Monday, October 29, 2018

A French Copper Bakers Rack for Dollhouse Kitchen and Nora Murphy's Book Winner

 The dollhouse has seen many improvements since I last blogged. 
Mostly, I have concentrated my efforts in the large servant's kitchen.  
(Hehe, why not, I am imagining this home to have a staff of servants, much like Downton Abbey.)
I planned to build my cabinets and stove from scratch.  After seeing my own kitchen, I 
decided to build a copy of my wall baker's rack that I bought at the Martha Stewart auction.
This rack is now part of a wall of copper in my kitchen, and excuse the dark photo,
but I no longer have time to take out a fancy camera as I am working hard on the dollhouse.
Priorities! I measured the bakers rack and then converted it into the 1/12th scale that is 
the most common for dollhouse builds.  (1inch = 1 foot.) You can design things for a dollhouse
just using this simple formula.  The rack measured 3 feet by 3 feet roughly, 
and that meant I would build it to be 3 inches by 3 inches.
 This is a quick progress shot of the build.  I was also working on 
a European style range, that I built from balsa wood and jewelry bits
(but more on that later).  For the rack I used BBQ sticks that I had in 
the kitchen, along with thin strips of balsa wood and some easily bendable wire
and some tiny jewelry beads with holes on the ends.  I shaped the wire to simulate 
the design on my real wall rack, and then finished each edge off with a bead, then
glued in place. 
 Next I sprayed the entire thing in a box (my spray booth).  
After it dried I held it up to compare to the real thing in my kitchen.
 Wow! Not bad for a few hours of effort.  
 No other dollhouse would have one of these! Next
step was to use gilding wax to make some areas look brass,
and add a central feature like the shaft of wheat that my big rack has.
I used a tiny rose from the arts and crafts department, which is where you can
find many tiny things.
 It turned out quite charming and I just stuck it on the wall over the range to see how it looked.
I wanted to make a big stone hood for ventilation, and still may do so, and move the bakers rack
to another wall. More copper is on the way, so I can fill out the kitchen to mimic my own.
Brick floors were to go in, as well as aging the walls, after all this is servants quarters.  
It should be a bit dreary and work like.  The French door has been officially installed and the 
dining room got wallpaper and its chandelier electrified!! 
The other side of the kitchen has the cabinetry I made that just got installed! 
I will follow this post up with those two improvements and more.
And for all those that wrote in asking to win a copy of 
Nora Murphy's Country House Style book,
I am so pleased to see such a HUGE response!  
 Sadly only one winner on this giveaway,
but check out Nora's book on Amazon or
 in your local book store or on Nora's website. 
But before you do.....

There is also another book giveaway you can enter at my friend
 Shirley's blog at Housepitality Designs.

Now for my giveaway winner.... the drumroll please......

The winner of the book is Jane Pickett from Worcester, Mass!

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Friday, October 26, 2018

Nora Murphy Country House Style Book Giveaway

 Nora Murphy's Country House Style book features six country houses, 
all with their own distinct take on country style. Last summer Nora and her art director
and photographer made their way to my house to shoot it for her book.
This sweet scene with Piper is an outtake, but you will see the rooms in my home and
even Piper makes the book in one scene.  I am offering my readers a chance to win a 
complimentary copy of Nora's book, directly from Nora herself!  
All you need to do is to leave me a comment on the blog here, 
with your email address so I can get in touch with you for your mailing address.
One lucky winner will be chosen Sunday night!
 Nora will include this special gingham slipcover that will hold an autographed
 copy of her book for the giveaway.
This is the title page of the chapter on my home.  All the homes have 
their own designation by location.  Each home owner had a box
of small things Nora used to make a collage for the chapter photo,
and its really quite clever.
 This is also an outtake, but you will see a huge layout page featuring
my purple transfer ware collection.
And this snippet of my kitchen is just a hint of things you will see in the book.
My little green and white country kitchen!  There are so many amazing country kitchens in 
Nora's book, its worth getting the book just for kitchen inspiration!!
So if you don't already have a copy of this beautiful book, you 
can leave me a comment telling me why you would like one.
Its that simple! 
I will pick one winner Sunday night!!
If you can't leave a comment here, send me an email
at and you can enter that way.
Comments on the blog will appear AFTER I moderate them, and
that is because I get spam, so your comment will appear.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Dollhouse Report: Shabby chic bathroom, purple transfer ware, and a grand piano.

Dollhouse miniatures are a world unto their own, and one can find many others
who are obsessed with creating miniature interiors.  From traditional to victorian to 
antique and farmhouse, there is someone recreating a miniature world in every decor style.
My own dollhouse is going to be a fusion of styles, much like how I decorate my own home.
So the overall influence will be French, with some cottage and shabby chic style mixed in, 
then sprinkled with the vintage faded grandeur look I find so attractive.
This bathroom started with a kit of a tub, pedestal sink and a toilet at a reasonable price.
The cost of some of these miniatures are pretty expensive, so I have been trying to either 
customize ready to buy pieces that are unfinished wood or stay in a lower price bracket.
The customization of the pieces are the most fun for me.  I took an unfinished hall table 
and turned it into the shabby chic cottage dressing table in my bathroom.
After I painted it pink and white and added flowers to the drawers,
 I aged it with clear and dark wax and buffed it up.  At the last minute I was I inspired to add
a little skirt in pink gingham, which was the ruffled edge of a vintage Ralph Lauren pillowcase I 
had in my linens pile.  It added just the right amount of charm. I created a gilded cornice
to go over the long sheer linen drapery panel, a Stroheim and Romann remnant from my
curtain making decorating days as a designer. The rest is pretty much unfinished, as the moldings and the electrical and wall finishes need to be added.  So remember, this is a progress report!
I started off by painting the entire interior of the dollhouse in Ben Moore
Natural Elements (#1515),  the same color I have in my real life dining room.
It made it much more fun to set up the furniture pieces as they arrived, having
a painted backdrop instead of unfinished wood.
Here you can see I started placing various items in the rooms to get the feel
of how the rooms should be furnished.  On the top floor you can see the basic
bathroom kit. On the second floor I plan to have a bedroom on the left, the hall
in the center and the potting room that leads to the roof deck on the right.
On the first floor I will have the living room, foyer, dining room and then the 
big country kitchen ( cut off from view).
But then I got to thinking that the foyer was built too small and narrow. So I got the 
great idea of cutting open the wall.  And while I was at it, I wanted French doors to
go out onto the roof deck.  As it turned out there wasn't enough wall space to add
the doors to the roof deck because the stairs were right there (remember this was built
by someone from scratch, not a dollhouse kit, which I think has better floor plans).
So the French doors will go in between the kitchen and the dining room, just because it seems
to be the best place in this layout. 
I snapped this pic for Instagram, showing hubs at work cutting the walls.
He started using a Dremel with some kind of router but it didn't work very neatly
so he switched his tool choice to a coping saw (shaped like a giant U).
 This house is already a Fixer Upper lol.  
But look how much nicer it will be!!
The dining room will have a pair of columns along the new openings.
Oh yes, I have such grand ideas don't I??
I tried adding some wide pine floors by using a printed paper pattern I found
at a craft store, but I don't really care for the effect. 
 I will have to do real wood floors.
Oh well...but you may have noticed my dining room pieces that have 
purple transferware in the cupboard and on the table!
I almost died when I found a set of 52 pieces of purple transferware in 1/12 scale.
You can also see I started to build a railing on the staircase and have since added the banister.
I used instant wood glue and I almost glued my fingertips together.  
This tiny glueing is not easy.
Last but not least, my grand piano.
 This was the first group of miniature items I bought for my dollhouse.
You can see the black baby grand piano with the bench.  I planned to 
customize it to match the piano I had painted for my own home.
 I painted it in Old White chalk paint first. 

 Then to add the toile effect in blue paint, I decided to use colored pencils so I could get the fine
detail I needed to copy my own real life piano.
My real life toile piano...
The tiny bench seat was reupholstered in a velvet scrap I had from 
doing the gilded ballroom chairs. I even painted a tiny scene inside the 
lid of the piano.  It really looks adorable doesn't it?
I am having so much fun creating the interiors of the dollhouse,
and will be back soon to show off my next installment of progress.
Like wallpapering and finding an Aubusson rug....haha!!
I told you, this is so much fun!

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