Sunday, 11 June 2017

The New Breakfast Room

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all doing well and enjoying a nice summer. Thank you for your great feedback on my last post, I really appreciate your comments. Since the earl's bedroom I have finished renovating the breakfast room.

I know many of you really liked the first breakfast room. Don't worry Elizabeth, it is safely tucked away and I plan on using it as a room box. I loved the room, but several things really bothered me. Firstly, the space was tight and people could not walk around the table if others were seated. Secondly, Betsy, you were right, seeing the room only through the doors and windows was driving me crazy. It was impossible to see all the detail. Thirdly, there was not enough wall space for a decent sideboard and servers. The room was originally going to be a loggia...

...but I decided I wanted more interior space and closed it up to make a breakfast room. Every time I change an existing room it winds up being too small!

I built a new structure which , I think, has much better proportions then the original. Here are more pictures of the new room.

The room was inspired by the breakfast room at The Elms. It is wider, deeper and taller then the original room and makes much more sense now. Breakfast was served on a sideboard and people would go make their plates and sit down. The space is now large enough for diners and staff to move around comfortably.


I studied the breakfast room at The Elms a little more carefully this time. I started by planning out the main elements of the walls.

When I was pleased with the proportions of the room, I faux finished the illustration board wall panels and had a test run.

The fireplace in the picture was transferred to the earl's bedroom

The fireplace wall gave me a hard time. Originally I cut out an opening for symmetry ans was going to make a closet. I realized I didn't like that...of course I realised this after it was glued in and the ceiling cornice was in place! I cut and tore off the right side of the fireplace wall and recut a new one, this time creating a built in shelf. I put it in place and realised the shelves would only be 5/8 in deep. Not terrible, but not right in a room this size. Finally I cut another piece and just added a lacquer chinoiserie panel.


The floor is a copy of the original breakfast room floor. I really like the pattern so I just started over on a bigger floor template.

As usual, I drew out one panel, photocopied it several times and used that as a template to cut the iron on wood pieces.


All the molding was painted faux walnut, but I decided to add a little gold accent on each strip. It took forever! The faux walnut technique is made with oil paints, so I had to use metallic gold oil paint to detail the trim. It was so long to do and you all know how much I dislike painting, but in the end I am happy with the results.

In the above picture, I used a piece of illustration board to keep the height of the chair rail steady around the room. The gold detail is very subtle but stands out nicely when light. The gold oil paint took 2 weeks to dry completely.


The ceiling was painted a warm white. I purchased  Sue Cook cornice C2, pre painted each piece with the ceiling paint and highlighted the detail in gold. I must have been tired or clumsy when I was cutting the cornice because all my cuts were off and the plasterwork crumbled.

I had to cover large gaps with wood filler, re-carve the detail in the cornice to the best of my ability, paint it white (picture above) and re-paint the gold highlights.

The chandelier is the Antoinette from the Getzans

Fireplace and niche marbling

I purchased the niche and William Kent fireplace from Sue Cook . I found a picture of a beige marble I liked and sponged on the finish. In hard to get to areas I used paint brushes and dry brushed on the paint. In the picture above you can see the tools I used. The paints are in the order I applied them. from left to right. I liked the yellow marble in the first room, but while I had seen real marble slabs that yellow, it did not translate as realistic in miniature.

I was pleased with the look of the fireplace against the walnut. Here is a closer view.

Chinoiserie lacquer panels

I believe I mentioned I hate painting. the main reason I hate it so is because I never get the painting to look the way I want it to. I took a lot of time prepping the panels. I cut out the illustration board to size, painted them black, glazed them with the same spray I used for the marble effect, sanded it with 600 sandpaper and buffed it with a 0000 steel wool. I repeated the painting , sanding and buffing 5 timed to get it perfectly smooth. I then prepared my paint and took out some pictures of chinoiserie panels. I stared at them and the panels in the first breakfast room for about an hour, then decided I was fighting a losing battle.

The statue is a bit small for the niche, but it is all I had at hand

What you see in the picture above are pictures I found of a panelled chest lid. I cut them out, glued them on my perfectly smooth black illustration board panels with rubber cement and sprayed on 5 coats of glaze. I looked at some hand painted chinoiserie miniatures I have and the brush strokes just don't look like realistic lacquer panels. I am really happy with the end result. Here is a picture of how all the elements came together

It took me a week to decide what color I wanted the painted tiles of the fireplace insert. Sue Cook was very helpful sending pictures back and forth. The mirror above is also from her catalogue.


I use the Pretty Pleater to make my curtains. It usually goes well, however I failed to realize the pleater is 10 1/2 inches long and my windows are 12 inches high. I pleated the central area of the gold colored raw silk, but I still had to pin the folds down on a piece of foam core board to get the pleats to go all the way down.

The pelmets are illustration board to which I glued on the silk with The Ultimate Glue and then I added the white lace trim with Aleene's tacky glue

And with that, construction was complete.

I am happy I decided to redo the room. The larger room, especially height wise, fits much better with the rest of the manor.


The most important piece was the sideboard to display the breakfast food. I purchased a French console table from Allison Davies. The carved detail in her piece is amazing, but the chestnut finish was lost against the walnut walls, so I gilded carvings in the base and marbled the top so the table would stand out.

Again I placed the paints in order from left to right.

It stands out beautifully now. Below  is a close up of the breakfast. The fried eggs were purchased at Ananda in Barcelona on our last trip and the crumpets and silver were purchased at the Montreal show.

I used the same table and displayed the Imperial cherry blossom dinner set I commissioned from Julie at Westwinds miniatures a while ago. The gorgeous flower arrangement was made from Martha Mclean. I think I need better cutlery though.

And that was it for the breakfast room.

Birthday present

May second was my birthday and I got a Randall Zadar figurine called The Golden Age from Jo and my family.

I love my birthdays and planned on supper and doing things I love to do for a whole week...however this birthday was spent taking care of Ozzy who broke his knee doing god only knows what. He had surgery on the 3d of May and is much better now, but the 3 weeks after the operations were difficult and I got very little sleep. No the best birthday, but since next year is my 40th I'll just have to make up for it.

And that is all for now my friends. The past few rooms have been inspired by some of my favorite places: The earls office and breakfast room by The Elms, the countess' bedroom by Rosecliff, the earl's bedroom by Chatsworth, and next time we will travel to the Royal Pavilion in Brighton for the countess's study.

I just want to welcome new followers and thank those of you who have been following me for a while. For some reason I often have a hard time accessing new followers' blogs, so if I am not following you please let me know, it is not intentional.

Big hug to all,

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The new earl's bedroom and the Montreal Miniature show

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all doing well. Thank you all for your kind comments on my last post. As I had mentioned, I have been working on several rooms at the same time. This past week I finished the earl's bedroom.

Here was the room before...

...and here it is after

The fireplace wall before...

...and after

I was quite happy with this bedroom and only planned on changing the crown molding for a more detailed cornice. Unfortunately, things did not go to plan (surprise)...and here we go!

Fireplace Wall

Originally there was a door to the right of the fireplace which led to a balcony. However, when I remade that wing the balcony became the countess' study. The door did not make sense anymore so I had to figure out a way to block it.

I decided to pull of the drapes, the door and the wainscot in that section, cover the entire area, which is about 12 inches tall and 5 1/2 inches wide, with illustration board, wallpaper the top and faux walnut finish the bottom... When I went to order what I needed, the wallpaper was no longer available. The door and transom were 10 inches high, so there was no way to cover it.

After much debate, I decided to cover each side of the fireplace with walnut paneling. Since the room was now a renovation and not just a small change, I decided to base the new design on the state rooms at Chatsworth house which are English Baroque. The first step was to decide what elements would grace each side of the chimney.

The plaster pieces by Sue Cook Miniatures  reminded me of the carved limewood detail in Chatsworth. I painted them to look like darker wood to contrast with the walnut faux finish, and then I took some pictures of English nobility and modge podged them to look like real paintings.

I glued them onto the painted illustration board and glued them in place.

Next, I added some molding to the door to make it look a bit grander.

The doorcase

The leaf frieze is from sue Cook, and I believe the overdoor is by Tony Jones. I left the original doorcase in and added to it. I think it is better scaled for the room. The light walnut in the room was made by painting a mixture of raw sienna oil paint and liquin over an antique gold Ceramcoat paint base, and the darker walnut was made the same way, only using burn sienna oil paint instead.


The new room layout meant redistributing the furniture. Of course I had to move a mirror which ripped paper right above the original wainscot. My solution for this was to cover the old poaneling with a new, taller one.

I used single ply faux painted illustration board. When it was glued into place, I added the leaf frieze as a chair rail molding around the room. I also covered the chimney in painted illustration board. this time I used double thickness because the new fireplace was larger then the original, so the chimney wall had to be bigger as well. Anything structural is better done with thicker board. I glued on some panels over the fireplace, again from Sue Cook. The new fireplace opening was wider then the original, but I was afraid to cut the opening and damage the floor. My solution was to use a printout of some Tudor tiles I covered in triple thick clear glaze to make it look like real tile.

I installed the fireplace and added molding to the wall to create the paneling.

I used a 1 inch strip and a baseboard along the bottom and chair rail molding over and under the leaf frieze. I glued on fluted  doorcase molding to create the vertical sections, then filled in the rectangles with quarter bead molding.

Here is a closer look at the fireplace, once again by Sue. The round panel above is a family crest also made by her.

I had some leaf frieze leftover and added some to the bed nook to tie it in with the rest of the room. At this point I added the cornice which was also painted to look like wood.

Even though I adore the wallpaper, the nook bothered me and I planned on covering it in wood. However, what I would most like is to cover the inside of the nook with a medieval tapestry, so I will keep looking for that before touching it.

The final step was adding molding to the corners of the new chimney to dress it up, and the room was finished.

And now some detail pictures of the room, as well as a few of room empty.

It was not the biggest change I have made, but I think it now matches the countess' room in grander and to me, it feels much more appropriate for the manor...not to mention I always prefer symmetry!

Montreal Miniature show

April first was the Montreal Miniature Show. We had our friends Julie and Brian (Westwinds Miniatures) and Martha Mclean over for a visit on the Friday, and on Sunday we had a visit from Marilyn and Louise. We had a wonderful time, and I found some great treasures at the show.

I love Janice Crawley's china. I purchased the blue tea set, elephant bowl and the 2 birds on the Saturday. I loved the tea set so much when I put it into place that on Sunday we went back to the show so I could get the pink one for the second china cabinet in the family dining room.

Karl Blindheim was also at the show and I want to purchase one of his animals every year. This year, I fell in love with 2.

When the Breakfast room and the study are done, the next big project is the kitchen renovation. I found these at Grandpa's dollhouse and think they will come in most handy.

I also purchased these from Martha Mclean. Her floral arrangement will be perfect in the breakfast room. Some of these were purchases, but some were presents from Martha. She made the egg holder especially for my kitchen. I will treasure it always.

Julie was not selling her artwork at the show, but she made me this incredible hat for the countess.

And finally, Marilyn and Louise commissioned this beautiful vase of flowers for the manor. I was very touche by this wonderful gift which was made by Marijke at pulchinellascellar. Marilyn, Louise, I hope you approve of the new spot I chose for it.

And that is all for now my friends. I am currently working on the breakfast room floor and hope to be finished with that room in 3 or 4 weeks at most. Until then, I wish all of you the best and I will be coming around your blogs for inspiration.

Big hugs,