Downton Manor Interior Decoration - Part 12

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13 January 2014
imports_HAC_pic-17-1-_39637.jpg Downton Manor Interior Decoration - Part 12
In this latest part, Carol tackles the basement with a cunning false back door and outside scene. ...
Downton Manor Interior Decoration - Part 12 Images

Downton Manor Basement

The series of decorating Downton Manor is almost at the end, last month we completed the servant’s bedroom on the top floor, in this final instalment we are moving to the very bottom of the house to the basement. This is the working hub of the house, the kitchen, laundry and store rooms would be found down here.

The original layout of the basement had three rooms of almost equal size. I am going to alter the size of the middle section to create a smaller hallway for the basement, it will have a door to the front and a false rear door which will lead to the garden, the hallway will also have stairs, although the stairs do not really lead to the ground floor they will give the illusion that they do, eventually I will adjust the ground floor to area, with some additional walls at the rear and a doorway which will suggest the stairs lead from the lower basement.



All of the walls have been painted with a light coloured matt emulsion.

Firstly we need to create the stairs, I am using a pre-made flight of stairs from Streets Ahead, they can be purchased from other good suppliers.    

I have then cut them into two pieces, at a distance of 7 treads from the bottom.

I have then removed the newel post from the upper piece.

Next we need to make a platform for the middle landing on the stairway, I have used a length of solid pine 12mm deep x 70mm wide, this width is almost the same with as my stairs, so to cut the wood I have just placed a section of the stairs on the wood and marked a line for sawing, then added an extra width of an additional newel post and the base of the upper stairs. We should now have a small square of wood that will become the platform.

Glue the lower run of stairs to the platform {7 steps) Lie the bottom of the stairs against something you know is a right angle, this will ensure the stairs will run at the right angle.    

When this has dried, glue the additional newel post and the upper flight of stairs, you will need to support the lower section to do this.


Once the glue on the stairs has dried completely they need to be stained or painted. As my stairs are made from real timber I am going to stain them and finish them with a matt wood varnish, as a contrast I am painting the hand rail black. If your stairs are made from MDF I would recommend that they be painted.

Before fixing the stairs in place we need to make a false rear wall to enclose the false stairway. Using some cardboard cut a template of the shape of the underside of the rear stairs, check it for size and make any necessary adjustments, then cut it out in MDF.


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Do the same for the lower flight and paint both pieces of MDF to match the walls.

I am also adding a rear door to the left of the stairs, the door will give us another dimension with a garden view, I have chosen a half glazed door from "Streets Ahead" with this you will be able to see the outside garden area without the need to open the door.

Mark the back false wall with the outline of the door, and cut the opening and fix in the door.

We are almost ready to fix everything in place, but firstly we need to add a picture to the area behind the door and a small panel of brick paper to the side wall.    

With the picture of the garden on the back wall, use the stairs as a template, to cut the image away following the line of the stairs.

The area will need to be lit with a bulb, preferably with a bright white light to resemble daylight.

I have used a bright spotlight.

The door will open inwards, and outside I have added some real slate pieces and some loose gravel. These have been glued down with pva glue. I have also added a pot with a shrub and place it in the corner, a touch of green coloured lichen is also glued in place.

We are now ready to fix everything in place, starting with the stairs. On testing the fit, I realised that the stairs obstructed the fitting of the rear wall due to the door frame, so I had to cut an additional one and a half treads from the upper level.
I am also having a hanging light, this will be fixed to a beam, the beam is made from solid timber, I have drilled a hole at the point where the light will hang, then on the underside I have made a groove for the wiring.

The wiring for the light needs to be fed through the rear wall followed by the stair panel then the beam can be glued into place, in this order.

Finally glue the small triangular section below the lower flight of stairs.


I have fitted wooden doors to the two openings to the adjoining rooms. Next we can fit the flooring slipping it underneath the doors, I have used some moulded flagstone flooring from Barbara's mouldings it is sold in sheets, I have simply cut it to size and glued it down using a contact adhesive.

Finish the flooring by fixing the skirting boards on top of the flooring and finish the ceiling edge with a simple coving.

The hallway is now complete and I have added a few props to finish it off.



I will be writing a project for the kitchen which will follow in a later issue of the magazine.


Please visit Carol Carke’s website for more ideas and inspiration for your dolls house.

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