Sunday, 18 October 2015

Curtain rod

This is the first time I am making a proper curtain rod. All my curtains so far, in all projects, have been attached with white tack. Every now and then they fall off. And it doesn't look neat, if you look closely.

I have twenty-two windows in my house so it's just about time to learn how to make proper curtains. I will make something more elaborate for the reception rooms, but for the drawing room I took curtains that I used with a fake window many years ago (yes, fixed with white tack). Now I used two tiny loops - don't know where they come from, but will have of get more.

Then I put the rod - grill stick - through the loops.

Cut the rod and trimmed wth beads. I know it may sound elementary, but this is actually the first time I've done it.

Now it looks neat, and the curtains can be drawn!

I recently bought ten silk scarves at a market for £3. It was at the end of the day, and they wanted to get rid of their stuff. I will make curtains out of them, so come back soon to see. 

Drawing room

The last time I showed the ladies' drawing room was when I had just assembled the second floor of the house, more than half a year ago. Since then I have moved the floor from the entrance hall to the drawing room, and I have also shown the antique mirror over the mantelpiece (you need to scroll down the post to see it). 

The trouble with the floor was that it wasn't deep enough for this room, and before I moved on, I now had to add about two inches at the back. Thus: remove all objects and take out the floor.


It feels strange to see bare floors again, as if going back to the very, very beginning. 

It had been a while since I made floors, and I had forgotten how boring it was. However, I used the new technique I developed when I made the entrance floor: glueing coffee stirrers onto a piece of paper before cutting them. It went quicker, and because the new bit is in the back it does not matter that the colour doesn't quite match. You cannot see the difference, can you?

Then came skirting, and once again I realised that I couldn't finish skirting before inserting the door, and I cannot insert the door before I finish the floor in the adjacent room, and it will take some time. Therefore I only added skirting on the left and in the back, but it shows how neat it will be when everything is in place.


Then I put back all the objects.

Seemingly, it is the same picture as half a year ago, but a lot of improvement has taken place, as you can clearly see if you look carefully. There is still the door to be inserted and the skirting fixed, but apart from this, here is another room finished. More paintings here as well; maybe wall sconces, perhaps a couple of side tables. The flower pot should obviously not be on the tea table. I like the way this room has turned out.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Music room

I was in total shock when I finally got to finishing the music room, which is to the right on the ground floor. I knew that the wallpaper wasn't quite fixed and that the wall panels didn't quite fit, but I had been postponing this project because I knew it would be difficult. I didn't know how difficult. My greatest revelation was that I made those wall panels exactly A YEAR AGO! No floor, bare walls. It is a good indication of how slowly things move on. So much has happened in this room since. I wallpapered the walls, and I made a magnificent ceiling, all on flat surfaces. I inserted the window. But when I assembled the house, somehow this room escaped my attention. I put in the old herringbone floor, the very first hardwood floor I made seven years ago. I had to cut off a bit because the old room was larger. Then I leaned the wall panels onto the walls, filled the room with objects and pretended it was finished. The objects went in and out as I moved the house around recently.

But I couldn't postpone it forever, and once again, I removed the objects, the floor, the panels and the fireplace surround. Which left me with a sorry sight.


Well, the wallpaper looks good if you don't notice that it isn't properly glued in the corners. The ceiling looks great, and I am proud of my chandelier. But apart from these, it was more or less start from scratch.

I glued the wallpaper in the corners, which was easy, but when I started attaching the panels it turned out that they were on both sides an inch too long, and I am glad I then started checking every detail, because the floor turned out to be half an inch too deep (the front wouldn't close), and also I obviously needed to insert the door before putting in the panels. You may remember that doors are my particular enemies. This one was especially evil until I remembered that I had the same problem with the opposite door: the surrounds were slightly too large. Bold as I am now, I trimmed them with my precious mitre scissors. I had decided to paint the sourrounds dark brown to match the panels, and I also gave them a coat of mahogny stain. I think it looks better than white ssurrounds that would have stood out too much. When I had glued in the door I discovered that it wouldn't open and had to sand down the floor. Believe me or not, it was an improvement, so I will sand and then re-varnish the rest.

I then trimmed the panels. In both cases, I had to redo one square on each side, making them more narrow, but I don't think anyone would guess. I also made neater sides on the fireplace. 

Meanwhile, I put back the objects, made a fire in the fireplace and switched on the ceiling light. I thought it was good.


Apart from sanding the floor, the remaining touches in this room will be: 1) curtains. I haven't decided yet how I will make them 2) pictures on the walls, on both sides of the fireplace and on the side walls. Ancient pictures in heavy gold frames 3) coving. I haven't decided whether it will be white or dark, and whether I will use wooden moulding or paper. I am also considering painting the ceiling, but perhaps it will be too dark. But anyway, another room presentable.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Plinth, continued

I haven't moved much further during the past week. Except I have, physically. As I was planning to lift the dollhouse onto the plinth, there were several logistics issues I had to deal with. I had once again emptied the main house of almost everything, taping and white-tacking as much as I could. The plinth stood in the middle of the room, in front of the house on the coffee table. I figured out that I would put the main house on a computer table that I use as my workbench, then wheel it to the side, move the basement onto the plinth, remove the coffee table, move the plinth with the basement back toward the window, wheel the computer table out in front of the plinth, then lift the house onto the basement. Easy. 

However, I realised that it was more or less the final move, and did I really want this huge house blocking my window forever? Mounted on the plinth, it would completely obscure the light. I had never contemplated this problem because I had always viewed the house as a temporary project rather than a permanent piece of furniture which it was about to become. You don't precisely put a cupboard in front of a window.

My hobby room triples as my study and guest room. It means that I have my workbench, all my dollhouse supplies and tools in this room, but also my writing desk and my bookcase (true, with more dollhouse supplies than books), and there is also a sofa bed that needs to be unfolded when we have people staying with us.

I started, first mentally, then physically, moving furniture around. At one point, I thought I had a solution, but then I remembered that the dollhouse had fronts that open more than half a meter on each side, so in fact the house demanded additional 120 cm width. I moved the sofa over to the window. moved the plinth to the opposite wall, wheeled the computer table to the middle of the room and went to bed. I was an emotional wreck. I cursed the moment I decided to buy this house. I cursed myself for being such an idiot to indulge in a space-demanding hobby.

It took me a couple of days to recover. In the daytime, I went to work, and in the evenings, I pretended the room didn't esist. Of course, it was also crammed with boxes full of dollhouse objects and more boxes full of supplies that had lived under the computer table. Then gradually I started sitting on the sofa every now and then, staring at the house on the computer table, trying to imagine how it would look to an outsider or a guest.

Then I moved the house on top of the basement, and it was done. I decided not to worry about it any more. (I am not even sure that I will ever be able to take the house out of the room, but I.Will. Not. Worry. About. It. Now.)


The fronts are not hinged, and of course the front stairs are not built yet. If you want to look into the attic, you need to use kitchen steps. But it's better than lying on your belly to look at the basement.

I think it was worth the trouble. What do you think?

Sunday, 4 October 2015


This weekend I built a plinth. When I posted in my Facebook dollhouse group that I had bought a plinth many people asked what a plinth was, so I'd better explain. A plinth is a display table or box, on which you put whatever you want to display. You see them in all museums that display 3-dimentional objects. It is different from a pedestal, that is usually vertical. In this case, a plinth is a table to put my dollhouse on. You may ask why I need a plinth rather than just a coffee table or TV table, or even why I need anything at all, and I assure you I have considered the options. My dollhouse, or any dollhouse for that matter, cannot stand on the floor because then to view it you'd need to lie down on your belly or side. I have had it on my regular coffee table for a while, which worked fine apart that I want my coffee table in my drawing room. Some time ago I bought a coffee table for £10 in a charity shop, and it is fine as a working surface, although, as I discovered when I had to move the house, it wasn't stable enough.

I considered TV tables and various chests, and I browsed charity shops with a measuring tape in my pocket, but my house is really large, and I could not find anything of appropriate dimensions. It is not only a question of stability, but of aesthetics. Here I have this beautiful house - I don't want to display it on something that doesn't match. Actually, I knew from the beginning that I would eventually buy a plinth, but I made up my mind after I realised that I needed something more solid than a £10 coffee table.

Commersial plinths are manufactured by the same companies that make dollhouses. I am sure I could have ordered a plinth elsewhere, but this one was actually made to match my dollhouse. And it wasn't considerably more expensive than a second-hand chest. I had been nagging both my original seller and manufacturer, and you may remember my misadventures with them. So I was very glad when I found an online dollhouse shop that had Downton plinths (I had forgotten that my house was called Downton). I ordered it, got a quick confirmation, followed by a long apologetic email saying that the plinth was out of stock and could I please wait. With my experience of waiting half a year for the first kit I prepared for at least two-three months, but only three weeks later I got an email from the manufacturer saying that today they would be able to laser-cut my plinth. Hooray! Morever, they dispatched it the same day. What took them so long? I have no idea.

Anyway, my plinth arrived last Thursday, and yesterday, eager to take advantage of sunny weather, I opened the package and prepared to prime. Then I discovered that I was out of sealer and decided to try regular paint.

It looked fine to me, and I couldn't help wondering whether all that priming I did on the house was a waste of time, enegry and paint. Too late. 

Then I discovered I was out of the mint green paint I have on the exterior walls, so I had to go to a store anyway, but I had already decided to skip sealer. 


It took all morning and a good part of the afternoon because it is large surfaces, and of course I needed two coats of paint. Luckily, unlike sealer, this is a quick-drying paint. And it doesn't smell. By late afternoon I could bring all parts indoors. I first thought I would assemble them on the dining table, but the plinth is quite high so I couldn't work inside it. I moved it to my study, and it just about fit in front of the dollhouse. 


The assembly instructions weren't particularly helpful and obviously from a different plinth. (I must be the only customer who ever bought this one). I suspect that corner supports are from a different kit, because they very clearly didn't fit. Fortunately, I have a good set of tools, but what if I hadn't? Anyway, the instructions were not helpful, and anyone who has ever tried to put four side pieces together at 90 degrees, irrespective of size, knows that there is always at least one corner that won't cooperate. It didn't help that the parts are incredibly heavy. 

By dinner time, I gave up and watched a movie. As it frequently happens, in the morning all parts fit most obligingly, and I glued the sides and glued in the trimmed corner supports. Here I am inside the assembly. I don't take selfies so you have to trust me: I am inside. It is huge.


Five out of twelve corners had pre-drilled holes, and there were eight screws in the package, although the instructions didn't mention them. I figured out that the fifth corner was a mistake, but the other four should go in the grooves where the top would be attached, and the screws used for extra strength. 


The assembly is drying now, and as far as I can see it is not crooked anywhere. I am tremendously proud of myself.

I cannot do a lot more today, since it has to dry for 24 hours, except for attaching protective pads.


I probably won't have time to continue until next weekend because term starts tomorrow and I won't be as flexible. Besides, in order to put the house on the plinth, I will have to remove all objects from it, once again. Come back soon!