Sunday, March 25, 2018

Spiral Stairs & Home Projects

I don't know if I mentioned, we've had to do a bit of rearranging of the living room.  We had to do that because our furniture, which I bought... Long enough ago that my hair was a different color.  So we'll just go with a long time.  We've had the furniture longer than we've been married.

We bought it by going to a furniture store and when it was delivered it was amazing how small our room looked.  It looked fine and normal sized in the showroom but the furniture was massive.  We do not have a large house.  The couch and chairs were definitely designed for a larger room than where they were living.

Long story short, we had to buy a new couch.  And a new chair.

This time around I did a lot of measuring.  The new couch and chair fit in the room much better.  They work with the coffee table and the two side tables we have for the lamps that I bought cheap.  I wouldn't care about making things work with the coffee table but its from my grandmother and a really nice piece. 

The problem is the new couch is a sectional which I love, but the way I tend to sit on it makes it hard to reach the coffee table.  I tend to sit with my back against one arm and my feet on the other end.  This is nothing new.  If I want a drink though I have to either fall off the couch to reach the coffee table from my corner, or I don't get to sit in my preferred position.

So I decided we needed a sofa table.  You know, one of those tables that goes between the wall and the couch so  you have a place for cats to walk or drinks to sit or maybe to put a book down?

It's not easy to find one that's narrow enough or long enough to work.  Too wide and the couch pushes out so far we're left with the room feeling too small again.  Too short and it looks...well it looks stupid.

So I looked up some things on Pinterest and decided to make one.

This was a little more complex then adding legs to the bedside tables but I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

It took most of Saturday to do. And then I moved a bookcase and put the table behind the couch where it will live.

I'm pleased with my efforts considering it was my first try.  It kind of makes me want a truck to haul wood around in though because I had to have my boards cut down enough to fit in my car.  It also makes me want another work table.

But here are a couple of pictures of my work.


You can see the Building Inspector has no fear.  No suspicion of a new couch or table.  I need to get some new pillows since the ones on the couch actually go with the old couch and when it leaves they'll go with it.

I took the rest of Saturday off because wow, really tired.  But Sunday I began to work on the stairs for the WQ's tower.  I've been stalking Brae's Aero Squad Lounge because I love her stairs.

I want narrow stairs with a thick central post up the middle because that's what I've seen on most of the research I've been doing.

I have Styrofoam left over from when I cleaned out the closet and boxes a while back so I used the template I'd made for the floors and cut out a couple of circles.  Then cut the circle into eight steps and chopped off the tips of the triangles to accommodate the post.

Right now the glue is drying and the steps are leaning against each other and the tower wall.  I made two sets of four and added another three steps because the foam is slightly less than an inch thick and it's nine inches to the second floor level.  I made one set of five and another of four, and I'll glue the other two and then everything together completely once the glue is set and they're more stable.

The steps aren't perfect or even completely regular and even.  I don't want them to be perfect since these aren't exactly modern 'to code' stairs.

I want to get at least one set of steps done, even if I end up scrapping them ultimately because even a mockup will help me determine window placement and where my sconces should be positioned on the walls.  I really need to go to Hobby Lobby and get one of those wooden models like Brae has so I can make sure no one bumps their head on the upper floors.

Unfortunately it's looking like the glue won't be completely dry for a while so I'll fill you all in on the rest of it later one.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Walls & Tower

This weekend has been a bit of a hodge podge of playing with real life furniture and dollhouse furniture.  Of necessity the living room needs some rearranging and other rooms followed because some chairs were changing rooms.

I've been gluing walls and floors then giving my legs and back a workout moving furniture in between waiting for glue to dry.  It's been... a full weekend.

And for all my fellow descendants of Irish immigrants out there, Happy Saint Patrick's day.  I spent eight years in Catholic school and one of the things we learned the story of Saint Patrick.  Interesting guy.

I got some of the upper walls glued together, and determined where my breaks will be for the removable wall.  I have one more long cut to make to get that completely set up.

And I'm working on my door placement.  I scaled down my front door so I could mimic the shape of it for the inside openings.  And I began the process of building my tower.

I'm fortunate in that the division between the two containers falls right at the level of the second floor.  So that's something nice and easy to remember.  It looks a little crooked in the picture but it's actually plumb.

I'm building up the ground level though because the floor is a full inch above the ground.  I really need to figure out my stairs before I cut window openings.  And I need to wire the tower for some sconces too I think.

In the mean time, I've figured out that much as I'd like to have the tower set on the corner of the cottage, it'll ultimately make my life simpler to have it off of the back wall.  Though I still love the idea and if I can figure out a way to do it I will.  So here's where the second level tower door would be on the back wall.

The upper right corner will be a bit cut off but I think that will look fine.

I also got my materials for the tower's brick.  I saw this on Pinterest, I think Kristine actually did something with sandpaper on a fireplace, but of course my computer is now goofing up.  There are more pictures on Greenleaf's forum if the links will work on your computer.  The idea is you paint the sandpaper and cut it into brick lengths.  It has the texture of brick.

I figure what I'll do is layer it onto cardboard to give it a bit more depth, maybe a couple different thicknesses.  I'm hoping that I can figure out some Tudor style brick patterns.

And since I'm waiting for more glue to dry I decided to play around with furniture placement for the ground floor.  I have some Tudor style wall panels that I want to use in the bedroom on two of the walls at least.  Here's a few pictures.

The panels don't reach the ceiling but that way they aren't in the way of the beams that will support the second floor.

The box with the black and white is supposed to represent the fireplace.  I'm planning on staining the wall panels a medium brown so the darker furniture will show up against it.  The rest of the walls will be plastered an off white.  And the white rectangle is the door to the tower stairs if I can't figure out a way to set it off the corner of the house.

The table in front of the window will be replaced with a smaller cabinet with a sink.  I'm still debating a water pump in the house.

With a smaller sink cabinet the table in the center of the kitchen will pull back from the fireplace a bit but the fireplace will be a bit deeper I think.  And I only need two chairs.  I can put the fourth up on the second floor.

You can see in my little entryway where I need to either cut off some of the MDF wall or build out some shelves and hooks. Maybe for buckets and brooms?

I'm thinking I might just make the window openings smaller.  Raise the bottom of the opening and leave the top where it is.  I need to work on new windows anyway, why limit myself to the windows that came with the kit?

I've got some more gluing of walls to do before I can call it a day.  Hope everyone is having a good weekend.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Second Story & Front Door

Springing forward for the time change always leaves me irritable.  I feel like I'm losing time and won't get it back, and for weeks I'm still adjusting to the shift.

The fact that its not something strictly necessary only adds to my irritation.

So I don't expect to get a whole lot more done today in regards to the dollhouse.  More research and hopefully some wood cuts to add onto the width of the gable pieces and hopefully some mockups of the dormers I need to make.

If I lengthen the pieces of the roof and widen the gables I'm hoping I'll be able to make accurate measurements for the dormers and possibly draw out where I'll need to cut the roof pieces.

But most of yesterday was spent cutting and gluing my wood together to make a solid back wall since I didn't want windows in it.

My next step was making the second floor.  I went with seventeen inches wide, which is an inch and one eighth wider than the base and it overhangs the front wall by an inch.

The overhang will serve as the roof of the bay window.  I'm going to narrow the front window and push it up from the floor a bit.  I don't like how low the windows are really.  I might want to move all of them up a bit, maybe an inch more?

I'll admit I've spent a lot of time researching Tudor style doors and trying to figure out a way to make mine unique. I also want to give it a somewhat mystical feel so I've been looking at knotwork, dragons, other ways to jazz up an otherwise simple door.

But I did draw out my shape and cut it out of some quarter inch thick basswood.

I've got tape being used as hinges at the moment.  The door is wider than the standard door opening, but no taller.  I'm actually pretty happy with how it came out.

I haven't glued anything together yet but I did get all of the upper walls cut and taped into place. I have this fear of gluing anything together before I figure out my electrical layout and where my divider will be for removing the side wall so I can access the rooms.

I obviously will replace the prefab dormer with one made specifically for the house along with another where the hole for the skylight is.

I don't want the dormer over the front door to be at the same height as the one over the big window opening.  I think I'd rather have it a bit lower.  It won't look quite like my drawing but that wasn't meant to be completely accurate.

The other idea is to make the small window on the left side of the picture bigger so I can put a casement window in it.  I'd like to do the same thing with the window in the back gable.

All this does give me semi accurate measurements of ceiling height which helps when it comes to making the stairs in the tower.  I've got an inch wide round dowel and Styrofoam so I can try to make stairs like Brae's in her Aero Squadron Lounge.  Hers are so pretty, I think I can replicate them inside my oatmeal containers.

I got some hinges so I can cut the containers in half and we'll be able to see the steps.  And I also got some Aluminum Black.  It was cheap so I'm going to try it to blacken my aluminum mesh for the windows.

We'll see.  If it doesn't work I've got some other options lined up.

I'm also going to experiment with Kris's paper pottery methods.  I want to make some Tudor style pottery like this.

I think the fact that it's obviously not completely symmetrical will help.  My efforts doubtless will be less than perfect.

Here's a question for all of you.  I'd decided to put the fireplace in the center of the building.  On the side next to the solid wall I'm planning on a wall and shelving, at least in the kitchen.  And maybe a small chair on the bedroom side.

Should I build out a small wall on the opposite side of the fireplace?  It would meet the wall that's removable.  I'm debating on that because I'm not sure if its strictly needed and also because of this next issue.

The other question is that I have to cut a door opening in the back wall in order for the WQ to reach the stairs.  In keeping with the style of the cottage, the shape should match the front door. I'll admit, that shape is not easy to cut.  I'd have to make the door narrower than the front door too.

So do I make it easy on myself and only cut out one door in the back wall, or do I embrace the difficulties and create a dividing wall with another door to the bedroom?

Oh, here's a hint about what I'm trying to do for the front door.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Second Story Mockup

I don't feel like I accomplished much this weekend.  Though I made a lot of sawdust and cardboard scraps.

In attempting to make some more space I cleared out a drawer of old bills from more than ten years ago.  Why I was keeping them I have no clue.

I put things from my desk in the drawer and made paint shelves out of super thick cardboard so my paint wouldn't be stacked willy nilly in the desk cubbies.

It's not perfect but its better and at least they're loosely organized.

I got a jigsaw because I found one pretty cheap and I figured it would be useful for window and door cutting.  My husband says he'll buy me a table saw for my birthday but that's not until May.  So I'll end up waiting to do the dormers but that's okay.  I need to work on the main door and make a mock up of the front door bump out.  I won't need to cut on angles to do that.

In the meantime I got the side wall and the front and back gable walls cut down.  I'm waiting on some basswood to arrive for my upper walls.  I taped some balsa and cardboard together and used some of my extra baseboard for the upper floor.

It's rough but it gives me an idea of how wide I want the upper floor to be.  I think what I've got now is a bit too wide. It's more than an inch on either side and I don't like that.  I think maybe three quarters of an inch on either side would look better.

See?  It's too much on the sides.  If I do a three quarter inch bump out on the sides and on the front it'll serve as a roof for the bay window.  I can do the same depth of a bump out for the front door and carry it up to another small gable over it.

I didn't have enough scrap wood to mock up the new widths for the cut off gable pieces or the roof so I'll have to do that next weekend.  Once I get all of it measured out I can start to determine how big of a fireplace I'll need, the chimney and if I'll want a fireplace on the second floor as well.

I do have plenty of cardboard for the stone at least.

My big conundrum is if I should make the tower hinged to open so I can see the stairs.  I think it might make it easier to build them.