Monday, January 31, 2011

Bricks (Part 75)

So I decided to do the bricks in a reddish-pink color, after all.  The stonework is turning out sort of limestone-y and I love the look of old French architecture with that scheme.  I was going to finish the exterior of Merriman Park in a white/cream color story because I thought it would work with my interior decor better.  I'm thinking about repainting, anyway...

The new gouge works like a dream!  Can't wait to start "laying bricks!"

Here's the base-color:

I like how the quoins "pop" --ugh!  I hate that word...the most over-used word on HGTV.  I can't believe I used it. 

Well got to get dinner going, I guess.  We're having Surf  'n' Turf , LOL!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Portico Floor

I loves me a black and white marble, checkered floor!  Always have.  Even as a child, when it dawned on me that someday I'd eventually grow up and have a house of my own, I dreamed of owning a house with luxurious, black and white, checkered marble.  I thought that would be the very epitome of class.  As Marge Simpson would say, "it just screams Good Taste!"

Well, I never did get a marble floor, unless you count the "artist's loft" I lived in briefly, where I faux-marbled the painted, wooden floor!  (it was the "80's and everything I mean everything was fauxed to death)!  Ugh, that loft was a nightmare --it had a shared bathroom on each floor like some sort of gross locker room.  Yuck. ( This is only the sort of living arrangement someone in their twenties could put up with).  But the trade-off of having twenty-foot ceilings seemed worth it, at the time.  This dump was also located in downtown St Paul which at the time completely closed down and rolled up the sidewalks at 5:00 PM.  I was and still am a "Minneapolis boy"  and so were all of my friends and though downtown St Paul is only like fifteen minutes from downtown Minneapolis, it might as well been on the other side of the planet because my friends all flat-out refused to visit me in St Paul ("It's just too --too far!"

PLUS, my then roommate at the time, the one who tricked me into moving to St Paul in the first place ("Minneapolis is so overEveryone is moving to downtown St Paul!") totally abandoned me.  The day we moved in he started dating some loser and I never saw him again! 

But I digress.

So anyway, the SECOND my lease was up I high-tailed it back to Minneapolis.  I rented a NORMAL apartment with my OWN BATHROOM and everything.  It had the cutest kitchen, with the original maple, glass-front cabinets and the sweetest, tiniest stove and the original porcelain sink with drainboard.  Unfortunately, the kitchen also had gross vinyl tile in a very 1970's harvest-gold  and avocado-green motif that I simply could not live with.  So I bought --guess what?--  new, peel-and-stick tiles in --guess what colors?--  Why, black and white, of course!

My current house (a 1908 bungalow) now also has a black and white, checkered floor but this time in historically-correct, real linoleum.  (Easier to keep clean than the vinyl).  I always think a floor with a check pattern looks better laid on the diagonal and that's what I did both in my kitchen(s) and on the brand-new floor of the portico of Merriman Park. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I added three little cherub bas-relief carvings to the ceiling of the portico.  I simply abhor a flat ceiling!


It gets bloody cold here in Minnesota.  Part of the reason I'm building Merriman Park is to keep busy during these bleak, bone-numbing months so I don't sink into a depressive, zombie-like state.  For real.  Anyway, I couldn't seem to muster the energy to bundle up, and get my arse out of the house to purchase paint to finish up my stone work.  So I finally broke down and shopped online, delivery charges be damned!  And in just a few short days, the box of paints and supplies arrived on my doorstep. Thanks, magic internet! 

It's a good thing I was home when the package was delivered --it could have all froze solid and then I would have been back to square one...


The chimney pots stay!  (Thanks, Karin).

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I  learned the other day (from reading an architecture book I picked up) that the chimneys of Merriman Park are not historically accurate --guess chimney pots weren't invented until the Victorian Era.  Ooops. 

Duh Moment 

I've been beating myself up about this because I feel like I should have known this already.  It's even worse because the book I "discovered" this information in was one of those books that you buy on a whim (this one was at the woodworking shop where I exchanged the aforementioned gouge, and it was titled Architecture For Dolls' Houses   40% OFF --how could I not get it? 

So do I snap off the offending chimney pots, or leave them as is? 

At first I was like, "whatevs,"  nobody will know the difference, but as time goes by, I get more and more incensed when I look at them. 

They will have to go.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

To brick, or not to brick...that is the question.

Finally got the gouge exchanged to the proper size.  Karin Corbin suggested I make my own gouge, but alas! I did not have any mini brass tubing laying about.  (I would LOVE to see Karin's studio some day --bet it is incredible)!

OK, don't laugh, but now I'm seriously considering using a stucco finish instead of the brick!  (Hey, it's MY doll house)!  The reason is because I was watching some BBC miniseries and there was a country house --Hanbury Court-- that was eerily similar to my own Merriman Park.  It had the same classical portico (dressed  in pale, rusticated stone), the body of the house rendered in yellow stucco. I found the effect to be charming.

                        (Check it out at 0:04-05 or you'll miss it)!

So I decided to work on the center portion of the house, which I had already decided to be stone.  I'm going for dressed ashlar blocks.  I already had the primer coat on so I was ready to go...

Bricks, stucco --it can just WAIT for now!

Well, I first had to pack away all the furniture I have been accumulating so it wouldn't get ruined.  Glad I saved all the original boxes.

I'm getting a little worried about all the little parts laying about.  I had to take five of my windows apart so I could paint the outside frames the stone color.  So now there are tiny bits of window parts scattered about. I am so bad about keeping all this little stuff organized.

Anyway, I got the center block painted the "base" stone color along with the pediment, the roof balusters, the chimneys, the cornices, quoins, basement and entrance stair.  I even penciled in the ashlar blocks!

Finally feel like I made some progress!

BTW Cranford is highly recommended, especially if you're a fan of Dame Judy Dench.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Brick Update

Well, um, the new gouge is a little too thick, so I'm going to have to return it for a smaller tool.  Curses! Foiled again!

I am seriously thinking of just doing a stucco finish, instead!