Saturday, 27 February 2010

First Steps - Jan - Feb 2009

After the excitement of opening the boxes on xmas morning and checking everything was there, the first step was to do a dry build.
This means assembling the house without gluing and in my case requiring an extra set of hands and some masking tape!

This photo shows the house without the roof and chimneys.

I then sized the MDF to make it less absorbant.  You can buy MDF primer but I used the cheap option which is 50:50 PVA glue:water.

I had got a few presents for my dolls house for xmas which included a large stencil for the brickwork and brick compound from Bromley Craft Products.
My research had indicated that Flemish Bond brickwork was prevalent in the Georgian period so I had chosen that for my stencil.  After having a practice I did the back of the house early on as I knew it wouldn't matter too much if I messed it up!
It's a great product - you get a bag of brick compound which is like a fine sand and I chose a red brick colour though you can have a few variations.
You then mix it up with a little water to make a paste which you spread over the stencil.

For those interested in trying this out I learnt a few useful tips.....

1) Get the large stencil if you can - covers surfaces much quicker!
2) Get a good spray adhesive to stick the stencil down with - I used a Bostic spray though there are a few available.  If it's not stuck well the compound can bleed under the edges.  Re-spray before each application.
3) Getting the right consistency requires a few attempts - if it's a bit thick you end up with a very thick layer over your stencil which is difficult to spread and you have a lot of sanding to do afterwards.
4) Use a pallet knife with a reasonable sized head - it makes spreading the compound much easier.
5) You have to wash the stencil after each application - it's a bit messy and leaves sand / brick particles round the plughole.  Maybe a bucket would be better..... hmmm...
6) You needs lots of paper towels to dry the stencil!
7) Let the compound dry for a while before doing the next section - it makes it easier to match up the brickwork if it's not still wet.
8) Try and get a thin, even coating over the stencil - it requires much less sanding afterwards - something for me to remember for my next lot of brickwork!
9) (note to self)  Try not to drop the compound on your wood before laying the stencil......
10) You may have to tidy up a few edges - it scrapes away very easily to get the grout revealed.

This is how it turned out - it's still drying at this stage hence the different colour depths. 

A close up of the sanded brickwork a few days later.  Looks pretty good.

I used a light grey paint for the grout colour - you can get sample pots from your local DIY store very cheaply and emulsion works great.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Getting Started - January 2009

The Georgian period spans from 1714 to 1830 charting the reign of King George I, II, III & IV and encompasses the Regency period. 

It was a time of social change and new influences brought about exciting developments in architecture.  There were many people of great influence during this period and you will certainly have heard of the names. 

Most notably there was the architect Robert Adam; Capability Brown the landscape designer; the artists John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough and the furniture makers George Hepplewhite & Thomas Chippendale.  Jane Austin also wrote about this period in her novels. 

I wanted to try and be as accurate as possible with my Georgian dolls house but it is harder than it looks!

For a start, you have several different and unique periods and styles during the Georgian era from early Georgian simplicity to Regency grandeur.

I started by doing some research on the internet and with books.  I also asked on The Dolls House Emporium forum. 

Most people seem to favour the Victorian period as this is more widely known and more miniature furniture is Victorian style. 

I found some good reference books either by searching or as recommendations.  If, like me, you want to do a Georgian dolls house these books are worth a look:

The Georgian Group Book of the Georgian House by Steven Parissien

Georgian House Style Handbook by Ingrid Cranfield

Once I had done some research, which I must admit, took longer than it could have as I was nervous about making mistakes, I got started.....

The Beginning - Dec 2008

It was an afternoon in late October when the new Dolls House Emporium catalogue dropped through my letterbox with special offers of 50% off selected houses.

Wow, I thought, this is my chance to buy a dolls house after so many years of being interested in the hobby but finding the kits a bit too expensive.

I chose a kit called Montgommery Hall which is one of the medium sized houses. It was just the right combination of room sizes and had a proper stairway.

I rang up to order it in November, speaking to a very freindly lady who tried to convince me to buy the 'Quickstyle' version that comes with the exterior decorated. "But decorating it is the fun part" I said.

It was to be my xmas present so although it arrived within two days, it was delivered to my boyfriend's parents house and I didn't see it until xmas morning.

It was very exciting opening up the boxes. I got a bit of a surprise as to how big the house is. Although I'd had a tape measure out and roughed it out it's never quite the same as seeing it for real.

Over xmas I put it together as a dry build with help from my boyfriend and started planning.

It is a Georgian style property so I decided to go with that period and take up the challenge of recreating a Georgian period property.

I've thought a blog would be the best way to record my progress and share it's construction with anyone who would like to read it. I've only just decided to write this so although it's 2010 I've been working on my dolls house since January 2009.

Comments are always welcome.