Monday, 16 November 2015

Mini update

Hi Everyone

My apologies for not posting in a while, work has been hectic (to say the least) but I have been doing lots of planing.

I have finalised my ideas for the layout of the build - It will all be based around an antique shop on the  ground floor. I have always struggled with minis in that no sooner have I completed one part of a project than I am planning the next! With a shop I am able to play around with and design shop windows etc, it also accommodates additions to my collection that may appear out of place in the actual living accommodation. I worked for many years at Ralph Lauren and as a result I have a full appreciation for the skill and craft that goes in to beautiful window design (not to mention the budget!!).

My inspiration has come from a wonderful street in Mayfair called Mount Street where I used to spend a lot of my time.

The basement will be the kitchen and dining area, shop on the ground floor, drawing room (that you have seen) on the first floor and bedroom and bath in the top floor attic.

Here is a picture of how the front of the shop is shaping up.

I have tried to paint the pillars (from Sue Cook) to look like terracotta and brickwork - A mainstay feature in the architecture of Mount St and other parts of Mayfair.

The wider section will hold the shop window whilst to the left is a recessed door to the shop and one to the apartment above. This was the only way I could get both a shop entrance and a doorway to the apartment in the width I had. From these pictures you might also start to get an idea of the layout of the building - with the facade of the property to the right of the room boxes. There will be a small pavement outside the front of the shop with more box hedging under the window. I'm still deciding whether to paint the planters in the same blue/black that will do on the shop window and signage above.

I'll post more when I have it but I'm only able to grab an hour here and there.

Have a great week


Saturday, 10 October 2015

Fireplace and more updates

Hi Everyone!

I have been working on my drawing room, in particular the fireplace. I opted for a relatively low-key one from Sue Cook but I didn't want anything that would dominate the room and the pretty panel above the mirror allowed me to add a touch more of the French Grey with some white highlights.

Here you can see some pictures in place either side of the fireplace and I also decided to paint the chair rail in grey too.  I didn't cut a hole in the wall in which to put the fire back in as I didn't want to have bits sticking out the side of the building, so I stuck a piece of brick paper on the wall and painted it black. I also made the hearth from a bit of left over wood. I'm planning to put picture lights above the pictures and paint them in a cream colour to mute them a bit.

Please don't be too horrified at my window treatment! I covered a strip of moulding in the main curtain fabric and it worked quite well. Eventually there will be panelling all round the dado rail in the room (including under the window) and I am thinking about a small detail under the pillars in the window frame so they don't look so unfinished. There will be a large table here so you won't see it anyway.

I tried putting both the new sofas in the room but together they were too much for what is quite a small space. So the one you see in this picture will stay here and the other (the same frame and fabric but a darker shade of red) will go in the ground floor parlour.

The cornice for this room will be a small one so as not to take too much off the height - the room is only 9 inches high. I also have to build the wall up over the pillars.

I bought a pair of bright orange dolls house table lamps the other day from U.S. eBay which arrived this morning. Their colour is far from subtle however they have a really pretty shape so I am going to paint them white and then attempt to paint on a Chinese pattern - don't hold your breath… I'll keep you posted.

Have a great weekend All


Thursday, 8 October 2015

Memory Lane No2

Hi Everyone

Thanks for your lovely comments on my last post like this. Here are some more pictures dug out of the archive!

This is a slightly different view of the Georgian townhouse I built from scratch a couple of years ago. It was my first attempt at going for a more aged, weather-beaten exterior and interior.

And this is the morning room - another first for me, when I discovered the joy of filling a room with accessories. Note the umber stained ceiling - Once I started washing everything in burnt umber I couldn't stop!

Yet another library. As you saw in my last post this was the first wallpaper I ever bought for my first room, and I've gone back to it ever since. I guess some things are too good to use the once.

This was my first attempt at a grand staircase - well, my first staircase of any form (there are a surprising amount of "firsts" in this post!). For a large space I was keen to keep it interesting. It all looks so new and clean though - this was in the days before I discovered the joys of a burnt umber wash!

This little sitting room was carved out of a reasonably sized house that didn't have a "cosy" place for people to sit. You can't beat a mini room with the lights on.

Another unfinished photo - the chandelier wasn't yet put in! I liked this dining room. I painted it using left over paint from our RL living room.

The next is a picture I sent to Sue Cook when I asked her to make a Kentian style fireplace.

I think you'll agree she did an amazing job!! It's currently for sale in her shop.

This was a small French style entrance hall I did a couple of years ago. I had bought some amazing moulded plastic sheeting in the form of brickwork and it looked great all painted up. Typically, I've never found it since!

And finally, here's my toy theatre I built. The picture doesn't do it's size any justice - it was huge! Funnily enough I have been working on another theatre in my 12 month sabbatical which I hadn't planned to show you but will maybe post about later.

It's funny, in my last post I had mentioned that I thought my [questionable] taste had changed over the years, but Betsy said she hadn't noticed much of a change. And I think she is right! Perhaps it's more my own perception of how things "should" look? "The eye of the beholder!" and all that.

Well, I'll wrap it up there before you all fall asleep. I used to have posts about some of these projects but a couple of years ago I, along with several others, were "hit" by a series of unfortunate events and the posts were deleted and I've not found them since. Anyone know of a way to find and re-activate them?

Have a great week, I'll post more on my current drawing room shortly.


Sunday, 4 October 2015

Memory Lane No1

Hi everyone

I have been working on the drawing room (and even considering the the floor below it!) but have little to show right now. So I thought I would share some old pictures I found of rooms, houses and projects I have made over the years. I can't believe how long ago some were!

This yellow drawing room was the very first room I made. It must have been 10 or 12 years ago now and it was quite large.

This Adam style room was in the same house as the yellow room - I didn't get as far as adding fire grates before the pictures were taken!

Here's some pictures of a pretty French room I did. The gilding was agony but worth the effort.

This picture is a before and after! In the first picture you can see the original wall panels - very pretty and I loved these when they first came on the market.

I was obsessed with Windsor Castle at the time and adored the red and green drawing rooms, so, seeing I had two almost perfect rooms next to each other I bought some Susan Bembridge Palm wallpaper in red and green and set to work with a scalpel!

This last room was cobbled together from lots of bits that were left over from other projects. I was trying to make a country house library with a window overlooking gardens. I think it turned out reasonably well - You have to love Sue Cook's mouldings!

It's funny now looking back at these old pictures, I like their composition but my tastes have calmed down a lot now and prefer a slightly neutral pallet. I'll do another post with more old pictures next week - please forgive my wanderings down memory lane.

Have a great weekend


Sunday, 27 September 2015

More Progress

Hi Everyone

I've been doing some more on the drawing room. The following pictures were taken as and when I had something of relative interest to show (and when I remembered!).
The first shows the dado rail painted with a couple of coats before the wallpaper goes up.

Here's some pictures of the window, in place and with some pillar things I made from some old banister pieces. I like how they are a bit different and add a bit of charm to what could be a large expanse of plain window.

I still need to fill in the gaps but I'm going to wait until I have settled on the cornice and curtains before this happens. I think the curtains will need to be pretty much made and installed before I can complete this wall.

I wallpapered the other two walls and to my horror the first piece turned colour with a slightly yellow tinge! Luckily this is in the corner so the other pieces I did have minimal amounts of glue  and once it dried it wasn't too noticeable - Incidentally, for the first time ever I tried putting the glue on the wall first and then put the paper on the wall!! It worked a treat! Why have I always glued the paper first???? There's hope for me yet!

I couldn't resist playing with the door and cupboards. The dado will be panelled and re-painted so the excess glue won't be seen - I need the fireplace first to work out the spacing. I spent ages testing different wood effects for the door and pillars but in the end decided to go with French Grey. The colour is soft and works well with the wallpaper.

Here is the carpet installed. The colour was key and I couldn't find a dolls house one I liked (not to mention it is impossible to work out the pile in the carpet from a poor quality picture online). I found a velvet online in a shade of green that would be a neutral background for the plum red sofas and yellow chairs that will be in this room. I also bought a very pretty Chinese style sideboard to go on one side of the fireplace (on the left hand side). I have my eye on a small but detailed Bespaq cabinet that would go well against the back wall but I'm considering painting it French Grey also to balance the doorway.

Here are the pillars and plinths loosely placed to give you an idea. I painted them in more French Grey and then dragged them in the pale stone colour on the dado. This gives them almost a stone finish and helps work the colours around the room. There is more French Grey behind the metal grills underneath. I finished them in a clear satin varnish.

I still have details to add to the end of the plinth but you can start to get a feel for the look of this room.

I'm hoping to have my sofas tomorrow which I'm very excited about. Once I have them I can start to glue the pillars etc in place. I'll post a picture of them once I have them.

Enjoy your day, I'm off out to the garden to plant bulbs for Spring - 75 of them!!

All the best

Saturday, 26 September 2015

A mini up date

Hi everyone

I hope you are having a great weekend.

I have been working on my room box today and started on the pillars. I cut them down and started on the cupboard part underneath. This isn't glued or painted yet and there's a long way to go but I thought I would share my progress.

Here's a picture of the wallpaper I am going to use. I really like the stripes and delicate pattern, the little red flowers will go nicely with the green carpet I'm putting throughout this room.

Thanks so much for all your thoughts on how I should tackle the outside panel. I am going to go with my instincts, and the majority of you guys, and do a painted effect. It will come as no surprise but whilst thinking and worrying I came up with another idea - to change which side the front of the house is on! The panel that is currently the front (like the part of a dolls house that opens) is the front facade of the building but I am going to move it around to the right hand wall (the right hand side of the box as you look at it) and I am going to try to make it look like a cut away through the building. Nothing will change on this room but you'll see it more on the others, especially the ground floor obviously, where the front door will be.

Oh, and I found a really cool book on the British embassy in Washington DC. Designed by one of my favourite British architects and full of beautiful pictures. I bought mine second hand on eBay (the dust jacket was ripped but the book was in perfect condition. Go check it out…

I'll post some more tomorrow (Sunday). Now I have to cheer on England in the Rugby…

Catch you soon


Wednesday, 23 September 2015

In the beginning...

Hi Everyone!

Here's a picture of my first room-box. All the other boxes will be this size with the basement and attic being a couple of centimetres lower.

I've been spending a while (weeks in fact) working out how I want this room to look. The lines on the floor show some of my thoughts. I initially wanted a small parlour with a little morning room off to the side. But, and there's a lot of "buts" in the mini world (goodness! I'm beginning to wonder if this Post should be X-Rated!!) I have bought a pair of pretty Bespaq sofas in different but matching fabric and they haven't arrived yet. My concern was how to fit the two sofas (and all the other furniture) into a relatively small room. After a week of worrying I realised that I could eradicate all this stress by simply opening the whole room up and using the whole box for the one room!! Believe it or not this was quite a radical realisation! After all, it did seam silly to be limiting myself at this early planning stage - heaven knows what I would have done once it was complete and I didn't have any room for other things!

The picture below shows the front panel that hooks on to the main box as apposed to being hinged. I'm not sure how to finish this yet. Whether I should paint it and age it (my current favourite option) or brick it up? All suggestions gratefully received.

As you know I sold off almost all my mini collection in a fit of madness but I did keep all my little bits and bobs - you know, the left-over but potentially gold mine things like excess cornice and banisters. In this pile was a couple of ancient Sue Cook pillars that I bought about ten years ago and have used in various guises since. I think the parlour will be a bit plain as one whole space so where the line on the floor shows where a wall going to be I am inserting a pillared break into the room with book shelves underneath and a shelf on top (at about 2.5 inches high) for useful objets d'art. I've always loved the library in Queen Mary's Dolls House so I thought I could cut down the pillars I have and make them fit. I'm not not yet but I like the idea of giving them a wood finish.

Incidentally, the window is one from a Laurels dolls house I kept "just in case"! I really like the Georgian look it has and I'd like to try my hand at making some fancy curtains for it.

OK, I'm off to cut a hole for the window and do some more worrying…

Thanks for all your super welcoming comments on my last post. You are all so talented and generous. I really did feel welcomed back into the fold.

Have a great day.


Sunday, 13 September 2015

1 year later


A whole year! where has the time gone?

I hope you have all been safe and well.

We have been up to much - sorting the house and garden and all those other real life things. And when I haven't been in the garden I've had my head in books. All lovely, but all a million miles from Mini's! I have been keeping up with your blogs and posts along the way and thought about coming back to it all  on several occasions but just didn't have it in me. For a while the Mini Bug all but left me and my interest dropped and I sold off the majority of my mini collection. It sounds drastic but it was quite liberating in a funny sort of way. And it has now freed me up to buy more goodies - as if an excuse was needed!

So, I am slowly getting back into the swing of things. I am just starting a new house made up from assorted room boxes but have little to share so I thought I would show you a couple of pictures from a room of a house I built earlier this year around Easter.

The fireplace isn't complete in the second picture but you get the idea.

I'm not sure when my next post will be but it will be within the next 12 months! In the mean time, enjoy your weekend, everyone, and happy mini-ing.