Monday, June 30, 2014

Front Porch...Always Wanted One

I really do.  I mean I have a sort of porch in that there's a shaded area with the roof overhanging the house, but it's not a real porch. 

To me a porch should be at least five feet deep and elevated off the ground at least a foot or two.  It should run the width of the house or at least part of the house.  And it should have a railing or pillars, something to keep you from falling over the edge.  In order to be the best kind of porch it needs a good roof and lighting.  The kind of porch you can sit on in a rain storm and feel the dampness but you don't actually get wet.

Just a brief tangent, I actually started writing this three weeks ago.  I got caught up in doing stuff instead of writing about it.  Apologies.

And now...On with the post!

The dollhouse has a front porch that's way better than my own porch (the one on the real house).  It's not as deep as I'd like but it does run the width of the house and it's elevated about one and a half feet in dollhouse scale.  (One and a half inches or thereabouts.)

I didn't want to just paint it, because I really want it to look solid.  Like it's going to be around for a long time, through various incarnations of porch furniture.  So I played with the idea of stucco but I kinda picture this bungalow as being up on Lake Michigan's beaches in Wisconsin or Michigan.  And I don't see a lot of stucco up there.

So I thought stone.  And you may have been able to tell from the pictures of the foundation, I used stone there too.  I like the basalt brickwork better for the bungalow.  Lighter and had a beachy feel to it.  At least to me.

The actual paper is darker but I messed with it.
I wrapped the posts before I did the porch floor.  And the paper is quite a bit darker than it shows above.  A little too dark for me actually.  See?

This is actually much darker once I've glued it onto the wood.  and as much as I loved the brickwork, it didn't remind me a of beach house when it was on.  So I played with it.

Hello...Whitewash!  Which is basically me taking white paint and watering it down a bit until it makes everything a few shades paler than it started out. 

But I put all the brickwork (AKA paper) over all the wood I wanted to cover.  And then I glued on the railings.  You can see here my acrobatic attempts to let the glue set without moving the railings.

Trust me, this is not how they will end up.
The problem with painting the house first and then adding everything is that Elmers Glue won't hold against house paint.  At least not the type I've used.

Hot glue however, works just fine.  See here.

I used a couple of spacers to keep the railing level. 
Not too bad so far right?  But I still have to add the front step and the tread.  So I got the step and covered it with the basalt brick paper.

Or course I whitewashed it so it matched the rest of the brickwork.
I glued it to the foundation centered between the two lower posts on the right.  You know, in front of the front door?

Okay so its not quite glued yet.  We were experiencing technical difficulties.
See you need the posts attached before you can glue the step in.
Eventually I got everything situated. 

Even the tread is attached.

And this is how OCD I got about it.  I painted the tread and then went over it with a coarse brush so it would look like it had been hand painted.  You know by someone five and a half inches tall.

See?  I'm just a little OCD.  Functional but... Yeah. I'll stop there.
The funny thing about a front porch... those posts and pillars actually support the roof.  So I had to make sure everything was nice and secure.

Elmers seems to work.  Elmers and a lot of crossed fingers.  And shooing away curious cats. Siamese and Kitten who shall remain nameless.
 I got the post attached for the other side.  I figured I'd cover up any dark spots with paint afterwards. 

So far so good. Right?
By the way, please ignore my ugly cardboard work surface.  It's actually part of the box the house came in and it's working pretty well to protect my desk.

Once the top half of the posts were on I attached the support cross beam.  This is what is going to hold the roof up.  It's supposed to be straight across.  I really hope mine is straight.  It's level and I didn't see any angles in there but you never know.

How about that?  Looks like it could be a porch someday!
Oh, this was my other project.

The front door.

It's actually kinda cool.  It comes with a plastic insert for a window, and it slots right in so if you're careful you wouldn't even need glue. 

And I debated long and hard as to what color I would use.  White?  With white trim it would look boring.  Red?  That would add pizzazz but its a very loud color and I want a quiet house.  Oak? To match the inside? Could work but nothing else outside is oak. 

Uereka!  Blue!  (oh how original. I can hear you saying it.  'Sheila everything you have is blue'.  Quite a switch for a girl who was in love with pink for her entire childhood.)

But, blue...specifically the bright blue of the trim on the Gothic Victorian, would be a nice pop without being too loud.  So, here we go with the door.

I stained the inside a nice Summer Oak, just like the rest of my trim.  Here it is with the first coat.  I added a second one but we're mostly interested in the outside at the moment.

See? pretty!
And then I painted the door and the outer trim.  This was tricky.  I didn't want to get blue on the white. Or vise versa.

See? The color pops but it's not overwhelming.

And here's a test run.  I think it works pretty well.

See?  Just right with the pale blue walls, white trim and the slightly darker brick.
Oh, another example of how OCD I can be?  I kept thinking of how brick and paint get worn down where people walk.  So I got my paint brush and then I got a dishrag.

Look at the picture first and see if you can tell what I did.

Do you see it?  At all?  Or am I just loony toons?

I hope someone figured it out because if no one did?  Well I put in a lot of effort for only me to notice.

I pretty much dabbed and sponged and added paint only to wipe a way a path from the steps to the door.  As if a bunch of dolls had trucked in and out. 

I need a door mat.

But... skipping a few steps... you know, like adding the roof, which is another post entirely. 

I began to work on the porch ceiling.  Two words.

Tongue Depressors.

Or the Hobby Lobby equivalent thereof. 

I cut off the curves and glued them down.  and then taped the ends so they wouldn't pop up.

This requires a bit of reworking because the tape wire got messed up.  I'm going to end up with something different for the lights.
And then a few more...

See? One row so far. Not too bad.

And then the entire porch roof is covered and taped down.  Pretty right?  Okay so maybe not so much.

Yes, notice my very high tech manner of securing my boards down.

But, once it dried and the tape was off?  Then it was on like Donkey Kong.

The paint I mean.

See?  Now it's pretty!

Here we are with the paint and the lights. 
I actually like that it isn't perfectly smooth and elegant.  It looks a roof that got painted. 

I'll put in beams and then paint a bit more.  But then I'll be pretty much done with the porch. 

Now if only I was five and a half inches tall...I'd finally have the porch I wanted.  Of course I'd probably be a cat toy too.  Not something I want to try. Thanks.

And I'm going to start working on the next post so you'll be able to see what I've been doing when I haven't been writing.  I've been busy.

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