Thursday, August 10, 2017

Back to the drawing Bo... er.. Paper

I just couldn't put my finger on why I wasn't loving the staircase in the New Orleans kit. Here's a photo to refresh your memory. Take a look, I'l wait...


Then I realized, after letting the thought niggle at me while I worked on the Sweet Christmas Cottage, that they were just too wide. About 3/4" too wide, and they really crowded the entryway. Not to mention the room in general. Picky, picky - I know. But in 1:1 that's 9 inches, and that can make all the difference!


So, after I finished swearing and chastising myself for not just leaving well enough alone, I drew up some new plans. Hey - I am willing to make two attempts before I settle for the best result.

This new set of stairs would include built in shelves, solving once and for all the other nagging issue: the column bookcase. Now I would be free to give up the idea and still have a place to display some of the really cool stuff I've been collecting for this project. And, I'd gain back 2" there. Are you adding it up? 2-3/4" of regained floor space! Totally worth the investment of time and a new staircase kit. A perfect opportunity to take advantage of the HBS/miniatures.com 25% off sale!


Remember the issue I had when I originally decided not to use the pre-built stairs that came with the kit? They were extremely narrow, and the pitch made them very child dollhous-y. Not grown up dollhous-y. Well, a more realistic pitch meant that they were longer in length, so when installed, were about 1-1/2" too long for a believable landing. This was something I tried to ignore, but if I'm honest, it kept me up at night.


One of my brilliant readers asked if I had considered making it a return staircase. At the time, when I was stuck on the idea of keeping the column bookcase, I dismissed the thought thinking it would make that end of the room too heavy. But now, without the column bookcase, the idea was back on the table.

After my very helpful husband cut the new staircase to width for me (I bent my scroll saw blade in the attempt), I made a mock-up with a return. Bingo! That was just what they needed for better fit and function!


I cut and attached the wall stringer, shelves, back wall, landing and step from 1/16" illustration art boards. This stuff is great because it won't warp from glue or paint, can be cut with an Xacto, can be sanded and has a smooth surface.


Once the structure was figured out (the hard part), it was just a matter of the painting and sanding and staining and trimming over and over for days - whew! Why do I always look forward to this stuff until I am mid-way into it? That's when the whining starts...





But, in the end I am much more happy with these stairs. And, because I gave it two good tries, it will no longer keep me up at night! I think my next mini endeavor will be a much easier one with almost instant gratification. I'm switching back over to the Sweet Christmas Cottage kitchen, where it is mostly filling shelves with adorable minis!

Have a wonderful weekend, full of peaceful dreams...

xo xo
Jodi

32 comments:

  1. OMG, Jodi! I don't envie you for taking out these stairs again. But - yes - sometimes the look just does not feel right. And quite frankly, for me it was not the width it was rather that they were a bit steep. Don't know whether you changed the height of steps - but with the landing they do not look like a mountain climb any longer :-) Great result. This now really looks perfect.

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    1. Thanks, Marion! Who wants to climb a mountain just to go to bed, right! ;OP
      I used the same Houseworks stairs, so no pitch changes. I guess just having the return made a big difference, and probably having the treads installed, too. No more big white mountain to climb!

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    1. Thanks, Keli! I think I can live with these! :O)

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  3. Wowee.. these look lovely! Loving the railings and I always love a return. Great changes and well worth the days of effort and the whining. :D

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    1. Thanks, Sam! Doing something over is better than settling for something you know you can do better, right!

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  4. Hello Jodi,
    Leaving well enough alone is always a grave mistake to the serious miniaturist ;) I think your solution for the staircase and shelving issue is fantastic. It looks beautiful, gives you back much needed space, and you used up wasted space under the staircase. I just love it and while I will miss the columns I think this floor plan works much better in the space you have.
    Big hug
    Giac

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    1. Thanks, Giac! I am really going to miss those columns, too! I will save them in the hope that someday I can give them a proper space to shine in. I am learning so much with each "mistake" so really I am just grateful for the opportunity to "fix" them! :O)

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  5. Oh my... That's just lovely! And your bookshelves are gorgeous. The trim on the staircase and the spindles! Everything fits in perfectly.

    I would suggest (if you have enough trim left) carrying your baseboards around the front of your bookshelf. I've noticed they tend to have a more 'built in' look that way. I'm kicking myself for not doing that on my fireplace built ins.

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    1. Thanks, Sheila! I will seriously consider the baseboard - I don't want any more regrets! Is it too late for you to add them?

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    2. I actually did a bookshelf next to the fireplace in my Beachfront Bungalow and added the baseboard to the front of it. I really like how it looks there. It just finishes it off for some reason. Like the bookshelf is part of the wall and not a piece of furniture.

      Sadly if I tried to raise the bookcases to add baseboards around the bottom they won't fit properly against the windowseat. If I raise both the seat will rise over the bottom of the window. Not optimal.

      I'm thinking of doing some quarter round just to soften the edges a bit. Have to see how it works out. Craftsman doesn't do a lot of curves.

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    3. Oh great! I'll go and take another look at the Bungalow posts!
      I think the Craftsman fireplace unit still looks great, so even if you decide against the quarter round it won't look as though it's missing anything. Excited to see what you post for the weekend!

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  6. These are gorgeous stairs! Well worth the effort. :D

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    1. Thanks, Brae! It is very much worth the effort to achieve an improvement! I rarely ever get anything right the first time! :O)

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  7. Wow, Jodi, you Aced it! Those stairs are just right for the space! The way they turn at the bottom just leads you right into the room... and the lovely shelves under the stairs are such a practical solution! Yes, I know all about "little" things keeping you up at night... but then sometimes you get the most inspiring dreams from it too! LOL! You have done a great job "correcting" in mid project and Bravo for sticking with your gut feelings that "something" was not quite right!
    Now on to the X-mas Cottage.... I know, I am deep in that theme myself so I love company! LOL!

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    1. Thanks, Betsy! It is so wonderful to have such positive reinforcement that I made the right choice!
      We are in good company! :O) And just think of all the fun Christmas themed photos we'll be able to share on our blogs with everyone during the season this year! Joy spreading, uh huh, that's right!

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  8. That works well Jodi, great solution! And in addition to gaining the floor space taken up by the column bookcase, you gain the space between it and the old stairs. It will be a much more usable space now.

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    1. Thanks, Shannon! That's a good point! I just got the sofa and cushion fabrics today, so I am excited to get going on that, too!

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  9. A solution with beautiful and practical results!
    Hugs, Drora

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  10. Your NEW AND IMPROVED staircase looks PERFECT Jodie, and a BIG CHEER goes up from the crowd!!!! :D

    elizabeth

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  11. Wow! The moment I saw the new staircase trimmed with the scroll saw it just "fit"! Perfectly to scale! What a difference! I'd have never of thought the other attempts were too wide. I think you were right to make sure the pitch stayed like this and curved around. Those steep dollhouse stairs always ruin the illusion! Love the bookcase, and yes extra floor space is always, always important!! :D

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    1. Thanks, Kristine! It is good to get a resounding opinion to make it worth the extra effort!

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  12. I'm so impressed. I think it looks amazing. I will have to remember your tip about the illustration art board too.

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  13. Such a difference. So good that you were able to see what was needed to get that sense of being able to breath in a space. The stairs are lovely. How do you 'stain' the banisters and treads? - their finish is lovely. Marilyn

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  14. Thanks, Marilyn! I am glad I took a pause to start on the Christmas cottage, otherwise I would have likely plowed ahead and then been less happy with the results. I have learned a good lesson: take my time!
    The treads were stained with a Minwax stain pen in Provincial, and the banisters were painted with Tim Holtz Distress metallic paint in Tarnished Bronze. I'm glad you like them!

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