Trash to treasure - mini chair makeover

by brae  

A friend gave me a box of miniature furniture, most of which was in pristine condition.  There was one little wooden chair I was especially drawn to, but it was cracked and in poor condition overall.  I started using it as a stand-in as I planned the extended front porch.

I thought the chair fit on the front porch so much that I decided to repair and paint it.  Here you can see the crack in the top piece.

I used wood glue to mend the crack, a little spackle to fill a small hole on the back and off white paint as primer.

The lighter color brought out more flaws, but a little sanding fixed most of the imperfections.  I then painted the chair sage green.

Eventually, I will make a pillow or blanket for it.  I think it makes a perfect addition to the front porch.

Study with fireplace, part 4

by brae  

After mocking up the fireplace and chimney breast in foam core board, I started building the final pieces using wood and egg carton bricks.

I cut the opening in the fireplace front and lined it with thin strips of wood.  I'll cut new egg carton bricks that are long enough to wrap around the edge made by these strips to give the illusion of solid bricks lining the opening.  The sides and top of the fireplace structure were then glued in place.

I then built the firebox to fit behind the opening.

I will likely line this with egg carton bricks as well but in a different color than the outer brick.

I then measured the opening needed in the chimney breast to fit the firebox.  After cutting that opening, I attached the sides.

The chimney breast will be permanently affixed to the wall and wallpapered, but the fireplace, firebox and lighting unit used to simulate flames will be removable.

Since I'll need to paint and grout the bricks on the front surface a different color from the trim, I taped the trim pieces to cardboard and painted them separately.  Touch-ups are easier than trying to mask off entire areas.

Here the egg carton bricks have been glued in place and are ready to be painted.

And, after painting, grouting and attaching the final trim, I have a finished fireplace mantel in the exact fashion I wanted.

Kitchen and dining room planning

by brae  

The kitchen and dining area are all one large room.  As noted in an earlier post, I flipped what would have been the outer wall to have the exposed brick on the interior wall.  I cut a door leading to the garage toward the open back of the house.  In order to have the ability to put items closer to the back edge, I cut the main single-door room divider on the opposite side into two pieces and then glued them back together to have the door opening in the middle.

I thought about building my own cabinets but I was able to find good deals on a few of the pieces I needed so it didn't end up being necessary.

click image to enlarge

The island, corner cabinet and sink cabinet I bought on eBay; they are Euro Mini's.  I plan to make my own deep sink from polymer clay since the wood one included isn't much to look at and there is plenty of room to add a different sink.  The cabinet with the four openings next to the oven is a Houseworks unassembled cabinet that will have four working drawers.  Now that I've seen the layout, I will likely get another to go on the other side of the oven.  There will also be upper cabinets, a range hood and a countertop extension over the top of the dishwasher. The Miele appliances I bought for added realism.

There is no refrigerator - we just pretend it's behind you as you are looking toward the dining room from the kitchen.  ;]  In real life, there would be another wall to house cabinets and appliances; with an open back dollhouse, you have to leave some things to the imagination.

The dining table will be refinished, and I'll make a set of chairs for it since nothing on the market has caught my eye.  The ones in the photo are just for planning purposes, and the bookcase shown will likely be a bar or buffet cabinet of some kind.

Study with fireplace, part 3

by brae  

The only fireplace on the market that I liked was a bit out of my budget, and I couldn't justify spending $60 on a fireplace even if it did come with lighting.  After creating the egg carton stone foundation, I knew I would be able to simulate brick for the fire box and front of the fireplace.  So, I took some wood pieces and created my own design for the mantel.  I bought a strip of window casing trim specifically for the mantel, but the rest of the miscellaneous pieces were either extras or "waste" wood from the build.

I like the result for looks and the fact that it was much more economical than a purchased fireplace.

I followed the same egg carton brick technique I used for the stonework on the foundation.  Here is the layout of the unpainted bricks.  The unfinished wood in the center will be cut out to create the fire box.

Conservatory progress

by brae  

The walls for the conservatory will be cut from 3/8" plywood, but here I am further studying my foam core mockup for window placement.  I am waiting for the single French door to arrive in the mail, so only one of the two walls has the windows installed.  I bought additional Foxhall parts from Real Good Toys so I could match the trim used on the garage.

I cut down the size of the walls from my first rough mockup to leave just under 3" all around the structure, allowing for a walkway and an area for outdoor plants or seating while still having a large enough enclosure for furniture.

click image to enlarge

Since I lowered the garage foundation, I needed steps leading into the conservatory from the master bedroom.  I will likely use the ones originally meant for the front porch of the main house.  I will leave the exposed brick on the one wall, and you can see the small amount of clapboard siding I used to finish the exterior wall between the kitchen and the garage on the lower level (I turned the brick side of that wall toward the kitchen).  I like the way these elements make the conservatory look like a later addition to an existing house.

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