Thursday, 11 August 2016

Dewell Manor's Grand Library...finally finished

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all doing well and that life is treating you kindly. Once again I was very touch and appreciate all your comments about the last post. It really is such a pleasure to have such talented and creative artist enjoy my work. It has been longer then I had hoped, but the new and (I hope) improved library is almost finished.

Before and after pictures

Here is what the library looked like before:

And here is what it looks like today:

Don't get me wrong, I did like the older version very much, but it was so dark and so busy that I just could not imagine it being used for reading. The new version is also 7 inches wider and 2 inches taller which makes it much brighter. A few posts ago I showed you how I made the bookcases and the wall panels, so the next step was...

The Floor

The new floor might look familiar because I used the same design as the old library floor, but without the black detail in the boarder. Here is the old floor...

and here is the new floor...

I made sure to put the same metal ruler in both pictures to compare the rooms. Once again I used iron on strip wood for finishing countertop edges, and I coated them with 2 coats of shellac. I use amber shellac flakes dissolved in 99% Isopropanol. Here is a close up of the wood border and the marble hearth for the fireplace.

The hearth is painted 2 ply illustration board to match the faux marble fireplace from Sue Cook I painted. I paid more attention to the direction of the Greek key and the corners of the boarder. I think it looks more realistic without the black, actually.

When the floor was done I glued it down using the Ultimate glue and weighed it down with heavy books overnight. The next step was adding the chair rails and the baseboards to the walls.

You can see in the above picture that I made the bottom of the bookcases just high enough to slip the floor underneath them.

The Ceiling

When the wood trim was done, I flipped the section upside down and worked on the ceiling.

I used real life wood molding to create the coffered effect. It is a 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch square strip, and the inside of each section has a real life size tiny egg and dart molding. Under the coffering, I used a Sue Cook cornice strip. I painted all of the ceiling elements in a buttermilk color acrylic paint, then went over the detail in the Sue Cook molding with white paint. It took me an entire weekend to paint the white, but it really highlights the detail.

This was all done about 3 weeks ago. I still have to add knobs and glass to the bookcase doors and windows, and there are several paint touch ups that need to be done, but overall the room was finished. So why did I wait so long to post...

The Window seats

I showed you the window seats made of double ply illustration board. They were simple to make, but then I had to make cushions for the tops. I cut a piece of single ply illustration board to size and made holes where I wanted to tuft them. In the picture below you see the foam glued to the illustration board on the rights, and the fabric and another piece of foam on the left...the furniture.

I folded over the fabric and glued it down with tacky glue. I then used strong thread to create the tufting. I pushed it through the holes I made, made a very small stich on the top, and pulled down to create the detail.  

The fabric I chose was not a natural fiber so it fought me all the way! I had to start these over 3 times before I was happy. In the end I added gold trim and voila!

The furniture refinishing and re-upholstery

Here is a close up of the furniture in the old room...

I really liked the furniture in the old library, but it was mahogany and I hate mixing woods in my dollhouse. Also, the black was too heavy for the look I was going for. I gently took off all the fabric from the furniture but tried not to damage them so they could be used as templates.

I sanded all the furniture and washed them with a toothbrush dipped in warm water with dishwashing soap, let them dry properly, painted them with antique gold colored paint from Delta Ceramcoat, then faux finished them with burnt sienna oil paint thinned with liquine applied with an old brush. When that was dry I sprayed on 3 or 4 coats of lacquer to keep the paint from scratching.  I then cut templates in thin cardboard, glued on some foam, and then glued down the fabric edges.

I hate upholstering with a passion, and I don't think I am the best at it, so I will not go into too much detail. All I can say is my fingertips are still sore from super glue and being poked with pins while trying to hold the fabric in place. However, I did manage to refinish every piece...

The sofas were reupholstered with the same fabric as the window benches...much swearing ensued!

The benches were covered with a silk that was great to use, however the white textured fabric on the chairs kept unravelling as I worked...more swearing!

I had already painted the tops of the mahogany tables to look like marble, so I taped that off with painter's tape and sanded, washes, painted and faux-finished the wood part.

These 2 chairs were unpainted resin chairs from John Hodgson that were given to me as a gift.

I painted them with black Americana paint and highlighted the detail with gold metallic Delta ceramcoat paint. When dry, I sprayed on 6 layers of the lacquer. I used gold silk for the upholstery, but these pieces came with resin molded cushions and the silk just had to be glued on. I used tacky glue which I spread super-thin with toothpicks.

The globe is an inexpensive mahogany base piece with a bright blue, yellow, green and pink globe you've probably seen before. I took the globe and painted it with antique white, red and antique gold Americana paints and, you guessed it, 3 coats of laquer. The table was mahogany finish which I sanded and painted with metallic gold paint and lacquer. I thought of trying gold leaf, but I've seen pictures of gold tables in English country houses and the end result is pretty close. The top is a real piece of marble.

That was it for the furniture I owned. However... The room was quite big and I have always loved the idea of a map table. I did not find any online, so I made it myself.

Map Table

I figured out the size of the table and cut out all the pieces in double ply illustration board and designed it to match the paneling on the walls.

I glued them all together using the Ultimate Glue and gel Super Glue. One side has cubbies for rolled up maps and larger Atlases. I used 1 ich basswood lumber for the depth.

Here you can see pieces of left over wood I used to strengthen the structure. When the glue was dry I faux finished it.

For the map drawers, I used 1/4 inch wood strips that were pre-cut and pre-faux finished. I used leftover molding strips as spacers and just glued them down.

The top is double thick illustration board with a piece of red leather I had lying around. In the next picture you can see that I glued them together and covered the sides of the table top with moldings painted to match.

The final step was to add knobs to the drawers.

I have to say I am really happy with the way the table turned out.

And finally, here are some pictures of the empty room which took so long to do.

As I mentioned, I still have several finishing touches to do, not to mention many books to make to fill up the shelves, but as far as I am concerned the remodeling of this room was well worth it. I just love it and can imagine myself sitting  on a chair reading a book and listening to the ocean outside the window.

And that is all for now my friends. My next project is to install the new south wing structure with the rest of the house which means emptying the entire manor and taking it apart... what fun that will be. When the new section is in place I will go back to work on the ballroom.

I know many people are not using blogger anymore, and I myself have a Facebook account which I use mostly  to show pictures of the rooms I just finished, but rest assured I love the blog format and plan on continuing posting on here until the Manor is finished...or until I die, whichever comes first!

I send you all a great big hug and wish you all the best,


Good night...

Sunday, 8 May 2016

The Earl's study, staircase, Montreal Miniature Show and birthday presents

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all doing well. Thank you all once again for your great feedback last post. I had not expected to go so long without an update, but I underestimated the level of detail in these rooms and real life has, yet again, been hectic and exhausting. Work on the new wing is going well and I present to you the Earl's study and the Banquet hall staircase.

The fireplace in the earl's study

The study

The staircase

Marble floors

Last post I had just painted illustration board to look like red, yellow, green and black marble.

You saw this one last time

The next step was to cut them and glue them onto a single ply illustration board subfloor. I chose the cube pattern, one of my favorites.

Cutting them was time consuming but not difficult. The problem started when I glued them down. I had 2 sub-floor templates, one for the study and one for the staircase hall. I used the Ultimate glue for the study floor and it worked really well. However some of the glue kept coming up between the cracks when I placed the tiles, so for the staircase floor I used an Extra Strength Glue Stick.

I put the tiles down and weighed them overnight with weights and heavy books. When I went to trim the tiles that were hanging off the edge many of them came undone. If you look at the strip of flooring on the left  in the last picture, you can see where the tiles came off the white subfloor. Not the end of the world, but do not use glue sticks! I must have been tired because I messed up the last row of the study floor. I inverted the yellow and green titles. I just cut off the row ande made a black marble border around the room to make up the difference.

The earl's study

With the floor done I started putting together the rooms. I did one last test run to see if any mistakes jumped out at me.

It looked good, so all that was left was gluing everything in. I started by the wall panels and weighed them down 24 hours to make sure the glue set and the pieces did not buckle. Then I glued the paintings in place and added trim

I had shown you the fireplace before, but the red marble I had made did not match the one on the floor. It was too pink.

I pulled it out, praying the fireplace would not be damaged, and replaced it with the same "marble" I used for the floor. I think it looks better.

The final step was the ceiling. It is a piece of faux-walnut finished illustration board with rectangles cut out of it which I glued over the mdf structure which I painted dark green.

I added a cornice, frieze and cove molding around the room, and I trimmed the cutouts with the cove molding as well. And voila!

I think I will purchase short bookcases for the walls each side of the fireplace. The 2 vitrines I intended to use looked too massive.

Staircase and bathroom

The elements for the staircase were all ready, so, as with the study, I had one last test run.

You can see the beige walls for the bathroom at the back of the room. I made sure everything aligned properly and glued the wall panels in first, then the floor, the staircase and finished with trim and the painted panels.

I glued the elements in the above picture before I installed the wall that separates the 2 rooms.

In the picture above you can see I used a 10 pound hand weight while waiting for the glue to set. Before the wall panels were installed I measured and glued the molding onto the murals. They had odd angles and trimming the picture frame molding for each piece after the paintings were glued into place would have been a nightmare. This way a line of The Ultimate glue all around and a few drops of gel super glue were all that was needed to glue the paintings in. I mentioned that I made the space under the landing 2 inches deeper to create the illusion of a bathroom. The platform was now too short so I made a built in bench to cover the gap. There will be a window on this landing.

I have not glued in place the second part of the staircase because the would mean I could not put the structure upside down to work on the other rooms. I will post pictures when it is done, but for now here is what the staircase looks like with a piece of cardboard to cover the opening above the staircase.

I really like this room, but after the wall separating it from the earl's study was up you can only see little parts of it at once.

The camera was in the study, so your actual view is a little more limited...

...but I know it is all there and when the light is on it actually adds a lot of realism to the flow of the house

This is a view through the door of the unfinished library next door
The room under the stairs was wasted space so I decided to make it look like a small bathroom. I built a window unit with a stained glass window which has a ledge on which I can put a few towels.

The stained glass is a plastic piece I purchased at a Tiffany Glass exposition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts a few years ago. The window piece is not glued into place... I have access to the room in case of repairs or if I decide to add a sink or some other element. The piece cannot come out of the room as it is taller then the opening, but It works well enough and the stained glass looks quite nice when backlight

The floors were leftover marble tiles from past rooms in the manor
As I mentioned before, you can only see this room through the doorways in the study and the library. Sadly, you cannot see it from the back as the house is against the wall, so here are a few pictures to remember what is actually behind the study.

Montreal Miniature show  purchases and birthday gifts

The first weekend in April was the Montreal Miniatures show. Martha and Julie came over the Friday before the show and we had a wonderful visit. Jo came with me to the show and we had a lot of fun...and I shopped.

2 of the arrangements and the apples I purchased from Martha Mclean Miniatures, the lilacs ,also made by Martha, were bought from Grandpa's Dollhouse, and the white lilys were a present from Martha

I purchased the dish set and cake stand from Julie at Westwinds Miniatures, and she surprised me with the shaving set

The swan dishes and clown are by Janice Crawley and the vases were purchased at an estate sale table.

I love shopping at the miniature show, but even more fun was getting my birthday present last week. Jo got both families together again and they bought me a limited edition bird handle copper pot set from Janson and Jacqueline Getzan, as well as a few other kitchen items he knew I was hoping for.

And that is all for this post. I have cut the subfloor for the library so the next step is cutting the wood parquet. I have also been working on futur plans which I have mentioned before...Banquet hall, kitchen renovation... I did make one big decision though: when the present rooms and plans are complete, I am adding a basement floor to the manor for servants quarters, laundry room, linen cupboards, scullery, larder, cellar....This project will never end.

Thank you again for being there to follow my adventures. I promise I will try not to take so long before my next post and again, if you follow me and I do not follow you please let me know!

I wish you all the best and send you all a big hug