Like it or not (and frankly I hate it) there was not going to be any progress on this house until I bit the bullet and compromised on what would be in the house. Nine rooms just weren't going to fit, so I reluctantly reduced the room count to six, creating two large rooms on each floor. No second bedroom, no morning room or maybe one of them, but no nursery. Sigh.
The room above the staircase hall is the study. I'll add a wall along
the back to create a hallway that runs along the back of the room to
connect the top of the stairs, the study doorway and the door to the
drawing room next door. The internal walls are made of pieces of polystyrene foam sandwiched between two sheets of thin but stiff cardboard. I cut rectangles out of the card where the doorways will go but have left the foam intact for the time being because the doors haven't arrived yet and I want to be sure they'll fit first.
With the hard descions on layout made, the next task was to lay the floors. The two top floors and half the ground floor (the dining room) have narrow floorboards made of popsicle sticks. This isn't the quickest method of covering a floor, but it is cheap and effective. I started by painting the sub floor black as this will make any gaps in the floorboards less noticable. Then it's just a matter of cutting the sticks and glueing them down. Then cutting more and glueing them down . . . . .then cutting more . . . two and a half floors worth, what was I thinking? I actually have blisters on my fingers from all that cutting. Then there is the muscle strain from hefting piles of old dollshouse magazines around to weight down the boards and make sure they stay flat while the glue dries. Eventually I won the battle though and after a quick sand, the floors were stained and varnished. I should mention that the floors aren't actually as orange as they appear in the photos but are in fact a much more pleasant honeyed brown colour. The stain I used was labelled "walnut" which surprised me as I always thought walnut was a much darker wood.
Moving on from the floors, the next task I tackled was to finish making the structure of the house. The blue line in the photo is the original roofline of the house. Due to the angles and low peak, there was very little you could do with these rooms as the house came, so I used more polystyrene foam to square off and raise the roof to make the top two rooms more usable. Having learned the strength of foam in relation to curious cats, I immediately added a layer of paper maiche on top of the flat roof to toughen it up a little.
Now the next major problem with this house is the outside. I sure can't leave it looking like this now can I? But what to do with it? It depends a lot on what I do about the front of the house. I don't want to reuse the original front, it's not Georgian enough, the changes to the top floor mean the upper section won't fit and I want to add a basement which won't be covered at all. So what do I do? A solid front made to look like a proper house or a clear panel to showcase the interior? If it's solid, the sides and back will need to be finished to match, but if it's clear, the back and sides can have just about anything done to them regardless of whether it is house-eske or not. If I do a solid front, what about the basement? I can't have the front door just hovering a floor above the bottom of the house. Do I build the front out a little at basement level so the front door opens onto a flat surface? But that's what I dislike about basements, they make the house so very deep. Plus it's an extra level of complication on a house that's already trying to drive me up the wall. Whatever the front is, it will need to be in two pieces as the stupid pediment sticks out right in the way.
Do you remember my saying I had ordered a heap of goodies for the house? The good news is that the first order has arrived. It was full of gorgeous plaster pieces made by Replicast Miniatures and bought from Fairy Meadow Miniatures. There are two types of coving/cornice, some ornate panels for the study/library walls and a pair of over-door pediments amongst other bits. They are absolutely exquisite, but be warned, Replicast Miniatures has now closed down, so when your favourite miniatures store sells out of their items, there won't be any more.
The bad news is the two other orders I've placed for this house. Both were for items just not available from any store in Australia, so I had to order from two stores in the UK. That in itself isn't a problem even though waiting two or three weeks can be frustrating (provided some postal worker doesn't misread the address and sent it to Austria instead, then it takes seven months for the people in Austria to send it to every corner of their country trying to find where it should go before somebody realises it shouldn't be in Austria at all). My complaint is that I placed both orders the week before last and recieved email confirmations that the orders had been received and proccessed. Fair enough. Then at the end of last week I received a further email from each supplier saying that the order was now packed and ready to be shipped at the suppliers earliest connvience. What, their warehouses are so big it took the guy sent to put the order together a week to make it back to the office? If the items were out of stock, why were they listed on the companies websites as available and at the very least, why couldn't they have sent an email saying "we need a week, please be patient" when the order was placed? And one email was phrased to say the order was now ready to be shipped
"at the first opportunity". That could mean it'll be sent that day or sometime next month. If you hadn't already guessed, this sort of thing really bothers me and the fact that two totally separate companies both did the same thing is a double annoyance, even more so because these are both companies I usually consider to be reliable. So two weeks after I placed the orders, both are still at least two, more likely three or four weeks away from arriving.
Finally for this week, if you missed my last post I've opened a poll for you to vote on possible names for the house. You'll find it at the top right of the sidebar and I'd be very interested to know what you think of my shortlist of possible house names and if you have any alternate suggestions. I'm thinking maybe a good name for this house would be PITA (Pain In The . . . um, Arm).
A Randomly Selected Newspaper Headline:
The following is a randomly selected newspaper headline from many years ago:
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