Monday, March 22, 2010


So here you can see some of the primed windows. I added keystones to the arched windows on the ground floor, along with crown moldings to give them a little more dimension. If you click on the photo you might get a better glimpse of them. Also new are the decorative stair ends from Sue Cook in England. Wait until you see the cast pewter balustrade (also from Sue Cook) which will go between the Ionic pillars! So cool! But it's going to be a while before they get installed...

I also decided to switch the window pediments from the bonnet style you see here to a triangular style. Originally I wanted to alternate triangular and semi-round pediments, but for some unknown reason the semi-round ones available through Houseworks are 1/4" smaller than the triangular and bonnet models. Stuff like that makes me insane! Why, why, why would they not make them all the same size except to plague and torment me! So anyway, I chose the bonnet pediments as a compromise but now I see that the triangular ones would have been the better choice.

I think that all I have left is to place paneled pilasters on the basement under the quoins. (They will match the pedestals on the roof). Then I can prime and paint the exterior!

Oh, I just realized the front steps are out of whack --don't worry-- they're not glued down, yet!


Worked on the chimneys and the roof balustrade. There are four chimneys and they will each get a crown molding around their tops. But that will have to wait for another trip to the local dollhouse shop. I also am waiting on a replacement balustrade because I accidentally destroyed one in a foolhardy attempt to hurry the project along. Pardon my blooper! It should be coming any day now from England along with miniature urns that will rest on top of the little paneled pedestals. The urns were manufactured in Scotland. I think the paneled pedestals are way nicer than the old plain ones, don't you think?

The chimney pots are new, too. They are wooden and came painted as you see them --I'll probably end up repainting them. I started priming all seventeen windows and if I thought making the mullions was a pain in the ass, let me tell you how boring this task is! All the windows have to be taken apart and all the separate pieces painted, then sanded, reassembled (there are so many little pieces I am afraid of loosing some). Then I get to do it all again when it comes time to paint the topcoat. WEEEEEEE!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Book Review: The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone

Newly available in stores, The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone will delight children of all ages who have a particular soft-spot for the Thorne Rooms in the Art Institute of Chicago. The Thorne Rooms are a collection of miniature room settings in historic period styles and are of exquisite "almost eerily realistic" design. In this story, young Ruthie and Jack discover that they can shrink themselves down to the rooms' scale, sneak inside the closed museum and explore the rooms' secrets.

Anyone who has been lucky enough to see the actual rooms will be able to relate to the young protagonists on their adventure. Those less fortunate, however, might have a hard time. Author Malone describes the rooms in lovely detail, but her descriptions pale to viewing the rooms themselves. You really have to see them to believe them!

That is why this work would have been more successful as a picture book. Oh, there are a few well-executed, dream-like illustrations by artist Greg Call. But when Malone writes things such as "Finally she arrived at room E12, an English Drawing Room from the year 1800." (these sort of lines run copiously throughout the book), I have a hard time believing a child is going to know what Malone is talking about... Drawing Room? 1800? E12? --Huh?

As I happen to have a copy of the Thorne Rooms museum catalog, I was able to reference each of the numbered rooms the characters visited. (The catalog is an almost must-have companion piece to this book).

The Sixty-Eight Rooms was an amusing afternoon diversion for this ardent fan of Mrs. James Ward Thorne. Devotes of the Thorne Rooms will undoubtedly agree.