have to redo that room too :(

One last room to be gutted, not renovated the countess's bedroom

I tried so hard to make this work. The room was originally a dressing room/ sitting room.
It was a great idea to make it a bedroom, but I HATE having the bed to the side. I will rework the room so the bed will be where the fireplace is. Much better.

Another reason I am happy to redo the library and bedroom is that through years of research my tastes have evolved. I liked Victorian most at the time, but now I prefer a more classical Georgian room. I know you and many people around me think I'm nuts, but I will not stop until it is exactly what I want it to be. The only part I dread is redoing the floors in these rooms!!!

And that it all for this post my friends. Next post I will show you what I got for Christmas and the plans for the new rooms.

I wish you all the best and once again, if anyone is following me and I am not following you, please let me know.

A big hug to all,