Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Cabinet renovation

This is not exactly about miniature.making, but not irrelevant and an illuminating story.

When I first got involved with miniatures, almost eight years ago, I made my first dollhouse in a book shelf. I had zero experience, low self-esteem, a limited range of tools and plenty of enthusiasm. Also, I was on long-term sick leave and had all the time in the world to play and learn. And the house grew and filled with things.

Then I got a job in Cambridge, and we moved from Sweden to the UK. It was hard, physically, mentally and emotionally, and bringing the miniatures with me was imperative. This is what I wrote about it, in retrospect, with a further link to when it was actually happening. I remember crying floods, contemplating whether I was making a terrible mistake (I still wonder sometimes, but probably not), and I asked my husband whether he would allow me to re-assemble my dollhouse in the old wine cabinet from his childhood home. We had only had for a little while after his mother had died. It is a lovely piece, handmade in Swedish folk style, with rough wooden surfaces. It was quite worn-out on the inside so I painted it, although it was before I started making miniatures and learned how to renovate furniture.

Anyway, we brought the cabinet with us, and in our tiny rented house I started rebuilding my miniature world. It became a key to my sanity as I escaped from the horrors of adaptation to the new job and the new country. It is long ago now, and memory is merciful so it is only with some effort I can remember how desperate I was, but the miniature cabinet was my fixed point.

The cabinet proved to be great fun to work with. It had mirrors at the back which I had to remove, and since I was sure the dollhouse cabinet was for ever, I took the mirrors to recycling. I drilled holes in the back of the cabinet for lighting. I made floors and bought real dollhouse wallpaper. By Christmas time that first year, the house was restored and many things added.

At that time, I couldn't even imagine that I would ever embark on any other miniature projects, but eventually I first made some room boxes, then my husband gave me a Tudor shell, and so on - you can read it all in my blog if you wish.

I did not forget the cabinet dollhouse and added and improved things. But the idea of a really large dollhouse was growing in my mind, and finally, a year ago I became the happy owner of this huge property that will take me at least another year to complete. In case you have not seen it, this is the most recent post.

From the beginning, I moved most of the objects from the cabinet house to the new project because it helped me to decide on decoration and general planning. The cabinet remained as storage, but already then I knew that one day I would like to restore it back to wine cabinet. As I tore down the wallpaper and removed floors, surfaces were damaged. It disturbed me. I kept moving things, and finally last week I put all remaining objects in a cardboard box, scrubbed the cabinet and inspected it for necessary action.

As I adjusted my perception from 1:12 to full scale, my first thought was: What kind of idiot damaged this beautiful cabinet with double-sided tape! Then I remembered that the idiot believed that the cabinet dollhouse was for ever, and I forgave her. It took ages to scrub and sand away the tape and other remnants of the barbarian miniaturist's disrespectful handling of the cabinet, and as a result, the surfaces were smoother than when I painted them ten years ago and probably smoother than before the previous painting - there were at least three different layers of colour before mine.

When I went to the DIY store last week to get white paint for the doolhouse, I brought home some colour cards and chose one I thought was closest. Of course it wasn't even near close, but it was a pretty colour, and now I have painted the cabinet, and it is back to its original function. I have ordered new mirrors, and it will serve as a wine cabinet again. But it is another story.

1 comment:

  1. What a fabulous piece of furniture! I think that your choice of colour for the back of the doors works very well with the darker wood and compliments the warm wood colour of the exterior.
    Moving to another country is really tough and, as a much travelled Aussie, I love the Tim Minchin song 'White Wine in the Sun'. I cry buckets when I hear it, even though I have been home for a long time now and no intentions of moving.