Preparing for the overhaul...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Color Scheme is Born

As promised, there are pictures!  However, due to the fact that the plumbers installing our sprinkler system (hooray!) completely took over the basement, they're not as complete as I'd like and I couldn't reach my better lights to turn them on.  So please excuse the shadows!  In any event, a few more goodies had arrived at the house, and I thought I'd start there.  I'm not really sure, yet, what I'll end up using in each house; the Sue Cook mantelpiece was intended for the house I'm working on now, but I'm not sure I'll end up using it.  I have a kit for a Georgian house waiting in the wings, so it may end up there, instead.  I ordered the grates, because I'm intending to build my own surrounds (probably for a bedroom fireplace).  And, lastly, the plaster rosettes are for the dining room.


In person, this is an especially lovely piece.
These rosettes are for the dining room (for the corners of doors, etc.)

My idea is to, hopefully, build something fairly modest around it.
The lighting's really poor, here (I couldn't reach my work lights to turn them on), but these are a few shots of the in-progress shell.  I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing with lighting, etc. before I put everything together completely.  As I find things I want to use, I've been sticking them into the house, so I can see everything at once and get a sense of how it all works (or doesn't work) together.

The main body of the house, which contains the formal rooms.
This is the rear extension.  In this picture, I'm looking down from above on the (unpartitioned) second floor.  Because it contains the more, shall we say, unexciting rooms, it'll be comparatively much more plain.  One contrast that's always interested me, in Victorian homes, is that between public and private.  I've seen these elaborate parlors, dining rooms, etc, then made my way into the kitchen and been shocked by how barren it was.  I'm still trying to decide what to do with my kitchen, here.
An upstairs in progress.

The dining room.

The library.
Yes, I like to write on things with Sharpies.  The dining room will be comparatively monochromatic (I don't like using wallpaper in every room; some solid color walls help calm things down, and set off the wallpaper to its best advantage), but will have quite a bit of ornament.  I plan on using lincrusta ("lincrusta") wainscoting both here and in the hall.  My lincrusta-making supplies arrived the other day, and I'm quite pleased with them--more on that later!

I've been fairly undecided about the kitchen.  Were I to be entirely historically accurate, it would have rough plaster walls and ceiling, and a random plank floor.  I'm considering, though, using bead board wainscoting and linoleum instead.  Thoughts?
The kitchen is on the left, the storage room is on the right, and the inset porch (this I did steal directly from Lincoln's house) is in the middle.  I envision it as being fairly utilitarian.
This is my first Victorian-era house, although I've wanted to build one for ages and have visited many historic homes.  What I find to be the biggest decorating challenge--and it's even more acute in miniature--is capturing the Victorian love of busy patterns, bold colors, and stuff without creating a horrible hodgepodge.  And eyesore!  I've been collecting (what I think will be) my major design elements, so I can see them all together.  This includes wallpaper, flooring, the fabric I plan to use on the larger pieces of furniture, and any other ornament necessary to the room (mirrors, niches, etc.)  After a few false starts--I bought some lovely wallpaper that fits absolutely nowhere--I think I'm finally getting somewhere.
For the living room, a couple of different fabrics, some slightly more bohemian wallpaper, a parlor stove and, find of finds, some miniature-scale grass cloth for wainscoting.

 In the family room, I'm trying to go for a more relaxed, bohemian feel--to create a room where you can actually imagine people gathering to relax after dinner as a family.  It's still a nice room, and most definitely a public space, but it's also--at least, historically--easygoing and child-friendly.  The formal parlor, on the other hand, is not.  The comparatively more severe golds, oranges, and greens say "sit up straight."  Also, too, while a stove has been installed over the original fireplace in the family room (they were much more efficient), the formal parlor will still have only a fireplace--and, thus, for much of the year be freezing cold.

I'm hoping to work this frame into my overmantel somehow.  Contributing to the severe effect, all the fabrics for the room will tie directly into the colors and/or design of the wallpaper.

The wallpaper for the master bedroom.
I don't plan on using everything I got for this house...or potentially at all.  I purchased a few different flooring sheets, wondering if they could be used either as intended or, potentially, as linoleum ("linoleum") tiles.  I was a little disappointed with the scale of this tile sheet; it's not detailed enough to pass for real marble, but the squares are too large for it to really look like linoleum, either.  So this is going into the miscellaneous materials drawer for now.
OK, but not really what I had in mind.

Still has possibilities, though!
 I wanted to use a little lincrusta in the house, both because I love the way it looks in real life and because, back then--certainly in America--man-made materials were all the rage.  Which is kind of hard to picture now!  Lincrusta was, like linoleum, made from linseed oil and used in a variety of applications.  My personal favorite was/is as wall ornament.  So, I thought I was really clever when I decided to buy a couple of 1:24 scale embossed papers to use.  I'll be making them into dado panels for the wainscoting.  I'll be using their 1:12 scale cousins as ceiling paper in a couple of the rooms.

I plan to use this pattern in the front hall; the angles will pick up the tiles nicely, I think (hope).

And here's the whole sheet.

I thought this would make lovely dado panels for the dining room wainscoting.  Good shapes and textures really work in a monochromatic setting, I think.  Each plays up the other.
 I might have no clue what I'm doing in the kitchen, but I've figured out the hallway.  Both linoleum tiles and encaustic tiles were popular throughout America during this time; linoleum (especially linoleum that looked like encaustic tile) was particularly popular in more rural areas.  It was expensive, and often chosen over (what we think of as) more desirable materials.  So, keeping that in mind, I'll probably doctor this up to look like linoleum.  This is, after all, no gentleman's house.

I promise, these colors really do work together--a fact which will be more obvious with the introduction of some solid colors, i.e. the wood flooring, the paint in the hallway, etc.

I don't know if it's totally obvious from this picture (the lighting really leaves something to be desired), but the orange in the wallpaper is the exact same burnt orange shade that's in the tile sheet.  They pick each other up nicely.

Also very hard to see in this terrible light, but the same orange is picked up again in my bohemian wallpaper.
So there it is.  It's a start.  I've brought up my plastic model-making supplies (although my metalizing sprays still haven't come), so hopefully I'll be able to work on the fixtures over the next month.  We'll be home after Labor Day, and I'm hoping by then that I'll have all my design issues worked out, so I can start right in on building the rest of the components (fireplaces, etc) and start installing everything. 

Thoughts?  It's really OK to tell me it's horrible (grin).  Anyone else facing any design issues?


Margaret said...

I will enjoy seeing all your interior colour schemes come together, I think they will look great.

Maria Ireland said...

You have a lot of very interesting ideas. Great papers. I also have the tile paper so I will be looking forward to see what you do with it :)
Hugs Maria

Irene said...

You've got lots of good ideas there and a splending selection of bits. I'm curious to see what you do with the "Georgian House waiting in the wings"!