Monday, January 9, 2012

Two Steps Forward and One Step Back

Behind Closed Doors

A closed door that WON'T open is something that I find to be Very annoying, Dear Readers, even though I am aware that the Illusion of Another World behind a door that is Closed can be very useful and Intriguing. I wanted that Illusion of More Space in my Cupboard House, and so I planned to put a door to "Nowhere" at the back of the Entry Hall just to suggest that there was more house behind it. But once I had put the door there.... I just Could NOT stand to have it glued shut forever! And since there really was NO ROOM beyond the door... I decided to paint a "trompe l'oeil" room behind the door...... so that when you open the door......

It APPEARS as if there is a room beyond......

That you could ALMOST imagine walking into.......

But really, if you look closely, or at the wrong angle....
you can tell it is just a painted wall!
Here below you can see the painted wall without the door frame in front of it....
(and the hallway partition is also removed....)

And here is a closer view of the painting......
Just so you can see all the faults and rough spots......
It is painted directly onto the back wall of the Cupboard.......

And a small panel of plywood the same thickness as the Hallway walls
has a cutout for the door frame to sit flush against, so that when it opens.....

There is a tiny amount of depth to the space behind the door.......
which only adds to the illusion....!
Such a silly little Hidden detail.... as the door will be Mostly SHUT.....
But I LOVE it!

On another note.... you May remember that I left you Hanging in Uncertainty about the level of Detail I was going to use for the Dining Room Floor! I got Very distracted by the Holidays..... but I DID manage to complete the floor! When you saw it last it looked as follows..... I had started the edges and then got entangled in the possibility of complex patterns..... and knowing NOTHING about the pitfalls of such patterns.... I Jumped in and let the pattern take over.....

I am Pleased and proud to say that I did NOT give up!
I made the pattern work for the Whole floor!
And THIS is what I ended up with..... it may be Unconventional.....
But I still think it is quite Handsome!

Here you can see it with the walls in place......

And Clarence even came to inspect the workmanship!
(I think he is wondering what is Taking SO LONG...!)

He has to make sure the Doors are Working too......

As soon as he was done with the Inspection.....
I was able to put on the dark Walnut stain....

Which I think just makes the floor so Gorgeously Dark and Victorian....
with that mysterious pattern shining through.....

I will ALMOST be sad to cover it with a carpet......
WHEN I get around to the Carpets.....
Which could be Quite a while.....

So I'm Really GLAD it is so Handsome in the meanwhile......!

I have also made a START....
a VERY Rough and Hesitant start on the Fireplace.....

It is going to be an elaborate marble fireplace surround.....
which I am making out of wood and sculpey.......
more details to follow........

But MEANWHILE, I have suffered a Setback on the Ceiling!

I had glued the elaborate decorative molding to the ceiling around the painted central section...
You can see it below as it was just after I put up the wallpapers...

And here is a closer shot of the ceiling right after assembly.....
back in the Humid days of August...
while Hurricane Irene was drenching our world......
You can see how smooth the gilded papers are.......

Well, the other day I heard a loud "THUNK" coming from the Cupboard House..... and upon investigation I found that a whole section of the ceiling trim had simply fallen off the ceiling!!! The carpenter's wood glue that I had used simply let go!
The air is Extremely dry here right now...
and the ceiling is made out of a large thick board....
so a good deal of shrinkage seems to have happened.....

Just LOOK at the wrinkles in the Gold paper!!!!
This is Really a Bit SHOCKING!
But Really, it is probably a GOOD thing to have it happen at THIS stage of the building rather than later on when it is so much harder to fix......
But I am become aware that I have to learn a LOT MORE about GLUE!!!

And Hopefully, NOT all the Hard way!

Two Steps Forward and One Step Back


  1. Like the effect with the door, it is well done too.

  2. Oh Betsy I love the door with the trompe l'oiel behind it. Wow on the dining room floor, you are so patient. The dark stain makes it look so rich. Bummer on the ceiling, I guess if it had to happen this was a good time. Maybe use some E6000 glue, it is my go to glue :)


    1. Thanks, Victoria! I've gone shopping for some E6000 and will give it a try! I really appreciate your suggestion! I'll keep you posted!

  3. That painted room is great idea and nice done!. Beautiful.The dark floor looks wonderful too, really pitty cover that with carpets and furnitures! :) I think that the wrinkels in the ceiling looks nice: I know you might not like them, couse you didn´t mean them to be there, but it doesn´t look like something has gone, wrong. :) The ceiling is very beautiful too!

    1. Thank you Johanna! I agree about the carpets.... but knowing me, it will take me a Long time to get the right one! So we can look at the floor for quite a while! I'm glad you think the ceiling is okay with the wrinkles.... I am just going to see if it changes again in the summer! Thanks for commenting.

  4. I like the trompe l'oeil you have made! It adds such a nice extra to the room.
    Sorry to read about your problem with the glue. I don't have experience with humidity so I can't offer advice from experience. But mabe you can use glue which is not water based?

    1. Thank you, Josje! I am glad you like my "extra" room!
      I am going to try the glue Victoria suggested. I'm sure I will find something that does the job!

  5. Its all looking really nice, I am very impressed with your floor and cant wait to see what you do with the fireplace.

  6. beautiful idea the ​​trompe l'oeil! fantastic also the floor, I made a similar, much easier, and I know what it means.... Very good!!!!!

    1. Thank you, Luisa! I'm glad you like it! Welcome to my blog and Thanks for commenting!

  7. For all the problems you have had, everything looks great! I love the flooring and can't wait to see what you do with the fireplace.

    1. Thank you, Diane! Welcome to my blog! I'm glad you like it!

  8. I really liked the scene beyond the door, very smart!
    The floor of the fireplace room was amazing! I really like what you are doing in your house. ;)

  9. you are so clever! I never would have thought to put a trompe l'oiel behind that door. I really like coming here and looking at the progress sorry about your ceiling though.

    Marisa :)

    1. Thanks, Marisa! You can come on over any time! I'm happy you like it! I am sure I will get the glue figured out... and I think it is better to find out now than later! It's all for the best!

  10. Well done, it looks perfect. The fireplace looks good too, It always looks great when you have made something yourself. What a difference the finished floor makes, and the dark finish looks very suitable for the room.
    Best wishes

    1. Thanks, Simon, for your vote of confidence! I sometimes think it looks great if OTHER people have done something.... but I am trying to learn to make more for myself... So there are a few ups and downs! I agree that the dark finish makes the floor!

  11. Betsey, every time I read your posts my eyebrows raise as I go through your process-my eyebrows flew off my face when I saw how beautiful your floor turned out. I went buggy just placing my craft stick floor all lined up in one direction, comforting myself with the idea that if it looked unskilled it meant that my house was, a. weathered, or b. a barn floor, so let's called it rustic and let it go at that. Your beautiful work demands such patience, care, craft, skill, and dare I say it, math!

    I love love love your idea for the tromp l'oeil room in the back-that is inspired genius. Anything that extends an illusion is a wonderful thing-maybe that's why I love old style museum dioramas so much, those amazing painted backgrounds. And stage sets, the scenes beyond windows on tv soundstages, that whole real, not real. Magic!

    1. Thanks Amy! (I LOVE the image of your eyebrows flying off like in a cartoon.... :):)) To tell you the truth... NO MATH was used here... just the old Cut it and see method! I think I would have failed if I tried the math route... because the sticks are not all identical widths.... which I was able to use to my advantage as soon as I figured that out!
      I agree with you about the Magic of the Not-quite-real... it's what the whole mini world is about, really... and I also LOVE the old fashioned Museum Diorama painted backgrounds... IF I could paint like THAT.... Well, I Try to paint like that! I'm still learning!

  12. I LOVE your painted room! Such a clever idea! Good you couldn't resist it, Betsy!
    And the floor looks amazing! You ARE a Very patient Lady!Don't know if I ever decide to put such complicated pattern!
    Can't wait to see more of the fireplace.:)
    And I am so sorry about your beautiful ceiling but really it is better that it happened now that later. Hope it will be easy to fix and put in place.

    1. Thanks, Ewa! Someday I'd like to try a REAL complicated floor pattern.... one that requires Exact cuts...! This was a Good learning experience... but it really has quite a few flaws.
      I'm glad you like my Secret room!
      I'm going to try Victoria's glue on the ceiling. I think it is for the best that it happened now rather than later!

  13. Who woulda thunk? I agree with everyone else that if it had to happen now is better than later (the ceiling, of course). Maybe the glue someone suggested will work... Maybe paint? More tromp l'oeill? I do love the room behind the door. I should think that would have a lot of fun applications.
    Talk soon,
    Love, Mom

    1. Ha Ha, Mom, you crack me up! (It took me a minute to hear the Thunk... !)

  14. I don't like permanently closed doors either, so I love what you did with the trompe l'oeil!! And the fllor is really beautiful!
    What a shame the ceiling fell off, I hope you can restore it!

    1. Thanks, Margriet! I'm trying the glue Victoria suggested.... I'm sure I will find the right one! And I'm learning as I go!

  15. Hi,

    There's so much here that I like I'm not sure where to start! the trompe l'oeil works brilliantly, and I love ove the curved staircase too. the floor in the main room looks great and the ceiling is good too, despite your small set back. The wall paper is also a perfect choice for this room, just the right colour!

    keep up the great work!

    Andy xx

    1. Thanks, Andy! I Really like it that you like so much about this house! Those curved stairs are a treat..... there are some in local old houses that are my inspiration.... only wish I had a real one! And the wallpaper is just plain Yummy!

  16. Hi Betsy!

    Great job on the door! My house has the same 'back-wall door feature' and I found it really added depth to get a glimpse of space beyond. Bummer about the ceiling --a drop or two of Super Glue will keep it in place until your adhesive dries.


    1. Thanks, John! I LOVE your "Back View" at Merriman Park! It is way more Elegant than this back room... but I did want more Rooms in my Dollhouse! (An Upper level will probably have to have a terrace view!)

  17. Excellent post and I like it. I find it useful as well. Thank you for sharing.

    houses for sale philippines

    1. Thank you, Charles! Welcome to my blog! I'm glad you like it!

  18. There are way too many things I love about what you have done thus far. And where this post is concerned, I love EVERYTHING!

    Firstly, that trompe l'oeil. I have very mixed feelings about trompe l'oeil but almost always, I find them very clever. It's the fake looking like real yet fake enough so people can tell they are not real thing I am ambiguous about . I love yours though . I think trompe l'oeil in a dolls' house is like the ultimate illusion :).

    Then that floor. Oh, Bets, I must implore you to consider NOT covering that beautiful beautiful floor. Only a teeny bit, if you must , like a small rug but not most of it! That floor is as handsome as Clarence- if there is such a simile, and if there isn't, let's just invent one now :).

    Then the ceiling. I am not sure how humid your place is but mine is like 100% if that means anything to you. How I did my wall papering is the paper mache method of dunking the paper into a bowl of glue-water mixture. They stick without bubbles and so far I have had no problems .

  19. Thank you, Sans! I'm glad you like Everything!!!! I will probably not cover the floor for a LONG time.... I have some carpet ideas... but what I REALLY want to do is needlepoint..... *SIGH* I have a LONG way to go! But it will be worth it!
    As for the ceiling Sans, I think it is the problem of too humid one part of the year and too dry the other part.... the wood swells and shrinks... and I think the Gold "Paper" is more like a weatherproof plastic it DOESN'T shrink! I cut it up from a Christmas wreath ribbon meant to last outdoors! LOL! Serves me right for using more Christmas things..... I think it will work okay even if it gets wrinkly every year for half the year.... like an old fashioned barometer!
    I'm glad you like my fake back room.... I just couldn't resist!