26 March 2012
The Lemon Room at Featherstone Hall Hotel is a positive sea of tranquility. Julie Jackson of Dee-Daw Designs describes how she created this beautiful and relaxing dolls house room...
The story behind the scene
Outside the door, Gervais Bedford watches the chaos across the hall, and waits patiently for Amy Helpston, the occupant of the Lemon Room. She's known in society as a great beauty and sits thoughtfully on the window seat with her dog Maisie, considering Mr. Bedford's recent offer of marriage. Her maid, Margaret, is stepping out to tell him that Amy is dressing at the moment and will be some time.
With a romantic theme to the scene, Julie wanted the bedroom to be pretty and feminine. After doing what a lot of miniaturists do (buying furniture before the house was ready for it), Julie had plenty of time to think about the decorating.
Decorating the room
This is supposed to be one of the less expensive rooms in the hotel and should be smaller in size than the suites on the floor below, so the depth of the room was reduced with a false back wall. However, Julie was feeling a little self-indulgent when it came to the decorating, and so opted to use lemon silk brocade on the walls in the same way as she had done for the Duke's Suite directly below.
Before applying spray-glued silk panels to the walls, the floor was covered with stripwood planks on a sheet, but instead of staining and varnishing the floor, a mixture of slightly diluted PVA with water was applied, mixed with a dash of white emulsion paint. This gives the floor a 'limed' effect and doesn't overpower the light furnishings and walls.
When applying the glued silk to the wall a piece of plain paper was fixed to the inside of the window, the fabric was applied, a light was shone through from the outside, and the revealed outline was cut through with a sharp scalpel.
Julie wanted this room to mirror the Toile Room across the hall and so used the same corner fireplace. Before finishing the walls, a piece of Plastruct sheeting covered the width of the fireplace and the height from the fireplace mantle to the ceiling, in the same silk. A hole was drilled in the false back wall of the room and popped the wires through from the electric fire built into the resin hearth. Both the fire and corner wall panel were then fixed in position.
The fireplace was finished with a beautiful gilt mirror, a pair of Staffordshire dogs, and a cast metal fire iron kit, made up and painted satin black.
To finish the walls, a pre-painted lemon plaster frieze made from embossed paper was added at ceiling height. The paper edges were concealed with lemon coving and a picture rail. Lemon skirting boards finished the decoration. The door and window were framed in white strip wood.
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Finishing the window
The window was finished with curtains and a blind. The curtains are made from gold silk brocade with braid glued to the floor edge. Finally, the curtains were gathered with braid tie-backs and glued to the window frame and skirting board to keep them in place. The window seat was positioned between them.
Furniture and accessories
The ceiling light was added along with the furniture and a large rug. The beautiful French-style suite from the Dolls House Emporium has antiqued brass handles, and Julie found a pair of electric oil-style lamps from the Heidi Ott range in the same finish which were positioned either side of the bed. The bed was dressed with the same gold silk brocade used for the curtains using the techniques explained earlier in this series.
Amy and Maisie were added to the window seat. A jug and bowl to the washstand chest, and a mirror on the wall above. The brass cheval mirror in the corner of the room is carefully positioned to reflect the light of the chandelier back into the room. Suitcases were placed around the room to reinforce that this is a hotel.
The dressing table was finished with a selection of bought and made accessories.
Top tip! Making as many of your own accessories as you can is an effective way to expand a tight budget. It's also more fun than buying everything.
The very last thing to be added was Margaret the maid. She stands in the open doorway linking the hall to the Lemon Room and bringing activity to the static scene.