Sunday, 25 September 2016

Step by step: master bedroom

This room has a long history. If you have seen the reception room, music room, drawing room and dining room you know that I trace the origin of every room in Womble Hall back to my first dollhouse. The four-poster bed was the very first piece of furniture I made when I started my dollhouse hobby, almost nine years ago. I built the bedroom around this bed.

Then we moved to England, and I rebuilt the house in a cabinet. The new bedroom was on the upper floor, alongside bathroom and hall. So this is probably the starting point for the current bedroom:


When I started planning Womble Hall I knew that the bedroom would be on the top floor to the left. I have no idea why it had to be so, but once I had decided, I haven't changed any room.


You can see that on the whole the bedroom is just like it was in the old house. It is quite a straightforward room, except that it has a door in the far right corner, leading to the rear corridor. But it would take a long time to get that far. However, because the concept of the room was clear from the beginning, I put it off for quite a while. No chimney breasts, no complicated partitions. So it was not until October 2014 that I made floors for the bedroom.

Let me remind you that the shell wasn't glued yet at that points. The floor is mounted on card, and thus easily removable, and the wallpaper is white-tacked. But the bedroom starts taking shape.

I didn't return to this room until I had assembled the shell and started putting in floor dividers, when I also decorated the ceilings. By that time, the wallpaper and wall panels had been added. The rear corridor is done, with battery lights fixed so that the light comes into the bedroom through the open door. The door itself took a long time because it didn't fit and I had to sand the opening for ages. It wasn't easy to do it inside the room, in a corner.


Apart from adding new furniture, I haven't done much in this room. I have obviously added mouldings: wooden skirting and paper cornices.  The furniture I made for this room includes a new dressing table, a new wardrobe, and a cradle.

In this picture, I have removed some objects and both dolls to display the new furniture better. This is a problem with crammed Victorian rooms: in the end, you cannot see every detail.


This room is as finished as it can be. It has display lights, like all other rooms, hidden behind a front cornice, and the light from the door adds to the atmosphere. I will probably replace the white table and chairs, and I may add more pictures, but there is really not much space left. If you compare this picture with the first one in this post you may think that not much has changed. Look again.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Step by step: dining room

This will be a long story. The reception room, music room and drawing room were relatively easy. But the dining room has some advanced features - one of many that make this house so interesting - that not only demanded careful planning, but also led to a number of major mistakes. Hopefully this will be all the more exciting to follow.

The main idea of the dining room goes back to my Georgian house, which was made to display the Chippendale furniture. So the centerpiece of the room was the Hepplewhite dining table:


In the early picture of Womble Hall, you can see the future dining room to the right on the middle floor.

You can also see that the room has a back corridor. According to the instructions, there should be a staircase in this corridor, but no matter how I tried, the staircase wasn't visible if you put in the partition, whether with the door on the right or on the left. I have seen a version of this house with no partition and the staircase against the back wall. But I liked the corridor so much that I sacrificed the stairs in favour of the corridor. By this, I also chose to make my life difficult. But this would be a long time in the future.

If you have read my previous posts you would not be surprised to know that I started the room with a chimney breast. It was the first chimney breast I made from scratch, and I was and still am very pleased with it. I used low-resolution printed wallpaper just to test it, and I also placed some objects in the room to see what it might look like.

In this picture from September 2014, I had inserted the partition, but there is no back wall behind it. The door is a plastic door from another project, just to test. And the floor is paper, the same as in the old Georgian house.

I did some work on other rooms before the basement arrived, and then I spent many weeks on the basement. So it wasn't until late December that I returned to the dining room and then had to start planning carefully. For instance, at this stage I had to decorate the rear corridor. And of course I had to use proper wallpaper, and although the initial trial was only temporary, I actually liked it. So the result was this:

The doors aren't properly inserted yet, but I had to fix the rear door pretty soon since it had to be finished before I put the partition in place. Which wouldn't happen for a while. But just to make it look nice, I white-tacked wallpaper on the right-hand wall and added some objects.

In this picture, you can see that I have a chest in the rear corridor, and there is a light there (battery LED light). The floor is temporarily borrowed from another room. You may ask why I kept moving floors from room to room, but it was to see the effect. Compare this picture with the previous one, with bare floors. You cannot really judge whether the decoration works.

Note that the shell is not assembled yet. It means that the wallpaper is not glued in the corners, and generally everything is shaky.

In the picture of the half-assembled shell, in March 2015, you can see how I had hung wallpaper with flaps that would later go on the back partition. And you can see the wallpapered back wall of which only a little bit will be visible through the door in the partition.

Next I had to insert the floor partitions, so I wanted to decorate ceilings on flat surfaces. This was the ceiling for the dining room. Two months later, it fell down.

This picture, from May 2015, shows the partition without the chimney breast. I would soon attach it permanently to the partition. The rear corridor is sealed off and can only be reached through the door, which turned out to be a problem. I believe this was the most difficult room in the whole house, where I also made the most mistakes. But the happy ending was this:

The partition in place, the rear door in place, wallpaper in place, ceiling successfully repaired. Time to make the floor!

It all sounds very easy, but remember, there are hours and hours of work between the pictures. This floor took a very long time to make.

But after that, I didn't do much on this room, apart from adding some more furniture, until we did the lights, and I have a nice picture taken through the side window:

 Then I made a new ceiling, as I did with all other rooms:

I added skirting boards (proper) and coving, made from 1:1 wallpaper.

We are now in December 2015. New Year dinner is served. You can also see new curtains on the window.

Since then I have mostly added new Chippendale furniture. For instance, I replaced all chairs and the side table, made a cellarette, a dumb waiter, a serving table, and another serving table. I had to put the side table elsewhere, and it still looks crowded.

I will probably add some pictures on the walls, possibly sconces on both sides of the mirror, but there is not much else I can squeeze in this room. I will make more food. I also need to repair the male Dutch doll to keep his female friend company.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Step by step: drawing room

Unlike the reception room and the music room, the drawing room at Womble Hall inherited many features from the original Victorian house, where the drawing room was combined with the study. When planning Womble Hall I knew I wanted a room where the ladies would enjoy their perpetual tea. In this early picture, one of the first weeks after I started, the general idea of the drawing room is clear. It's left side, middle floor.

There is a tea table, two dolls, and a sofa in the background. I didn't know what wallpaper or floors I wanted in this room. As with the other rooms, I started with the chimney breast. I used the front that I had bought a long time before, when I didn't yet know I could make fireplaces myself, but since it was there it would be silly not to use it. I knew I didn't have enough wallpaper, but at that point I was just testing things.

I made herringbone parquet floor for this room from self-adhesive shelf lining because I hadn't yet realised that all floors in this house would have to be hardwood. Proper floors. But as a test it looked ok.

In this picture, from October 2014, the shell is not glued yet, the wallpaper is temporary and only covers one and a half walls, the doors and windows are not properly inserted. At this stage, I had a very vague idea what this room would be like. Both tables are upside-down wooden candlesticks, from my very, very first forage into a flee market.

After that, I didn't do anything on this room for a very long time. You might think that I would work on one room at a time and finish it before moving on, but that's not how it happened. In this case, I didn't return to this room at all until I had glued the shell and was decorating ceilings before inserting floor dividers. For this room, I made a pink ceiling with white ornaments. I had doubts from start about this ceiling. It looked fine on its own, but somehow it didn't quite fit in with the room. But I let it be for a while. We are now in March 2015, and by then I had put in wallpaper, made wall panels, and it started looking like a room.

The wallpaper is a free printie, and I made the panels from a 1:1 wallpaper sample. The window is probably inserted, but not the door.

This room was, as I realise now, the easiest and most straightforward, and therefore, again, it took some time before I returned to it. Meanwhile the tea party just went on. But in May I decided to move the floor from the grand entrance to this room.

Once you have started having hardwood floors in your house, paper floors are unsatisfactory.

After that, there was another long break with this room. I guess, again, it's because it looked almost finished, and I was busy with rooms that didn't. So the next step, in October, was when I started working on the mouldings: skirting and  coving.  First, I had to add a few centimetres to the floor that came from another room. Then I used my ingenious, if I may say so myself, technique of coving with the same 1:1 wallpaper that I had used for panels. I am not good with coving, and I have avoided it as much as possible. It's soooooo much easier to work with paper, and I think it looks acceptable. Maybe even good.

There are small differences between the pictures, but each time the room looks tidier and more complete. The only major work to do with this room was to insert the door, but to do this I had to finish the adjacent room, and it took some time. Although I did make a curtain rod for this room.

However, the most revolutionary step in the whole project was lighting, which happened in November. I don't have a separate picture of the drawing room illuminated, but here is a picture of the whole house.

But as you see, the doors are still not inserted. Moreover, at approximately the same time I discovered Adam paper which implied a series of ceiling renovations all over the house. In January 2016 I made a ceiling for the drawing room, replacing, without much regret, the old pink ceiling.  This is what it looked like:

After I had finished the ceilings and the mouldings, the main project was officially completed, if there is such a thing. After that, I mostly focused on Chippendale furniture, among other things replacing the old faithful plastic coffee table with a Queen Anne tea table. The room was by then rather crowded, as Victorian rooms are. The serpentine chest by the right wall is also a Chippendale piece.

And this takes me to the present, September 2016, two years after I started.

You can say that not much has changed, and that's true. This room has given me least headache of all, and there is probably not a lot I am going to add. I may replace the table and chairs with Chippendale pieces when I have made them. I might add more paintings and other ornaments. Of course I can replace the sofa, but it has such warm sentimental memories that I think I will leave it as it is.