Dollhouse Blogs

Friday 15 November 2019

Goodbye gallery, hello parlor!

Hello my dearest friends,

I hope you are all doing well. How I have missed your blogs and commenting on your work, but fatherhood is most wonderfully time consuming. I get about 30 minutes of miniature time a week which is why I have not posted for a while, but I did manage to finish a remodel of the gallery.

 Originally this was an art gallery at the top of the stairs:

Since I am planning a sculpture gallery next to the banquet hall and the décor of the room was exactly the same as the Tudor hall and the entrance, I figured I could use the space in a more interesting way. I am happy to present the parlor:

I started by ripping up the old décor and built a dividing wall to separate the staircase landing from the front of the room. I then worked on the ceiling:

 It is made up of 2 pieces of single ply illustration board. The bottom layer is to cover up imperfections from the wallpaper I pulled off, and the top one (first picture) has a cutout to accommodate the plaster details from Sue Cook.

In the second picture you see all the plaster details and some basewood moldings before it was painted. When it was installed and the wallpaper on the walls was up, I finished it with a leaf pattern cornice, also from Sue.

 The chandelier is from the Getzans. Next I got to work on the floor.

The old floor was not to my liking. the larger squares had a thicker glue underneath so after they were ironed into place they stood out from the border strips. also, you can see at the bottom of the picture that one square was put in with the grain in the wrong directiona nd it stood out like a sore thumb. I was afraid to tackle a new floor because I would have taken months with Vigo to take care of, but just as I was about to leave the old one in I remembered I kept the old floor I had made for the winter parlor whish was demolished to make room for the banquet hall. It was big enough so I cut it to size and glued it down.

I never had time to take pictures, so here is a mock-up of the walls renovation.

1- I covered the walls in single ply illustration board
2- I painted that green
3- I applied the wallpaper from Alison Davies with regular wallpaper paste
4- I added a single ply illustration board paneling strip, pre-painted
5- I added chair rail, baseboards and squares in the panels, all pre painted.

Here is what the finished walls looked like.

 I was able to save the Jim Coates fireplace and painted a new marble slab to use as a hearth.

I am glad I saved the fireplace because it is one of Jo's favorite pieces.

And this is what the finished room looks like, as well as an empty room shot.

 I really love the way Sue's Doric columns frame the staircase behind the room.

Vigo news

Vigo is doing fantastic. He is in terrific health and aside from teething does not have a care in the world.

He was baptised in August and was a perfect gentleman...

 ...he started eating solid food at 6 months which was hilarious. when we put him in his high chair he giggles and gets really excited. He loves to eat...

..and the force was with him for Halloween:

 And that is all for now my friends. I miss your blogs terribly and look forward to having more time to get back to blog world...eventually. Right now Vigo is my world and I am loving every exhausting moment.

I wish you all the best and since my decorations and Christmas trees are up, I wish you all a very happy holiday season.

Big hugs,

P.S. please ignore any spelling mistakes. My mom is leaving so my leisure time is over, no time for proof reading.

Monday 8 July 2019

Slowly working on miniatures again...and Vigo news.

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all doing well. It has been such a long time since I have posted on my blog or left a comment on any of yours that I thought I would stop by and say hello.

I did not make it to the miniature show this year, but I had planned on picking up a project I commissioned from Karl Blindheim. He was nice enough to mail it to me after the show. I asked him to interpret the sculpture of the Townley Greyhound from the British Museum. I could not be happier with Karl's masterpiece!

I asked him not to paint it so that I can faux marble it when the new sculpture gallery of the manor is built. I am in love with this piece.

I have been enjoying my parental leave from work and am having the time of my life being a dad, but I must say I have missed working on my manor. I started up again this past weekend by demolishing the old gallery and will slowly turn it into a card or tea room. Not sure when I will be able to post about it...but I will keep you up to date. I will not work on the banquet hall or new sculpture gallery yet as they are huge projects and Vigo comes first.

Speaking of Vigo, he is doing fantastic. He is growing well and is in perfect health. His pediatrician says he is strong for his age and she was happy to see how much he could focus at 2 1/2 months. He is making new sounds every day and can be quite the chatterbox. He has just discovered sucking his thumb and grabbing things (I will have a bald spot on my chest in the next few weeks) and he smiles all the time and has started laughing. He is a great eater and a pretty good sleeper. In short, we were blessed with the most wonderful  boy. Here are a few pictures.

That is all for now. I hope it will not be so long until my next post, but in the meantime I wish you all a wonderful summer and wish you all the best. I am still following your posts, but commenting with a sleeping baby in my arms is too difficult ;)

Big hugs to you all,

Thursday 11 April 2019

Goodbye miniatures...hello diapers!

Hello everyone,

It is with an insanely happy heart that I must tell you that I will not be working on miniatures for a while, because I will be busy changing diapers. Jo and I have a son.

We got a call one day at 1:30 in the afternoon saying there was a healthy baby boy waiting to come home with us. At 3:30 pm, we were holding him in our arms. We named him Vigo.

We got him when he was 16 and a half hours old. He is perfect and I am still in amazement at just how much I love him.

I thank you all for your incredible support and best wished through the years. It was a long and heartbreaking 7 year wait, In fact we were absolutely convinced the day would never come, but it did. I will keep on following your wonderful blogs to keep on being inspired, but I hope you understand if I will not be commenting least for a while.

I send you all a great big hug,
Giac (the happiest man in the world)

Wednesday 13 February 2019

I'm back and guess what...I renovated the dining room...again!

Hello everyone,

Happy Valentines day. I hope you are all well. It has been such a long time since I posted and I am sorry to have been away so long, but it took me quite a while to get over my neck and back pain. I am much better now, but I am still being more ballrooms!

I have started working on miniatures again, finally, and what better way to come back to blogging then doing what I do best...starting a room over. This time I present to you the final version of the manor's dining hall.

Before you have me declared insane, let me explain. 

Here it is last version of the dining room:

I did like the Dining room before, but many people commented that the veins in my marble were too big. With time it really bother me. Also, I thought the doorcases I made were nice, but they were a bit too big for the space. Another reason was I was not happy with the height at which the border in the wallpaper separated the top and bottom pattern.  For these reasons, the room had to go. 

And here it is today:

Demolition and reframing

I started by ripping out all the molding in the room except for the coffered ceiling.

The room is 14 inches high and the wallpaper was 11 inches high. This meant that the border separating the 2 patterns was at 6 inches from the ground. It split the room in a very odd way that looked wrong, but I loved the top of the paper so I just lived with it. Then one day, Les Chinoiserie reissued the Avignon wallpaper without the bottom lattice pattern. It was a sign!

My inspiration for the new room came from Holkham Hall and the rooms of Robert Adam. I decided to install a niche to the right of the door that leads to the Tudor hall. I used my Dremel to cut out a rough opening in the 5/8 MDF wall.

The ceiling stayed, but I did not like that the coffered part stuck out from the ceiling...

…so I used single and double ply illustration board to make the sides of the ceiling flush with the coffered section. 

The last step was covering the walls in illustration board because I was afraid any imperfections where I removed molding and ripped the old wallpaper would show when the new one was installed.

The new paper was only the one pattern, but it was still too short for the room so I decided to add paneling 3 1/2 inch high.

The new Avignon paper is just a bit less yellow then the original one which I liked very much.

The Ceiling

I added some would strips which I painted to accommodate the moldings I planned on adding

To cover the gap between the coffered section and the sides I used a paneled Frieze, under that I installed a cornice, then I re-installed the original frieze that was in the dining room, and finished that with a molding from that matched the new doorcases

The doorcases

The next step was creating the doorcases. I wanted to use Sue Cooks Adam doorcases so I drew up some plans and she was kind enough to make custom size doorcases for me. 2 of the door openings are 4" x 8", and a third one is 2 1/2" x 8".

For the broken pediment, I used basewood strips and illustration board to create the triangle bases...

...then I covered them in smaller cornice moldings.

In the next picture you can see the painted elements for the doorcase. As I mentioned Sue made the custom doorcases using the 3 piece doorcase and an additional 3 piece architrave, and I made the 3 piece broken pediment.

And here it is installed:

After the doorcase were in place, I installed the paneling I made out of double ply illustration board and quarter round molding, and I installed the painted niche. I liked it, but the broken pediment was too square... I added some half brackets that match the doorcase. I originally planned on putting a bust atop each door...

...but they did not look right so I ordered some pineapple finials and painted them to match. I figured since the pineapple is the symbol of hospitality it was the perfect touch

The door that leads to the breakfast room is much smaller, so I used a simpler version of the doorcase design.

Later on you will see a smaller pineapple finial atop that door.

If you look through the doorcase of the back wall at just the right angle you can see into the kitchen. The noise from the kitchen would have been disturbing, so I decided to add a second door.

I used illustration board backed with basewood strips and covered in a white molding and matching wallpaper on one side...

...and walnut painted molding and matching tiles for the kitchen side.

You can barely see it, but it is there..

Fireplace, statues and a table.

I had a William Kent fireplace and found a picture of the real version which was being auctioned at Chatsworth house. I used the picture to finish the fireplace to look like veins this time.

The insert has Terry Curran's Fable Set tiles. I love it!

I decided to put less furniture in the room to make it look grandeur. Sine I removed the piano, I glued a bracket to support a bust and a sculpture in the niche.

I decided to use the china cabinets elsewhere in the manor and purchased a second sideboard for the back wall. I was trying to choose some paintings by Canaletto to go over them, but I liked the bracket so much I had a dry run to see what I liked best.

The brackets and sculptures were the winner. I think they look very elegant and they don't take the attention away from my silverware and china.

Since the larger furniture would not be going back in, I started looking for a smaller sideboard to go next to the fireplace. I found nothing! I had 2 bar stools that were falling apart, so I decided to make a small table until I could find something I like.

The marble top is 2 layers of illustration board with a chair rail molding. I painted the marble with a brush, not a sponge. First I stippled on 3 different shades of base color, then I added veins, and I finished with a wash of 1 part paint to 5 parts water. There are about 9 coats of glaze on it which was rubbed with 0000 steel wool and waxed. The base is basewood, legs from the stools and a quarter round molding.

I think it is my best marble. I like it enough that finding a mahogany replacement is not such a priority anymore.

And that, my friends, is all. Here are some pictures of the finished room with and without  furniture.

For those who are wondering where to get any of the items in this room, all the plasterwork (fireplace, doorcases, cornices, brackets, sculptures...) are from Sue Cook Miniatures , the resin Rococo frieze is from Lawbre ,and the lighting is from The Getzans.

I think some people who like Victorian style will prefer the previous version of the room, but as I have mentioned before my tastes have changed over time and I am more interested in Georgian, neo-classical and Palladian interiors.  One thing is for sure, this room is final. The lighting fixtures have been soldered into place so there is no going back.

My next project will be the banquet hall and new statue gallery addition. I will try not to wait so long before posting, but preperation for those rooms will take a while.
Thank you once again for following my adventures, and a special thank you to those who contacted me because I was gone so long. I really appreciate it. I think some of your posts do not show up in my reading list for some odd reason, so if I haven't been commenting please let me know.

Big hugs to all,