Saturday, 12 March 2016

Tudor illumination

This weekend I have traveled three hundred years back in time from my Victorian house to my Tudor house. If you want to see my Tudor house you will need to travel four years back in time of my blog, to the post when I last did some major work on it, and move backwards, to the day my husband brought home the shell he found at a recycling station. In between, you can read about how I decorated the house, added timber, made an inglenook and many other details. I have done some more work on the house since then, mostly adding objects I found at flea markets; but largely the Tudor house has been neglected, obscured by its more splendid Victorian neighbour.

The reason I went back to Tudor is that I want to install display lights. A dilemma with period houses is that you cannot have electricity in older houses, but you may still want some lights to show the details inside. The Tudor house is deep, and you cannot see very well even by daylight. I am with Brian Long, the author of The Authentic Tudor and Stuart Dolls' House, who says that even though there would of course be no electricity in a Tudor house it is still legitimate to have display lights. And in a Tudor house it is easy to hide display lights behind beams.

So I thought.

I bought 10cm LED strips with batteries and planned to attach the strips behind beams and hide the battery holders somewhere. The somewhere proved to be problematic. The holders are larger than you think, and they are very conspicuous in a miniature environment. I have several solutions. In the solar - which is the upper floor with the great bed - I can drill a hole behind the beam and hide the battery in the attic. I can disguise it as a treasure chest. On the ground and first floors, I can let the batteries sit on the outside. It won't be tremendously decorative, but it might work. I can also hide them behind stairs, but so far I haven't figured out how to attach them. I will sleep on it and go on tomorrow.

But while I was at it, I removed all objects from the house and dusted them, and also dusted floors and stairs and inspected all things that needed attention. For instance, last time I worked on this house, I inserted window panes in the solar, but never fixed them properly. Now was the right moment.

The original shell just had openings, but I added "leaded" window panes made from bottle protection mesh (the kind you get at taxfree shops in airports) which I glued onto a piece of old plastic folder. Looking at it now, I wonder how I could ever think that it was satisfactory. But I have had so much practice since then. So now I added a window frame, properly mitred, to match the timbers.

This looks so much neater. And from the outside, it looks like this:

I also hinged the back shutter in the kitchen that I had been postponing ever since, because it was such an awkward space to work in. But now I had no excuses, so I fixed that. And I mended the front door that had been broken from start. Now it can be opened and closed properly. This is what the kitchen will be like, with light (the battery holder just outside the picture edge, to the right.

Hopefully, tomorrow I will finish all the lights and have something to show. Come back!

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