22 October 2020
After building the flat pack shell of Featherstone Hall Hotel and decorating the outside, Julie Jackson of Dee-Daw Designs focuses on the reception hall in the third part of the project.
We step through the revolving door, past Lady Camille and into the reception to meet hotel manager Mr. Fairfax, Parker the porter, with Charles Clarke and Edward Black the busy desk staff.
The design for the reception was inspired by the Montague on the Gardens in London. The Montague’s reception is stunningly decorated in black and white with immaculate and attentive staff, so I just had to do my own version of it.
I painted the ceiling white and wallpapered the room with black and white ‘fleur de lis’ pattern paper. The paper stops at the stair well at the reception ceiling height as I have another colour scheme in mind for the grand hall.
The floor was tiled in a harlequin effect, starting at the front edge and lining up with the dining room wall. I used plain white one-inch square tiles and painted half of them black. A semi-circular space was left at the front to accommodate the revolving door and all the half tiles were carefully cut with a hacksaw.
The stairs and staircase
After adding two grand doors into the dining room and the library, and before adding the stairs, I cut pre-painted white skirting to run up the staircase wall. The pre-stained and varnished staircases were joined and put in place. The grand doors are actually exterior front doors painted white and have just the right look for such a grand space. I also cut a hatch in the house back for access to the light fittings and decorated the visible areas of the under stairs office with paint, skirting and a picture.
To complete the stairs I used trimmed plastic garden railings to make spindles and glued them at a 45-degree angle on the underside of the handrail using super glue. A corresponding hole was made with a bradawl in the steps of the installed stairs to take the bottom of each spindle.
Top tip! Put the holes into the steps before inserting them on the next floor.
Under stairs room
I made the under stairs wall by cutting it to size before inserting the stair spindles. This was then checked to make sure it fitted before covering it with the reception wallpaper. I glued a lamp on the inside to illuminate the hidden room. The wall was fitted in place with an added pre-painted door. The door has a ‘private’ sign on it and a knob and lock.
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The final part of the reception decoration was to add the swag and bow covering and the two ceiling roses for the light fittings. The gold fringing and bows on the covering were pre-painted along with the highlighted ceiling roses before they were fitted. I also papered the grand hall above the reception before fitting the covering so that it would cover the join between the two papers. A plain wooden moulding was added along the floor/ceiling line so that the coving on the stair well had something to butt up to.
Hotel pigeon holes and reception desk
I started at the back with a fabulous Bespaq hotel pigeon hole unit and matching low bar unit for the reception desk. This was spray painted gloss black to fit the colour scheme – the carved details were highlighted with gold to complete the look. The doors used throughout the hotel were supplied with keys, some of which were used to fill a few of the pigeon holes. The other bays were filled with letters, notes and newspapers. The desk is completed with an oil lamp, more letters, a register with a pen, other papers and a hand bell. The two pieces of furniture were then glued into position.
Wall shelving unit, hall table and central chair
The shelf unit is also from Bespaq and was treated with black and gold before being dressed with an assortment of pots, stationery and boxes. In the foreground is Parker the porter who is standing with luggage beside a hall table mirror. The table is one of a pair and was made by cutting a table in half before painting it black and gold. The central chair is a Bespaq round black leather chair. The carved wood is painted gold with a small garden urn (painted white with a floral arrangement) in the centre.
It was at this point where I realised I should have put the lights in sooner! The holes were drilled, and ceiling roses flued in place. I actually started this project from the bottom upwards, so the basement was done first. The lights and wires are, therefore, concealed under the flooring above, and the transformers were placed inside the house in unseen areas like the bathrooms.
The telephone is a detailed metal casting painted in black and gold and can be seen beside the dining room door. It's glued onto the wall with the handset glued into the man’s hand.
The finishing touches to the hall consisted of a few large oil paintings of the Featherstone ancestors running up the stairs, which are from the Dee-Daw Designs range.