Downton Manor - Interior Decoration Part 2

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26 September 2012
imports_HAC_pic-16_28701.jpg Downton Manor - Interior Decoration Part 2
In part 2 we are going to decorate the luxurious ground floor reception room of this magnificent dolls house. ...
Downton Manor - Interior Decoration Part 2 Images

Ground Floor Reception Room

The 2nd room we are going to decorate is the ground floor reception room; it is reached from the grand entrance hall by means of the double doors. I want to create a luxurious room with ornate plaster work highlighted with gold accents; I will be making a pair of luxury neoclassical drapes to compliment the room. The tutorial for the drapes will follow in Dolls House & Miniature Scene Magazine.

The first thing we need to do is to apply the flooring, I am using the same wooden flooring that I used in the hallway, and it is available from Streets Ahead suppliers. The sheets are 12 inches x 18 inches, they come with a bare wood finish which has to be treated, use a wood stain if you want a darker finish or just use a wax or varnish. If you are going to use a wood stain apply it very sparingly with a cloth, do not use a brush! If you use too much stain it will lift the wooden strips from the backing sheet and you will have to stick them with glue. When you have applied the finish to the sheet, simply cut your flooring to size, peel off the backing sheet and fit.

The decor in this reception room is very delicate; I have applied an antique wax polish (Briwax) directly to the panel and buffed it to a soft shine with a cloth.

Once the flooring is fitted we can move onto the next step, adding a chimney breast, generally speaking it should measure approx one third the width of the wall it is going on. It is a good idea to firstly choose your fire surround, then make the chimney breast to fit your surround and room size. I am using a beautiful Georgian fire surround from Sue Cook Miniatures. See 1st photo below.


The fire surround measures 6 inches wide, my room is 13 inches wide, so I am making my chimney breast 7 inches wide. My chimney breast needs to be a specific depth, this is because I am using a heavy decorative coving with matching ready-made internal and external corners, and these items are also from Sue Cook.  Ready-made chimney breast corner section. See 2nd photo above.

To make the chimney breast I am using two strips of wood 18mm x 6mm for the sides and a single piece of 2mm MDF for the face. Your fireplace can be placed directly onto the face, with brick effect paper in the opening. I will be using a working fire which will need to sit within the depth of the chimney breast, to do this, place the fire surround centrally to the MDF face of the chimney breast and mark the area of the opening.


Cut the opening 1/8 larger than the marked square, this will allow a backing for the fireplace to fit behind.  Join the wooden sides to the MDF front.

For the area behind the opening, I have made a three sided frame out 18mm x 6mm wood, this surrounds the piece of MDF we cut out of the chimney breast face. I have glued the MDF piece in place then covered it all with a brick paper.


If you are using a 12v fire, you will need to drill a small hole for the wire into the rear section. Fix the inner section to the chimney breast.

The fireplace will need a hearth, to make this, place the chimney breast on a piece of paper, draw the shape of the opening to make a template, the hearth will finish at the outside edges of the fire surround and will extend to approx ½ inch in front. 


I am making the hearth from 5mm Balsa wood, cut the balsa wood using a craft knife to the shape of your template, the fire surround will sit on the top of the hearth. The balsa hearth will be covered with a marble effect Fablon and the edges will be painted with acrylic paint to match the Fablon.

We are adding the decorative coving from Sue Cook to the room; it is easier to cut coving for the area around the chimney breast before it is fixed into the room. As you can see from my coving, I should have made my chimney breast a little bit wider as I have had to compromise on the design by cutting half rosettes. See 1st Photo below.

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Any gaps will be filled when the coving is fixed permanently to the wall. The walls have been painted in a soft peach colour and the chimney breast is fixed in place on the rear wall. The fire is also in place as the wires need to go through the rear wall. See the 2nd photo above.

The skirting board can be fitted next; I am using a very deep Georgian skirting board, fitting it is a straightforward task and just involves cutting internal and external mitres. I will also be adding some wall sockets to the room, as we may want to add some additional lighting. I have cut openings for the sockets within the skirting boards. On the wall adjoining the hallway, we brought the wire for the wall light through the wall, I am using a pilaster to conceal the wiring the skirting board has to be cut to shape around the base.


I will add 2 more pilasters either side of the fireplace. They are cream, but I have repainted them with a white paint and highlighted the relief pattern with gold. Fitting the pilasters involved cutting the skirting boards to suit and cutting the base to get the correct height to the cornice. When all of the cutting has been done, the fireplace can be fitted, I have given the fire surround and over mantle the same finish as the pilasters.

The main lighting in the room is a beautiful crystal chandelier; it hangs from an ornate ceiling rose.

The Chandelier is available from Carol's Website at a special offer price.

Finally the curtains are fitted, they have been made from pure silk in two colours, the design is based on a pair of neoclassical drapes, and the two swags meet in the centre above the pelmet and are fitted to the cornice.

The finished room is a classical reception room with a touch of luxury



Please take a moment to visit Carol Clarke's website to see more of her lovely work at


This feature was originally published in Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine. If you like making miniatures, why not buy yourself a copy of the magazine. Or better still take out a subscription so you never miss an issue. For fans of Facebook and Twitter, or to email, print or comment on the feature, please use the buttons above to share with your friends.


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