Sunday, 7 June 2015

Dolls House Cottage Workshop

I know I gave you a warning about not buying cheap wood trims because they will not paint up properly and can warp and not run straight and all kinds of horrible stuff.  I have avoided that by shopping at Dolls House Cottage Workshop.

This is a vendor whose work I already know and I gave a long hard think about buying one of his houses when I started this one.  I got led astray by having a sort of idea of what I thought I wanted in advance instead of just looking around and letting something take my fancy.  I do regret that as I work my way through one compromise after another.  That said, probably just as in real life, houses are always about a degree of compromise.

Chris has several I like - please take a look at his site, starting with the houses.  After that you will have spotted his attention to detail and quality at not outrageous prices.  These feed into the other things he makes - staircases and trims for example.

I have been looking for cornice and other trims via vendors like Sue Cooke and Replicast but am wary about cutting, painting and generally handling resins and plaster plus my house just isn't grand enough to have had ornate plasterwork.  Reading the Susanna Wattman book she frets about her plasterwork being damaged in all sorts of ways in real life and they were wealthy enough not to have a problem repairing and replacing - I doubt it ever found its way into a modest house like mine.

I did however want something that looked in keeping and here it is:


click to enlarge

From the top an impressive cornice for the drawing room, dado rails throughout most of the house to stop the chairs hitting the walls, deep skirting for the drawing room, simpler cornice for public rooms and simpler skirting.  Bedrooms and downstairs will have whatever I pick up at the show that looks 'skinny'.

Chris makes his trims from more than one piece so that he can achieve the fine detail that he does - the large cornice for example is made up of three pieces; they are glued together here as he did a 'bespoke' for me.

I am very good at mitring, even if I do say so myself, but was slightly intimidated by the prospect of making perfect inward and outward corners with such a complex cut as the cornice at the top of this photo.  I asked Chris if he could make those for me:

bespoke corners

...........  here they are (above).

Two inner corners (facing the viewer) and two outward corners to wrap around the chimney breast.  He also makes the chimney breast as standard.  I will be back for more but right now I can only think about so much at one time.

door pediments

I really liked his internal door pediments - they are complex and simple at the same time; so precisely what Regency was about.  I wanted something to add some importance to the doors in the vestibule and in the drawing room but I couldn't find what I wanted in all the twiddly bits in the plaster ones and, again, was nervy about adding plaster above wooden doors - much more harmonious to have matching materials (?)

side view

In the side view you can see how complex this simple pediment is.  Again, looks like it is made up from three strips of wood but they are so beautifully bonded together I can't be sure.

In addition to all the fine work done by Chris in making these mouldings the wood is a lovely quality and will paint up beautifully.