Estate minis from Barbara

by brae  

Barbara is a very generous friend and has excellent taste in minis!  :D  She sent me a beautiful box of estate minis.  The four books are four fewer that I have to make for the library.  The two turnings are gorgeous and would fit well in The Brownstone.

I love this little side cabinet.

It's not signed, and there's no manufacturer sticker.

The washstand is signed G. Goltz, King-Ontario.  This is a beautiful piece, but I think I will save it for a later build instead of replacing the one I have for the mill.  The bowl Barbara sent will likely end up in the mill kitchen.

Here the washstand is shown with the large pitcher and bowl set from the mill.

The final piece is a lovely dresser with some interesting lines and details.

It is also signed, but I can't read the name.

Thank you so much, Barbara!  :D

Watson Mill - main room furnishings, part 3

by brae  

Continuing work on the main room furnishings.  I painted the kitchen chairs Zinc by Americana.  What I like about this dark grey is the blue cast to it, which should go well with the enamel tabletop.  I've been trying out processes for the tabletop, so more on that later.  In case that doesn't work out, it will still be a lovely color with a plain white tabletop.  :]

I finished with Delta Ceramcoat Satin Varnish and upholstered with a cotton print from my stash.

I replaced the damaged foam from the kit with two layers of white felt.  The seats aren't glued in since they fit well enough with tension alone.  I can easily clean or replace as needed.

Watson Mill - main room furnishings, part 2

by brae  

Continuing work on the main floor furnishings.  I tried out some new Minwax stains I picked up at Lowes.  This is Natural, Fruitwood and Driftwood (left to right) used on basswood scraps.  Natural gives the grain a lift and a slight warm tone.  I might use this on the circle library since it will seal the wood without changing the aspect much. Fruitwood is a lovely light color that coordinates well with Natural, so I will likely use this on the dumbwaiter and its cabinet.  Driftwood has a green grey cast and works well with the grain.

I cut down the depth of the Houseworks 2" kitchen cabinet by 1/4" since it was a tad too deep and used Driftwood stain with satin varnish.  The knobs are wood painted black.  A beautifully rustic cabinet.  :]

The pitcher and bowl are from my stash of minis.  It's a favorite that I had been hoping to use in the mill but it wouldn't fit upstairs.  Problem solved.  It's now a kitchen wash set.

I stained the red oak flooring with Minwax Dark Walnut.  I love the grain of this flooring but not the pink cast, and the dark walnut was able to highlight the grain and tone down the red.

Watson Mill - foundation, part 2

by brae  

Continuing work on the foundation.  I had egg carton bricks on hand, so I didn't bother to reinvent the wheel.  Most of the time, I will measure my board and determine how many bricks across I need and adjust the measurements accordingly.  It's a small foundation, so I didn't think it would matter much once landscaping is in.  Since my bricks didn't end well at the corners, I opted for corner stones cut to fit.

I chose brown based bricks instead of my usual brick red.  :]

I started with an even brown base.

I then stippled on the other colors to create variations before sealing with Delta Ceramcoat Matte Varnish (which always dries shiny with how thick I put it on).

After it dried, I grouted with spackling following my usual water clean-up process.

I added a couple of dark brown and black washes to tone down the grout, then finished off with a spray of Testors Frosted Glass to dull the finish.  There will be more aging during the landscaping process, but I love how it looks so far.  You can still see the subtle color differences.

Watson Mill - enamel tabletop, part 1

by brae  

A Greenleaf forum member suggested enamel tabletops, so I scouted around the net looking at examples. It seemed a grand idea, so I printed some designs I thought would work best in blue, black and orange-red. These are just on regular paper for testing the look, but I have some ideas in mind for transferring the design onto the table.

I was leaning toward the blue, so most of them are shown in that color.  I'm not showing every printed design here since I narrowed down further.  I printed open center designs...

...and filled center designs.

The one shown in all three colors is the design that appealed to me most on paper.

I made my notes on the pics as well. Granted, it is hard to tell with yellowish wood chairs, but you get the idea. The chairs and lower part of the table will be painted to coordinate best, even if that ends up being white with a coordinating color upholstery.  I will also be toning down the red of the oak floors.

This one was too "dollhousy" to me.  The design is rather bold and would compete with anything placed on the table.

This is more of a retro style than I wanted, though it has its appeal in the right setting.

This one is the best of the open center designs.  It's delicate and complements the teacup flower made by Debora.

Here is the same design shown in black for comparison.

This one is delicate but rather busy.

I had thought this one would work well from the paper printout, but it ended up being more "diner" than I wanted.

Here's one showing the red.  This is the design I like the most, but the red didn't do it for me.

The black is almost there but a little stark.

The blue is almost there but perhaps a little too light.

So in the final trials, I printed grey and navy blue tabletop designs.  First, the open grey...a little washed out.

Open navy blue...ooooh, gorgeous!

Filled grey...meh.

Filled navy blue...not as nice as the lighter blue before, and to me the open navy blue still has that beat.  I love the open navy blue design because it will frame whatever is featured on the table.

Next up, trying some tests to transfer the design.  :]  I'll also paint the chairs and stain the flooring, which might sway the final choice.

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