Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Window Casings

My 'beefed-up' window trim.
All of the seventeen, operating, sash windows of Merriman Park are standard Houseworks stock components.  I chose 'ready-made' windows as opposed to custom-built because (A).  I don't own the necessary tools to fabricate custom mill work and (B). Did I mention there are seventeen windows?  I'm pretty happy with my 'stock windows' --except for the included interior casings.  Here's why:

First of all, I should preface this post by admitting that I come from a very long-line of skilled, finish-carpenters, so I grew up watching how interior 'RL' (real-life) windows and doors are properly trimmed.  (Thanks, dad & grandpa)! A few years ago, we added a master bedroom to the back of our tiny, 1908 bungalow and I had the opportunity to test my own meager, finish-carpentry skills, by completing all of the interior mill work in the new addition (which I meticulously matched to the original house, naturally)!

So anyway, I guess what disappointed me about my Houseworks interior window casings is that they do not install like a RL window. Especially a RL 'period' window. Color me OCD, but does this bother anyone else?

Here is the interior side of a standard,  Houseworks window, untrimmed:

And here is the same window with the stock, included interior casings installed:.

What is incorrect is that the trim butts up against the window frame.  But in a 'RL' window, the casing should slightly overlap the window frame and not merely butt up against it. Yeah, guess I am OCD!

In a 'period' room setting, it gets even more complicated:  the window casing would most likely not be cut in a 45 degree miter at the four corners, (which is what is included in the Houseworks window package, above).  Rather, a sill would be built out and the casing would rise from it, as I did here in the Music Room, (left).  At the top of the window, I added a wide header on top of a head strip, all capped with a crown molding.  Beneath the sill, an apron would be used to finish off and help support the sill, (but in my Music Room  the sill matches up with the chair rail and so an apron is not needed).

...But downstairs, in the Dining Room, (right) the window sill & apron are seen discreetly behind the blue-green, striped silk curtains. (Here, shown for some reason, in earthy sepia tones, thanks to my crap camera skills)!

Of course, I suppose none of this extra work is even warranted if the window casings are to be completely covered over with fanciful draperies   In which case, only you, gentle Reader,  will know what lies beneath... You --and anyone who dares to peek behind your Pretty-Pleated curtains! ...Pretty Pleater...still cracks me up, I think it would be a formidable drag name, but I'm afraid that the nom de drag, 'Miss Pretty Pleater,' has lately been utterly usurped by my new, fave drag-name:  Miss Wilma Ballsdrop!  LOL!

UPDATE!  I no longer have the saddest life, you guys!  I found my Titian reclining Venus!  She did not, apparently, fall into the oblivion of my duct-work, but merely rolled under the cabinet of my antiquated stereo equipment.  (Aren't CD's  très pittoresque)?  

'Venus, Reclining,' reinstalled above the door.
I mean, really, I might as well have a Victrola with a huge, brass horn, as a friggin' stereo system, n'est-ce pas?



Wanda said...[Reply]

Again your attention to detail is so inspiring. Fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

Daydreamer said...[Reply]

Hi John! I am SO With you on the subject of interior window trim!!! Especially Period window trim!!!! It just can't be called a window without an interior sill and apron... no matter What you do about the anachronistic mitering (modern windows do sometimes use the forty-five degree angle joint....)I have my Houseworks kit windows in the Cupboard House bought AGES ago.... but I have not decided how to deal with the interior trim issues... But I LOVE that they open and close and are otherwise very well made!!! After all, what is the point of having Beautiful Interior woodwork if you don't also use it around you windows... drapes or no drapes!!! Your window trim looks Divine!!!

Daydreamer said...[Reply]

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I am Thrilled to see you found your Venus...! She looks Gorgeous over the doorway.... Great Artwork!!!!

John said...[Reply]

Hi, Wanda!

Thanks, my dear, and I still am amazed that you read my blog from bitter beginning to end!

Betsy, you get me! THANK you! It's NOT just me, right?

Anna said...[Reply]

I have no carpentry skills (even though I'm scratch-building my house...), but I get it. My family is full of highly skilled seamstresses and it's hard for me to keep from cringing whenever miniaturists (myself included) have to "cheat" with adhesives and anti-fraying products due to the impossibility of scaling down fabric thickness and stitch size.

Simon said...[Reply]

Hey John
I agree about the trim - I even used two external windows on my Dining Room and put on the inside as well as the outside as the detial and finish wasn't good enough. It always seams like such a cop-out when they do they cut corners like that.
Love your description of your sound system, and as a fellow antique record player owner, let me tell you, don't bother with a gramaphone, there's more to bang your head on when stooping for your lost Venus!
I really like the picture arrange BTW, like you said before, the busyness (is that a word?) of the wallpaper pales once you fill the walls.
Have a great week - almost the weekend now...

Fi.P said...[Reply]

Hi John,

Firstly I am so glad you have pointed this out and I don't think it counts as OCD but some one who cares about authenticity. I am currently trying to deal with a similar situation with my kitchen door which was not installed by me and not flush and I have had no idea how to deal with it. Looking at your images has helped some what.

Your work is always amazing and I love the mirror in the top photo.

Hugs, Fi xx

Fi.P said...[Reply]

Oh dear!

When you put your glasses on Fiona it is actually a painting! I love that tooo!!


Pedrete said...[Reply]

Me encanta que te pares a recrear esos pequeños detalles, que aunque a veces queden ocultos, realmente están ahí. En mis casas de muñecas, hay sábanas en los armarios, cubiertos en los cajones... en fin, todo lo que tenemos en una casa de verdad.

¡Un abrazo enorme y enhorabuena!

Elga said...[Reply]

I am with you all the way on this one, I made my walls thicker so that I could let the casings overlap the window frame sides and I added a sill too. Your windows and house looks wonderful, you sure have been working hard on it.

latchkey and jonquil said...[Reply]

Now I'm in trouble... I have to make the windows for my house, and you've just shone a light on how it should truly be done. But I'm Miss 'can't even cut a straight line', so go figure how I'll work this one out!

My house is old, old - 1509, so perhaps I'll just blame inferior, primitive carpentery skills...

Love that you found the Venus, and no, it's not OCD!


La Belle Brigante said...[Reply]

Stunning room!
I used the housework windows too in my little shop.The un-opening kind,wich have the same puzzeling interior casing, so i too built a little sill and added mitred mouldings, the fine ones to make a 1:12 picture frame. Gaps filled and painted all antique-white,now i see yours i only wished i used the opening kind!

elvira said...[Reply]

Ciao!! Dalla traduzione in Italiano del tuo post :) ..non fatta bene ..ho capito che sei molto preciso nelle tue miniature!!! Infatti i risultati si vedono ..le tue finestre sono meravigliose!!! Le tue creazioni sono ricche di particolari!!! Complimenti!!!
Ti seguo con ammirazione !!!
Un bacio

Giac said...[Reply]

Hi John,
I agree with you 100%. I opted to make my own windows just for that reason. It may be a very small detail, but that is exactly the type of thing that can kill the illusion you work so hard for.Is there any way you could use mini lumber to extend and adjust the pre made casing. if you're painting it instead of staining you might be able to match them almost perfectly. The curtains will definetely cover it so in the end it won't matter...but is it going to bother you? ;) Even with the faults of pre made items, your rooms are still astounding! I'm thrilled you found the Venus...she looks lovely atop the door.
Big hug dear friend,

Anneke said...[Reply]

I totally get what you are saying about the pre-made windows! I have the EXACT same dilemma with my "schloss". It counts over 30 windows which I now plan to use the discontinued "euromini's" pre-made windows for. But somehow it nags me that they are not RL-correct.. It's not OCD of you! and if it is, well than it must be a common miniaturist ocd???

I love that you actually know how it SHOULD be, professionally, and even know the exact ways of construction and the names of each part!
Part of the fun of building a dollhouse is that you know what's inside the drawers, behind the closed door and... behind those curtains. I enjoy, no I can even go to sleep more peacefully when I know things are acurately made and don't need covering up. So I love the new indoor window casing you made! It looks sooo much better!

And CD's are quite retro indeed I agree ;p

John said...[Reply]

30 windows, Anneke?! OMG, that is --a LOT of windows!

Well, it sounds like I am NOT OCD, after all! Or if I am, I am in very good company!

I forgot to mention that I used different widths of strip lumber and a miniature miter box to build my mill work, so no need to worry about cutting a straight line!

Thanks for commenting, everyone,

Ray W said...[Reply]

Hi John!
I thought I would join in on the fun here and add my 2 cents. Your casings are beautiful and I love the crown you did at the top of the casing. Nice detail indeed! Thanks for the info about the height of the chair. I want that style for my dining room and yours looks great. Thank you again.
Are you doing musical instruments in this room, i.e. harpsichord, cello, harp, drinks trolley:-)
Inquiring ,nosey miniaturists want to know!
Great job on this!
Your pal Ray

Troy said...[Reply]

Your window trim looks great - I think it pays to be a little OCD on some things. I also think that your cepia tone print of your pretty pleater work, looks pretty great! Glad to hear that you found your missing painting too. Keep up the good work my friend.

Iris March said...[Reply]

Yes, definitely windows must have sills and aprons. I usually throw away or modify the interior trim included. I am so glad you are making such beautiful windows! I just noticed (I guess I don't wear my glasses enough) that your windows are 12 over 12. That must have been fun to do! But they were worth it.

I also have CDs, vinyls, and 78s (some so old, they are one-sided)and an antique victrola. I think they are fun! I think that there are a lot of us out there--back in the dark ages!

I just love the music room and I have been thinking a lot about poor Venus. I am glad she has risen again!

Cheers my friend,

John said...[Reply]

Seems like miniaturists have a thing for antique music players! I've always wanted a Victrola...maybe some day...

Yes, Ray, I plan on having either a harpsichord or a spinet piano centered on the long wall. Also a harp and violin.

Thanks again for the all the sweet comments, y'all!

Josje said...[Reply]

I can only agree with all of the previous commenters! Although I am not always looking for authenticity in my dolls hosue, the mitered window trim of the commercial windows on my first canal house really annoy me. That and the fact that in Holland windows sit inside the brick walls, so there is no trim on the outside. It is one of the reasons I am making my own windows (+ I can make them to any size I like), even though there will be something like 40 windows in the house. I have only made 4 so far and I don't even want to think of having to make the rest! Thank goodness I didn't set myself a time frame for the house.
I have to revisit one of the full size canal houses I use as an inspiration to see how the interior window shutters were constructed on some of the windows.
I love all the paintings on the wall. I had visions of your Venus being used beneath the floorboards in a little mouses house. Little mice being thrilled by their found treasure... It's the mice who have the sad life now...;-)

Andy said...[Reply]

Hi John,

Oh dear, don't look too closely at the windows on my house!! Yours definately put mine completely to shame!! they have been finished beautifully, and I also love the marble skirting, which provides a welcome contrast to the other paintwork above and the dark wooden floorboards below.

I have just finished making some small flowers to hang outside my pub, which take forever to do, and I find I can't do more than a couple before I want to hurl things out of the window! Funny the things we miniaturists find ourselves doing isn't it!! ;)

The Music Room is looking great already! I like all the paintings, thank goodness the Titian turned up, it will be worth a fortune one day!! I am also a CD fan, I can't be doing with all this new fangled digital i-tunes thingumy!! (already quite old I know!!)

I've been looking out for a spinette or harpsichord for my house too, but not had a lot of luck as yet. A harp would look good in your music room too, all gleaming gold and ebony black, with a some nice carved details!

Well done on all your RL woodwork too, wood isn't the easiest stuff to work with is it! If your additional RL room is anything like Merriman Park, it must look amazing!

Keep up the excellent work my friend!

Andy xxxx

John said...[Reply]

Forty windows!?! You people are killing me! Josje, instead of making the windows individually, could you set up a jig and cut out all the parts at once and then assemble them, factory-style? I like to examine how shutters fold into wall panels in old houses, too!

Irene said...[Reply]

Beefed up is definitely better and I'm glad you found your Venus!

Steinworks said...[Reply]

I learned so much today thank you for sharing about the window casings.

Back when I lived in the City (before DH and family) my friends and I gave each other drag names too only they were boy names cause we were women and we were drinking

Mine was Bob the builder...I never knew why ..cause Im lucky I haven't lost a limb anyway Im glad you found your painting

Marisa :)

John said...[Reply]

Marisa, I about died when I read your comment! Bob the Builder? OMG, that is too funny! I can't think of any good Drag 'King' names, except Justin Time, and of course Seymore Butts...

...hey, Andy, your house is so perfectly DIVOON, so don't even go there! I'm glad I'm not the only one who still has 'retro' CD's. Let me know if you find a suitable miniature harpsichord --I'm actually eying one and would love to get your input... I'm afraid my RL addition looks nothing like Merriman Park, but does look a bit like the original 1908 house. I'll send you some pics if you're interested.

miraclechicken said...[Reply]

Oh my, I'm new to your blog but you are awesome!!!! I can't wait to dig deeper (but I'll have to, I'm dead tired)...I am floored by your work, your descriptions and explanations and your HUMOR!!! "all the live long day"...that had me on the ground, I say it ALL the time!!! Thanks---

John said...[Reply]

LOL! Thanks Miraclechicken! (May I call you MC)? I just woke up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday because I have to work, today, and you made my morning! Welcome to my blog!

Gee said...[Reply]

I see I missed a post; man, are you on a roll, hard to keep up! but please go on :D, I'd miss hearing from you if you had a summer-stop.
You did a great job on the music room John, it looks like it has always been there... amazing!

Thanks for the lesson on window casings, sills and aprons.
My windows came with the house and the first thought that came to mind when I saw them was: yuk!
But I kept them anyway.
Good thing you posted about this, to judge by the reactions a lot of us -me included- learned from it, thanks!
I appreciate that eye for detail, It can so make or break a scene.
Your windows look great,and I never expected anything else.
When you keep up this pace chez John, your house will be finished sooner than you think!
Any plans for a next project?
Big Hugs,

CLMT said...[Reply]

You are NOT OCD at all, I have been doing the same for years.

Sills are something I don't see very often and I am glad to see you put them in!

MiniLover said...[Reply]

Hi John-

You are so right about the HW trim--I always make my own. But I have to admit I haven't gone to the trouble of sills, and now I am sad that I haven't! Your windows look so real!!!

Love the spinet, too. And you do need candelabra--I may be able to help with those.


John said...[Reply]

Hi Sophia!

I just realized the other day that I have ordered from your shop in the past, but didn't realize it was you...too funny!