Thursday, June 28, 2012

Federal Dining Room

The Dining Room is starting to come together!  Would you care to take a little tour and have a look-y?

Of all the rooms in Merriman Park, so far this one is decorated the most 'modern,' in the early nineteenth-century Federal Style.  The American Federal period corresponds to the British Regency and the French Empire styles.

My inspiration for this setting came from 'real-life' rooms in Washington D.C, Virginia and New Orleans (!)

I started this room way back on Christmas Eve, when I drew up these rough sketches on the back of some holiday wrapping paper.  Obviously, I had no idea of the scale of the wallpaper pattern because I drew it pretty large!

Planning a space is half the fun for me.  Sometimes I make fairly elaborate plans and other times a quick, cursory sketch is all that is needed.  Other times, I just have a vague 'feeling' of what I want to do and start with no written plan at all.  I'm the master of the 'No Plan' Plan!  

Paneled wainscoting was falling out of fashion by the early part of the nineteenth century, and fanciful wallpapers were being used from floor to cornice.  Because of this, I choose a 'beefy' skirting board, almost an inch high!
All the moldings and pilasters are from Lawbre Miniatures.  You cannot beat their fine quality. Their web catalog is a little shall we say in need of an update but I bought a hard copy back when Merriman Park was merely in the planning stages.  It has been an endless source of inspiring ideas.

I have already gone on and on about Braxton Payne's gorgeous fireplace mantels --this one in his 'Greek-Revival mode.

The chandelier and sconces were purchased from Luminations by Mr. K.  I had thought about installing a 'shoo-fly' over the dining table.  This was a large fan that hung over the table and was operated by pulling cords by servants.  But the shoo-fly lost out when I spied this Swarovsky crystal-bedazzled beauty!
It was my very first time with the Pretty Pleater --and you always remember your first time, right?  I used gold rings from the bead store on a brass rod, an idea I shamelessly stole from one of my inspiration rooms.  Except for stitching the rings to the top of the panels, these curtains were a no-sew breeze to whip up!  (Thanks, Ray)!  Ray Whitledge did a fab tutorial on the wonderful world of the Pretty Pleater on his blog and I followed his instructions to a T --except I used spray starch instead of hairspray. (Oh. My. God. I haven't used hairspray since, like, the '80's)! Speaking of the 80's and hairspray, let's have a look from the archives of The Hair-Do Hall of Fame, shall we?
Being pretty isn't easy.
"I'd just like a little off the sides, please."
Does this ponytail distract from my alluring eyes?

But I digress.

Anyway, wasn't it nice that the folks over at Master's Miniatures, where most of my dining room furnishings came from, supplied me with some extra gold gimp so the drapes match the rug I mean the chairs?  I think so!
Hopefully, the photos that my 'photographer friend' snaps will turn out better than mine!  Perhaps by then I will have amassed a few more accessories to round out my Dining Room!
And that concludes the tour... y'all have been the best tour, ever, and I really do mean that!  Buh-bye!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Drawing Room, Preview

It is, mes chers, an auspicious day, as my bff, Rick, was kind enough to swing through and photograph the Drawing Room of Merriman Park, (since my own photos, to be frank --well, suck). In other good news:  my blackened, ravaged fingernail which has plagued me since last winter --when I inadvertently slammed the door on it-- has finally dropped off and revealed a shiny, new nail!  Hoo-rah! Things are lookin' up!

So until my friend's proofs come back, here are my own, hackneyed attempts...And so, without further adieu:

The double doors will eventually open to a hall beyond.

The Drawing Room is located immediately over the Entrance Hall and is approximately 16" X 16."  In my 'real-life' inspiration house, designed by Thomas Jefferson, this room was octagonal --a scheme Jefferson highly favored and employed in many of the homes he designed.  Unfortunately, because of severe space restrictions, I was not able to utilize the full octagon, and so here had to settle for a hexagonal shape.

I wanted the Drawing Room to exude a quiet, understated elegance as opposed to the more exuberant Hall. There is a lot going on, architecturally, in this small space, what with all the paneled. walls, pilasters and built-in cabinetry.  So I opted for a simple, monochromatic color-story in my favorite grey-green hue.

Diana the Huntress in the niche, a birthday gift from Glen.

The fireplace was inspired by one I admired in the Thorne Rooms at the Chicago Institute of Arts. I won't show you the highly-superior version by Mrs. Thorne (as I'm afraid mine suffers the comparison)!  This is no slight intended toward my gorgeous mantel by Braxton Payne,  here done up in fab, faux marble.  I created the over mantel/mirror to mimic the arches of the two corner niches.  I'm still playing around with the accessories, but I'm lovin' my arrangements of roses on the mantle in their vases by Old Bell Pottery.
Making the corner niches.

The niches provided the biggest challenge to me.  This is only my second room I've ever made so it took some head-scratching to figure out how to fabricate the curved recesses.  The eureka-moment came as I poured myself a martini one night while pondering my dilemma:  Of course!  I molded the niche with DAS clay on the back of a bottle. Duh!

Once the niches were finished, I had the worst time trying to find apropos statues to place in them.  The female figure pictured above replaced one I had earlier, and was given to me as a thoughtful gift by my beloved Glen, as were all the light fixtures, including the glam chandelier from Rosel's!  Aren't I the luckiest boy in Miniature-Land?
 Most of the furniture is Bespaq.  I had to reupholster a few of the pieces, which I didn't think would be such a big deal (as I know how to upholster 'real-life' furniture --what could be easier, right)?  Well, not so easy, what with my clumsy, feral paws it turns out!  Could I get a little more glue smeared on those silk cushions?!?

I have to mention the door surround from Sue Cook if only because it was the first 'big purchase' I made for Merriman Park.  I bought it long before I had even brought home the plywood to build the carcass of the house itself.  How I used to take it out of its box each night and carefully unwrap its pieces and fit them together like a little puzzle and dream about the room --this room-- where they would eventually one day be so proudly and lovingly ensconced...

And now a  Sneak Peek of the Dining Room!

Mostly completed wall panels, ready for installation!