After building the flat pack shell of Featherstone Hall Hotel and decorating the outside, Julie Jackson of Dee-Daw Designs was pleased to finally get into the doll house. ...
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.
When designing the receiption, I knew exactly the look I was going for. Inspired by the Montague on the Gardens in London, where the reception is stunningly decorated in black and white with immaculate and attentive staff, 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 1 inch square tiles and painted half 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 acess 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 cut down plastic garden raillings. Trimmed to make spindles and glued at a 45 degree angle on the underside of the handrail with super glue - a very fiddly operation. A corresponding hole was made with a bradawl in the steps of the installed stairs to take the bottom of each spindle. This was not the easiest, and I learnt from my mistakes to put the holes into the steps before inserting them on the next floor!
Under stairs room
I made the understairs wall cutting it to size before inserting the stair spindles. This was then checked to make sure it fitted before covering it with the reception wall paper. I glued a lamp on the inside to illuminate the hidden room. The wall was fitted in place with a pre-painted door added. The door has a 'private' sign on it and a knob and lock.
The final part of the reception decoration was to add the swag and bow coving and the two ceiling roses for the light fittings. The gold fringing and bows on the coving were pre-painted along with the highlighted ceiling roses before these were fitted. I also papered the grand hall above the reception before fitting this coving 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, then highlighted the hand carved details with gold to complete the look. The doors I used throughout the hotel were supplied with keys, so I raided the packs to part fill the pigeon holes with sets of keys. The other bays were filled with letters, notes and newspapers. The desk is completed with an oil lamp, more letters, a register with pen, other papers and a hand bell. These two pieces were then glued into position.
Wall shelving unit, hall table and central chair
The shelf unit is also from Bespaq given the black and gold treatment 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 black and gold. The central chair is a Bespaq round black leather chair. The carved wood is painted gold, and a small garden urn painted white with floral arrangement was placed in the centre.
It was at this point I realised I should have put the lights in sooner! The holes were drilled, and ceiling roses glued in place. I actually started this project from the bottom upwards, so the basement was done first. Lights and wires are therefore concealed under flooring above, and transformers placed inside the house in unseen areas like bathrooms.
Had originally been planned to go where the wall shelf ended up, luckily it fitted in well beside the dining room door. It is a metal casting with fabulous detail, painted in black and gold. This is glued onto the wall with the handset glued into the mans hand.
The final finishing touches to the hall consisted of a few large oil paintings of the Featherstone ancestors running up the stairs. These are from the Dee-Daw Designs range.
This feature was originally published in Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine. If you like miniatures and reading about them why not buy yourself a copy of the magazine. Better still, take out a subscription so you never miss an issue. If you are a fan of Facebook or Twitter, please use the buttons at the top of this page to share with your miniature loving friends.
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