Russ and I threw a bag in the Jeep Saturday morning and headed for one of our favorite places to camp: Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Skate Creek Road, closed seasonally as soon as the first snow appears, was finally open. It's a beautiful and lush drive that starts just before the Mt. Rainier National Park entrance gate. So many waterfalls, and thanks to record rain and snow pack, the rivers and creeks were running high. We found that several forest service roads had been closed due to severe storm damage, but we were lucky to find a beautiful spot on FS Rd 26 just north of Mount St. Helens. The weather was beautiful, it was so peaceful, and we came home Monday with a full tank of zen!
With the remaining free time since my last post, I was able to make some ground on the New Orleans living room and stairs. Because of the sunny/cloudy/sunny/cloudy light fluctuations this week, I had to use a combination of flash/no flash in the photos. I usually don't like using the flash - it makes the photos seem like they are caught with their panties down in some weird way. Anyway, I apologize in advance for the lighting in the photos.
I never have built in a staircase, so I wanted to give it a try. It seemed that the best material to use might be illustration art board. It's very sturdy, cuts easily with an Xacto and is made for watercolor, so it's not going to mind moisture from glue or paint. I took a piece and placed it behind the staircase so that I could draw the correct angle to cut.
I planned to box in only a portion so that there was plenty of space to enter the front door. I love how old houses have these quirky little features. When I cut the piece for the left side, I left it a little higher so that it would also become the stair trim on the wall.
|Sun is out!|
Once all of the pieces were measured and cut, I did a dry fit to make sure all of the angles were right and that the bottom edges were even. Tippy stairs are no good! Luckily, it fit and functioned perfectly! There is no room at the end of the stairs, but it is what it is and I am okay with pretending that the floor extends beyond what is presented.
To make everything square and secure, I added support strips to the art board and to the stairs. This made the gluing and clamping much more stable.
In keeping with the little touches of frou-frou in the build, I added some pre-fab resin wainscot molding. The stuff is easy to cut with a scroll saw, but not at all easy with a razor saw (at least that was my experience). Sanding the stuff is also very easy. I don't have a way or the right tool to miter the edges vertically, so I had to play around with the trims I had until I came up with something acceptable where the corners met. I am okay with the cornice molding, and hopefully when I fill and paint, it will look meant to be. One other note about the resin pieces from Unique Miniatures - I had 5 pieces of the wainscoting and none of the thicknesses were consistent with each other or from one end of the piece to the other. Also, two of the pieces were slightly taller than the other three, and the baseboard relief was a little different. The stock numbers were the same, so maybe they were just manufactured at different times? Anyway, if you are planning to use it, maybe ask when you order for them to check the consistency for you.
One of the changes that I am making to the kit is to eliminate one of the three upstairs dividing walls. I'd also like to expand the staircase opening so that the house has a more open feel. The opening is going to be roughly 10" deep x 5-1/2 wide. I'll add railing around the opening upstairs so that it creates a balcony looking down onto the hallway and stairway. Because I am removing some of that structural support, I decided to add in a half wall with columns. I am hoping it will not only support the ceiling, but will add visual appeal and more space for displaying decor.
Between the chimney breast and the divider/support the floor space in the living room is getting tight. I'll have about 8" x 12" left to fill. I think it will turn out fine as long as I carefully choose the furniture. I do like the look of a crowded dollhouse, though - it seems more homey and less formal. If I can achieve a nice amount of architectural detail in the background with a lot of lived in too, I'll have reached my vision!
I left the top free from the shelf thinking it would be a good idea to attach the columns to it with glue and nails. Then I'll add some trim where they meet the surface and ceiling.
Next I have a lot of filling, sanding and painting to do before I can begin the ceiling lights. It will be so nice to have consistent interior lighting to help with the touch up and trims. Prudence tells me NOT to install treads and railing to the stairs until I absolutely HAVE to. It will be so much easier to install the remaining trim work with removable stairs.
Happy Mother's Day to all of you who are moms and caregivers! I hope you feel all that love coming back to you, and that you are as treasured as you should be!