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Monday, October 22, 2012

After Dark, Restoration and the 24th House

The sun has set on Preston House, but before I move on to new properties, here are a couple more views of the house taken in the dark.

When I tore myself away from admiring the glow of Preston House, it was time for some long overdue restoration work on some older properties.  Do you remember Highcroft Castle?  It was the castle before the castle before the last one.  Yes, I do like castles but sadly so do my cats.  When I was working on Highcroft it was under the window in the full sun and not a day went by when one cat or another could be found streched out ontop of it.  Once it was finished, I moved it into another room, still under a window.  This window had less sun, but more birds outside to hunt through the glass, so it's still a popular cat perch.  Unfortunately, the way onto the top of the castle involves taking a flying leap from the floor or the table halfway across the room.  It's too high/far for a single bound, so each leap involves hooking their claws over the top and using their back legs to scramble up.  After years of taking the impact of fast moving feline hind legs, the doors of the castle had been beaten in.

See how the plaster around the doorframe has broken away?  How the "hinges" have come apart?

And how the door now leans back into the castle instead of being flush with the frame?  Perhaps you can pick out the marks left by sharp claws in the soft balsawood door?

I popped the door out of the frame and used polyfilla to repair the broken surround.  The door was re-stained to conceal the claw marks, the supports behind the door were beefed up to help it stand up to a few more years of cat impacts and the door put back in place.  The surround was repainted to hide the patches (and yes, anyone but me would have done that before the door was repositioned) and the restoration was finished.

Next up was the "Dragon's Maiden".  This was in a very sorry state, for example, here's what the front panel looked like:

 It was so bad it couldn't even be positioned on the tower any more.  The whole lot had fallen off the building a couple of months ago and broken into it component parts, uprooting the free in the front garden as it went.  But mostly, it needed restoring because the glue I used on the wall stones and roof shingles wasn't good enough.  On every hot day the glue would soften and tiles would start sliding off the roof.  Here's the result of a few years of hot summers:

 The wall stones were letting go too.  None had actually fallen off the wall but most of the stones had curled in the middle and only habit was keeping them in place.

The first job was to take all the stones off the walls row by row and re-glue them into place with a more effective glue.  They were so loose the only tool I needed to pry them off was my fingernails.  Now you'll need a chisel to shift those suckers, they are thoroughly stuck on.  The roof was a different matter.  More tiles had fallen off than were still in place and although I had tried to save all the tiles as they came down, I was pretty sure that some had gotten lost.  Put that together with the fact that the angles of the roof mean that each tile would have to go back where it came from and dozens of tiles in a jumbled sticky pile would have been impossible to sort out, I decided to remove all the tiles, throw them away and start again from scratch.  But what to use?  I think this mosaic paper would have been striking, but alas all I had was this remenant and no where near enough for the whole roof.  It would have looked like a dragon skin roof!

So I found a roof tile pattern on a miniature printables website (I think it was Jim's Printables), printed out a few pages of them and stuck them on the roof.  Pretty horrid aren't they?

 I think I need to get some air clay and use it to tile the roof "properly" or how about some corrugated cardboard to make a "tin" roof?  I don't know, but this will do until I have time to think up something better.  Any suggestions?  I think what I really want is the original roof back, that roof was perfect. 

And finally for the week, something new.  Remember the little foam houses I picked up very cheaply several months ago?  They were intended as childrens toys, but are just large enough to make a 1/24th (or 1/2") scale house.  This is what the basic house looks like:

By cutting the top floor off one of the two house kits and stacking the other house ontop of it, I now have one three floor house.

 The top floor will be Tilli's bedroom and bathroom, the middle floor is the study and guest bedroom while the groundfloor will be one open space incorportaing the kichen, dining and living areas. 

The ground floor decoration has been started.  The floor was covered with a thin coat of pollyfilla and a toothpick was used to mark lines to form 'tiles'.  When dry they were painted grey to resemble slate.  The walls were papered with scrapbooking paper in a floral design.  The post will help support the upper floors and is actually painted a very pale blue even though it looks white.  The furniture you see here is set I bought ages ago from Linda of Linda's Miniature Musings and is proper 24th scale stuff.  Sadly, patches of the paint has rubbed off when the furniture was stored away, you can see the ding in the back of one of the chairs, so I'll have to refinish all of it (sorry Linda).  Tilli, the lady who will live here, I made several month ago in anticipation of starting this house.  She is three inches tall and kind of bossy.  She wants a timeless,  classy, feminime house with a fully plumbed bathroom, a garden out the front and a porch/balcony building on too.  Doesn't want much does she?  At least she hasn't asked me to wire the house for lights.


  1. Hi Alennka, I can understand how difficult it must be to leave your Preston House, it does look impressive with the lights glowing. Funny story about your cats, they do seem to be drawn to mini houses. I think the roof tiles you discarded may have been worth the effort to re-apply, or make more the same. How were they made?

  2. Fantastic work. I like the new house.
    Bye Faby