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


  1. I love how flexible your thinking is Simon. What a great imagination you have. The last arrangement is my favorite. Though I am sure what ever you final choice is it will be a gorgeous miniature.

  2. ¡Guau! Me encanta la forma que va tomando esto. esa fachada con tantas curvas, promete. No puedo esperar para ver el resultado final. ¡Me encanta!

    ¡Un abrazo enorme!

  3. You really stimulate the creative when you get started. I like the train of thoughts to get you where you ended up. I agree with everything you changed. Fantastic!

  4. Ooooh La LA!!! Simon, you are on a roll! These ideas are Great and make a wonderful use of stuff you already had! I think the Petit Trianon Idea is Fantastic and I look forward to seeing more of this new project!!!

  5. Hi Si
    You're a genius. I love the way your mind operates. You are open to ideas and you go with the flow when inspiration hits. I am so looking forward to seeing how this house develops. Keep the posts coming, I look forward to them so much.
    All the best

  6. Hi Si,

    I love your new project - it's funn, being in France, I always want to check up on architecture in Blighty, so I imagine it's the same for you for France. I'll keep an eye out for any interesting buildings or architectural features that you might like.

    Jealous of your pottering in the garden - mine was 32 degrees by lunchtime and in full sun - my poor lupins are flopping!


  7. I think I just lost my comment : ( !

    I love this new house, and the shape of the walls - if I see anything inspiring here in France I'll send you the photos!

    And I'm jealous of your pottering in the garden - mine was 32 degrees by lunchtime and my poor lupins are flopping!


  8. Even without the shell assembled, I can tell this is going to be a gorgeous house.

  9. Hi domestic gardening god :)
    That is some clever thinking you did.
    What a difference, putting the same pieces one way or the other!
    You are on a roll, keep it going, it looks fab so far.

  10. Looks great so far Simon! I like the unusual curve on the front. The Petit Trianon is one of my favourite French buildings, so I can't wait to see what you can achieve here. Great that the frames fit your French doors too, using up old scraps and things left over from other projects is a great idea!

    Andy x

  11. You never fail to come up with a great idea --and then-- an even BETTER one! Nice job, Si, it's going to be another masterpiece. XOXO John

  12. Wonderful! I really like your new project.

  13. Indeed, Simon (the night brings you council very well), this house will look like a "Folie" eighteenth century, in a typical French style. if you continue on this idea. It is very close to my "Petite Folie des Anges", I had built inspiring me on a model that exists in France, I only had to adjust the "round" of the front part because it was difficult to keep the thickness of the walls, I had to make lightweight angles ... I hope that you will succeed.
    It also doesn't have windows on the sides, just to keep some place on the walls to furniture, inside.

    Good luck for the future, I wish you a lot of motivation, I think you already know how it will turn out, it only remains to put into practice. :) Léa

  14. Hello Si,
    I am loving the direction this house is taking. The inward curve looks wonderful and reminds me of buildings I saw when I was in Paris. I think you are definitely headed in the right direction! I can't wait to see more.
    Big hug,

  15. I think the curved walls are inspirational - what a great idea and it adds another dimension to the front elevation. Looking forward to following you with this (if Blogger will let me!). I've had trouble going back through your old posts and wondered if you'd deleted them but have since read your post on Catherine's blog - I hope you get it all fixed soon. There's a picture I want to look closer at - lol!

  16. Hey!!! a bit late to the party! Freaking Blogger reading list. Anywhoeha, I really like the 1st option but whatever you choose it will look amazing. MAKE IT WORK! ;p Hug

  17. What a fabulous project yu are working on - I do love the French style.