Friday, 31 July 2015

'LAND'S END" - Living Room #HBS Denise kit

   blue hydrangeas by Fatima
I have nearly finished the Living room at Land's End
and here it is so far.
To get here though, meant that I first needed to tackle and finish the 
Having already installed the floors on the left half of the cottage, I needed to finish the second half.  I used the same IRON- ON oak veneer strips that I had used previously.  This time however, I had to treat the wood 2 distinct ways for both the hall and the bedroom; the bathroom would be entirely different.  The planks for the hall floor ran in the same direction as those in the kitchen and I was able to get a rather close match to the original stain.
the new hall floor
 the bedroom floor
For the bedroom floor boards, I used less black chalk paint and less white wash which allowed for more of the brown to show through to the final finish.  A light application of liquid floor polish gave it just enough shine.  Notice that I chose not to stagger the floor boards as they will later be mostly concealed with the bed and an area rug. 
For the bathroom floor, I opted for CORK!  I bought a sheet of a large pebble- pattern cork from Michael's craft store.  It looked more interesting to me than the solid cork sheet that I had originally purchased from the dollar store.  
BONUS: Both the cheap sheets and this pricey one from Michael's were the same thickness as the wood veneer strips and thus level with the surrounding floor.   I cut the cork sheet to size and glued it into place and sealed it with "PUZZLE SAVER"
I reasoned that if it preserved cardboard jigsaw puzzles it should also work for sealing the cork.
 I had never used this product before but wanted to try it
I wanted a Very HIGH SHINE.
I poured it on and smoothed it out with the spatula
I let it dry overnight, sanded lightly then applied a second coat of the PUZZLE SAVER and let that cure too.
Lastly I lightly sanded the floor again with a fine grit sandpaper, wiped it down and that was it!  It is both practical and durable for this beach cottage bathroom and I am quite pleased with the end results.
Two Thumbs Up! 
Here's what all of the empty floors look like.
Time now for rebuilding the living room and rethinking the floor plan.
 This house is 2 rooms deep.  Placing the front door at the front opening, ( my original idea) would make it even DEEPER.  I would like to eventually add a deck or garden and that would later make it quite difficult to properly display in my compact Real Life Studio.  

 My solution was to remove the side window and change IT to the front door.   
I shall make a removable fourth wall which will entirely enclose the front of the cottage. I'll install two sash windows in the fourth wall so that you can still see staight through and into the kitchen.  
the old side window idea

and the new Front door position.
Once I committed to this plan, everything else about the room began to make more sense
I found that the house stopped fighting me and Actually began to cooperate! 

I then turned my attention towards the fireplace and that over-sized mantle that had also been driving me crazy! 

Not only was the mantle too wide
(which left little usable space on either side of it)

 but it also protruded too far into the room. 
A tight, awkward and unusable corner due to the over-sized mantle.
The old mantle was easy to snap off.  I made a new
VERY Simple and decidedly PLAIN 
replacement, which I liked a lot better.
That's done!  

Back to the other side of the room again and into the PORTHOLE
an idea that I had mentioned in my previous post.
Originally I was going to make Three but
cutting circles is not much fun.
And after doing ONE I had had enough!
I used wall patch to line the inside of the cutout; sanded, then painted the inside with an acrylic paint and let it dry.
I had some left over puck lights from my Real Life kitchen and the photo below is what they looked like with their original trim.

I used the frosted glass insert which fit nicely inside the opening.  I then glued the brass picture frame over the opening on both sides of the wall.

Here's the finished porthole on the living room side. 
and with only the light on in the bedroom, you can see how atmospheric this window appears; 
it looks like the moon - so Coool!

And since I am still on this side of the room, I should mention the rustic vertical wood beam that I also decided to install.  It divides the space and defines the porthole section of this wall.  This support beam also came in handy for hanging and displaying Nautical gear as you can see from the photos above.
Works for me.

Okay, Everybody back to the fireplace again....
and the Wall Sconces
I had a pair in my stash which had possibilities. 
I could have left them "AS IS" but  NOOOOOO!!!!!
I was determined to change them.
Janine had given me some novelty Baby Shower tokens that she had picked up at the dollar store.  She was going to transform hers into canning jars as they are already hollow on the bottom.
I decided to use mine for lamp shades. 

I sawed off the cap with a razor saw and filed the cut edge smooth.  I glued the inverted glass onto the brass sconces with Quick Grip glue and Voila!

And as I waited for the glue to set, I made a shelf for the dead space above the mirror and the wall lamps.
More room for storage and display.
pretty good
but now I wished to change the color of the sconces.

So first I applied a coat of Matte Varnish to dull the shine of the gold metal.
Then I brushed on a Second coat of Revlon's (Bronze-look)
#100 Enthrall to darken the gold metal

After the polish was dry, I gave it a third coat of the Matte Varnish to dull the shine of the dark enamel as well as age it.

From dark and shiny to

Dark and dull
Much Better!
The wires were threaded through the foam core over-mantle and then again, through to the outside wall.  They will eventually be hidden by the exterior chimney and the shingle siding.  However none of the electrical is hooked up yet.
That part comes along much later.
Meanwhile it's time to load up the new shelf
 with lots of patriotic red, white and blue
and it's
Mission Accomplished!

Back again to the sofa wall
I don't have a "before" photo of this sofa that Janine surprised me with when we were at the 2015 Seattle Show last March, but as you can see it has a very high back which looks 
very New England-ish.  The original skirt it wore had a wide, single navy blue velvet band with a very short, stiff, and formal organza ruffle which really didn't work for me.  I removed the sheer skirt and replaced it with a canvas string fringe and added narrow double ribbon borders; which visually is more relaxed and effectively anchors the sofa to the floor. 
and of course the cat likes it too! :D

Margaret Taylor's floral cushion is tucked comfortably in the corner. 
Fatima's over-stuffed beach tote sits patiently waiting next to the sofa
Nautical gear hangs at the ready on the beam.
A play is in the process of being typed with a cold glass of lemonade to sip between breaks.
Cute cork wedgies have been kicked off under the table, 
these shoes were another great gift from
Linda Park? 

Whoops!  a correction
Janine brought these back from Australia and I believe that they came from the Brisbane Miniature Show which she attended.  I thought they were from Linda but she says "no".
The label inside the shoe says "Tiny Finery" and they ARE!
 An active and busy wall in a very relaxed room which has been filled with all kinds of interesting items both practical and amusing.  
                           And there you have it!

The end of this post
Till we meet again.... 
but next time - in the kitchen!


Saturday, 11 July 2015

PLAN B: where are you?....... #HBS Denise Kit

You may be wondering about the title for this posting.  I chose it to describe my ongoing challenges and continuous moderations of
I have been attempting to stick to my original plan of making a seaside bungalow using only the original blueprint for the kit,  and without the use of power tools. 
(Not that I would have used power tools in the first place, but that's besides the point)
every idea that flows in on the tide, flows out with the next.
I looked for help in a book which I
 found at my favorite thrift store
Country Style and Design

Some of the furniture that they feature in the photos, I happen to have the equivalent of in miniature. And even though the book is about farm houses, much of the americana atmosphere, is transferable to what I still hope to achieve with LAND'S END.

But I'm getting ahead of myself,
Let me begin by showing me assembling the kit.
Since I have a lot of catching up to do I hope that you'll bear with me and this extra long post.
In retrospect, assembly of the Denise Kit was pretty simple but as usual I didn't read the directions before starting, so there was a lot of initial confusion about 

what went where.
When I finally broke down and actually read the instructions, it  was much easier. 
*duh * 
Even so, I do wish that the pieces were better labeled.
I am one of those who prefers to look at the pictures and if enlightenment fails then I revert to the text.  
More detailed Diagrams would have saved me time, but hey, that's just me.
I got the floor secured to the foundation, then the walls went up; and everything was glued and nailed into place. 
hooray for me

This is the extended deck area that is part of the same foundation.  Since the piece of fiberboard that is included for the deck is not suppose to be level with the floor of the cottage, I cut a substitute section of foam core board that equalled thickness of the floor to  level it.  My purpose is to extend the living space of the cottage right out to the edge of the deck.

I used the kits deck floor as a template for my new one.
The original fiberboard will be used later for the roof extension *when I get that far.*

Having added the new floor insert, I sealed it with wood glue and let it dry, then it was time for a mock up.

I cut two pieces of foam board to infill the back wall around the french doors, which just fits under the low ceiling beam.  The wall inserts are only temporary.
From front to back, the space is quite deep.

I did a spacial test of where the fireplace and over-mantle would sit and how wide the living/dining room would be and cut a piece of heavy mat-board to fit the dimensions. 

Now a looooong time ago, 
just prior to
Sir Giac 
being crowned
 see his blog: Late Victorian English Manor in 1:12 scale from scratch  
 he demonstrated a Brilliant technique using iron on wood veneer.
I had rushed right out and purchased two small rolls of iron-on Natural Oak, which I had assumed would be plenty!

and of course I was wrong

however, I didn't know that at the time, so I outlined my designated dining area  

and proceeded to cut the strips to size.

No sooner did I get them cut, than I decided that I didn't like the pattern that I had decided on, so I switched it to something different and then began ironing the wood strips onto heavy mat board, using the highest heat and with the Steam OFF

 It works like a charm! :D 
I purposefully left gaps in between the planks so that the wood stain would deliniate them.
WRONG Thing To D
The adhesive that oozes from the undersides of the planks, repels the stain.
 enter PLAN B; 
*the first of many*
 Using a black felt pen, I colored the glue between the planks and highlighted the nail holes. Then while working on the living room portion of the floor, I of course, ran out of the wood.  Had I not wasted all of those precut strips for the dining room, I might have had enough.
I was left with a BIG gap in the center of the living room, so
off to the HOME DEPOT
for more wood and this time I bought 2 LARGE ROLLS,
 just to be on the safe side.

I filled in the missing wood only to discover that the new rolls had a noticeably different grain pattern and frankly

it looked rather odd.
*what a bummer!*
perhaps it wouldn't be as noticeable once it was stained and aged.
and I'm Wrong again!
My deliberate INTENTION was to make this floor look like old reclaimed wood so I had stained it with a dark walnut gel stain, then using a black acrylic chalk paint I worked it into the stained wood.  YIKES! ...The paint actually lifted off some of the walnut stain as I was buffing it, making it very splotchy.
I re-stained and buffed it again and again, but all to no avail.
I had a floor with different grains and also different colors, and for me, it was either one or the other
 but not both!
I did NOT want to make another floor. 

That meant pulling out yet another Plan B 
in an attempt to salvage this one.  I gave the entire floor a very thin wash of white chalk paint, which resulted in a pickled grey cast over my very splotchy floor.
Once that was dry, I gave it a light brush coat of liquid floor polish.

I would describe this look as very similar to that of a 
scarlet runner bean

It may not be pretty but it certainly IS unique! 
Okay, I will admit that it's far from perfect, 
but just wait until I lay a rug over it!
The night before, I had tried to choose a wallpaper and interviewed at least 8 different candidates.  

It took but a couple of hours to reject them all.  
Back and forth,...
 this one? .... NO?.... well how about that one?... NO!... 
until at last I had eliminated ALL of the patterned contenders and chose a very safe SOLID blue.  
However, I had to be extra careful because I only had 2 large sheets of this solid blue which meant that I had to stretch it as far as I could, which is what made me decide on adding the rustic wainscoting.

I repainted the green fireplace an antique white and added horizontal planks to the over-mantle.  I still have more finishing trim yet to apply but this was where I stopped-...  to seriously consider my newest idea of turning 
the dining room area into the kitchen. 
This Plan B was better than my original Plan A!
I had some old kitchen appliances that I used as props to see how to lay out the space. I had temporarily papered over the small side window, but if I choose to have a cupboard on that wall I may opt to plug the opening and forfeit that window altogether. 

At this point I was very tired and extremely frustrated in trying to figure out what to do next.

when all else fails, call in
 my daughter Sam!

Always practical and wise beyond her years, Sam suggested that I reconfigure the floor plan by moving the bedroom door out of the living room and re-located it into a hall connected to the kitchen and then position a second door adjacent to it, leading into the bathroom.
This will better illustrate Sam's proposal showing a door leading from the kitchen into the bedroom.  And below shows a door that would be on the adjacent wall leading into the bathroom.
It made far more sense that way 
I liked it!!
Thanks Sam! :D

The wardrobe that you see above, is proping up the wall for now  but I kind like it there too.
But where is the fridge going to go?
Unlike the mini kitchen of #43 Green Dolphin Street,
 Land's End NEEDS to have a Fridge!

channeling Scarlett O'Hara  so read the following with a southern accent

"Oh,  What'll I do?!!!

I can't think about it now; 
I'll go crazy if I do...

  I'll think about it Tomorrow
at Tara
Because, after all, Tomorrow, 
Is.... Another.... DAY...!"

(are ya'll  feelin' my pain yet? cause my struggle is real! )

A couple of years ago I bought 4 narrow bookshelves which I'd thought to use.  I base-coated them white spray paint, then glued them together one on top of the other.  They will serve as room dividers, and the backsides will provide some additional wall space for the newly designated kitchen. 
( aI continue to ponder on where to install that fridge?)    
The table lamp which I think I have settled on, is a hybrid of a homeless silk shade, attached to a brass Ni-glo lamp base which I have had since the 1990's.  I tried out many lamps in many styles, shapes, colors and configurations and found that the lines of this lamp combination satisfies the atmosphere of this room. 

The oval mirror came from a miniature victorian
chest of drawers which also never had a home. I've removed the swivel pins, turned the mirror on it's side and added a chain to suspend it from a nail in the wall.  The seagull was purchased in June at the 2015 West Coast Miniature Show from a local vendor- Judy Lawson.  This diminutive gull sports real feathers so I decided to display him as a taxidermy specimen under glass.
And this is my "writer's corner", dedicated to my son Elliott, who is- ( you guessed it ... )
a writer! 
This arrangement was inspired by the American Farmhouse book that I mentioned earlier, and although this corner is only a mock up, I am 99.9% certain that this is how this corner is gonna stay.  
But the fireplace and the over-mantle are still in a state of flux.  I don't know if you can see but on the over-mantle I have used small brads which was a cool idea that I borrowed from 
Doug (Miniature Endeavors).  I am not sure if perhaps I shouldn't have used smaller brads but no matter as I have to take them off in ordrer to re-sand then re-paint both it and the fireplace.  The acrylic that I used was old and lumpy and didn't go on smoothly. 
There always something that I DO that really irritates me
 Norma, ( "Make Mine Mini") made the stack of books atop of my drop leaf table, which she forwarded via Linda Park,
Thanks Norma! :D  
And speaking of Linda Park,
(Linda's Mini World)
feast your eyes on these nautical niceties....
Linda made this rain slicker and the sou'wester rain hat which
I simply adore!  The hat has all of the stitching that you would find on its full-sized counterpart, it's PERFECT! 
if that wasn't enough, 

I recently received yet another parcel from Linda containing her hand-made lobster trap and a fishing net which she has hand-knotted herself.
What a Talented lady she is! 

What can I say? except that I am THRILLED TO PEICES by her over-flowing generosity
Thank You Linda! :D
last but not least, 

another offering from my local thrift store.
I found a bag of 10 of these brass picture frames that reminded me of portholes as soon as I saw them

Still working on the placement, but my plans are to use these as porthole windows above the white wainscoting on the sofa wall.
 Right now, they are too high and too far apart, but it gives you an idea of what I think I would like to do. 

But my plans keep changing from one minute to the next.  
I have second guessed myself every step of the way. I have decided... then un-decided,... then decided.... 
over and over again. 
until My brain hurts
And after expending all of the above sweat equity, 
all I have to show for it is an overly long blog post and one incomplete room.                      
which I hope explains why I'm currently feeling 
Plan B'd out!

time for a nap

Plan ZZZZ...
where are 
- - -