Three days after I started, on the New Year Day 2008, I realised that I needed some planning. I knew I wanted a Victorian house because – as books and websites point out – Victorian houses were crammed with objects, and you can have dozens of tables and chairs and lamps and layers of rugs. Victorian is also a very long period so you can be quite eclectic. So the four-poster bed and the mahogny chest of drawers fit in well. But apart from the style, what should I have in my house? All I had was a book case so I wasn't restricted by the existing space. How many rooms would I have? Should I have walls between rooms? With or without doors? Should I have wallpaper? Floors? Ceilings? Should I have lighting? It must be fitted before the walls go in and wallpaper is put up.
Anyway, there were seven shelves, which made seven floors. From bottom up:
Cellar. Food storage, wine cellar, what else..?
Kitchen and perhaps laundry room? Kitchens are most fun, and the kitchen should be at eye level for best display, but logically it should be on the ground floor.
Dining room and drawing room. Between them a wall with an arch.
Library and study. The owner of the house is a magician called Jonathan Strange. (Yes, I know, that isn't straightforward Victorian). The library will need all kinds of things, a globe, a magic crystal, and many, many books.
Bedroom and bathroom. The four-poster is there already, but I must re-make ir with a more appropriate fabric. There must be more than one bedroom in a house, but it's more fun to have a big bathroom.
Nursery and servants' quarters. It would be nice to give the butler and the maid a room each, but I don't have space for that. I haven't planned this floor at all yet.
Attic. Old furniture, treasure chests, spider webs, a mirror leading into another worlds, bats and ghosts.
That would keep me busy for some years. And it did.