Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Drawing Room ReDux

Hope I'm not mixing too many Orders!
Still working on refining the plans for the Drawing Room.  I found a similar cornice that Thomas Jefferson used in his own house, Monticello, and I think it is appropriate here in Merriman Park.  It features a favorite motif of Jefferson's: the ox skull(!) interchanged with a rosette medallion.  I think the ox skulls are just  too butch for words.

I'm also still stewing on how to fabricate the niches on the back wall.  They are quite a bit larger than what I can find commercially available and I have resolved to attempt to create more of my own components in the other rooms.  I suppose that I could break down and buy the smaller-sized niches.  Problem solved, right?  But I really like the larger scale of the ones in my sketches! 

(I have a fab surround from Sue Cook for the door).
 I figure, if I fail at the niches, I can always just fill the arches with mirrors!  That might be pretty awesome!  I am for sure going to put a mirror over the fireplace mantle.  Oh, I just noticed I forgot to pencil in the sconces on the pilasters.  Ooops!

This room is starting to remind me of one of the 'period rooms' at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.  That room , I recall was a Music Room from a grand house in Paris.  The walls were painted cream and all the moldings were gilded.  And it really has arched mirrors in all the corners, too!  Spooky!

Definitely going to put another corridor beyond the door opening!
 I'm not yet sure what colors I will end up using in this space, but there is plenty of time before I have to worry about that.  What do you think?   I know that a parquet wood floor would look stunning in a room like this, don't you agree? 

Anyway, back to the niches...Mirrors would be lovely, but right now I have my heart set on niches with statuary!  We're talking Roman gods & goddesses!  Thanks to everyone for your great suggestions on how to pull off the curved and rounded tops of the recesses.  Andy mentioned papier-mache and that is something I have worked with in the past.  I've never been very good at getting a smooth finish with papier-mache.  Here's a puppet head I made a few years ago out of the stuff:

Mr. Punch!
See how the surface is rippled from the layers of paper?  I just don't like that!  (Guess that's why I abandoned this project!

I made the head by sculpting it with clay and then papering it over the clay and then slicing the papier-mache, removed the clay and re-joined the halves.

Probably should have made a cast of the clay head and papier-machied the inside of the cast.  Anyway, if I attempt this technique on the niches, that's how I'll do it.

Guess I can always go back to the mirrors if the niches don't turn out!

Funny thing is that Thomas Jefferson has two similar niches in his Drawing Room at Monticello.  But while he was stationed in Paris as the new American Ambassador, he purchased two matching pier mirrors and sent them (along with a whole warehouse full of French furniture) and where do you think he hung his brand-new Paris mirrors?

That's right --he hung them over the niches and covered them up completely!

Isn't that rather ironic?

Addendum:  OK, after I posted this, there was something nagging me and I think it's that the cornice and the pillar capitals don't really go together.  I don't want the neighbors of Merriman Park to titter behind their fans that I mixed Doric and Corinthian Orders in my principal room!  So I am going to use the Thomas Jefferson cornice in the Library and chose a more apropos cornice for the Drawing Room, which, by the way, seems to be morphing into the Music Room.  Opinions?

Confidential to Karin Corbin:  W.W.K.C.D?


Simon said...[Reply]

Hey John. I love the sketches on the walls, it really gives a great sense of how the room will look. Another option for your niches could be taking a plastist drinking bottle and cutting down either side of the neck and opening. Naturally you would need to find one that fit and had smooth sides, but I think it could work??
Good call re the cornice and pillars. As for the music room just see how it progresses, (I should take my own advise!). It might look quite fresh and coll in a paly apple green with white pillar etc? I know you'll make the right decision.

Fi.P said...[Reply]

Hi John,

Amazing so far!

I have a couple of suggestions but before I say anything PLEASE recognise I have no idea or experience......when you talk about the arches and weather to use papier mache, what about Fimo or Das? You could mould them quite smoothly but my first thought was would they be to heavy to hold up there?

Love your puppet face by the way, it looks like some kind of post modern sculpture in there.

I also agree that the ox skull look great but maybe too masculine for the rest of the detail. It is very Georgian so I can defiantly see the ox sculls working in the library.
So for what it's worth my humble opinion has been bestowed on you!

It all looks fantastic to me!


Giac said...[Reply]

Hi John,
I just love the layout for the room. Very nice! I think parquet would be awesome in the room.

Hum...just a thought,,,could you use one of those plastice domed lids for coffee cups. they should be easy to cut to the right shape, then you can just make the side wit a piece of bent cardboard. I remember, when I was doing Visual Presentation in a clothing store, we use to get posters in large, solid cardboard tubes.....maybe you can find something like that at work???
Can't wait to see the room come to life.

Irene said...[Reply]

I like the way you've given shape to the room and think parquet would be ideal in here. I hope you solve the niche issue - Giac's idea sounds like it could have possibilities.

Your papier mache head reminds me of Mr Punch (Punch and Judy)

Andy said...[Reply]

Hi John,

I've not had much luck with papier mache either, apparently the secret is to make a really smooth pulp with out any large pieces of paper in it, and it can also be sanded down. I like head, it does look like Mr Punch as Irene says (hope you won't be offended, but I find him a little creepy!) dass/fimo/sculpy would do well too, if you can dry them without loosing the shape, and card tubes and bottles are both good suggestions too. Parquet flooring is a great idea too. Mulvany and Rogers give a good tip on how to do this in their book 'Magnificent Miniatures'.

The triglyphs, metopes, or bucranium (the ox skulls) that you have chosen would have been used for Doric order only, so either the frieze would have to go or the pilasters to be accurate, a cornice with dentils would be right with the corinthian capitals you're using. but you should do what you think looks good in your house!

As for my ideas on colour, Simon's suggestion of green is a good choice, but not too dark. Do you get Farrow and Ball in the US? they do a colour called Cooking Apple which is what I might use, or I would go for another colour called Orangery, which would look good with the arches painted a aple white colour and would look good with your furniture too.

PS, no I don't have shares in Farrow and Ball! I think they are excellent paints with a good pigmet content!!

PPS I love the fire place wall particularly, and an arched mirror above it would look great with mirror inset into the arch above it

John said...[Reply]

Hi, everyone!

Thanks again for all the suggestions. I don't know what I was thinking re: the moldings, but I'm glad I realized my mistake before I received any severe reprimands! Guess I was just so excited I found the "Thomas Jefferson cornice," I threw all caution to the wind. Oh, well!

The puppet head is indeed Mr. Punch. I was once going to make a whole Puppet Theater with the entire Punch & Judy cast (another 'winter project' attempt gone bad)! And I was trying to make him a little creepy, Andy --guess I succeeded, lol!

I will definitely check out Farrow & Ball --it seems I have seen it somewhere...I don't suppose anyone has a Pan-tone number for those colors?

This weekend I am going to experiment with the niches. I'll keep you posted as to which method worked out the best.

My photographer friend just informed me that the photos of the Entrance Hall are I'll try and get those up soon, too.

Fi.P said...[Reply]

You know what John,

You have done a fantastic job of your entrance and I think you instinctively know what will look good.

Some times when you open up for opinion it can be very confusing.

Go with your gut!! That way you will always be happy.

Hugs, Fi x