Saturday 21 June 2014

All Lit Up!

Here we come to the more complicated part of the blog... Not because the work was any more complicated - most of the really tricky stuff was either done or planned out. It's complicated for a slightly embarrassing reason.

At this point in the proceedings, my involvement with the refurbishment had basically dropped off entirely so, while I have photos - taken by my mother - I have no personal notes to make on the work. From here on, it's likely that most of my remaining posts will be of the "and here are a few photos of this part of the job" variety, with any comments that may occur to me or things that my parents told me about the work.

I'm hoping things will get a bit more interesting when my sister starts posting...

But, for the moment, here's another bit about the wiring... which was basically complete by the time I next visited. As you will see in the first photograph, the wiring was all neatly bound together in the loft an all the sockets were occupied...

...but, hang on, eleven lights and twelve occupied sockets? How does that happen? Especially when, in theory, the two ground floor hall lights should have been wired together... Well, it turns out that, at some point, the decision was made to add a second 'extension lead' into the lounge, giving three additional sockets on either side of the room, demonstrated here by the appearance of a floor lamp and a smaller table lamp in the lounge.

While some of the lights don't seem to give off a great deal of illumination (most notably the dome light visible in the top right room in the lower pair of photos which, I believe, became the bathroom), having all these lights does make the house look all the more 'cosy'. The chandeliers in the lounge hang down a bit too far (the floor lamp would probably bump into them), but they do suit the room pretty well.

Sunday 1 June 2014

Glazing Over

After trying out several of the more ornate options, my mother settled on the simplest form of window frame for the dolls' house. Part of the issue was that we needed a total of eighteen windows - four each side, with five front and back - and, by this point, we didn't have time to fuss over finding matching sets in several sizes... or the funds, for that matter. We did discuss the idea of blocking up the side windows, both to simplify the eventual task of adding brickwork to the outer surfaces and to reduce the number of windows we'd need to prepare and install. My feeling was that the side windows added immeasurably to the overall look of the house, and to the natural light that could get in for daytime play.

The most basic form of window frame available came in two thin MDF halves, each featuring space for two panes. Since our test fittings had already installed (more ornate) central windows above the front and back doors, we only needed sixteen more frames, a total of 32 pieces. Each one was given a coat of white gloss paint to make them look as close to proper (albeit simple and toy-like) window frames...

But that's not all... The dolls' house's original windows were glazed... albeit with plastic barely thicker or more rigid than cling-film (slight exaggeration... but most of them had warped to some degree, several had broken 'hinges', and the 'frames' were largely painted on) and we did want to have properly glazed windows, even though we weren't installing windows that would open this time round.

Glazing was achieved simply by gluing the frame to a sheet of clear acetate, ensuring the parts were clamped together securely to allow them to bond adequately. Once the glue had set, the excess acetate was cut away from the outer edges of the frame.
Fully tooled up: that's a total of five clamps being used

The end result - glazed dolls' house windows
At first, it seemed like a shame to have all the windows the same size. I had hoped we'd make it look more like a real house by having different sizes of windows - larger ones for the through lounge in particular - but this project had a budget, in terms of both time available to work on it and money available to pay for the parts, so these cheap-and-cheerful window frames made sense. They also look just right as dolls' house windows because, when you think about it, when children first start drawing houses, they tend to have square windows with four panes...