Sunday, 29 June 2014

Progress this week

Hi guys

Hope you have all had a great week.
I've been working on my French style house most nights and it's come a long way since you saw it last. I completed the ground and first floor walls and windows, and built them up around the curved corners I put in that go either side of the front door.  Luckily the reverse fitting part from the windows and door came into great use creating more window frames (as mentioned in my last post) and adding a more unified detail. You get an idea of how its going from the pictures below.

I made a fret work pattern cut from thin card and glued it to the upper part of the curved wall (anyone know what the technical term is for my curved wall?). Though the curved wall was pleasing enough I felt it was a little too plain and the trellis work makes a good addition I think.

The black railings are just there to give me an idea for now.

I wanted to put red brick panels on the first floor to brake up the expanse of "wall". I saw it at Versailles and other French houses and loved the look. It also allowed me to fill an empty space where I had no more windows left to use! The oval detail on the front with the bust probably won't stay but I was playing around after spotting a similar idea that French architects did (Versailles again). I might put a small bracket there or something. Who knows!

I have yet to put the first floor ceiling in as I'm still unsure how to tackle the roof. I want a typical French mansard roof with two degrees of incline. I'm just not sure how high to make it or how to handle the curved front walls. I've been think of creating an aged green copper dome at the front section of the roof with a dormer window, and slate roof behind. We'll see how brave I feel! I love this "skimming stone" grey but it doesn't have enough character for me so I'm going to attempt a sandstone paint effect with plenty of weathering and ageing. I think I'd like my house to look like it had been abandoned for 20 or so years but then saved by someone who had plenty of money but wanted to reinstate some dignity to the place - not too dissimilar to my own pipe-dreams!!

Thanks to everyone for their lovely comments last week and for my lovely new Followers, I really appreciate every one of you. Incidentally, you may recently have seen my face re-appear in your Follower list. This is because I had some bother with Blogger (which seams to be common at the moment!) where I lost my following list and a lot of my older posts. The posts I can get back but I simply haven't had the whit to bother with it - I think I have to apply to have them re-instated! Ridiculous but a job worth doing, when I have a spare evening and bottle of Sauvignon Blanc! In the mean time I am finding you all again and re-following. It's taking a while so please bear with me.

Ok, I'm off to crack on with the sandstone effect… Cripes!!

Oh, one last thing, I was thinking about doing a weekly post along the lines of "Book of the week" where I'll share a favourite book or current read that I am loving. They'll all be reference books about architecture and design but you might find at least one that looks of interest to you. I often find it difficult buying new books. Being reference books they are usually very large with a price tag to match! Therefore buying them online can often be a risky business proving, sometimes, disastrous! This way I thought we all might be able to share our experiences and list books we have that are well worth the money and worth giving a try. Don't get me wrong, I'm no critic or expert, it will just be a few lines on something that certainly I at least have enjoyed.

Have a great weekend guys, what's left of it.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

The French Are Coming (And we LOVE them!)

Hi Guys
Its another glorious day here and after cutting the grass and potting out some flowers (picture domestic gardening god!) I got stuck into the french house (name still to be confirmed).

I thought I'd show you a couple more pictures of my stuff I'm working with. Like all of you I'm sure, I have amassed a ton of "stuff" over the years and sorting it out was never a fun thing to do. Now, however, that I am needing it all, it is more like a treasure hunt!

So, when I left it last night I was thinking about building a French style townhouse with the front door to the left of the model ( as you looked at it) and the rear of the property to the right. So I glued in the lower part of the wall (because I'm building this from scratch I don't have many large pieces of plywood so I'm saving those for floors, walls, then, have to be built up). In the pictures below you get an idea of the initial planed look.

But I woke up in the night with a twist on this idea - how about turn the whole axis of the house round 90 degrees. Thus moving the front of the house round, leaving what was the front, now the new right hand side as you look at the front of the house. This, I thought, would then allow me to have more symmetry and also experiment with an old piece of polystyrene crown moulding. What if I used this to flank either side of the front door??  At first I thought of using the curved part on the outside like this:

Both sides built. The tall strips on the sides are for curved corners. Vodka cocktails always help the little grey cells!

I was really happy with this option as it adds more interest to the main facade. By now of course I was making cups of coffee and frantically going through my books on French architecture for ideas, when suddenly, Inspiration struck again! What if I turned the curves to face inward??? This would then give me a lot more space inside and also give me more to work with outside. the outside edges of the moulding have parallel ridges running the length of the moulding and come in for about an inch (this is the part that would adhere to a wall or ceiling (assuming of course they were being used for their proper function!)).

The house is starting to look more french and less Victorian now. I bought the windows a few years ago - 2 tall and narrow and 2 double width, and the front door of course. The beauty of the townhouse design was that I could use all windows on both floors. The trouble with symmetry is that both sides need to look the same and this would mean all the window would be used on the ground floor alone. Whilst painting them (Skimming Stone by Farrow & Ball - I had a massive tin left over from painting our real life living room!) I realised that I could use the backing detail that should "normally" fit over the back side of the window frame on the interior might work as a window surround on the first floor. I had a French door that I was going to work in some how and almost fell off my chair when I checked the size - it was a perfect snug fit!!!

Picture is upside down! 
These will be perfect on the first floor and in the centre above the front door I'm going to build a sort of bulls eye oval window from an old mini picture frame and some cornice.

I'll leave you with one last look at how it's going. I'm really pleased so far and I'm really enjoying thinking outside the box in terms of materials. I think the house is starting to take on a Petit Trianon type style - like a small French folly.

Well, that's it for now, have a great weekend and I'll post more when I have it.

Best wishes

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Well, hello everyone!

Hi guys
I hope you have been well and life is being kind to you all.

Ever wondered what you could make from the "stuff" you have kicking about? I have boxes and shelves full of windows, floors, bits of plywood I thought might come in handy one day... We all have a corner somewhere in which lurks a forgotten something that has potential to be a really good thing!
I took a leaf out of my good chum Am at Southampton Grey and got to thinking (and then planning) a house I could build from all my stuff. Am is an advocate of up-cycling and he always manages to turn trash into treasure.

I'm not sure I can manage treasure but having read through his and everyone else's recent posts I am excited to be back fiddling with mini things. I started with this bit of plywood 14 x 20 inches and dug out some old Lawbre windows I had in a forgotten box. Luckily, and this demonstrates my point about finding treasure,  I found a door to match them and set about playing with the 4 windows and door. I finally struck upon a layout that works and then had to think about how the house will sit on this not-so-big piece of base plywood. I ended up with the front of the house on the left and the back of the house at the right hand side, with me the viewer looking at the open house from the side. Almost like a cross section.

My other idea is to build a French style house. I think I have done enough British looking houses now and need something a little different and challenging. Not too big of course, besides, I have to think of all my old junk that I can use.

I expect I'll get the buying bug at some point and purchase some things but for the time being I am enjoying working with what have. That's a challenge in itself!

Best wishes to all

PS I've renamed my blog Miniature Enthusiast - I kind of like it better...