Monday, 30 March 2015

Guest bedroom

The last "easy" room is the guest bedroom, which is on top floor, to the right. The side walls were already decorated so I just needed to add wallpaper and panel to the back wall. The panel is 1:1 embossed wallpaper. The ceiling lights are candlestick ornaments.

The floor is just a remaining bit from another project, and I don't know yet what kind of floor I want in this room. I put in some furniture and a doll to test.


The furniture in this room is mostly Chippendale made from kit. You can see how I made the bed, the chest and the night stand. The washstand comes from an antique market, but I made all the ceramic vessels myself. The fireplace came recently in a bundle from ebay, and I am not sure this is the right place for it. I will add more objects to this room later. For instance, the gentleman needs a chair, don't you think? And maybe a mirror over the mantlepiece? I have a kit for a Chippendale mirror that will be perfect.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Bedroom ceiling and top floor

The last ceiling I had to decorate before putting in the top floor was master bedroom. For the study, that is on the same floor, I decorated the ceiling with wrapping paper; the bathroom ceiling will be plain, and I have no idea what ceiling I will have in the front corridor, because I haven't even decided on the wallpaper yet. I don't know why I have problems with this corridor; I have tried a dozen wallpapers and don't like any of them. But I cannot wait forever, so for once I will have to decorate the ceiling afterwards.

For now, I needed to decorate the master bedroom ceiling, and I had various ideas so I went rummaging in my bag of trims and ribbons where I found just what I was looking for. In fact, if I had found it before I might have used it in one of the reception rooms. Too late. Here it is:


I considered adding another frame or diagonals, but this seemed right.

Now came the final moment of floor assembly. Sand, sand, sand, scratch, sand. Try. No way.

I finally gave up and asked ny husband for assistance, but we couldn't manage it together either. I also realised that the working height would be impossible so we took down the main house from the basement and put it on a coffee table. This didn't help with putting in the floor, but at least gave me some space around the %$&£*"!! structure. Isn't it ironic that the kit is cut with precision laser tool, and then I have to shave and sand the pieces to make them fit.

But it was all worth while to see the beautiful ceiling in its room. I used a plastic lid from a yoghurt jar for ceiling rose:

You may notice that the celing light is the same fish hook I had in the drawing room, but this is because I found a better light for the drawing room. Actually, the light I had in the old Victorian bedroom and planned to have in this one. But it turned out to fit much better in the drawing room.

I put some furniture and objects in the bedroom to test.

I am very pleased. On top of the room you can see the nursery where I also put some things:

Now you may ask why I bother putting in objects in rooms that aren't quite finished yet. I still need to fix mouldings and doors, paint edges, drill holes for working lights, and so on.

Firstly, it makes me happy to see something actually achieved. I don't mind removing it again, but right now I can admire what I have done during the weekend.

More important, though, it is only with objects inside that I can see some minor faults that need to be fixed, or, as I described above, that the lights I have planned fit better in another room, or that a slightly crooked piece of wallpaper will be hidden behind a bed and nobody will know.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Second floor and drawing room

Now that I had finished the pink ceiling, I could put in the second floor. I will not describe the process because it would mostly consist of dirty words, but this time, unlike the first floor, I did pull it out when it didn't quite fit and sanded more and glued properly.

I then trimmed the wallpaper in the ladies's drawing room, and, once again, I am glad that I decorated as much as possible on flat surfaces because working inside a small and deep room wasn't good for my back and shoulder. But I am pleased with the result, although mouldings are still to be fixed, as well as the door:

I am not quite sure about the floor, but since it is mounted on a piece of card I can replace it even after I have added skirting. Also this room will be crammed with furniture so perhaps the floor won't even be visible too much. To check, I put in some things and dolls:

This makes a huge difference, and I think I will leave the floor as it is. If you wonder about how I made some of the things in this room, have a look at the chimney breast, or why not my very first sofa, more than eight years ago. The octagonal table in the foreground is new, I got it from ebay recently, together with the chairs. The ceiling lamp is made from a fish hook, and the mirror on the chimney breast is very, very antique and cost a fortune. The samovar on the table is also old; my daughter's mother-in-law gave it to me. There will be more objects in this room, but since I will have to remove them to fix the mouldings I haven't put everything in yet.

All in all, this is what it looks like at the moment.

I very deliberately left the tools and materials in the rooms to convey a sense of the process. I put in the bed in the bedroom and the table in the dining room to see where the ceiling lights should be.

The next step is the top floor, and again I need to finish the ceilings before I can put it in so this will keep me busy for the rest of the weekend.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Pink ceiling

When I couldn't postpone it any longer, I put in the first floor. I had to sand edges for ever and ever, and then I tried it without glue and couldn't pull it back. It didn't fit in properly either, but stuck out a couple of millimetres. My choice was to pretend it was just fine or to try and pull the floor out, most likely damaging something in the process. Guess what I did?

Actually, I did more than that. I hinged the fronts, just to see whether the extra millimetres would prevent the fronts from closing. They don't.


Doesn't it look great? I will have to take off the fronts to decorate them on the inside, but I can admire them for a while.

I have also put in furniture in one room, after I have trimmed the wallpaper. Just to remind myself what it once was and what it will be again soon. It still needs all mouldings, and the floor is from another room. And yet.

Meanwhile, I need to finish the second floor before I can put it in. The second floor is where I have already made the blue lace ceiling for the dining room, but I still need to make a ceiling for the ladies' drawing room and the ceiling in the grand entrance hall. The wallpaper in the drawing room is delicate flowery stripes so the ceiling cannot be too bright.


First, I painted the ceiling and glued on a paper cake doily. I had bought a large package of these at Poundland. They come in three sizes, so I glued them on top of each other:  


This still didn't look quite right, so I added quarters in each corner: 


I hope it works with the room, because if it doesn't there is no way I will be able to repaint it.

Now I need to decorate the hall ceiling, and it must be grand. I have just found something on the please-take-if-you-want-it table outside my office. Watch this space.

Sunday, 15 March 2015


A very quick side project.


I used a wooden block onto which I glued brick paper, aged with shoe polish. The edges are bits of rail, the chimney pot is a cap from a champoo bottle, and the protective cap comes from a cooking oil bottle (the bit you pull off with a ring). It took me about 15 minutes.

Trimming edges

Remarkably, as long as the house was only temporarily assembled, I didn't even notice all the untidy edges and corners - they were all, in my mind, part of those things I would fix later. Yet as soon as the shell is permanently assembled, the details just scream at me. So I thought I needed to deal with them before going on, because I would get irritated every time I saw something unfinished.

For instance, this will never do, will it?


Even if it is on the back and nobody will probably see it. But I will. So I found the old jar of paint, fortunately, with just about the right amount of paint left. Better?

For the edges of the roof, I had to mix the colour I used for the roof, which is always tricky, but in this case it doesn't matter if it isn't a perfect match.

Then I had the big question about the front edges, which I knew was coming, but pretended it wasn't. When I visited the exhibition at the Museum of Childhood, I looked specifically at how front edges were trimmed. I probably should have done this before I even started decorating the walls, but then of course I didn't know how I wanted them. Anyway, this is obviously unacceptable:

Again, I could have saved it until later, because the edge does not have to be done before I continue, but it looks sooooo untidy. Yet what would be the best solution? Paint it all white? Paint it all the colour of the external walls? Paint and decorate each edge to match the room?

As usual, I posted the question in my facebook groups and got plenty of good advice that I didn't follow. To begin with, I painted the edges of the attic walls the same colour as the roof. It looked good and logical. Then I painted the edges of the side walls with the same colour as the outside of the house. This way the edges became a natural extension of the wall. It looked good. It looked so good that I painted the edges of the internal walls with the same colour. When I finished I knew immediately that it was the right decision. The colour is light and soft, so it doesn't clash with the overall colour scheme. I see that if I had painted each edge in different colours it would have been distracting. This looks logical and neat. And I can always repaint it if I change my mind.

It took me five hours to paint all these very small surfaces.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Learning from mistakes

Finally, after a series of weekends devoted to other things, I have taken the decisive step. Yes, I am re-assembling and glueing the shell. No, I haven't finished decorating the interior walls. I am glad I haven't because I have discovered some serious faults in my planning. If you have read my previous conceited posts about how clever I was to decorate everything before the final assembly you are now probably smiling to yourself and saying: "I could have told her!" So - why didn't you? But I remember a friend from a Facebook group saying cheerfully as I was embarking on this project: Don't worry, you will make mistakes and wish you have done things differently. 

They are not fatal mistakes. I haven't damaged anything, and I haven't injured myself in the process. But I am really, really glad that I am doing it on my own, because the mistakes are embarrassing.

If you have followed my project, yo may remember how proud I was of decorating flat surfaces. What I didn't take into consideration was something absolutley obvious in hindsight: on every edge there is a half centimeter that goes into a groove. And of course it won't fit into the groove if I have painted or wallpapered. Grrr... never mind. It just took me some extra hours. And I realised that the floor won't fit where I have put in doors in interior walls. Grrr... So actually people who said, Assemble first, were right. No, not really. I still think it was right to decorate as much as possible on flat surfaces, but I just went a bit too far over the possible.

Following the instructions, I first glued the side walls, back wall and roof. This is definitely not the order I used when I first dry-assembled the shell so I am glad I eventually received those instructions. Now it seems logical to do it this way. I left it overnight to dry, and today, after hours of swearing and sanding and swearing and scraping I put in the interior walls. I must admit: they still do not quite fit, but there is nothing I can do about it. I will just have to sand away the faults.

My neat edges and corners are in tatters, but I will trim them tomorrow. There are some scratches (yes, I hear you say: "I told you so!"). There are some unfinished details that are more visible now than they were when everything was temporary. Now is the time to tidy up as I go. Front edges, for instance. I don't even know whether they should be white or any other colour or various colours to match the rooms. I haven't thought that far. Now I will have to.

I am glad I have made this progress because I had to take this step sooner or later, and it is already considerably later than I had planned.

Anyway, this is the result.