A dollhouse out of roomboxes
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lsalati

I have wanted to make a dollhouse that was authentic to the Federal Period.  My journey began with a kit dollhouse but quickly stalled when I realized that the ceiling height was too low.  It just bothered me so much that I could not bring myself to finish it.  With time for miniatures at a premium, I decided to break down the project into rooms.  Each room would be made in its entirety and then someday would be assembled into a house at a later date.  The symmetry of Federal homes works well for this and you can enjoy your finished room, while you work on the rest of the building.  So my plan began with the construction of the dining room.  If you want more of blow by blow you can go here:

 

http://www.picturetr...m/lmhillgartner

 

The room exterior is 17 inches square and 13 inches high.  The interior is 16 inches wide, 14 inches deep and has a 12 inch ceiling height.  The windows and china cabinets are real glass and scratch built.  All of the moldings are made from lumber that has been pieced together to give the effect.  All of these are copies of the moldings in the Samuel Whitehorne house in Newport, RI.  I took a class from Peter Kendall in which we made one of the walls from that help and I adapted it to my room box.

 

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The carpet is called the Spanish Savonnerie, a chart by Joseph Boria and stitched by me on 40 ct silk gauze.  The picture is one I painted at the Guild show in a class by Phyllis Hawkes.  My first painting ever - she is an amazing teacher.

 

Here are some close-ups of the wood work but are early pictures before I added the knobs made by Ron Stetkowicz.

 

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The hardest part for me was the cornice or crown molding.  I had to develop this on my own because the wall I made in Peter's class did not have a ceiling and thus only part of the cornice.  With the help of a dear friend, Tamra, I was talked through the process of combining different shape wood molding to achieve the final cornice.  I was also guided by the original plans for the house that I found on the Library of Congress website.

 

Original plans:

 

post-18-0-75515200-1398557237_thumb.jpg

 

Planning the cornice:

 

post-18-0-59160000-1398557231_thumb.jpg

 

Close-up of the finished product.  I was able to contact the original person that Peter used to get the laser cut diamond shapes to use in the cornice.  The reeded parts are actually half rounds glued side by side - yes a bit tedious.

 

post-18-0-20125100-1398557224_thumb.jpg

 

The room is now awaiting lighting, furniture and all the other wonderful stuff you put in a dining room.  Lots of shopping again.  Now on to the living room.  It will be a mirror image of this room and I will change the cabinets at the back to something unique to that room.  Don't hold your breadth, this room took me a couple of years.

 

 

 

post-18-0-34290400-1398556811_thumb.jpg

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Moderator1

That is just wonderful! You have done a beautiful job and so what if it took years, quality work is done when it's done and time is irrelevant.

Thank you for sharing it with us.

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ElgaKoster

Your dining room is turning out beautiful Lisa, you are so right, high ceilings and enough floor space is important when we want to capture the right period feel. Thanks for showing how you put the cornice together, tedious work yes, but you will never regret the hours you spend on getting it right. I am looking forward to see it all furnished up. Do you mind showing us a close up of your beautiful rug in the textile section of the forum

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lsalati

Thank you for the compliments. I don't want rush the construction of these rooms as I want them to look as professional as possible. I am not a long time miniaturist so this is really a testament of what you can learn at Guild Programs.

Elga, I will see if I can find a picture of the carpet but it is so big that you never get good detail.

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NellCorkin

A very handsome room. You did a nice job on the cornice - very period appropriate.

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Debora Beijerbacht

I sympathize with all of the above already stated. Most of all it's such a clever idea to go about building a house the way you're doing. Room-box by room-box, and like you said; you get to enjoy a finished one, as you work on the next. If this is any indication of what's to come it's gonna be a gem! Looking forward to see your living room!

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WeekendMiniaturist

Congratulations Lisa!  All of those individual half rounds would have been very, very tedious.    The finished cornices are beautiful!  Did you try bending scientific glass tubing so we can work on the chandelier?  Did you pick one from the Met?  Tamra/Indiana

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Catherine Ronan

It is a beautiful room. I love it!

 

Just one rather ignorant question. Once you have all these rooms finished how do you put them all together? It isn't like you can drill to add a screws to attach the adjoining room. Surely glue alone would not be enough.

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lsalati

I am emerging from my garden ivy to finally read the forum again.  Tamra, I have not moved forward on the chandelier.  I am hoping someone on this forum can steer me in the direction of someone who can make one that is appropriate to the federal period and has an emphasis on glass.  I love the ones in the Thorne rooms.  I will have to search my Met pictures and post an example.

 

Catherine,  I have only partially thought through the final assembly.  The rooms that stack on top of each other will be easy and will have a small spacer between them to allow room for the electrical elements.  The exterior sides will be brick and I am going to brick a separate sheet that will overlap the two rooms so that I can take them apart for moving.  The 2 sets of stacked rooms will eventually be joined by a staircase - which I am thinking may end up being just a fifth room box that is twice the height.  I may need to redo my room door jams to accommodate that but that is no big deal as they are put in with silicone.  The front will be doors and the hardest part to me will be the roof - cross that bridge when I come to it.

 

Lisa

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Catherine Ronan

Lisa, Thank you for telling me what you have worked out so far.

 

I have limited space at home to work so the idea of working on a house room by room has a lot of appeal.

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Josje Veenenbos

Your room looks fabulous Lisa.  So much attention to detail, I love your patient attitude to achieving this!  I am building a house in a similar fashion to what you are doing, a series of seperate room boxes which will eventually form one big house.  

 

I read your remark about the glass chandelier with interest, as this is something I also want.  I have asked a glassblower to work with me in the past, but he found it too difficult.  

Please post any progress of your wonderful project!

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lsalati

Josie, I have been following your progress on your blog with great interest. I love your work. I will let you know what I find but it won't be easy and it will be expensive. I don't go to many shows so I am slow to find someone. Perhaps this forum can help us.

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lsalati

Hi, its me again.  Can't believe it had been 4 years since I posted an update.  I am progressing on this project.  In this message I will show you a change to the original room box.  After 4 years, I realize that the all white interior was not really true to the federal period and more importantly I didn't like it.  Thank heavens for removable walls.  I was able to take apart the room box and after some taping, was able to paint it a bright yellow.  I like it much better.  Still need draperies and covering chairs and few more items but that is the way it is in real life too.

 

Lisa

IMG_0534.JPG

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lsalati

So now it is back together.  You can see before and after.  Before - all white.   After - yellow walls.

 

Lisa

IMG_0534.JPG_8

thumbnail.jpg

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lsalati

I don't think I am doing multiple photos correctly.  So the previous picture is before and the next picture is after the walls were repainted a nice yellow.

Shoutout to Elga for the gorgeous table and chairs  

Lisa

 

Dining room with yellow walls.JPG

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lsalati

And then there were 2.  I have finished the second room box.  This is the federal parlor.  You can also see my photos on instagram - as lmsalati.

 

Lisa

Federal Parlor.jpg

Fedreral Parlor.JPG

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lsalati

And this is side by side.  Eventually they will have a stair hallway in between.  But maybe first I will do the other 2 rooms which will be bedrooms.

 

Lisa

Side by side.jpg

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WeekendMiniaturist

And while I had my head down stitching my rug diligently, wow.  The color change is very pleasing! The floors look excellent, and the collection is wonderful too!  Wow, I can guess that your french knot spread will be in one of the bedrooms from Pat H's Williamsburg Guild Study Program class.

I love seeing the Boria in the room.  It was incredible to watch your progress stitching the Joseph Boria design in our petitpointers group.  

Congratulations!  

 

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WeekendMiniaturist

Lisa, does Peter Kendall teach the techniques of removable walls in all of his classes?  This technique is perfect for moving, shipping, or displaying a piece.  

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Mesouth

Lisa, another gorgeous creation! I do love structures!

Martha

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lsalati

Thank you so much.  Peter does use removable walls in some structures. I of course learned my entire approach in his classes and he is a big resource for advice.  He recommended this type of walls for my idea of a room at a time doll house.  Martha I love structures too about as much as stitching. I also love period design.

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ElgaKoster

I love the yellow walls Lisa! My real dining room and kitchen are painted yellow and I love how my blue and white porcelain collection shows against the yellow walls. I think the yellow is also the perfect backdrop for brown furniture. Looking forward to seeing the chairs upholstered.

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