Anno 2020...

...but I am not promising anything!

To give you an impression of what I have started to work on last week, I have adapted an original architectural drawing from an 18th century canal house. 
On the right you can see the front half of the canal house as it was built in the 17th century. In the 18th century a grand staircase and back house were added on. In the back house the kitchen is situated on the ground level, below the great hall.

I made a cardboard model to see how big the house would become. It is quite big. Although not much higher than my first canal house, this second house is much wider and deeper at 150 x 55 x 145 cm (59.1 x 21.7 x 57.1 inches).

For inspiration and research I have read a great many books and online sources. I love doing that. One of the pictures I came across was of this neoclassical room from 1791. I really like the dimensions here, formal but still very intimate. I decided that part of my canal house would be decorated in this style.

In my first dollshouse the windows are made with acrylic glass. Very easy to cut, lightweight, practically unbreakable and cheap. The only negative: it scratches easily. I decided to have real glass in this new house. As the granddaughter of someone in the glass industry, I thought cutting the glass would be easy. Not! 

Even though I asked "opa's" spirit several times to come and give me a hand at this glass cutting business, he must have felt it was better to learn from my mistakes...;) In the end I did manage to cut the glass the right size.

The first room I have started to work on is the dining room in the center of the house. The windows are facing the courtyard.
In the second half of the 18th century, a window was made up of 4 window panes in width. The height of the windows would depend on the height of the room, but were always kept rather big to let in lots of light.

To make working on the house and rooms easier, the house will be built as a series of separate room boxes. When they're all finished, they will fit together to form the complete house. A slight stumbling block was the construction of the double doors opening between the dining room and the front room. My problem was solved when I found this picture from 1794/95 which shows sliding doors! 

The painting by Adriaen de Lelie (which hangs at the Rijksmuseum) shows the art gallery in the canal house of art collector Jan Gildemeester. Through the open sliding doors the front room can be seen. It was probably the first time sliding doors were ever depicted, which would fit in perfectly with the time and style I want for my dining room and front room.

Both paintings are illustrations from the book 'Het Nederlands interieur in beeld 1600-1900' uitgeverij Waanders.


  1. Zo..dat is een flink project!!! Prachtig huis gaat het worden. Leuk om de vorderingen te volgen!
    Knap dat het gelukt is met het glas, dat is natuurlijk wel veel mooier dan acryl!

  2. Geweldig!!! de illustraties zijn al zo mooi. Heel spannend om te volgen hoe het huis gaat worden.

  3. I love canal houses and this one is going to be fantastic! What wonderful plans!

  4. Wow,it will be a fantastic house!I will love to see your progress.Jeannette

  5. What a great plan to have a courtyard inside the area of the house. It is going to be beautiful!

    Are you going to abandon your first house and move the furnishings into this one?

  6. a brilliant work and a very illustrative blogs congratulations

  7. WOW !I am beyond words. It will be incredibly beautiful !!!

  8. Geweldig huis en leuk om te zien hoe je het bouwt.
    Het zal wel weer prachtig worden!!!
    Groetjes Sylvia

  9. Hoi Josje,
    Geweldig...en je hebt al veel uitgewerkt voor je nieuwe Grachtenpand. Ik ben heel benieuwd hoe jouw 'pandje' er straks komt uit te zien. Zodra ik m'n glaslatten in huis heb mag ook ik gaan glas snijden.

  10. hoi Josje
    dit word ook weer een mooi grachtenpand,knap zo als jij het bouwt,en alles zelf maakt.blijf je volgen
    groetjes adrie

  11. I can't wait to see what you do next! The information about the sliding doors was facinating. I didn't realize that they were such an old invention.

  12. Zodan Josje, dat is een geweldig projekt waar je mee begonnen bent. Heel interessant, de bouwstijl uit die tijd en ook de inrichting.
    Ik ga je met veel belangstelling volgen.
    Heel veel succes ermee...

    groet Heleni

  13. oh! this is a great project! I hope you realize soon, I'm curious!
    please, because your posts are interesting, but long and difficult for me to understand, you could put the translator in your blog? thanks!
    kisses, Caterina

  14. This is going to be such a fascinating project! I really look forward to watching the canal house evolve.

  15. Thank you for posting photos of your work process. I'm beginning construction of a small structure with garden, the first time I'm attempting anything larger than small furniture. Your posts offer great insight and inspiration.

  16. Josje, I have always enjoyed reading WIP posts and yours is no exception. I do enjoy researching too. Reading your construction process juxtaposed with pictures and artwork that inspired you is engaging. Your classes must be very popular :).

    I know it will be another outstanding piece of work by you.

  17. Josje, Your Canal House is going to be GORGEOUS! I LOVE the proportions you are using! My Castle Dollhouse is made up of three separate "Sections" which sit next to each other..... I am getting away with the "double walls" at the doors by adding a thin moulding that overlaps the inside of the doorways but is only attached to one of the boxes... it allows the sections to slide apart. I think your sliding doors will be brilliant!

  18. My goodness this house is going to be amazing!!!

  19. super leuk om te volgen!!
    heel veel plezier ermee...

    fijne week en ik blijf je volgen...

    groetjes manuela

  20. THAT is a great project !
    Thank you for the beautiful illustrations you add. I am already dreaming ...

  21. Prachtig Josje en ook zo spannend om dit project te gaan volgen! Het idee van room boxen die straks één geheel zullen vormen spreekt mij erg aan....dat is ooit de opzet geweest van mijn eerste project ooit in gedachten, je weet wel mijn bijkeuken was daar de eerste room box van. Ik heb het idee laten varen, want de bijkeuken is niet meer. Alles van de bijkeuken wordt ingepast in mijn franse huis, zodat er niets verloren gaat.

    Ik wens je heel veel bouw plezier!


  22. Wow. This is amazing! I love that you are showing the steps in your design. Your windows are beautiful!
    I am especially interested in how you will do the sliding doors. I want to build some for my "modern" house, if I ever get around to working on it again...
    I am SO happy that you are back!!!

  23. A great project! With the talent as miniature artisan and the good taste in decoration choices,you showed in your previous projects, it will be a "Fairy Canal-Castle". Waiting for the pictures...

  24. Great drawing, I`m sure this house will be wonderful.

  25. So nice to read all of your enthusiastic comments!

    Catherine, I will not abandon my first canal house, although I did think about it. I am sure some furniture will find its way to my new canal house though!

    Jeffry, jij bent weer verder met de buitenkant van het huis. Het glassnijden gaat nu al wat beter, ik heb van onze lijstenmaker een ander glassnijdertje gekregen. Ik kreeg van Audrey ook nog een tip, maar daar mail ik je nog over.

  26. Eliza, I didn't think they were such an old invention either, but was very happy to find this information. The doors in the picture are still present in the existing Amsterdam canal house, which is now a beautifully restored monument.

    Caterina! Thanks you for bringing that to my attention. I have been busy yesterday and put a translator on my blog! You can find it just above my followers list.

  27. Alison, glad to be of some help in a small way :)

    Sans, it took me half a day to realise what you meant by WIP, but now I know, Work In Progress of course! Yes, I enjoy those posts as well, and I wouldn't have thought so, but so do many others it seems :)

  28. Daydreamer, yes, I was thinking along those lines as well. There were also some other minor problems connected to the doors I was trying to find solutions for, but the sliding doors resolved those. So the decision was an easy one ;)

    Sabiha dank je wel! Jouw huis wordt erg mooi, ik vind het juist leuk dat je bijkeuken daar onderdeel van wordt!

    Kathi, I think the construction of the sliding doors is not so difficult. I am working on them now, but when I'm finished I'll let you know how I have done it.

  29. What a grand project!
    Thank you for the beautiful paintings you showed us.

  30. No doubt it is a great project!! It is always a pleasure for me viewing the step by step of your awesome work. I love reading too all the interesting information you have compiled.

  31. Impresionante proyecto te has propuesto, ¡Me encanta! He disfrutado mucho viendo el paso a paso con la información añadida que nos has puesto.
    Hace verdaderas maravillas y es un honor para mi ver que te ha gustado mi biblioteca.
    Muchisimas gracias por tu comentario.
    Besitos, May

    Impressive project you have proposed, I love it! I enjoyed seeing the step by step with the added information that we have set.
    Marvels ago and is an honor for me to see that you liked my library.
    Many thanks for your comment.
    Kisses, May

  32. A great project! Thaks for the step by step and the the beautiful paintings !

  33. felicitacion,todo una maravilla,un beso,pepi.

  34. How wonderful! Thank you for sharing your the "big picture" and so clearly.