Friday, October 9, 2009

Parquet Flooring

I have always wanted to use a parquet flooring kit, so I was extremely excited when I finally got the chance. I chose the Paris Maple Wood Flooring Kit, which is, of course, based on the classic 18th century style. Then, as an accent, I also bought a border to go around the room. Both of these can be bought at most miniature stores or online. Wood glue, an exacto knife, and a ruler were the only supplies needed, so it was time to start installing.

Instead of gluing the wood strait onto the floor I decided to glue it onto a cutout of dark brown card stock for two reasons. The first was to make it easier to measure out and lay down the wood. If I had tried to fit my hands into the actual room, the floor would have been a disaster. The second reason had to do with the visual accuracy of the flooring. The dark brown peeping through the seems made the floors look unified, rather than being separated by white cracks.

First I glued down the border. This was definitely the easiest part of the process but I did have one problem. As you can see in the top left of the border there is one less diamonds than on the bottom border. The last diamond lined up right at the corner and would have messed up the entire seem. To fix this problem I cut out the diamond and connected another strip so that it would reach the entire length. With the help of wood putty you can hardly notice any seam at all.

  • "ah oh, thats a problem"
Then it was time to start laying the parquet. The classic French style places the tiles in a diagonal pattern. This was quite handy because it also makes any room look larger. First I had to find the center of the room. Then I drew two perpendicular lines , their intersection point in the center, that extended to the outer corners of the floor. These would be my guidelines. As for the gluing, it was really easy. I just used a brush to paint a thin layer of wood glue onto the paper, then placed the wood on top. Before I knew it I had finished the majority of the floor.

Now came the hard part. For the next two hours I cut and glued the tiniest pieces of wood and inserted them into the tiniest slots................and it was so fun! Now all the pieces had been glued and I was ready to stain and wax.
For the stain, I chose a light oak color. To apply I used a rag and then simply rubbed it in. The final color was gorgeous.

Next I applied the wax finish. This seamed appropriate because a high gloss would not transfer to miniature scale very well and the wax would fill the spaces between the wood. I used Minwax Paste Finishing Wax and a cheese cloth rag. All you do is rub some wax on the cheese cloth and spread an even layer over the entire surface, then let it dry. I applied a second coat just to fill up all the gaps. Once the second coat was dry I used 0000 extra fine steal wool to buff the wood and give it a little shine. My last step was to take a look at the beautiful floor I had just created. Oh, you can have a look too.

  • applying wax

  • can you see the seam?

Making this floor was so fun and the result is absolutely amazing. I will defiantly be doing it again for my second floor. Whoever is out there reading, besides my mom or history teacher, you should absolutely try it. Until I write again, Katie.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Theme of First Floor

Now that I had a fabulous roof, the question was what to work on next. If my thought process was anywhere near normal I probably would have chosen to work on the faux stone exterior. Instead I chose to take a turn in the complete opposite direction, the interior. Looking back I most likely would have kept working on the exterior, but something got in the way. One picture in the book Period Style by Mary Gilliatt and Elizabeth Wilhide. Period Style is a history of how and why architectural and decorative elements of homes have evolved. I found my lovely inspiration room within the section about the transition from Baroque to Rococo.

  • this room is in the Grand hotel Faligan, Belgium.

This Rococo room has a color scheme of greens, creams, and of course, GOLD! The trompe l'eol style paintings were what popped out at me first. I knew that I had to have something just like it in my mini chateau. After hours of searching "18th century paintings", "rococo paintings", and anything else I could think of I finally hit the jackpot. A panoramic view of a very 18th century outing. It had cherubs dancing around fully costumed men and women in front of the most perfect light blue and green background. Once again I could not have asked for more.

After meticulous measuring I had three, two inch panels to go on one of my walls. A fireplace would go on the other wall and the floors wood be a beautiful parquet design. At his point I was thinking "OK, I have the main elements and color scheme down, but what will this rococo room be used for??". The answer to this, and many other questions was in one of my favorite movies, Marie Antoinette. As I was watching the scene of Marie's birthday it hit me. The room would be the scene of a soiree, with cards, cakes, and lots of champagne! Now I had a clear goal and was ready to get working. Next step, PARQUET FLOORING!
Untill I write again, Katie.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

First post!

Well here we go, my first post on my new blog! I'm going to start with some background info because this is definitely not the first, or even second day of my new miniature project. It has actually been about a month from when my mom pulled down a huge box from the attic one summer day. When I opened this mysterious new box I was pleasantly surprised with a cracked, brittle, and swollen piece of wood with a Bespaq sticker on it. The roof was almost completely separated from the walls, and the detailing around the door was completely ripped of the side of the building. This dilapidated piece of wood was just the sort of project I love. For the next two days I did the most sanding, wood puddying, and gluing I have probably done in my whole life. After all this work you could actually see what the chunk of wood really was. A very elegant chateau style house.

  • note the bottles of putty in the background

Originally the roof had nothing on it and it looked extremely plain. This had to be fixed. After a quick stop at Shellie's (Miniature Mania), Michael's, and the closest golf store I could find, I was ready to make a fabulous copper roof. The first thing I did was add two perpendicular pieces of, err trim I guess you could call it ( sorry still working on the lingo here), on the top of the roof. I did this to add height and make it look more like a metal roof. Wood trim was also added to the flat part of the roof for gutters. The next step is where the golf store starts to make sense. I bought lead tape ( I think golfers put it on their clubs or something) to make ribs on the roof.

Now Michael's comes in. I bought Sophisticated Finishes: Copper Metallic Surfacer and Patina Green Antiquing Solution;and just some basic copper colored high gloss paint. I didn't want the roof to be as green as the Statue of Liberty, but instead have some shinny copper popping out through the weathered green. This is why I used the regular copper paint as a base coat (after a coat of primer of course). Once the paint dried I waited for a nice foggy day in South City to use the finishes. To apply the Copper Metallic Surfacer I used a sponge to make sure there would be no brush lines. Extra paint was put in the corners where most of the water would have collected and run down. Then before the paint dries I used a combined method of spraying and flicking with a tooth brush the Patina Solution onto the roof. All that was left to do is wait for everything to dry and cross you fingers for a good result the next day. All I can say is the four leaf clover I found when I was seven must still be working because the roof turned out perfect! I couldn't have asked for anything more, especially on a first try.

  • The photo on the left I took while waiting for everything to dry. The photo on the right is the finished product.

Alrighty, that's it for tonight, my next post will be about the theme, flooring, and ceiling for the first floor.

Until I write again, Katie