Kitchen countertops

by brae  

I had previously painted the kitchen cabinets red.  I wanted to do a faux granite finish for the countertops, so I used a technique similar to the one I had used to turn a piece of cardboard into a marble hearth.

I first taped off the lower portions of the cabinets with wax paper and painter's tape.

I then gave all the countertop pieces a base coat of Moon Yellow by Americana.  It may seem bright, but very little if any of this color will show through after the faux finish process.

I then began layering different paints to get the look I wanted using a small stencil brush and a paper towel to blot the excess color.  I used Nutmeg, Vintage White, Mushroom and Coffee Bean by Folk Art as well as Pure Bronze by Apple Barrel.  I like this process since you can easily just go over any parts you don't like.  In fact, adding layer after layer adds to the depth of the granite finish.

After a few coats of gloss finish with steel wool application in between, I ended up with a decent countertop.  It's darker than what I had in mind and it looks a little more like Formica than granite, but I think the color and texture work well overall.  I still need to clean up the places where the paint seeped under the tape and onto the red portions.

click image to enlarge

Mackintosh minis

by brae  

The Newport took a backseat to a nasty cold and the holidays (unfortunately both at the same time), but I did receive a package in the mail from the UK during my hiatus.  I found miniature versions of the Argyle Chair by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.  Love these!

click image to enlarge

I had originally wanted these for the study, but the Bespaq plaid ensemble shown below that I used for my Christmas scenes there will likely stay put and the Mackintosh chairs will go to another room.

click image to enlarge

I already have plans in the works.  Stay tuned....

Christmas at the Newport

by brae  

After seeing several holiday inspired dollhouse scenes, I decided to go ahead and put one in the Newport even though the house itself is far from complete.

Michael's was having a 50% off sale on their Lemax Christmas  items, so I bought what equates to an 8ft blue spruce to set up in the study.  It came with a snow mound for a base, but I planned to cover it with a tree skirt and presents.

Michael's also had ornaments and strands of garland by Merry Minis.  I used a mini star ornament as the tree topper.  The lights are by Dept. 56, and I bought those on eBay.  I made the tree skirt and gifts.

The afghan is another venise lace creation.  The winter scene backdrop outside the window is an image called Winter Landscape and Trees by Icefront that I printed from and taped to a board to hold it in place.

On the bookshelf are some of the Christmas cards I printed.

I made the Christmas wrap.  I bought a bag of random minis from craigslist, and the grocery bag was part of the loot.

The garland on the mantel is from HBS; I added the red ribbon bows and cards.

The room itself is still incomplete but coming along nicely.  I will continue to put things together and perhaps add some more Christmas décor before Santa comes.  :D

Study progress, part 3

by brae  

In order to decorate for Christmas, I had to get the study in nearly complete order.  I installed the windows with newly cut acrylic inserts to replace the printed ones that came with the kit.  I had previously upgraded the windows to include Yorktown pediments by Houseworks on the exterior, but these needed to be cut down for the window located on the angled wall since they were too wide to fit between the connectors.  I will have to cut down the pediments on the bay areas of the main house as well for the same reason.

Here's the view on the exterior.  Even though the side pediments are cut down, they don't look incomplete.  Nothing is glued in place yet, so the gaps and imperfections will be sanded and painted further before I glue them in permanently.

I sprayed the wood flooring with matte sealer (two coats).  I like how it warmed up the color and brought out the detail of the wood grain. [UPDATE BELOW]

I used Houseworks baseboards along the perimeter; each board has a groove on the back to hide wires.  I think this has been my least favorite part so far.  The main problem is cutting around the wall connectors, which results in a lot of little pieces with angles on either end.  But, it really adds a lot of realism to the room, so I just keep cutting and cutting and cutting until I get the pieces right.

I used Houseworks trims around the interior of the windows to match the Traditional Block & Trim interior door, also by Houseworks.  The windows and their related interior trims are not glued in place so I can remove them to continue the build without any worry of damaging them.

Update 01-15-10:
Since this post, the spray sealer has broken down and the finish has become mottled (below the old floor is shown on top of a fresh sheet of flooring).  I removed the old flooring and replaced it with a new piece, but I won't be using the same spray sealer again.

Update 02-20-10:
I sprayed the second piece of flooring for the study with Minwax Water-Based Polycrylic protective finish in clear semi-gloss, and the results were perfect.  It too warmed up the wood tones and stayed even and smooth after two weeks.

Garage door improvement

by brae  

I had previously posted an entry on my addition of vellum paper jewelry findings as window covering for the garage door.

I didn't care for the fit, so I bought some larger jewelry findings to use instead.  These were also made of thin metal, so I was able to cut them to fit into the window openings instead of sitting on top.  The result is a cleaner look and more in line what I had in mind.

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