08 October 2012
Julie Jackson has a soft spot for the butler's scullery, as it was the first room in the hotel she decorated. Found out why, as we continue with the Featherstone Hall series...
When Julie began this project (over 2 years ago) after building the house and basement, she started the interior decoration with this room. She still remembers vividly, looking at the completed shell and empty interior and giving herself a good 'talking to' about not being intimidated by the vast space in front of her and to get on with it a room at a time!
The butler's scullery
As is usual with any project of Julie’s, she had a play in the undecorated space to confirm her furniture layout. This gave Julie an idea of the depth she wanted for the room, and she installed a false back wall. After tiling the floor, she painted the room white and installed the window. This let light into the dark backend of the room, and left space over the sink in the foreground for a shelving unit.
A dry run with the furniture, cupboards and worktops in position
Cupboards and worktops
As the scullery is a working room, Julie wanted cupboards and work surfaces as well as a sink. To create the fitted base unit cupboards, she used some shop counters. Julie removed the acrylic glazing from these, and created false doors and drawer fronts with rectangles of Plastruct sheet glued onto the front. As the shop counters did not sit neatly together, Julie notched out the corners with a junior hacksaw, to make them look like built-in units. They were then spray-painted white and finished with brass draw pulls and door knobs.
To make the wooden workbench top, Julie used some strip wood cut at 45 degrees across the ends to form a U-shaped worktop to sit on top of the base units. The wall unit was a base unit with the glazing removed to make a shelving unit and false drawer fronts on what should’ve been the plinth.
The units and worktop were glued into position, as were the skirting and door architrave
The sink and shelving unit were glued into position next. Above the ceramic double drainer sink, Julie added a narrow shelf of Pastruct and above that, a double row of white tiles. The wooden shelving unit was glued in position above the tiles. Please see the 2nd photo above for this stage of the build.
Fixing the lighting
Two pendant oil lamps were hung from the scullery ceiling with channels routed in the top of the basement to take the wires.
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Dressing the room
Dressing the room
Julie started dressing the room from the back to the front. The wall unit was loaded with tureens, meat dishes and plates. On the workbench below and under the window, she placed as many silver items as she could find, so that when the light came through the window, the silver would sparkle.
One of Julie’s favourite things in the room is the knife cleaner in the corner next to the window. Originally, knives would be inserted into the brass sockets around the rim, the handle was turned which pushed felt pads and bristles past both sides of the knives. Julie made hers from a fantastic cast metal and resin kit, and painted it to match a picture of one she found on the internet.
Dressing the sink became a messy business. Julie wanted to fill a tin bath with scenic water to stand under the sink... rule number one when adding liquid to a container, check it’s watertight! Julie couldn’t believe how much scenic water it was taking to fill the tin bath, until she saw the puddle underneath it! She managed to fix it to a block of wood, but it was still leaking, although the flow had lessened. Once it had finally cooled, she pulled off the leaked bit, re-melted it, and used it to top up the bath.
Julie also filled the sink with scenic water, and a shallow bucket to which she added a mixture of silver cutlery and utensils. The sink was finished with some soaps and cleaning liquids on the Plastruct shelf. Upturned glasses just washed and draining on the drainer, and a cleaning cloth over the handle of the cutlery bucket.
Shoe cleaning caddy
Under the sink with the tin bath, Julie placed an empty bucket, and another of her favourite items, a lovely little shoe polish caddy. This was bought from her local dolls house shop and filled up with brushes, cloths and tins of shoe polish. She finished the group with a pair of muddy riding boots standing on a piece of newspaper and to add life to the montage, a cat has cornered a large rat under the sink!
Muddy boots and the cat with the rat
The shelving unit over the sink completes the wet area of the scullery and is filled with a selection of cleaning and polishing products, plus an oil lamp and chamber stick for emergencies.
Every room in the hotel has a human occupant (apart from the luggage room full of cats...) and in this one, a Footman is polishing shoes. He’s kitted out with a rustic style apron to protect his uniform. He’s working on a newspaper-covered bench with his back to the window and surrounded by already cleaned, and about to be cleaned, shoes and boots.