Thursday, 30 April 2015

While I am painting - the Housekeeper's room

While I am painting I will show you the first ideas for each room starting with the Housekeeper/Cook's room.

I can't find any useful inspirational photos for the Housekeeper's room.  This one has the basic notions though:

I am working with a fairly small room, so her fireplace will be small and plain.  This was a period when mantelpieces hadn't really come into their own and it wasn't usual to have things placed on them.  This is a reasonable representation of a simple fireplace and hearth.

She has the huge linen cupboard which I showed you in a previous post (under lock and key) taking up the whole of the back wall but she will need the basic things like a comfortable armchair, a very small desk and chair and a small table and chair.  The two chairs can be used at the table for any meals she may want to take away from the other servants or with a visitor. She will also have a rug.  Old one from the house of course.

Only in large houses was a housekeeper's room strictly hers;  generally it was shared with the lady's maid and other senior members of staff who needed a quiet space now and then and certainly all the senior staff would have eaten there and not in the servants hall.

Dalton House is a modest house and this is a small room and, in this house, it is strictly Mrs Dallow's room to do with as she wants.  Some compensation for having to be Cook and Housekeeper.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Watching paint dry

I promised myself when I set off on this project that any time I did the slightest thing on my house I would Blog it - this may be punitive for readers but I personally want a record of every little inch.  Several times on previous blogs I have gone back in to find a vendor or a clue on how I did something either for myself or someone else only to find it was something I didn't record. Hence there being (pretty much) a post every day now I have begun.  I can stretch the occasional day's playing into a couple of posts so there's not too much to read at one time and that helps pad out the lean moments or days when I can't get to play.  

BUT......  when I get to priming/painting the whole carcass or covering the front of the house in bricks there will be days and days of repetitive work which, even I can't inflict on you.  I will do my best to stay in touch with titbits during those times.

This post was intended to say farewell for a while as I got on with the tedious priming stage but before doing this I needed to insert the dividing walls.  I hadn't a clue as to just how much I can't do that.

  • Most of the walls need to be scrapped and new ones made as the doorways have disappeared or changed.
  • There is a rear false wall to be made for the hallway and another for the basement and even if they were ready they couldn't go in as the decorating has to be done behind them.  There will be a glimpse of what lies behind.  They are a very long way from being able to go in place.
  • I want a linen cupboard at the back of the housekeeper's room.  It has to be built so that I know precisely where the left hand wall needs to be, so that's another wall that's on hold.  
  •  etc etc etc.
Instead of erecting walls and priming the whole thing I have spent my playtime today sort of 'snagging' my various plans room by room.

It began with a bit of a disappointment.  When I came to stand things in place for an overall assessment I realised I didn't like how the door looked.

floating doorway
It sort of floats above the steps.  It should really sit on that top step.  If I chop out some wood below it I will have a gap at the top to deal with...mmmmm.  That is the ideal solution though if I only knew what to do with the gap.

adding a step
Basically it needs another step added in - it is precisely the right height for one (poor design or step missing?).  The downside of this is that it won't be as wide as the bit of wood in that photo is.  Getting one, cut to fit, leaving the width of the tread on the step below the same as the others, would make it a narrow step that no-one would be able to stand on whilst waiting for someone to answer the door!  Ideally all the glued in steps need removing and shoving forward to allow the top step to be deeper.  This isn't going to happen.  Now you see why you need dry builds.

I am very glad I didn't go with my immediate response of emailing the vendor and asking him to send me a step, as this problem needs thinking about.

Regency linen press

This is my 'inspiration' for my linen press in the housekeepers room.  To be fair mine will be much plainer, no bumped out front, but I'd like to keep the bun feet and maybe a trim on top.

I wrote to the truly wonderful Elizabeth at ELF miniatures to see if she could make me up a kit as she did for my Wentworth kitchen and her lovely cupboard in Chocolat.  I knew I would be using her for all sorts of things during this project I but thought all that was so much further down the line and then I realised I can't fit in a dividing wall until this cupboard is in place.

This made me sit down and try to use my day calmly reflecting on what might be going in each room before I bashed on, shoving in walls willy-nilly, only to discover I shouldn't have done that.

So - can I get on with most of the priming? - I am just going to have to; I can't dawdle along waiting for all the other issues to be resolved.  I am working on the principle that if walls don't stick to floors and painted ceilings very well then the skirting boards and coving will have to help keep them in place

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The box is built

I managed to get the box part of the structure done today.  I am not working at a snail's pace by choice; I am trying to allow the glue to set up before shoving more and more things at it.  On that basis I forced myself to leave well alone once the box was done and give it overnight to strengthen up.

The theory with (water-based) wood glue is that it makes fibres in the wood swell up so that the two pieces of wood that you are trying to bond just sort of meld together.  Clearly that is a very weak joint whilst it is wet but, when dry, it should be near the strength of a single piece of wood.

left side and four floors glued

This was not the easiest of tasks - talk about unwieldy and difficult to square up as they set.  The wall came in handy.

two sides and floor fours in place

After a bit more lugging and jiggling around I had both sides on and all the floors in place.

one of sixteen tacks

  I then pinned through each side wall into the floors - two pins each side of each floor.  I managed to get fifteen out of sixteen pins in without mishap.  One of them is very slightly nudging out the ceiling of the basement.  It had to be the ceiling below not the floor above, of course, where it wouldn't have mattered one jot.  I have never had to tack a house together before - just glue, so this is a whole other experience and not one I am particularly enjoying.  Fortunately the pins are on the sides and I will be using masonry paint so, with luck, you'll never know they are there.

the back is on

The back is in two pieces - don't know why other than making it easier for packing?  At the end of today's work they are both in place and I will tack them down later and just add the roof piece.  

Later.....  ta dah!!

there's squirty woman again

Et VoilĂ , one 'house' box.

Monday, 27 April 2015

The area and pavement is done

The instructions with this kit are OK but not simplified with diagrams so you do need to read carefully a couple of times and look at the accompanying photographs.  As with any instruction it is best to fiddle around with the pieces, if you can, and see if what they say seems to work. For example, at one point in this build, you are told to glue on the pavement and then fit the front.  The front is very slightly over-large so if you did it this way it would not go on under the already glued in pavement.  The only way to actually know this is that you dry build first which was doable with the basement.  this isn't possible with the house so I am just hoping I don't come across a similar experience when building.  Who is a worry maggot?

I am deliberately writing this as the build goes along so if things occur to me as I go, I can share them........

Here's one .........This may well be stating the obvious but I admit to it not being thought about by me on my first build.  It is pretty much essential you have a good, clear, level surface to work on.  My previous builds have all been done on a piece of the packing cardboard on a kitchen work surface and this has been fine as I had the luxury of a space I didn't have to use so the work could sit there for days as the build/painting went along.  This time I am working entirely on the trolley that the house will eventually inhabit.  This too is fine.  Flat and strong and big enough is what's needed.

Another thought is, if you can, scrounge up (or buy) very large clamps that carpenters use they would really help the process.  I don't have any, or access to any, so I manage best I can by holding joints together (applying pressure) until they 'tack up' or weighing down with books.  Now and then the occasional bit can be clamped with the few puny clamps I do have.  Being a bookworm always helps!

couple of apologies for clamps and some books to add pressure while drying

The tips/thought will be pretty random - here's another.....  remember to move your pieces around as soon as they will allow otherwise you could find you have just unintentionally glued two pieces to the surface you are working on!

Here are some more thoughts and pictures of the pavement being built.

square up as you go
Every time you glue a vertical, keep putting a well cut right angled piece of wood against it to make sure it is at ninety degrees as the glue sets.  In a couple of minutes it will have tacked up enough to keep it in the right position while it dries.  Don't trust to your 'eye', you will definitely be 'out' of kilter.

best tool in the box

Without a doubt the best tool in my toolbox is a toothpick - well hundreds of them actually.  They do too many jobs to list them all here; right now that little soft point is clearing out excess glue.

extra wall (right side)

needs one here? (left side)
Simply because this isn't real life there has to be a sort of extra wall beside the steps/entrance as this is the side of the right hand swing out piece.  I did consider just not using it but decided that doors of any kind need all the strength they can get, so in it went.  Now, when I look at the finished front as if it were a real area and pavement I am left wondering why there is a wall there on the right but not on the other side.  This can be easily cured if I (or my gofer) can cut a good clean square piece the same size - I will just add that to the left side.  Only doubt is the adding weight aspect as this frontage(steps etc) is already fairly hefty.

front piece a bit too tall

As I said earlier, the front pieces are a bit too tall so its not a perfect finish or good contact between the pieces.  It could be planed or sanded off but, again, I don't have the kit or requisite skill, so the bump-up remains.

The final thought for today is:  Try your very best to stop being a perfectionist.

You are dealing with a mass produced, machine cut, MDF doll's house and it will not be perfect.  By all means be fussy and, later, remedy what annoys you with wood-filler, sanding down and paint.  The only person viewing your house that will pick at microscopic faults will be you, try to be like them and just enjoy it.

all done

Eh, Voila! a pavement front to the basement all finished......  now for the big one!

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Actually starting the build

I wrote a piece for Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine a while ago about the order to do things in when building a dolls house kit.  this is how I am not doing anything I said so far:

1. Preparation

Check all the pieces against the list or diagrams in the kit. There is nothing more frustrating than cracking on with your build only to discover there is something missing or broken. 

I don't have a parts list to check them against - so far I have one broken door and one hinge missing.  After suggesting to DHD they might like to include a parts list the guy wrote back to say that they do but my packer must have forgotten to enclose it. Worth saying he has always responded very quickly to any issue - ten points for that these days.

Paint all the pieces of your kit on both sides with a thin undercoat of white flat paint to seal the MDF. You can also use MDF sealer but you don't need to shell out for that - ordinary paint does the job. It will help the wallpaper stick well and it will give you a true colour when you paint. The colour of the raw MDF can affect the finished shade of the paint you choose. You should try to avoid any areas that need to be stuck together with wood glue. All the edges and grooves are the obvious example.

Can't realistically do that as a lot of this kit is not grooved or slotted in any way so painting and then gluing may not be the way to go if I am hoping for a good bond.  Indeed the instructions say to glue and pin.  I really don't want to pin as I don't want them to be visible
Suggestions welcome.

2. Dry Build

Build the kit according to the instructions (but, of course, no glue). Use masking tape to hold the structure together so you don't have any sticky residue left behind from any other kind of tape. Usually you could do with another pair of hands for this job. 

Absolutely no way to do that - a large heavy kit and without grooves to hold things in place it just can't be done.  This is a real issue for me as I like to have a good look around and mark up things I might need to know during assembly or even before assembling.

3. Make good notes

Have a good look at where you might want to make any physical/structural changes to the kit. Don’t write on the wood unless you know it will be covered with paper – it often shows through paint. I write on a piece of wide masking tape and stick on the wood. You could also use photographs or draw diagrams - don't trust to memory. When you disassemble it you will be astonished by how the pieces transform themselves when they are de-constructed.

Now it is also the time to decide what will be painted and what will be papered and where any trims will go. Again, mark the areas with notes written on wide masking tape. De-construct.

If you are not doing any alterations to the kit you can skip to number 5.

4. Altering the kit and second dry build

Do any structural changes such as cutting out extra windows or doors. Do a second dry build. I know this is a step you’ll be tempted to skip because you just want to get on with it. Try not to. This is your only chance to check you are happy with the new look and if it has had any knock-on effect to anything such as decorating plans or staircases etc.

Simply unable to do numbers 3 and 4

5. Do as much as you can while it is still in pieces

At the very least paint (or paper) all the ceilings. They are really hard to do when the house is built. Do your best to finish as many surfaces as you can while you can work on them flat. I always do the ceilings and any painted walls (two coats). I also do the brick finish on the outside walls and put the tiles on the roof, at the very least. This is also the time to add in any interior structural details like chimney breasts, built-in cupboards etc. I must admit I have never managed that step because I usually decide I want that stuff when I see the house coming together; so don't worry if you can't plan that far ahead. Some people completely finish the wall before the build – wallpaper, doors, windows, curtains, everything. I am too fussy about the joining up in the corners to do that. You must decide.

Again, no can do - too many large pieces to be dealing with all around the house plus as I said at the beginning I don't want to try to glue the wood together through paint.

6. Assemble the building

I have only ever followed the kit instructions to the letter - if you are new to the game you must definitely do this - do not think you know better. Sometimes an instruction seems odd or not necessary so you are tempted to change it or skip it, but further down the line it usually makes sense.

I have done a small part of the basement so far and already deviated from the instructions as they seemed to do a couple of things in a potty way.

7. Wallpapering

Wallpaper the walls. You can also do any wall tiling if you know where it is going to go. Usually for me that has to hold off until I am ready to fit a bathroom or kitchen as I am not sure where things will go and, generally, at this stage it is also unlikely that I have bought all I need for those rooms.

By now you can see how this is going

8. Put in doors and windows and most trims

Fit the doors, door frames and their trims. Glaze and fit the windows and their trims. Doors and windows should have been painted or stained to their final finish before fitting. You can also fit any wall trims such as dado rails, picture rails and coving.

Hopefully after building and priming and painting ceilings I might be able to rejoin this list at number eight!!

9. Electrics

Put in the lights and any lit fires. I don’t fix the fires in place if I know flooring will be going under them. Your choice of floor covering will determine this. Putting them on carpet would be odd but not on a stone or wood floor perhaps. This is the order of build for a round-wire system. I suspect the copper tape system goes in at a much earlier stage.

10. Put down the flooring

Put down the floors using double-sided sticky tape in case you ever need to remove them.

Get any fires in place. Fit the skirting boards, thinking about whether you need to leave gaps for bathroom fittings or kitchen cupboards or any other fitted cupboard. This may have to be done later.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

PS I have just bought three new floors from B & Q.  The larger stores will cut pieces for you and very accurately - nothing smaller than 23 cms by 50 cms - hope I've  remembered that correctly.  You should see the machine go through three layers of MDF like butter.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Thinking about the area

the back of the right hand front of the area

the back of the left hand front of the area

Don't worry I have spotted that the pavement is on the wrong way round.

Next thing is to work out how to make all this space into a reasonable 'fourth wall' when they are open.  I wanted a coal hole cover in the pavement outside and a coal hole but as there is no access to this area other than through a window (!) so that would be a bit daft.  The coal hole could be under the stairs and accessed from the servants hall - not only is that unlikely but the hole cover would then be slap bang in front of the stairs to the house.  No rush on these particular decisions as they are unlikely to change this basic construction.

I was poised to glue and paint this so I could feel as though I have started but I want new metal railings and wonder if it is best to keep the pre-drilled pavements to give to Iron Works and Black Country Miniatures.....  maybe just the plastic railing will do.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Thinking about the basement

The space outside a basement was called 'the area' and often this is how the servants entered a Georgian house.  

Uh Uh, no door

This a squirty five foot lady, including hat and shoes, and even she can't get in under the stairs.

Fortunately for me, that's not always the case - they sometimes used a side or back entrances and, in the case of my little people, that is how their house is arranged.  I was again thwarted from building some stairs, this time from the pavement to the area, and making a door underneath the stairs for the entrance to the basement.  Doing without this has altered the basement layout as I no longer need any kind of entrance hall.

My staff now come in the house round the back and there is a central hall giving access to the various basement rooms and the service stairs.

The space under the stairs is now something of a dead are with no light.  

I grabbed the front of house pieces with the windows in and did some measuring and a big rethink.  Here is the new ground floor plan, otherwise known as 'the scribble'.  

The area on the plan showing scullery, corridor and butler's pantry won't actually exist, I just feel comforted knowing where they would be.  We are only looking at the slice in front of them.

The kitchen uses the full 15" (feet) depth and will be 17" (feet) across.  It has an archway going through into the servants' hall for easy transition between rooms.  The servants' hall is only 12" (feet) deep and 11" (feet) wide with a door at the back leading into the corridor and the service stairs.  This is a necessary room as it the one where the servants worked at bits of sewing or cleaning or mending and would hear the service bells if they were called.  They also had some opportunity to socialise and the more senior ones always ate together.  Cook (as she was also housekeeper) could have eaten in her room as could the butler but this is a small house and they are comfortable with the idea of them all eating together they even include little Daisy, although she and the kitchen maid do the fetching and carrying.

I just decided on another archway in the kitchen through into the corridor at the back to get food upstairs quickly.

On the other side of the servants' hall is Cook's room.  She has a wall of cupboards at the back reducing her room size to eight feet by twelve.  These are the linen cupboards for the household.

This will work; it puts a window in every room and in a reasonable position.  It doesn't make for the most interesting of room choices, but that's OK.  I may even get to put a pantry in the dead space under the stairs.  Again, this could prove difficult as they were walk in and needed windows so you could see what you were doing.  I could cut small windows in the wall she is facing and the one on the other side.  Failing that it will make some useful cupboard space for the kitchen.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Thinking about the layout

Dalton House is my fourth build and I was hoping to incorporate a lot of things I had tried with previous builds that I particularly like the effect or that I have enjoyed the challenge of doing.  

My first vision, in advance of this new project, was of a large house with a wonderful staircase.  I like the looks of stairs in a house plus I am a stickler for realism and feel the need of them to enable the residents to get from A to B and I even enjoy the challenge of making them.  For various reasons the houses I looked at with the best staircases didn't work for me in other ways.  Dalton House came with stairs that 'work' (sort of) but not in a fully satisfactory way.  There is no way to show a service passage but this would be OK as the house was probably built before 1800 and service access only began to become commonplace as the century went on.  

However I still had a real issue with the size of the rooms not being as large as I would have liked and, to enlarge one for the drawing room, I needed to add in the very much unwanted, vast hall space on that level.  This meant the stair egresses would no longer be necessary.

I want a large drawing room on the left (second floor) and need to encompass the hall space

Luckily my research on town houses of this period period demonstrated that the stairs were not visible on the front slice of the house that a doll's house always looks at.

cellar, basement, ground floor, two floors and an attic floor
This architectural model is sliced through front to back and shows how the stairs were behind that first front room section of a house.  

If you find the outside railings on the right hand side of the picture to get your bearings and imagine you are entering the hall: from here you can access the room on the right (and in my case, also the room on the left) and a door ahead of you leads to an inner hall with access to the rear two rooms and a staircase leading to the other floors.

a similar section through a house

So, sadly, all thoughts of grand marble staircases are being banished from my head and, to my chagrin, I will be producing the nearest thing to a doll's house I have done so far!  Seems like a backward step somehow.

It is also a lot of additional expense.  I have paid for stairs in the kit I won't be using and now have to replace three of the floors as they have stairwell holes in them.  I am also considering upgrading the thirteen windows and having metal railings made.

This was my first shot at deciding the rooms I would be making.  The plan only shows them roughly in place; it is no where near to scale or even showing the ratio of the size of one room with another it is just the basic starting place to work from.  

Next I need to work out where chimney breasts will go in relationship to each room.   The simple solution is the true to life one, which is that they run down either side of the house through all the rooms and I am trying to make myself go with this.  If I begin with one centred in the drawing room on the back wall which is what I would like it knocks out other rooms in all kinds of ways.  On the floor below for example it would sit between the hall and the dining room giving the dining room a corner fireplace which I certainly don't want; and so on....

Looking at it now, even with the fires on all side walls  I have an issue with the kitchen as that needs chimney access for the range.  This pushes the kitchen to a side wall.  The scullery now has to exist out of sight behind the kitchen as that too needs a chimney to be able to heat water and, in a house this size, double up as a laundry....... aaarggghh as fast as one problem is solved another begins.  The basement definitely needs a rethink.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Thinking about the outside

OK, my house is here, it is unpacked, a broken door is being replaced and a missing hinge sent  for.  Today I have to make myself come to some firm decisions as to how I want the finished house to look.

I find this really, really difficult.  Every one of the three projects I have done so far I have had moments of thinking I should have done this or that but it is too late now.  Once constructed it is very hard to cut out an extra door or window - I know, I did it!

So this last-a-lifetime project has to have a good dose of thinking about.

The outside has had three different finishes in my imagination so far but I am pretty sure I am back with plan A.  I will share the thinking with you in case you are at the start of your Georgian house or maybe considering doing one.

remove one floor and this is my house

The construction and details on this real life house are pretty much a match to my house and hopefully this is how mine will look when finished.

It is a pretty standard Georgian town-house built any time around 1800 which works very well for my story.  By 1820 it is slightly old-fashioned which again is fine as my house is in Lyme Regis and the three sisters who live there are not venturing beyond local society.  Indeed it is easy to imagine that, as in this photo, their neighbour may very well have had their house modernised with stucco over the brickwork but they have not.

The real life reason to choose this finish rather than the more obvious Regency white stucco with incised mock stones on the lower floor is, very simply, I wasn't sure I would make a great job of that and I could see a lot of potential difficulties with it.  Any added surface adds to the weight of the doors which is never a good thing.  How and when to add trims onto that sort of surface is a concern.  Would I be able to manage the technique well enough for me?  I have used Richard Stacey bricks a couple of times and really like using them and the effect they give so I am going with the tried and trusted.  The roof too will be done in his slates; again I have used them before and like the end result.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

How furniture is made

If you are at all curious as to how vendors make your furniture or kits here is an interesting article showing how one of them goes about it:

Small House Models

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Leeds Doll's House Fair, 18th April 2015

Weary but smiley as I type this - back from the show in Leeds.  It is a good one to do if you can make it.  There are four Doreen Jeffries shows a year split between Leeds and Stafford and they are all worth a visit.  If you want to know more about it you can go visit my Shows Blog to see how my day went.

In terms of Number Six I didn't buy very much in quantity but spent a fortune in money - I will draw a veil.  My find of the day, both the item and the vendor, was new to me and she has several items that may interest me further down the line.  Check out  Unique Miniatures.  

I have no idea why a lovely (fossil bone) collector's table sang to me, but it did.  She had a butterfly table and a snuff box collector's table both of which were very pretty, maybe it was the simplicity of this that appealed.

This serendipitous find has give me a whole new narrative.  My original (already written) story of wealthy Norfolk landowners and their London town house has given way to to something like the Mary Anning story (read Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier), though my Mary's lifestyle will be more like Elizabeth Philpott's.

Back to the show:  You are welcome to visit the Purchases Photo Albums (links in the left hand column) to see the other two prosaic items I picked up but it probably isn't worth the effort of clicking.  I just want to be methodical about my purchases this time and list them all (maybe a step too far!) but it is disconcerting when you are asked where you bought something and haven't a clue or, worse still, want another one yourself!  I'll see how it goes.  I will split the items by room to make the search easier. 

Reference for interior details

If you are working on Regency (or other historical period houses) this is a good source of information for 'trims':  Atkey and Company Limited

Room set

Friday, 17 April 2015

So it begins

Number Six (aka Dalton House) arrived today.


About half an hour before the postie rang the doorbell my other half was busily adapting my doll house trolley to fit the 'big one'.  Basically move the drawers from top to bottom and screw on a piece of MDF large enough to hold the house.  I hope to paint it before it goes into use.

postman: "This is heavy"

It looks so much easier in its tamed state.  I had forgotten just how many bits there are in what looks like the simple 'bookcase' that is a dolls house.  

the 'box' and doors

The contents of the larger box don't look too bad other than the sheer size of the pieces and the challenge those will bring in terms of actually handling them during the build; not to mention keeping everything nice and square.  So (not) looking forward to the dry build on Sunday.  Don't see masking tape holding this lot together.

the innards

The smaller box contained the 'nightmare' package of a zillion components.  I haven't actually checked them as there isn't a comprehensive list included in the pack as to what there should be.  

Looking at the instructions I think this is a build for someone who has already done at least one before.  For any newbies reading this, unless you are bursting with building confidence, I would stick with the tried and tested kits from vendors such as Dolls House Emporium and Bromley Craft Products, to name two of the ones I have done, that very much guide you every step of the way.  That said I don't think 'going off piste' like this would defeat anyone; it is all about the 'fear' factor....... and even on build number four that has kicked in for me.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

House Numbering

....... house numbering in the metropolis was introduced in 1767, though it took several years to complete. New developments were the required to be numbered when they were built, while older areas were slowly renumbered over time.

(The Regency Redingote)

Probably seems odd to us to think of a world where you found houses simply by people's descriptions and directions to them but clearly until well into the 1800s this is what you did.

I decided to call my project Number Six knowing that 1820 marked a shift in all kinds of ways towards our modern world and industrial society - pretty much the last of rural England. Soon, improved roads and railways and rapidly growing cities would change the landscape forever.

Click on the link above if you want to find out a lot more about the Regency period.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The Leeds Show (Pudsey) - Saturday 18th April

OK chaps, shine your shoes and count your pennies....

Click here for all the information you will need to get to the Leeds Show on Saturday.


It was the first show I ever went to and I loved it.  It is a nice size to go at - not exhausting but there's plenty enough to have a good old shop around.  It hosts tons of my favourite (stalwart) vendors such as Jennifers of Walsall, J & A Supplies, Matlock Miniatures  to pick but three - all of which are on my hit list when I start a new project.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015


You might have noticed the name of the blog has changed.  This is because a story is taking shape in my head and it began with placing the house in a quiet London square and it becoming Number 6. Check out the narrative (tab above this) if you are as batty as me.

I have just heard the house will be here on Friday and I am now suffering from a mix of excitement and dread.  For my first three houses it was just excitement but with all my backing and forthing this last year between scales and selling off stuff I am very chary about it all happening again.

To add to my niggling doubts I am discovering how very little I know about the period and I hate getting stuff 'wrong'.  Have you ever known such a worry maggot!

Meanwhile here are some inspirational pictures:

(After posting this a couple of people contacted me thinking this was the house that is on its way to me.... sorry to have misled you.  I think the top two are the Guys from Texas and the bottom two Anglia.  I have culled many photos for my reference file that I don't recall what they are so I didn't credit them as I was no longer sure)

(I am not sure that this level of expertise comforts me in any way)

..... and here is little old me and my water colours - have they invented Prussian Blue yet?

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Twelfths for sale

I have listed some twelfths for sale if you want to take a look - Lilliput 

Tension builds whilst waiting for the house.......

Friday, 3 April 2015

New beginnings

Anyone who follows my blogs will know that I have already made (and part-made) several one twelfth 'dolls houses'.  I abandoned the hobby last summer as I live in a smallish house and don't have room for more than one project.  Each one took about six months to complete and then I found I wanted another - the pleasure, for me, seems to be in the 'doing'.  I felt guilty each time I sold on (or gave away) one of these houses because I had spent a lot of money on it and had no way to recoup so much as a quarter of it.  It didn't seem to be a sensible hobby to choose.

I decided to quit twelfths and ventured into quarter scale (1/48ths, 1:4, 1/4 inch) so I could create and then keep my creations.  I didn't get very far in by the time I decided it wasn't for me.  I get enormous pleasure from trying to replicate real life as closely as possible and quarter scale demands a level of impressionism which, although very clever, didn't seem to satisfy me.

So here I am - back in the game with Dalton House......  well almost.... I am awaiting its arrival.

Dalton House

It is a kit called Dalton House (right now I can't think of a name I like better) from Dolls House Direct.  They do have a website but really they sell via their EBay shop, so you would do better to use this link and find them there.  They also offer an eclectic mix of things for your hobby - I have found a few nuggets that I shall be going back for some time.

House without the basement

The house and basement will give me ten rooms and a couple of hallways to go at.  My original theory was that I would buy a huge project with something like fifteen plus rooms and it would become a lifetime, one purchase kit.  After a bit of a cooling off period I worried about maybe (again) abandoning something that would have cost me £700 upwards and I also knew that if I were working on something that size I would have to spread my 'spends' far and wide and therefore always be frugal in my purchases.

Since being in this game I have craved the 'nice' things I see, but didn't buy because I knew their time with me was limited. I gave it a lot of thinking about and decided to go for a middling size property so I can do my best to go at it slowly and wait until I can afford each next step and buy (pretty much) what I want without being concerned that at some stage it is going to be 'binned' to make room for the next one.

My relieving-my-guilt analogy is, that if I did something like played golf as a hobby, I would be spending thousands over the years and have nothing to show for it, so.......


You may have noticed in the two photos above this one that the house has windows on the side.  I am having mine made without those.  They are cute for a dolls house; they let in extra light and  it looks nice from the side and are good to peak through to see what's going on.  As I said, I like it to be as real as possible so my London town house would be in a terrace of similar houses and therefore, no side windows.

I have a lot of thoughts buzzing around right now as to how to tweak the front slice of a property to give the impression of more going on behind, how to give servants access to each floor, and a million other 'problems'.  This isn't a bad thing - solving the 'problems' is half the fun.

At this stage all we need to know is that the 'box' is on its way ready for a bit of kit-bashing after its first dry build.

I did find several pretty much identical real houses but generally they were larger and grander than mine.  Mine has a decidedly town setting about it, especially with that sort of basement/pavement arrangement.  Also the rooms are not huge so it needs to be a fairly modest home.

There is a multitude of 'clichĂ©' Georgian houses to choose from for inspiration and like any house in any century all of them can have their own quirks.  I am tempted by the warm paint tones of this one but I need to do more research and I think in London these Georgian houses were brick built and then by full-blown Regency period they were stuccoed and painted white.  

So while I am waiting for its physical presence I am back to another aspect that I enjoy and that's the historical research and 1820 is not a period I know well.  Thank heavens for Jane Austen!