Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Measure twice . . .

Our clocks have just gone forward one hour for British Summer Time but that signifies nothing this year, we are still waking to frosty rooftops and a cutting east wind that won't drop. However, when I might otherwise have been outside gardening, I've stayed in the warm working on the shop/house Bon Marché.

After deciding to swap and relocate the internal walls between Floors 2 and 3 (Having a bash, 14 March 2013) I've pencilled all the new positions on Floor 2 - several times over as it happened, because I was forced to pin my vague visualizations down to physical reality and precise measurements! 
At the bottom of the second flight of stairs, I've created a concealed space for the lighting switchboard, the SWP power controller, (see Kensington Christmas Festival, 29 November 2012) which I shall mount on the back of the dummy door to the living room.

The dummy door has no hinges, instead it will lift out completely for access to wiring and switches, via the narrow opening panel on the left of the house. A hole drilled in the rear wall will allow the jack plug to feed through from the regulated dc power supply. As you can see, this particular board has a convenient socket for the jack, which saves any more faffing about with connecting wires - hooray.

Two tiny holes drilled in the centre of Floor 2 mark the positions of my first ceiling lights, in the shop area below. These are the elegant double-armed models bought from Ray Storey last November. And I've papered the shop ceiling as well, using a remnant of Lincrusta from our own RL decorating. 

After threading them through to the floor above, each pair of wires is firmly taped in position, ready for connection to the board. I think I am slowly becoming a real electrican!

The lights fit neatly against the ceiling. The carcase lies on its side as I work on it, but when it's turned upright, the chain switches will of course hang vertically. 
I've always found the use of full-scale wallpapers quite attractive when looking into antique dolls houses, and I'm keen to try the effect in my own. I think of it as the Picasso trick because it plays ambiguously with proportions, space and distance.

I found a book and CD of fabric designs in a museum shop and printed enough copies of this late-Victorian iris pattern to cover the staircase wall. Its large scale will be scarcely visible except through balusters and open doorways so we shall only get occasional glimpses. 

The caboodle this time is a wooden dresser destined for the kitchen next to the living room on Floor 2. It's a much-altered ebay purchase with the varnish sanded off and ball feet removed so the cupboard is flush to the floor. The shelf sides were cut back to give a larger work surface and the door and drawer handles replaced by white 'china' knobs - actually map pins, glued in with the points safely snipped off inside. When I saw how nice the plain wood looked I abandoned the idea of shabby painting the dresser. Instead I'll use a dab of shoe polish to match the kitchen table top. 




  1. Lovely, lovely, lovely... just everything. I so envy the Ray Storey Lights - I have them promised to myself as soon as my work comes anywhere near matching up to it.

    1. Thanks Em for your encouraging words. Unless a considerable number of pennies falls from heaven, I shall be making my own lights throughout the rest of the house! I just knew that I had to have these twin lamps for the main shop - a remnant of the genteel days of the Bluebell Tearooms looking down on the glorious muddle of the Brennans' secondhand store. Besides, I'm convinced that you need one 'right' thing in every room - it helps to raise your game!