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.

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