The Rooms

The house was probably built around 1776 and remained in the same family - albeit passed around several distant cousins.  It received minimal maintenance and, happily, not a lot of  'modernising' along its way.

By the time it reached (privately wealthy!) Elizabeth's ownership it was a mish-mash of time periods.  It is a Grade II listed building so she is required to improve it with 'sensitivity' and quite a few constraints.  When we join her the worst part of rewiring and re-plumbing the whole building has been done and these 'services' have, in the main, been concealed.  

As always with dolls' houses we are only looking at the front slice of the house.  We need to imagine many rooms behind the ones we can see.  In addition to the symmetrical central Georgian house there are even more rooms in two small 'wings' behind that basic structure.  These would have been service areas and storage.  There is also the mews behind this.  By today's standards this is a very large five-bedroomed house (plus 2 apartments) and has ample room for the family, a live-in 'housekeeper' and an occasional visiting PhD students working in Elizabeth's area of interest (17th century poetry).


The music room and the library on the first floor and the formal dining room and sitting room on the entrance hall floor are known in the family as 'the museum'.  These rooms, as in Georgian times, are only used occasionally by the family themselves and retain many Georgian features.  They are mainly for entertaining visitors and hosting small 'functions', such as musical evenings. 




BASEMENT

The Rec. Room
The Children's Room has become the Rec. room as Simon and Joanne are now teenagers. It began as a large play area when they were tinies and is now becoming a place to 'hang out' with friends.  They are just finishing this room, still unpacking a few favourite things.  It has JUST been furnished with the collected retro furniture from Elizabeth's London flat, which is undergoing a refurbishment.  The Rec room is very smart, but it is still a little quirky, so the children love it.

The Mud Room
This is a useful place for any 'dirty' jobs which need doing.  This washing machine is for heavily soiled clothes, blankets etc from walking, riding, gardening etc.  There is a proper laundry/utility room behind this one where the ordinary day to day stuff is looked after.  The mud room also provides handy water and sink for Elizabeth's dollhousing hobby.  

There is also a small fridge and the means of making a cup of tea or coffee without having to trail up to the kitchen and back.  It also houses snacks and drinks for the children and their friends.

The Hive

This used to be the housekeeper's room in the original house and it still has the built in linen cupboard at the back of the room.  The cupboard now houses all of Elizabeth's doll-housing 'stuff'.  This was the perfect room for her to work on her hobby and keep an eye/ear on the children (in what was the play room) at the same time.  It somehow got christened 'the hive'.


GROUND FLOOR

Sitting Room
The sitting room is one of the five rooms of near-original Georgian rooms at the front of the house.  It is used as a reception room for guests invited to the house for dinner or a 'recital'. The family rarely use this room.

The Hall
The hall (really a vestibule) is the entrance to the house giving access to the inner hall and main staircase beyond.  It is the least changed part of the house in terms of construction and even retains its door porticoes and ceiling rose.  In acknowledgement of this Elizabeth has painted it with an original colour - Craig and Rose's Jasper cane.  She is not overly fond of the result and is waiting for something better to turn up.

The family generally enters the house through the back of the house as the car is parked in the 'mews'.

Dining Room
This is the formal dining room but it is still used by the family for 'high days and holidays' as well as entertaining.   Today the table is laid for a birthday lunch for Elizabeth, Simon and Joanne (the children) and Eileen (the housekeeper) so is simply set for four.  The table can be extended and more chairs brought in when entertaining.  

Behind the rooms that we can see on this floor is where the family spends most of its time.  There is a huge family room where they relax and sometimes watch TV together.  There is also a large very modern kitchen/diner for their every day meals. 


UPSTAIRS

Music Room
The Music room is used occasionally by the family but mostly it comes into its own when Elizabeth hosts 'formal' dinners or occasional musical evenings.  She has a good friend who plays in a quartet using original 18th century instruments.  One of Elizabeth's interests is baroque music. In keeping with that she has tried to decorate and furnish the room with a real sense of a Georgian music room.

Library
This room was originally a service room for the dining room (now the music room) and had built in shelving around the room for dishes etc.  It seemed an ideal place to store Elizabeth's massive collection of seventeenth and eighteenth century books.  There is no fireplace here and the room has a sophisticated system to control the temperature (constant 70 F), light (automatic shades at the window and individual 'spot' lighting where needed) and humidity (50%).

This is more a book repository than a working library.  Elizabeth tends to do most of her work in her office which is located on the ground floor in one of the old service rooms. There is a small table and some chairs in case books are just being used for a short while and don't need to be taken out of the room.

The family's three bedrooms and bathrooms and two guest rooms are behind the two public rooms on this floor.



ATTIC

Apartment
There is a post-graduate French student staying with them when we drop by and it is her 'apartment' we can see in the attic.  She has a small kitchen, sitting room and bedroom with a bathroom leading off the bedroom. 

The housekeeper's suite is across the landing behind these rooms and is larger and overlooks the garden at the back.  .