Thursday, April 28, 2016

NOLA House Front Elevation

So after I posted my pictures of the aged/crackled walls of the house I got a bunch of responses saying how cool it looked and how excited they were to see the house coming along.

I'm excited too, so it's nice to be in good company you know? 

And then Jodi asked if I would post a drawing so everyone could see what I was working towards and how this (hopefully) would all turn out.

Drawings? Uhh...


I would like to say that I normally work with a computer program to get an idea of what I want to do with the kit/contest.  I work on a floorplan and by the time I start... Well I know where I'm going but the plan is flexible.

However... since this was the first time anyone had ever requested something from me I figured I'd give it a try.  So I busted out my graph paper and started to draw.

By the way this activity is best attempted when your system is relatively free of caffeine. 

And if you're me and can't draw a straight line if your life depended on it, a ruler is also handy.

I will add the disclaimer that I am not an architect and have zero to no skill in drawing three dimensions.  I tried but that porch roof... yeah... you'll see.

The only thing I know about architectural drawing is that when you draw the outside of the house it's called 'elevation'.  So this is the front elevation of NOLA House.

And here's a closer shot of the balcony.

I've got everything for the balcony except some fancy filigree trim to go along the roofline. 

The trick is going to be getting the inside of the wall trimmed and papered before adding the balcony.  The last thing I want is to goof something up because I was pressing on the wall too hard.

I'll try to work on the floor plans next.

Curious to hear what you think.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Old Weathered Walls (Or Watching Paint Dry)

Well I was very excited to start using my crackle medium.  But before I started to really work on finishing the walls I did a quick doublecheck to make sure all my windows and doors would fit in the openings.  If I had to make adjustments, better to do it before I had a couple of layers of crackle and paint on it.

After a little bit of tweaking they fit pretty well.

The underlayer is actually a lot darker than it looks here.  I didn't want a stark black though.  More the look you get when a house has been painted over and over, changing colors without scraping off the old paint.

I'm such a dork. I was so excited when the crackle medium dried and I got to spread on the light paint.  It was so cool to watch it start to crack.

Here are some of my walls.

I globbed (technical term) the crackle on in some places and then went light in others.  Afterwards I messed with a it a bit, to make it look as if the house owner tried to do some spot painting to get the worst of the spots.

I also painted the corner pieces.  I'm planning on doing the window panes in black, with a minimum of crackle and then the window trim in white with black underneath, nice and weathered looking. 

The front windows will be more elaborate with the pediments over them and those will be appropriately worn looking as well.  Then there's the brackets to support the balcony and the balcony posts and railings... This will be a lot of fun.

I also took a moment to cut out my second floor and draw out where I want my walls.  And practiced the bathroom layout. 

I think I like the second one a little better.  Haven't decided on the fixtures yet.  These are just what I had available for testing.

I've got a Chrysobon bathroom kit that I'd like to try out.  I've never worked with one before so the idea makes me a little nervous.

We'll see.  I definitely want a bathroom that feels as old as the house.

Anyway, that's the progress so far.  Hoping to get more done this weekend.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Waffling on Wallpaper

Okay, so you all remember the wallpaper I chose (and purchased) for the bedroom right?

Cue visual reminder.

It's pretty and colorful and will look bright and cheerful in the bedroom.

But I've been wondering if it's a little too modern for this house.  The first floor has a lot of wood tones and then pops of red to brighten it up with the black and white toile wallpaper.  And the kitchen is inspired by Minaturas Modernas gorgeous roombox.  There's a traditional and industrial version and I can't decide which I like best.  But I want to do open shelving on one wall with exposed brick behind it.

So I've been rethinking my choice of wallpaper for the bedroom.  And then I found this.

It's a little more feminine than I pictured the room being at first.  But I love that deep pink and the subtle greens.  It also has a faded quality to it that I like.  The way the greens seem to disappear into the background.  And the offwhite background might be more forgiving with various wood tones than the starker brown branches and white of the first paper.

Plus the last bedroom I did was sooooo unisex.  Brown and green and natural wood tones.

So now I have to decide.  What do you folks think?

Oh! I also got to the store yesterday and got my crackle medium!  Crackling will commence this weekend!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

NOLA House Mock Up

Well I did get my bricks mortared.  I think they turned out pretty well.  They look like real bricks to me at least.  What do you guys think?

I haven't put any finish on them yet.  I'm trying to figure out what to use.  I've got some semi-gloss polyurethane finish that might work.  Not sure.

I had thought I might start painting the siding this weekend.  But I had an idea that makes me hesitate to start painting unless it's to do a primer in a darker color than my finished paint color.

I love the Haunted Heritage on Otterine's site.  Especially how aged it looks.  And I'm wondering if I should do something like that for my house.  A lot of the pictures I found for houses in New Orleans are fairly decrepit looking on the outside.  See?

But I did find just as many that weren't so beat up looking.  So I'm in a bit of a quandary.  The aging would be in keeping with the style of house and the fairly traditional interior I have in mind.  And it would certainly make it unique. 

It's also something that will add two or three extra steps to everything I add to the exterior of the house.  Everything will have to be aged, grunged or worn out in order to fit in with the rest of the house. Including windows, doors, railings...

It's different though and I'm really interested in setting this house apart from the others I've done.  Inside and out.  So I think I might go for it.  I just need to buy some crackle medium at Hobby Lobby and get cracking. (Ha! Punny.)

I did take my four sided walls and the unfinished roof and get the whole house taped together to see how it works.  So far so good. 

It'll need interior supports.  I'm thinking some old fashioned beams in the corners and corbels along the first floor ceilings.

If I'd been thinking I would have put all the doors and windows in place but I was mostly concerned with making sure everything fit together well.  I need to dig out my corner pieces and get them glued in place on the front.  And start to mock up the balcony and balcony roof so I can place it on the front and get an idea of where I'll need non-aged wood so I can glue it on.

But for now I can start painting on my primer color.  A good dark bluish/black.  To go under the grey I've chosen.  This should be fun.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Found My Mortar!

Well...okay, maybe not quite.  But I think I know where it is.

See that's the problem with putting things away so they're not scattered all over the place.  They're not in plain sight anymore and I can't find them.  I put a bunch of stuff away after I finished the last contest so I could take finished pictures.  Then I got some new shelves and organized a ton of stuff.

See?  Believe it or not this is a whole lot better!

The Building Inspector's Assistant is keeping an eye on things.

I'm pretty sure of where I put it and I think I saw it the other day when I was getting out my paint.

It's the same stuff I used to stucco the Architect's Abode.

It says on the bottle that you can use it for stucco, mortar or grout.  And you can mix it with paint so you can get whatever color you want.  I didn't know how much I'd need last time so I bought three of them.  And I'm not going to buy more if I can't find my jars.  I'm not.  Really.  (I sound convincing right?)

I bought a bunch of different grey paints when I was at Hobby Lobby so I'm going to find my jars of Dollhouse Stucco and mortar my bricks this weekend.

I was thinking the NOLA House would be very pretty in a nice soft grey.  Then the windows with black detailing?  So I could do white railing and trim on the balcony.  With touches of grey?  Nice contrast with the brick foundation and steps.  I love these steps for the front door.  I'm going to try and recreate them in a wider version for the double doors off of the kitchen.  If I can't then some nice wooden steps will work with the stringers I still have.

It just has to be the right grey. I don't want it to look dingy.  Something with a faint blue undertone?  We'll see. I'll have to think about it some more.  Maybe window shop on the Benjamin Moore website.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Bricks & Siding

Well, sorry for the delay in posting.  But I did make some progress in the NOLA House exterior.  As you may have guessed from the post's title.

I started out with the foundation.  I'd decided rather than use embossed paper that I'd go with the egg carton brick method used to such stunning effect on Brae's houses.  So the time I would normally spend goofing off in front of the TV I used to cut bricks (in front of the TV).  At least I'd already saved up quite a few egg cartons.

Gluing them took a while.  But here we have the unpainted foundation.

Not too terrible for a first effort.  I'm fairly pleased with the results.

Then I started to paint.  I decided to layer the different colors of paint.  I tried a sponge first, but got more paint on it and my fingers than the bricks, though it did avoid the brush strokes Brae warns will take away from the brick effect.

Then I just stippled paint on with a brush.  It seemed to work pretty well.

So first layer is Folk Art 'Cardinal Red' which pretty much matches the color as advertised.  Very very red.  Pretty but nowhere near natural looking.

The next layer was Americana's 'Napa Red'.  The two combined looked a bit more natural.

After that I did Americana's 'Heritage Brick'.  Closer to what I was looking for.

After that dried I mixed Anita's Acrylic 'Earth Brown' and 'Burgundy' with black and a little more of the Heritage Brick to age it slightly.

I know it seems like a lot of pointless layering but I like the effect and once I add the pale grey grout I think it'll really look authentic.

The siding was interesting... I didn't want to use the same siding I had last year since I had such a problem with it curling up and exposing the board underneath.  So I got some of the 1/2 inch lap siding panels from HBS Miniatures.

So far so good.  I've got three of the walls cut and temporarily taped into place. 

I don't want to glue them down until I've got the way to open the dollhouse figured out.  I can't stress enough how much I need this to be fully enclosed.  The Building Inspector and her Apprentice are already showing a suspicious amount of interest. 

You guys remember the Building Inspector right?

Her Apprentice is younger, but already much larger.  He's obviously the muscle of the two.

So I need to figure out a way to make the house open up, remain structurally sound, and look good in pictures.  I thought hinges on two of the walls at first.  The front and the side.  To be honest that wouldn't be bad.  Structurally... I'm not quite sure.  And for pictures?

I also hate how hinges look.  But I wondered if I could use some fabric, painted to match the outside of the house, to disguise the hinges.  To keep the house structurally sound I'd need a frame, or beams to which I could attach the walls.

The other option would be to hinge a large wall along the bottom and then hinge the roof down the center as well, kind of like Pepper did for her build.  I might be able to make that work if I got small enough hinges.  I've cut my walls to mimic the original kit walls, fitting against the sides of the foundation and over the top, making the floor space slightly smaller on the sides.  So the piano hinge has to be narrow enough not show at the bottom of the wall. 

Using this for a side wall means that the corner trim would have to fit over the front and back walls, attached to the moving wall.  And a hinged roof would be needed to keep everything from getting scraped up when it was moved.  But the weight of the roof would keep the wall in place.

A hinged roof and walls that slide up and down is another possibility.  Whatever I do I have to figure it out before I get the trim on the house because that's what will hide any hinges.

So...I've got my work cut out for me.