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Tuesday, July 3, 2012
With the rooms in the two lower floors of the house starting to look like something other than a construction site, it was time to drag the four rooms on the upper two floors into the same state. Before I could work on the Study in the upper half however, I needed to install and finish the staircase in the Hall in the lower half below.
Well, that and I couldn't wait to see how the stairs turned out!
If you've been following the progress on this house from the start, you'll know this staircase has given me some major headaches. I've built, disassembled and reconstructed this staircase countless times over the past month or so and made the firm and final decision that the house would not have a staircase . . . several times. This final design is a compromise on the original grand curving staircase I had envisioned. For example the stairs only curve around a ninety degree angle instead of a hundred and eighty degree angle. Still, I'm really pleased with what I did manage to squeeze into the house.
The steps themselves are balsa wood painted to match the look of the marble floor. A small gold fan shaped relief sticker decorates the side of each step. The railing is made from pieces of fan blades like this:
Each blade was cut down to just the decorative bit in the middle. It was surprising how few I managed to break durring this process, I only lost about three out of twenty. Next I used a needle and thread to sew them to the inside of a cardboard box so they hung from the top of the box. This was to make them easier to paint using spray paint, not because I'd totally lost the plot! A small slit was cut into each step into which the bottom of each spindle was slotted. The handrail is a sausage of air dry clay pressed against the staircase to dry with the right countour and painted brassy gold.
And if you've been looking at all these photos of the staircase and thinking I must have a serious crush on it . . . . I do! I am really thrilled with it and forgive it for all those earlier headaches.
One of the compromised elements of the stairs are that you can't see the top of them. If you look closely at the above photo you can see a sliver of green paper on the left and a small wedge of marble on the floor beneath it. That is about all of the top of the stairs that you can see now that I've gone ahead and built the walls for the study. Oh well, at least I know they're there. Behind the study itself is a small hallway that connects the top of the stairs to the door to the Drawing room at it's far end. The open arch gives access to the Study and a fake door in the back wall gives the impression the house is bigger than it really is. The hallway is decorated with yellow and cream stripped wallpaper with some "carved" panelling on the lower wall.
In front of the hallway is the Study itself. The room has a dogleg in the back wall to allow for the staircase behind it. As you can see, the room itself is still pretty much a blank slate with just one coat of a beige paint on the wall. You have to imagine it with bookshelves, a desk and a roaring fire.
Next door to the study is the Drawing room. This is painted in the quinessential Georgian era colour of sage green and will in time have some extra panelling detail. At the moment it's being used to house all the plaster pieces and lights for the house. Give me a week (or maybe two or three) and I hope to have all these bits installed and out of the way so I don't have to keep shifting them from room to room to make space to work. The purple holes in the side wall will be faux windows.
On the top floor, both rooms have been wallpapered. On the left is the Blue bedroom while on the right is the cream room. While the blue room will absolutely be a bedroom, I'm still wavering on the cream room. It will probably be a nursery room, but I may make it into a sceond (adult) bedroom instead.
Both top floor rooms are accessed via fake doors in the back wall. These doors and the two fake doors lower down in the house are made of airdrying clay. I used a real working door to make a mould which I then used to make the fake doors. The results are passable, if you don't look too closely and given the amount of clay you need to make each fake door you don't save a lot of money compared to simply buying a fake door.
Next tasks: Fireplaces, plasterwork and electrics!