Sunday, 19 February 2017

Step by step: servant room

In my guided tour of Womble Hall I have now ascended to the attic. You come to the attic by the stairs from the front corridor. The stairs lead to the servant quarters.


This room goes all the way back to the first Victorian house in a book shelf. It was so simple that I didn't even write a separate post about it, but here is a picture from January 2008:

Not much left of it, except for the doll.

When I reconstructed the dollhouse in the cabinet, there was no space for a servant room. The servant had to stay in the hall, and all the temporary furniture was stored away.

But in Womble Hall I wanted to have servant quarters, and the most logical place would be in the attic. However, I also wanted a nursery, and eventually I decided I wanted a guest bedroom that also had to be in the attic.  It doesn't really make sense to have doors from a servant room into the nursery and particularly not to the guest bedroom, but that's the way it is. (This is the only feature of the house I am still dissatisfied with).

There weren't any important decisions to make for this room: no partitions, corridors, chimney breasts, not even a window, just two doors. I put in paper floors and added a couple of objects, as I did in all other rooms, just to make it look nice. I hang wallpaper on flat surfaces, which was very straightforward.  I didn't plan to have any ceiling decorations. In the picture of the first proper assembly, you can see the back wall:

I didn't do anything in this room for a very long time, definitely not until I had to insert the upper staircase and realised that before that I actually needed to finish the floor in the servant room, as well as the two doors that lead from it. It was a long story. But I was quite pleased with the result, particularly when I put more objects in.

Sometime around this point it struck me that it would be fun to have a tired servant sleeping in this bed. Have you tried putting a regular dollhouse doll into a bed? Let me tell you: it doesn't look natural. So I searched ebay for "sleeping doll". Most of returns were sleeping baby dolls, but there was a remarkable doll couple sleeping in each others arms, at an outrageous price. I consulted my Facebook groups and, can you imagine, someone replied that it was their handmade dolls, re-sold, yes, at an outrageous price. But I could order one at a reasonable price. It would be OOAK - which I think is a wonderful acronym (on case you don't know, One Of A Kind).

Here is my sleeping doll, custom-made by smallsorts. .

I think she is absolutely amazing. Of course normally she is covered by a blanket, but I wanted to show her as she is.


Eventually I added an Adam ceiling to this room as well. Among the objects, I made a night stand and a chest.

I like this room, but there is probably more I can do with it. 

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Borrowers room box, part 3

In my previous post about The Borrowers room box I described how I made the fireplace. It so happened that very soon after that I received a box of rubbish from a friend who was moving house. Being a borrower I had asked her to collect everything she didn't want, even the most outlandish things. The first thing I saw on top of all rubbish was what I really needed for a proper borrowers fireplace. Let's read it again:

"It was a charming fireplace, made by Arrietty's grandfather, with a cogwheel from the stables, part of an old cider-press. The spokes of the cogwheel stood out in starry rays, and the fire itself nested in the centre".

As I explained in the previous post, I didn't have a cogwheel and I had very poor prospects of finding one, but whatever piece of plumbing my friend had put into her gift box, it was just right.


This is still not a cogwheel, but a huge improvement. And I wasn't displeased in the first place. Now I just need to bring the funnel lower down. 

Meanwhile, the description also mentions "that useful stand-by - a chest of drawers made of match boxes". 

Didn't I make all kind of furniture of match boxes: chests, writing desks, nightstands. Both when I was a child and when my daughter was small. But it was all once upon a time when match boxes were made of wood and when you actually used them. Where do you get real, authentic Victorian match boxes these days? I tried ebay, but while they had zillions of match-box labels from all eras and countries, apparently you couldn't just get a set of old-fashioned match boxes. I knew I had to do with modern paper ones, but at least I could be a borrower and a recycler so I posted an appeal in a local Facebook group asking for used matchboxes. Somebody thoughtful, who wished to remain anonymous, put a set in my pigeonhole.

I have seen these in craft shops, and I have no idea what crafty people make with them. What I needed to make was - yes, you get it: match boxes. With labels and abrasive sides. And preferably looking old and worn out.

The old and worn out look is usually achieved with tea, but I had to use diluted paint that I also had to wipe off quickly so that the paper didn't get soaked. I honestly don't know what match-box sides are made of, but I used sandpaper that I painted brown.

I don't think you can strike a match on it, and I am not going to try.

I found printable match-box labels on Pinterest.

Only the label on the top drawer will be visible, but for my own sake I made them properly. And just as borrowers would do, I used beads for knobs.

Isn't this a chest of drawers that Pod Clock would be proud of? (Pod Clock is the name of the father. Their last name was Clock because they lived under a big grandfather clock). Now I need to find many tiny objects that the family would have in the drawers.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Step by step: rear corridor

In the posts about bathroom and front corridor you could see glimpses of the rear corridor, which is one of the most interesting features of this house. As I have said many times, rear corridors and fake doors create a wonderful sense of extra space where anything can be hidden. This is what it looks like today:

But the way there was long.

Obviously, I couldn't start doing anything properly before I glued the shell, and I wasn't even sure what I wanted to do. As you see, there are two doors leading into the corridor, one from the bathroom and one from the front corridor. At each end of the corridor there is a door as well: on the left, into the master bedroom and on the right, to the hidden corridor behind the study. There is actually no door there because nobody will ever see it, but if there is light in the hidden corridor it can be seen through the opening.

In the picture of the glued assembly, you can see the back wall of the corridor:

This blog post describes the rationale and the process well, so I won't repeat it. Just note that the post is from April 2015, more than half a year since I started. Things take time. I believe this step was among the most difficult. The next post describes all the decisions I had to make because once the rear partition was inserted I couldn't do much behind it. This is one of the few places in the house where objects are permanently attached.

And in the next post, I explain how I made lights in the corridor - which was the beginning of my lighting revolution and resulted in this:


Which is more or less what it has been since then. You can see a bit of the corridor through the side window of the master bedroom:


Therefore I made a point of having some objects there that cannot be seen from the front. I didn't bother to do the same on the right because it cannot be seen at all. But as I said, the light from the corridor behind the study comes through the opening.