Living room and entryway

by brae  

The inspiration for the colors in this room came from a trip to the local Sheraton.  Now, don't go getting the wrong idea!  It was a tour given to our company since we often use local hotels for guests and out-of-town employees, and they want to be our hotel of choice.  The lobby was beautifully decorated in pale teal blue and chocolate brown.  Very tasteful, modern and cozy.

The scrapbook paper for the walls is Sea Salt by Bazzill Basics.  The overhead fan is from a supplier in the UK; it lights up, and the blades spin manually.  The sofa is scratch built using a kitchen sponge structure.


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I haven't built the fireplace yet, but I am leaning toward something contemporary.  In the photo, I've used the one I built for the study.

I would like to delve into making needlepoint and punchneedle rugs in the future, but in the meantime, I've been replicating rugs by printing them on fabric.  I found several images of round rugs online and first printed them on paper to decide between designs and to figure out the appropriate size before printing them on fabric.

The four designs shown here are (clockwise from the bottom left): Seed Rug by Thomas Paul in both kiwi and cream, Piazza by Dynamic Rugs, , and a brown multi rug from Walmart.

So far, I am leaning toward the one shown in the room photo: Parasols by Thomas Paul.  That's the paper print.

The front door rug is a print of JCPenney's Floral Vine Rug by Chris Madden.  I actually own this rug in 5' x 8' in real life.  Once printed on fabric, I glued the rug to stiff felt for stability.

For the entry area, I wanted a simple, clean look.  There's one window in the room since the second window is now housed in the powder room.  I wanted to add curtains to soften the overall look of the room, so I used Paint to replicate some fabric images I found online into drapery panel lengths.  I printed them on paper first, just as I had for the rugs, to figure out which fabric I wanted.

I love the look of long curtains hung from a rod well above the window.  It always looks so nice in design magazines.  For mockup purposes, I folded the paper rather sloppily just to get a feel for the design, and wouldn't you know I like the way the paper mockup looked as is (that's the paper mockup in the photo).  The design is Lumimarja by Marimekko.  I plan to print the fabric version to give it a try but I might end up using the paper, just need to add curtain rods.  The bird figure is by Falcon Miniatures and is actually sitting on the outside sill.  The plant was purchased from HBS.

The chair is a miniature Argyle Chair by Charles Rennie Mackintosh that I bought from another supplier in the UK; I have a pair for in front of the fireplace.  Here you can see the removable wall I built out of foam core board to hide the powder room while photographing the living room.

I need to decide on a coffee table and some other accessories, but so far I like the look of it.

Porch soffit

by brae  

With the second floor lined up on top of the first floor, I marked the outline of the porch soffit with a pencil. I wanted to finish it before permanently attaching the second floor so I wouldn't have to work upside down.

Since I had added a piece of plywood to extend the front porch forward, I had two different levels on the porch soffit.  I glued thin sheets of balsa wood to even out the surface.

I then framed in the outer edge with 1/8" x 1/8" strip wood.

Using 1/16" x 5/16" bass wood, I cut pieces to cover the soffit.

I numbered the pieces on the back as I went along just in case things got knocked apart before I had the chance to glue them in place.


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Before finishing, I placed the second floor onto the house structure to make sure it fit properly.  It did.  Hurray!  :]


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I had originally planned to paint it white, but I think it looks awesome as is.  I'll paint the nosing and porch posts and rails white, but the soffit itself will be sealed to keep the natural look of the wood.

Scratch built sofa

by brae  

I borrowed Dollhouse Magic by P. K. Roche from the library, and it turned out to be a rather simplistic book of miniature making, such as using thread spools for tables.  But, the instructions on using kitchen sponges to make sofas and chairs inspired an idea.  I wanted the living room to be more modern, and I thought using sponges would be a great way to achieve the shape a modern sofa.  It would be easier than trying to cut and shape pieces of wood while still being firm enough for structure.  I could add thin pieces of wood where I needed extra support and then upholster the piece with batting and fabric.

After scouring (er...nevermind) the internet for ideas, I decided to go with the Dream Velvet Sofa by Graham & Green, a home furnishing company in the UK.

I bought cellulose sponges in different shapes and sizes at Target.  I had to leave them out on the counter for a few days to let them dry out.  In the process of drying, they shrank a bit so I was glad I hadn't used right them out of the package.

Using the overall real life dimensions as a guide, I started cutting the sponges into thinner pieces.  I used the curved sponge to make the arms of the sofa, cutting it into thinner sections using a serrated kitchen knife.  It was rather like cutting really stale bread.  :D

I used a large sponge for the base of the sofa.  It had dried to an uneven thickness, so I marked all four sides with a sharpie and used the knife to shave off the excess and shape the base.

Below is my initial basic sponge structure.  The cushions are cut small to leave room for batting and fabric.  I've used some wooden beads to mockup the legs, but I'll shape some legs from wood during the finishing process.

The back cushions on the original sofa were taller than the back, so I think my side angle is a bit steep.  I'll have to cut that down before upholstering.   The coffee table here is just a placeholder; it's a bit traditional for this modern room.

For the upholstery, I chose chocolate brown microsuede.  I've been sewing for a long time, but this was my first time upholstering...mini or otherwise.  It took me quite some time to figure out the best way to get the fabric on the sponge and wood frame.  I sewed some, glued some...swore some.  :]

I used batting to smooth out the front edge of the base and the seat cushions.  I glued a thin sheet of balsa wood to the back to have a smooth surface under the upholstery.  Here it is in mid-assembly.

Here it is mostly complete.  I need to tweak the fit of the cushions and adjust the legs, but overall I like the way it turned out.  :]

The striped pillows were created by finding designs online, resizing in PhotoShop and printing on fabric as I had written about in this post.  The bird pillows are actually made from a resized image of tiles by Jerusalem Pottery which I then printed on fabric.

I read a tip about filling miniature pillows with sand to give them a more realistic appearance than batting would produce.  I didn't have any sand, but I did have a bag of seed beads.  Filling the pillows with beads gave them some weight and did make it easier to shape them.

First floor update

by brae  

The first floor is really starting to take shape.  This is pretty much how it will look, plus the front porch railings and posts and the trim above the garage which I don't have up here.  It is 58" wide.


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As for the interior, that's still in the works.  :]

Scratch built kitchen pendant lamps

by brae  

I had been planning to put in can lights in the kitchen ceiling since this is a deep room that will be dark once the ceiling is permanently attached, but I still wanted some sort of fixtures over the island and the dining table.  I have a light for the dining area but couldn't find the type of modern fixture I wanted for the island.  So, I decided to attempt making my own.

I cut a length of aluminum tubing and fed a Novalyte single LED through it.  The bead is to hold the LED in place closer to the bottom opening, allowing for more light.

The shade portion of the lamp is made from a Wilton #4 cake decorating tip, which I painted white on the inside to reflect more light.

I fed the aluminum tube through the tip to create a hanging pendant lamp, turning the stamped lettering out of view.

Since my experiment was a success, I plan to make a second one and hang the pair over the island.  When I am ready to permanently affix the lamps, I'll finish the connection to the ceiling with a small block or bead.

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