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My Little Corner of the Net

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Recent Acquisitions

I stumbled across these 1:12" pieces at a local antique mall.  There were several shelves of vintage miniatures.  (and it took a lot of will power) I selected a few pieces to use in my victorian house that I have on the drawing boards.


I purchased this vintage gold and red velvet wallpaper a while back at a local miniature show garage sale.  I decided to dig out some of the other items that I have been saving for the victorian house to see how they looked together.  I need to find some big ferns?



I also found a bag of these plaster bracketed window sills and arched window head trim pieces.  I figured I could probably use them on something and purchased them and brought them home.

When I got home, and to my surprise, I noticed that they fit perfectly on the laser cut windows that I made for my Kage house!

The problem is that there were only 10 sets and the Kage house has way more than 10 windows, so I may try to find some more or try to make a mold and create some more!


To see my Kage collection click HERE
 Or click on the Kage Tag over on the right



This piece reminds me of my Tynietoy collection because of the hand painted designs and  it will probably end up with that collection.  The interior of the cabinet is painted a bright blue and has a 'porcelain' sculpture of some birds. 

To see my Tynietoy Collection click HERE


I also found a couple of miniature dollhouses also.  They both have roofs that are hinged and the yellow one on the left  has a front that opens up.



I also found another Willit's Take-A-Seat chair to add to my collection.  This one is called Art Nouveau and is based on a chair design from around 1900.

To see my other Take-A-Seat chairs click HERE

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sketchbook House

I came across one of my old sketchbooks while doing some spring cleaning.  When my daughter was around 5 or 6 years old, I decided that I would like to build a dollhouse with her. Not just any house, but something incredible.  Something that would be fun and educational at the same time. 

We sat down and discussed what rooms would be fun to design and have in a miniature house.  Here is our initial list of rooms in no particular order:

Entry Hall, Kitchen, Ballroom, Library, Girl's Bedroom, Boy's Bedroom, Master Bedroom, Craft Room, Tree House, Swimming Pool, Ice Rink, Computer Room, Trophy Room, Play Room, Bowling Alley, Observatory, Balcony, Fish Tanks with Dolphins, Living Room, Dining Room, Music Room w/Stage, Bathroom, Spa, Reading Room, Green House,Pet Room, Laundry Room, Chapel, Theater Room, Game Room.


The house evolved in sketches over the next few years while we worked on a smaller "starter" house.  This rear elevation shows the entrance hall, with a grand stair case up to the ballroom.  We decided the ballroom would have a glass floor and a glass ceiling and balconies.  It also shows the swimming pool (shaded area) in the basement and the tree house.   Keep in mind she loved to watch Beauty and the Beast and we had visited the Biltmore Estate. We were also inspired by Colleen Moore's Dollhouse.  Click HERE to see Carolyn's house that we were working on during this time.  






I toyed with the idea of making the Entry Hall a time machine of sorts, decorated with different motifs of time including seasons and steam punk clock gears.  The ceiling of the entry hall was the glass dance floor above, it could be embellished with zodiac signs and the glass dome above could be decorated with constellations and a beautiful chandelier.
We discussed themes that we could use for different rooms. These included:  Ballet, Outer Space, Egypt, Insects, Flowers, Disney, Animals, Nursery Rhymes, Victorian, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Craftsman, Contemporary, 1950's, Modern, Gothic, Medieval, Arts & Crafts, 1960's. & Oceanic.  (this was part of the education part)

Here is a later version of the different floor plans.  Level one (ground level) consisted of a formal garden entry into the great hall.  The great hall would have two giant staircases and an opening in the floor to the swimming pool below with an art glass railing.  There was a two story library to the left and an elevator and a secret passage behind the book shelves.  To the right of the entry hall was the formal dining room, a back stair case, the kitchen and a green house.



This is a sketch of the second floor.  The center section is the glass dance floor, to the left is the second floor of the library and either a guest bedroom and bathroom or this area would become a 2 story living room.  There is a bridge from the library to the tree house at this level.  To the right of the entry hall was the stage/music room and then the master bedroom and bathroom.  The tiny inset sketch above shows how the ceiling might be low above the front door and serve as the stair landing where the two stair cases joined in the middle.  It also shows the railing at the hole in the middle of the floor open to the pool below.


This is the third floor plan.  This level consisted of the glass dome over the ballroom in the middle with small flat roof sections at each corner.  The left wing had the boy's and girl's bedroom with another bridge to the treehouse.  We didn't decide if the elevator would go to this level or not.  The opposite wing had a nursery, the maid's bedroom and a craft room.   It also had a continuation of the back staircase to the observatory.  The sketch at top right  and dashed lines show the idea of a mansard roof.

The basement level had a large swimming pool in the center.  This would have doors over a section that would be partially outside.  This stems from a hotel stay with an indoor/outdoor pool that she loved.  The left wing had a game room which had a ticket booth entrance to the theater and bowling alley.  The secret passage also came out at this level and we discussed having a secret area under the tree for a treasure room!  The other wing had a jacuzzi, the back stairs, and a complete spa/exercise room.  The rear of the house also had an informal Monet inspired garden with a large tree for the tree house.
Another idea was a grotto in the pool area that became a cave.




Here are some sketches of the tree house.  I guess I should explain that the tree house played a big part in my kiddo's lives.  I would make up stories each night at bedtime about a little boy and girl who had a talking cat and a tree house.


This was a sketch of the front elevation at top, a roof plan in the middle with a crooked elevation of the ball room and dome and some ideas for windows below.  This kind of shows how the wings could be divided into 3 sections in case we had to transport it.

This sketch showed the left wing, including the two story library and bridges to the tree house. The top sketch also shows the bowling alley, movie theater, and ticket booth in the basement.  The sketch below shows how a 2 story living room might work next to the two story library.  It was important to have rolling ladder in the library and a window seat for reading.  

My daughter and I also became members of the Tulsa Miniature club during this time. 


Here is an old picture of one of the club projects back in 2006.  You can see some other pictures of this project by clicking HERE

While the Sketchbook house is not built, it was fun coming up with the concepts and ideas with my daughter.  Maybe it will materialize someday!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Andrew Jackson's Hermitage

I recently accompanied my wife and a group of students to Tennessee.   One of the highlights was visiting The Hermitage in Nashville.  The mansion was built by Andrew Jackson in 1819 on 425 acres of land. Jackson was a General in the army and the seventh president of the United States.

The original ground floor contained 2 Parlors, a Dining Room and the Master Bedroom.  The second floor has four large bedrooms around a large central hall.  The house has nine fireplaces and is decorated with the original period French wallpaper and contains original furniture and family possessions.



In 1831, the mansion underwent renovations.  These renovations included adding a wing on each side and two story front and rear porticos.

The new wings added a large dining room and pantry to one side and an office and Jackson's library to the other side.  A new kitchen and smoke house were also added behind the main structure.

A devastating fire heavily damaged the mansion in 1834 and the house was re-built to how it stands today including the six two-story greek columns.  These renovations also changed the existing straight staircase with the more elegant curved one.  Renovations and new furniture from Philadelphia was completed in 1837.



These floor plans are from the Hermitage website.  The walls indicated in red show the original structure prior to 1834 renovations.


Our tour began with guides in period costume sharing some history of the estate.

This is the window into Jackson's Library.  The entire front facade including the wood columns, were painted tan and sand was added to the mix to give the look of stone.


The front door is faux painted to look like a more expensive wood.
I don't know what I liked better about the entry, the curved staircase or the wallpaper?

Here is a view of the parlor/music room

This is President Jackson's first floor bedroom

President Jackson's Library is located adjacent to his bedroom.  Notice the chair at his desk - I have the miniature version.

 You can see my "Willits Take-A-Seat Collection"  by clicking  HERE

Directly across from the Library is the office.  This photo gives a great view of the original poplar floors.

 Other first floor rooms include the dining room (above) and the pantry (below)

The kitchen is located in a separate building behind the house



The tour continued upstairs.  The metal rail was added to protect the original wood one.

There is a large hall upstairs with great wallpaper that was selected by Jackson's wife and illustrates the story of Telemachus adapted from Greek literature.
The tour guide stated that upstairs hall contained large linen closets because guests would sleep in this hall if the bedrooms were full.  The wooden baseboards were faux painted to look like marble.
One of the upstairs guest bedrooms

 The plantation style home had more than 160 slaves at one point.  This is one of the slave quarters on the grounds and the picture below shows the interior.

The grounds also contained a one acre English style garden



President Jackson and his wife Rachel are laid to rest in this tomb just off the garden and as part of the family cemetery.

Here is a view of the rear porch.

The side doors to the English garden are also faux painted.


The visitors center had a great miniature model of a cabin


 We were told that they will soon be replacing Jackson's image on the twenty dollar bill with a female - Susan B Anthony, however, my vote is for this lady!