To the right of the kitchen I have started making a room which houses the laundry area, a toilet and the pantry.  In an ideal world there would be a wall closing off the toilet and laundry area from the pantry, but then you wouldn't be able to see them anymore so I left an opening there.  

Half a year ago I tiled the floor but had done nothing else to the room so my first job was to make the windows.  As this is the basement the windows are fairly small and are situated right underneath the ceiling.  The bottom of the windows is the approximate street level.  They are positioned exactly below the two windows of the Blue Salon.  


In my previous post you saw a little bit of the toilet area.  As I was thinking about how to best position this little room, I pinched a door I had made for the garden room months ago.  It looked rather nice so, being a bit lazy, I used it as the toilet door.  I can always make a new door for the other room.  






In this room the mopboards (skirting boards) are aso made up of Delft blue tiles (well, they are really paper, but sssshhh!). As the toilet area would have been a newer addition to the house, I decided to have a different mopboard here.  I used tiny white real tiles which I bought from Stacey's Miniature Masonry along with the stone flooring. I think it looks better with the toilet too.  




The toilet and sink came from my friend Elly and are by Hearth and Home Miniatures I believe.  There were some bits missing so I made a few changes here and there, and sanded and repainted much of it too.  I made a cool little video with it flushing  (shown in my previous post).  For anybody thinking that was real...sorry to disappoint you but it is a sound effect I used in my video.  

I made the loo roll holder from bits of brass I found in a drawer.   


Well, this will be the last time the toilet and sink can be seen like this, as I am putting up the walls around it.  Now you will only be able to see glimpses of it through the open door.  


The toilet area was supposed to have free standing walls which I could slide out when I had to work on the lights or anything else inside there.  But I ran into a problem with the beams, plus I didn’t like how there would be a tiny gap between the walls where they butted up against the side and back walls.

That annoyed me a few days until I came up with a solution:  I cut a hole in the ceiling above the toilet so that the toilet ceiling can be lifted off to reach the LED’s. (The house consists of a series of room boxes). The rest of the ceiling will be permanently attached and the tiny gaps between the ceiling and walls will be plastered over.   



I  used the same LED’s as in the kitchen and used a semi-transparent piece of plastic to diffuse the light a bit.  The toilet can only be seen when the door is open. As it should be of course.  Some more work to do on this but I do love it so far. 

I really like the serenity of the white colours and simple lines, but it won't remain like this as it will be part of the laundry and pantry as well. At least I will still have the photos ;-)  







Many of you will know I have been posting on Instagram for a few years now.  Recently I have been posting more there than here on my blog.  You may have noticed that through the nice Instagram widget I had at the bottom of my blog.

Unfortunately the widget makers changed some things I wasn't happy with so I removed the widget from my blog.  Pity, as I really liked it.

I know not all of you are on Instagram so I thought I would show some of my Instagram post here now and then.  What do you think?  I will start with this video (sound on!) I made just for fun of the toilet area I was working on a few weeks ago.  This is located in the room next to the kitchen.

Update:  I noticed there is no image in the top bar of the post, so I will include a photo to make up for that.




In the comments of the previous post, several of you mentioned that you were not familiar with water pumps in kitchens, so I will tell you a little bit about them here. 

The 17th and 18th century Dutch were (and still are to a degree) somewhat obsessed with cleanliness and housewives and maids were forever scrubbing, mopping and washing.  Nowadays I would say 99,99% of households are connected to mains water of course, but before mains water was common, many houses had a water pump in the kitchen.

 Pieter Janssens Elinga, ca. 1670, HermitageSint-Petersburg
No kitchen pump but a maid cleaning...notice also the Delft blue tile mopboard.
Pump systems with a tank and valves have been around since 200BC  when Greek inventor and mathematician Ctesibius invents the water organ.  In the 16th and 17th century many more inventions and developments on the water pump followed in Europe and developments continued worldwide into the present day.  In the local archives I even found a 1588 patent for one by Otto Barentsz. from Amsterdam (?). 

1588 patent water pump ( photo source))
The water in the city canals was filthy with sewage and other waste and deemed unfit for drinking even in the 16th century.  Except for cleaning the stoop and street in front of the houses, canal water was not used.  The water needed for all that washing and scrubbing came from groundwater wells and from rainwater collection.

Even this cleaner water was not generally used for drinking.  Clean (drinking) water was expensive and shipped in from the countryside.  Most people drank a very weak beer.

Kitchen pump with one handle (without internal cistern?).  Museum van Loon, Amsterdam.  
The wells for groundwater were often located in the yards close to the kitchens.  Rainwater was collected in a system of tanks and stored in a tile lined brick reservoir, often dug into the basement areas or into the gardens.  Rainwater tanks could also be found in the attics of the houses.  The poorer households made use of public wells.

17th century kitchen in the Menkemaborg, a country house near Groningen, the Netherlands
The well water and rainwater tanks each had their own pump system, so on some kitchen pumps you could see two pump handles and two large taps, each for a different water system.  Other houses had the systems separated, one in a pump house attached to the kitchen and the other one in the kitchen itself.

Kitchen pump and tap (with internal cistern), Menkemaborg
By moving the pump handles up and down or sideways, water was pumped from the large holding tanks into a small cistern located inside the kitchen pump.  With the two handled pump, the cistern would be divided into two separate areas so the water did not mix.  The tiny brass spout to the left of the big tap (photo above) is the overflow for the cistern.  With the cistern filled up you just turn the tap(s) to run the water.

Wall fountain at the Menkemaborg.  
The tanks in the attics provided water pressure to the floors below and made running water from a tap possible without the need for a pump.   That's what the small taps on some kitchen sinks are for.  Running tap water was sometimes also provided to a wall fountain with wash basin in the hallway.  (see photo above).  

Wonderful (silver?) tap on the wall fountain at the Menkemaborg.
Although not much is known about the personal hygiene in the 17th and 18th century, I have seen fountains for washing hands in several large houses.  The one at the Menkemaborg could be a 19th century one, I don't know, but in the 17th century dolls' houses a number of miniature silver fountains for washing hands can be found.

That's all I know about the kitchen pumps and their water supplies.  Below some photos of kitchen pumps I made in the past for several roomboxes.

Kitchen pump (no cistern), 17th century style roombox No. 1 (by Josje)

Kitchen pump (no cistern), 17th century style roombox No. 2 (by Josje)

Kitchen pump in miniature kitchen (19th century), Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Copy of a kitchen based on the miniature kitchen at the Rijksmuseum (by Josje).  See blogpost here.

Kitchen pump (with cistern) from the kitchen mentioned above (by Josje).  See blogpost here.




Thank you for all the lovely comments on my previous post on the kitchen.  I had a problem posting my replies, they all seem to have disappeared into thin air...



I continued working on the kitchen.  As I mentioned in my previous post, removing the side wall exposed the unfinished side of the water pump.   I had wanted to tile it with a lovely flower scene I had painted a few years ago, but it just didn't fit nicely on there so I decided against that idea.

The best option was to just take the top off and put a new one on there around the tree sides.  As always with these types of changes, I ran into all kinds of little things which needed adjusting because of the changes.  But one thing at a time and eventually it all fitted back together again.

still didn't make a new handle for the pump.  As I mentioned six years ago as well ;-) this one is far too big.


Next on the list was finishing the wall on the right side of the room.  I wanted a simple white plastered wall and continue the skirting board of Delft blue tiles.  The tiles then serve as a true mopboard, protecting the walls from splashing water when mopping the floor.

Unfortunately I lost all of my tile files during a computer crash a few years back, so I had to start all over again.  It was a lot of work to find all the right tiles, get them the right size, colour etc. to print them and use them like I did on the other wall.

On to the ceiling.  I found photos of a Herengracht basement kitchen on a real estate website.  The photos clearly showed where the ceiling beams were and how they were part of the structure of the building.  The 18th century dolls house belonging to Sara Rothé shows the same position of the beams in the kitchen.  A cross beam supports the fireplaces on the floors above.

In my kitchen the beams supporting the walls are all plastered over, the rest of the beams are visible.


I made a wide chimney breast over the AGA cooker.  The chimney breast would have been much lower originally but I didn't want to cover up the tiles on the wall.  It was probably shortened during some renovation in the past ;-)  



In a drawer I found a battery operated strip of LED's.  I have never used LED's before but I thought they would look nice inside the large chimney breast.  So I cut off a length and soldered them to the wires of a transformer.  These run on 4,5 Volts.

With normal light bulbs it doesn't matter, but with LED's it is important to connect the plus and minus correctly.  If the lights don't work when the power is on, the wires may be the wrong way round and you'll have to change them over.



I really like the effect of the light coming from the chimney.  For the AGA flue pipe I made a simple round connector into the chimney.  Once the ceiling is permanently attached, the AGA will be kept in its place this way.


More lights were needed of course.  I had kept two applicator caps of hair colour bottles in my stash for years.  They have the perfect shape for pendant lights.  

Making the lights was fairly easy to do:  I cut off the screw tips, primed them, sprayed them a marble colour, cut plastic inserts for them, glued on metal caps, cut brass tubing and threaded wired bulbs through them, glued it all together and finally installed them.  Installing them was the most difficult part!


I must say I think they are a success, I really like them.  Such a pity they changed the bottle caps on the hair colour bottles! ;-) 





And finally, just for fun, another shot of the kitchen in progress.  A little further back.  A messy worker...who?  Nooooo, not I.... ;-)








When I started writing this post I wanted to pick up the post on laying the floor in the kitchen which was about two years ago, or so I thought.  Uhm, no, not two years ago but six years ago!  Six years already!  Time just whizzes past.  


Anyway, six years ago when I bought the flagstones at the KDF in London, I only bought enough flagstones to cover the visible areas of the kitchen floor.   This past winter I decided I wanted to tile the entire ground floor with the same flagstones so I ordered several boxes of marl flagstones from Stacey's Miniature Masonry online. 


As I now had ordered enough flagstones I chose to patch the areas of the kitchen floor which I had not put any tiles six years ago: underneath the AGA and along both side walls where the cupboards were.  


The patchwork was easy to do and I soon moved on to the room next to the kitchen in the basement.  This room is at the front of the house and will probably be part pantry, part study.


The marl stone is real stone but very easy to cut and sand.  The flagstones don't have to be sanded after laying them, but I like to have a smooth surface on them so I do sand.  It does create the most enormous mess so it is best to do this outside.  


For me it was easy to work outside as I glued the marl stone onto a mat board template of my floor.  The mat board is strong and fairly rigid yet light and easy to cut.  


When it was finished it was simply a matter of dropping the floor into place.  Perfect!  
In the photo above I was trying out where the pantry should go and I put a small mock up in the kitchen.  It's not going there.  It will probably be much bigger and on the other (right) side of the wall.


I thought I'd show you this photo of the kitchen floor weighted down with my lovely old irons.  Aren't they great?  You can pick them up cheaply, are quite heavy, perfectly flat underneath and even come with handles.  The perfect weights.  

After six years of deliberation ;-) I decided to change the layout of the kitchen walls a bit.  I removed the small side walls, basically making the kitchen a big rectangle.  That meant even more restoration work on the floor.  


Most of the flagstone patchwork will disappear underneath the kitchen cabinets, but not this tiny bit of restoration.  I considered taking out the flagstones in that section and replacing them with new ones, but I must admit I rather like the patchwork effect, adding a sense of history to the house.


Removing the side walls also means the water pump will be exposed on that side.  I will probably tile the side of the pump house, I'm not sure how I will fix that yet.  The pump also needs a new handle as this one is too big.  


On that side I'm also adding a modern appliance in the form of... a dishwasher!   I have started soldering the racks for the dishwasher.  Not so easy for me as I'm not good at soldering.  Since I took these photos I have re-soldered most of the joints on the rack, making it a bit less clumsy.


Building the dishwasher will take some time and figuring out.  In the mean time I continued with hinging the kitchen door.  Now you may remember I am building this house as a series of roomboxes which can be stacked together to form one big house, eventually.  


In principle this means it is much easier to work with than an entire house.  Unless of course you have already built, decorated and furnished several of the upper floors.  And they are stacked on top of the room you want to work on.  Then there's a problem.  


But after some acrobatics and balancing acts worthy of a circus I managed to uncover the kitchen roombox without incident.  I don't think I could have hinged the kitchen door any other way than by laying the roombox on its side on my work bench.  


The door is finally hinged!  And it only took 6 years ;-)  I added door knobs and a lock and made little face plates and bolts.  Non working, but I think they look convincing.


Yes I have noticed I need to clean it up some more and retouch the paint.  I mixed my own paint colour for the kitchen cabinets and door and I must say I found it a bit of a miracle that a. I was able to find the paint pot again, and b. the paint was still useable.  


This corner of the kitchen is finished.  Now I have to make a cooker hood (or a chimney is more appropriate), shelves, a fridge, a ceiling, lights... Plenty to do before I can put all the other roomboxes back on top of this one.