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Friday, October 7, 2011

Please Help Me Choose

Decisions.  Decisions. . . . With the Witch Shop almost finished (alas, still unnamed), it's time to choose what to do next.  If you've been reading my blog for a while you'll know there are three projects on my "To Do Next" list, renovate the Old Castle, renovate the Georgian or build the Retreat, but which to do first?

As you, my wonderful blog followers, will be subjected to me rabbitting on and on about whichever I pick for the next several months on this blog it seems only fair to let you have some input in the choice.  Below is a brief outline of the three different properties and the plans I have for them.  Please take a look and then vote for the one you want to see me do first in the poll you'll find at the top right of this page.

The Old Castle

The first dollshouse that I planned and built from scratch is what I now call the Old Castle.  It has four floors and a total of ten rooms.  It is also the only house I have wired for working lights.  To keep the size down and the weight as low as possible, the rooms of the castle are only about 20cm deep and the ceilings are only about 20cm high which was fine for the original decoration, but will be very limiting this time around.

The assembled castle
Despite the fact I was very proud of this castle when I first finished it, there are any number of things I was never happy with.  The original idea to renovate the castle simply entailed fixing these problems and generally tidying up and replacing the pieces I "borrowed" to use in other properties.  The current plan is vastly more complex.

I want to transform the castle into a Victorian era person's vision of a Camelot style castle.  This means a little gothic, a little ornate, a little over the top with lots of whimsy.  As usual for me, no historical accuracy will be involved.  The low ceilings are going to be highly restrictive and in many ways make it hard or even impossible to achieve the look I want.

On the top floor I want to eliminate the small courtyard garden and make the floor one big room which will become the new bedroom, or rather "master suite" as it will incorporate a dressing room/wardrobe and a small private sitting room.

The next level down the current bedroom will become the solar (presently in the room above this one) and I want to add a door and opening onto the adjoining gallery. The steps from the gallery up to the top floor will be eliminated.  If I can remove them without damaging the wallpaper, this is probably the only major change for this area.

Below the gallery is the "great hall".  In this room I want to replace pretty much everything and to knock down the right hand wall to combine the hall with the small, purposeless room next door.  The final room on this floor is the armoury which only needs tidying up and perhaps some of the weapons will need upgrading. 

Below the armoury is the crypt.  Again, this space needs few, if any changes.  Next door to the crypt is the kitchen.  I've decided to do away with the kitchen and make this area a magician's cave for the castle's "merlin" type.

The Georgian

This house has three levels and currently seven rooms.  I've already dismantled and redecorated this house totally once before, but the redecoration simply didn't live up to the image in my head of how it should look. 

Look closely and you can see the join running along the top and sides of the walls
 The house is made from thin plywood with pine posts and beams at each edge to provide the needed strength.  In most cases I have already shimmed over the walls to bring the walls to the same level as the pine beams.  As this was just painted, you can still see most of the joins though and it's not a good look. 

The two lower floors

 The grand staircase just looks messy, the lounge suite is more Victorian than Georgian and the doors in the upstairs bedrooms are forced by the slope of the ceiling to be far too small.  Mostly, my gripe with this house is centred on the ballroom.  The ceiling and lights are absolutely horrid.  The walls just didn't work and the stairwell cuts too far into the room leaving no room for dancing at all.

The top floor

So, how to fix it?  Although there are some things about this house I will hate to destroy, I think gutting it is the only choice.  The new layout will have two rooms on each of the lower two floors.  The first room on the ground floor will be a double height room occupying both the bottom and middle floors.  It will be the entry hall with marble floor, a vivid red wall and a staircase connecting the floors.  The remaining room on each of these floors will be the dining room and the lounge/parlour.

Upstairs on the top floor will be at least one bedroom, but the A shape ceiling has to go.  This roofline is fine if the room is going to be a dusty old attic or a servants quaters, but not for a proper formal room.  This means cutting the top floor off the house and rebuilding it.  I'm thinking it will be rebuilt to house one large bedroom or two smaller ones and a small garden terrace/balcony on the end.

This guy is just about perfect though

Now, below the ground floor I'm thinking of adding a new level for the kitchen, scullery, laundry room, etc.  If I'm adding a "below stairs" element to the house, perhaps I should replace that A shape roofline on the top of the restructed bedroom to put the servants bedrooms up there.  Oh, and perhaps another level for a music room?  Nusery?  Extra bedrooms?

The Retreat

After much consideration, I've decided that DHE's Retreat kit lends itself to nothing so much as something Oriental in style.  I'm thinking something along the lines of a Japanese tea house.  I say something like because to my knowledge the authentic ones don't have two floors and they usually seem to have the roof gable running in the other direction so the sloping side of the roof faces forward.  So it will be an oriental folly house in the gardens of some rich European, part Japanese tea house and part pure flight of fancy.

The front doors should be easy to adapt to slide open instead of swing on hinges (she says hopefully) and a little adaptation and some rice paper should get them looking quite oriental.  Part of the reason I decided on this theme for the Retreat was because I was looking through some drawings of idea's for miniatures I'd done and found an oriental style garden, the back wall of which incorporated the fascade of a tea house that looked remarkably like the Retreat.  So when I do the Retreat, I am going to have to build the garden as well. 


  1. i think the retreat...its new and exciting and a theme you havent tackled yet the other two you still seem a bit undecided...best to think on them more for now so you wont have to redo them ever again :D Linda x

  2. I believe that the idea of ​​eastern home is the best. The other two projects, although they need some kind of arrangement, they are perfect in their originality. I leave them as is. I devote it to the new project of the tea house where you can work to your wonderful creativity. I vote the retreat.
    Congratulations on the new clothes of the blog. It is very delicate.

  3. It's a tricky position when you're undecided like that. I'd be tempted to go with the property you have all the ideas for (the Retreat) and while you're working on it, you'll probably get ideas for the other two which you can just jot down. You may then be in a better position to make a decision so......I'd go with the Retreat for now.

  4. The Retreat, of course!
    The others are so perfect.
    Bye Faby

  5. The Retreat seems like the best choice!

  6. I also vote the retreat. It would be exciting to see something new. I think Irene"s idea about jotting down ideas is a great one.
    Hugs Maria

  7. Retreat, and then the castle! (I want to see the magician's cave..)

  8. Well, Alennka, I will vote for the Castle Make-over! As you know I am a big fan of Castles and I like to see what other Castle builders out there are up to.... there aren't quite so many Castles as Georgian Manors to be inspired by!
    But that said, I can understand why others are choosing the Retreat... it looks so new and the theme you propose is not a common one! I would love to see what you do with that too!