Study with fireplace, part 2

by brae  

After my initial paper mockup, I decided I liked the look of the chimney breast.  Still wanting a small depth overall, I made a foam core board mockup only 1/2" deep.  The mantelpiece has a depth of 9/16" with the top having a slight overhang.  I like the scale of it overall, so I will likely build my final pieces based on this model.

I taped the lights in place and cut a sample painting from a catalog.  The miniature elephants are wood pieces I've had for over twenty years.

Kitchen appliances

by brae  

There are some fabulous miniatures on the market, and some carry "fabulous" prices.  The miniaturist hobby itself can be pricey as a lot of (pardon the pun) little things add up.  I've budgeted in some areas to be able to afford the more expensive items I want.  In order to save money, I will be building a lot of the basic furniture myself, and I have found some good deals on craigslist and eBay for other things.  I am getting ready to start building and decorating the kitchen, so I bought these miniature Miele appliances.

Both are battery operated and make sounds.  The oven also lights up, and the dishwasher came with the yellow dishes.

Study with fireplace

by brae  

The first floor room of the two story addition will be a study.  The Newport kit didn't come with fireplaces or chimneys, but I would like to have at least one fireplace.  Most of the manufactured designs I've found don't fit what I want (other than one very expensive one, of course), so I plan to make my own.  There are several how to books out there, some more complicated than others, so I should be able to come up with something more along the lines of what I want.

I drew a rough sketch of a fireplace on paper without considering the accuracy of the scale for the front opening or mantle.  I just wanted to get an idea of the look to see if I wanted to pursue the construction of the fireplace or not.

I will likely base the scale and look on a ventless fireplace due to the smaller size of the room and the fact that the exterior wall isn't really conducive to having a chimney run from the ground up past the roof.  I am using a one inch depth, which would translate into one foot in real life.  This will allow for a mantle large enough to decorate without taking up too much floor space.  In the drawing, I have the wall above the fireplace extending forward since it was easier to fold the paper to fit doing it that way.  The end result, however, will be a separate fireplace unit that sits in front of the wall.

The three chairs and desk in the room were given to me by the friend who helped me cut my garage wall panels.  I have some other ideas for this room, so I will likely use these pieces elsewhere, but they helped with the basic layout of the room.

Garage flooring

by brae  

After perusing countless finished garage photos online, I decided to attempt the look of a vinyl floor liner.  There are different types, colors and patterns, with one popular choice being black and white checkerboard like this example.  It does make a statement, but I wanted to go with something more subtle, like the look of grey coin-patterned vinyl floors.

If I thought dollhouse garage lights were limited, flooring options beyond paint were even tougher to find.  To my knowledge, there wasn't any material out there that I could use as is to mimic the look of vinyl flooring, so I decided to use black and white hexagon tile sheets by Handley House.  They are made of heavy embossed paper that I thought would translate well after some grey paint and matte sealer spray.

Here's the paper layout along with two test swatches of paint.  The one on the right is the same medium grey I used to paint other portions of the garage.  The one on the left is medium grey toned down with an equal amount of white paint.  Overall, the scale of the hexagonal pattern works well.

The sheets weren't large enough to cover without piecing.  I used Yes! paste to affix the paper to the plywood floor - great stuff!  :D   Note: I no longer recommend Yes paste - I use Wallpaper Mucilage instead.  Yes paste has problems with longevity.

My two pieces could have lined up better, but I didn't do too poorly for my first attempt at seaming tile sheets.  And, I learned a couple of things during the process that will help with wallpapering the rest of the house.

I didn't like either of the color swatches I had done so I mixed mostly medium grey with some white and a dash of Payne's grey.  How's that for an precise recipe?  ;]  The paint disguised the seam fairly well but caused some minor buckling in the paper where I hadn't put enough paste, so I lifted the paper while it was still flexible and put more paste down.  Problem solved.

After the paint dried, I sprayed on a light coat of matte sealer.  Contrary to the name, the spray creates a fine satin sheen and becomes glossier the more you spray.  The effect turned out exactly the way I had hoped.

For the most part, I am pleased with the end result.  I'm a perfectionist so the seam line bothers me a bit, but there really isn't anything I can do about it.  Even if I started over, there would be seams somewhere on the floor.  There isn't a tile sheet on the market large enough to cover the entire surface area.  I could have perhaps chosen a better location for the seam, but the finish turned out so well that I hate to tear it all up just to end up with seams again.  Besides, as more items get added to the garage, it should be less noticeable.  If I find a better solution in the future, I can always renovate!  :D

Garage wallpaper, paint and lights!

by brae  

The Timberbrook garage kit is made of wood, so I painted the track pieces a mix of medium grey and iridescent silver.  It has a nice metallic sheen that doesn't translate well in the photo.  For the walls, I am planning to use scrapbook paper for finishing.  I could paint, but it is difficult to get a smooth finish without brush strokes and other imperfections that ruin the illusion in a miniature setting.  The paper here is by Martha Stewart in a color called swan, a very pale green (currently unattached until I finish the floor and add other elements).  I decided not to have the egg carton stone finish on the exposed foundation of the house, figuring it would most likely be covered when putting on an addition.  I did, however, paint it medium grey to blend with the stairs.

When I first started planning the Newport, I was a bit overwhelmed by the concept of electrification.  After reviewing the types available, I opted for the round wire -- or hard wire -- technique.  The main reason was I wanted the ability to have some lights on and others off, not all or nothing.

The lights I chose for the garage interior have twin bulbs and a wood cover that stays in place by magnets, connecting to a metal plate that is fixed to the ceiling.

Testing out the position of the lights...this layout will light the entire garage and the garage door will obscure only one light when open.

Even though the power strips will ultimately be hidden in faux cabinets here in the garage, I still fed the wires up through the ceiling since I only painted the ceiling and had nothing to cover the wires.

I used the miniature recycle bin to hold the tiny parts as I worked.  It snaps closed, so no worrying about losing pieces.

I wasn't crazy about the wood look of the lights, but choices for garage lighting were limited.  On top of that, one of the wood covers had a large imperfection in the finish.  After a bit of sanding to remove the varnish and some black paint, I had two modern garage fixtures.

I am so excited that my first attempt at electrification was a success!

click image to enlarge

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