Languishing beauties

I have started on a new house. Ah, I can hear you say: "What, another one? But you haven't even finished your first house and just recently started building the second!" Well dear friends, you are right. I will tell you what happened...

Remember this beauty?  I found her last year at the flea market in Lille (see my post on it here).  I had her on display in my real house for about a year now, but wanted to use her in a miniature scene.   She didn't really fit in either of my Canal Houses, so I thought of maybe using her in a small roombox.

Then there is this beauty.  I know, she doesn't look like it now, but she has the right bone structure and just needs some careful dressing and styling to turn her into something wonderful.  I bought this Georgian style house from a very talented man several years ago.  He had started building it and partially wired it, but could not finish it due to medical problems. 

Although the structure is quite large, the hall and staircase are huge, making the rooms -which have all different levels- on both sides fairly small.  For a long time I had plans to make it into my own costume institute and house my beautiful costume collection.  As my costume collection so far only exists in my head, the house stood in a corner of my workshop, collecting dust and housing spiders. 

I had made up my mind to sell the house, when all of a sudden I heard a little voice saying "Please give the house to me?  I will make it into a lovely, comfortable country house!"   How could I refuse?  I could see it so clearly:  a well loved house, which has been in the family for many years.  Set in the years before the second world war...
Yes, I had the builders in immediately, pulling down walls, raising ceiling heights...

But the real birth of the new house started with this little bundle of joy. A few weeks ago my carpenter friend gave me some pieces of beautiful (and apparently quite rare!) American Black Walnut veneer.  I am always very grateful for these leftovers as they are perfect for my miniature projects.

I took advantage of the hot weather we were having up until last week, and spent some time in the garden cutting hundreds of parquet flooring pieces.  I then spent a leasurely afternoon sitting in the shade, fitting all of the pieces together to make up a beautiful floor. 

I built a Georgian fireplace mantel to complement the Georgian façade of the house.  It looks very good in the room.  I put some odd pieces in the room to see how it worked, and even though it really is a small room (as you can see clearly in this picture the room is on two levels as well)  I think it will work. 

I decided on a brick back for the hearth,  to match the parquet flooring.  The bricks I used are leftovers from the ones I used on the street in front of my Canal House.  Never throw anything away ;)
With watered down acrylics I changed  the colours of the bricks a bit to go with the warmer tones of the floor. 

From my stack of fabrics I picked out the colours I wanted to use in the room.  The pretty portrait was the starting point for it all.

For the chimney breast and the back wall I used this very attractive moiré print cotton.  I love the subtle playful lively effect against the rather strict and architectural fireplace mantel.

On the other walls in the room I used this warm red cotton with linen effect.  I must say how much I love working with fabric,  I think I will use it all through this house.   Must order a lot more though, as I am fast running out on my stock.
By looking at this last photo, can you guess what my overall theme for the house will be?


  1. Bravo ! It's really hard to find a miniature maker that makes houses with realism and you really got it! And this lovely floor ! What kind of wood and tools do you use for the parquet floor?

  2. Se ve precioso todo!! Habrá seguir pendiente de los progresivos avances!! Un saludo y enhorabuena por tan maravilloso trabajo!! Todos necesitamos alguna vez, una segunda oportunidad!!

  3. Thank you Tam toum! The wood I have used for this floor is American Black Walnut, 1,4 mm thick. You need about twice as much wood as will fit the space before cutting it into strips. I used my circular saw to cut all of the pieces to width and length. Then glued the floor onto a card template. Sanded it well, finished with some shellac, more sanding, then two coats of bees wax. To cut the strips around the floor at an angle, I use a simple mitre box and saw. The trick here is to measure, measure, measure, then cut :)

  4. Thank you Pedrete! I think the house is grateful for its second chance as it is showing me lots of potential even in these early stages!

  5. Josje the house is going to be beautiful, I love the colors you chose and the floor is stunning. I am guessing Christmas is going to be your theme if I can take a lead from the name of your photo "Kersthuis".

  6. Josje, I am so happy you have decided to keep this house! You are the perfect one to decorate it. I remember when you posted about the beauty that you had found. She is stunning and will look wonderful over the mantle! I love what you have done so far. The floor,fireplace and fabric choices are brilliant! This will be a great project of yours to follow! You have impeccable taste!

  7. Haha Elga, you cheated! But yes, you are right, it will be my Christmas House. Also something I had wanted to do for some time, even though I did have a slightly less grand looking house in mind for that. But plans have changed :)

    Patty, thank you! Yes she really looks gorgeous over the mantle/mantel (?) Her eyes are the same colour as the moiré fabric and the colours of her hair and lips are picked up in the room as well.

  8. Your floor is really nice! What a lot of work, but now you have been rewarded with the stunning floor. I also love getting all sorts of little things that other people just want to throw out. It's gold for us, who make thumbnails.
    hugs Eva

  9. Ops, my comments seem to vanish...I'll try again.
    I remember her well and she will be so happy in her new beautiful home, I already love it. Please kepp us imformed.
    Have a nice evening, Rosanna

  10. Wat leuk om de foto's te zien van het zagen in een beataand huis. Zie dat de zaag niet in de hoeken kan komen die jij wilt, wat een werk. Gelukkig wordt het uiteindelijk weer perfect. Je vloer is geweldig geworden en ben erg benieuwd naar het vervolg.

  11. Yes another house!! This one looks quite interesting. Just love it.
    Today I was stripping off the paint of my other dollshouse...I feel I don't have to explain that here.
    Looking forward to see more if your 3th house!!

  12. It is going to be another beautiful house. I love the fabric on the walls.

    How nice that you were given that veneer to make the walnut floors. Do you have enough to do more rooms?

    Is the miter box you have one of those with the hand saw that fits into it? Don't you like that new hand tool (with jaws) that cuts wood at different angles?

  13. I love the little portrait. I think it is wonderful to build a house around it! So impressed with the floor.

    Can wait to see more.

  14. Eva, yes I am so grateful for these little gifts, it makes my dollshouses even more special.

    Rosanna, I had a problem with vanishing comments last week. Even though I had not changed anything to my settings it turned out I had to change the third party cookies settings.

    Roelie, ja ik heb niet zo'n Japanse zaag die je vlak tegen het plafond kan zetten, dus het was een beetje wringen en wurmen. Maar toch gelukt :)

    Jeffry, you must have seen the house when you were here I think? Or maybe it was hiding underneath a lot of junk, haha! Yes the third house..oh where am I going to put them all??

    Catherine, yes, just one of those small ones with a saw which fits in there. Do you mean one of those scissor type things? I don't really like those as they are not that precise and they can dent the wood.
    I don't have enough veneer to do all of the rooms, nor would I want to, it is a lot of work!! I am lazy ;)

    Heather. thank you!

  15. The floors turned out beautiful. It looks like it's going to be a really lovely house. =)

  16. Josje,

    you are a marvel....what an extraordinary beauty she is,if only she new she was the source of such inspiration.

    You will do her image proud and I can't wait to follow your progress. The floors and fabric walls are stunning!

  17. Josje, The scissor things are called Easy Cutters I believe. I know I have those and a miter box. My problem with the miter box is the stupid saw that comes with it. It is too coarse! I usually have to use my jewelers saw with it so I can choose what size blade I want to use. The problem is those blades can cut right through the miter box.

  18. Oh my goodness, Josje, that floor is exquisite! My floor seemed like it was painstaking work, but that parquet....that is intricate, beautiful work. I love your fireplace and the fabric you are using, as well.


  19. Wat een schoonheid is die dame. Je hebt er prachtige stoffen bij uitgezocht.
    Dit gaat weer een mooi huis worden Josje. Ik kan me al verheugen op je vorderingen.
    Veel succes en plezier met bouwen.

    groet Heleni

    ps. Zo heb ik nog een prachtige tekening van een meisjeshoofd. Heeft mijn moeder, wel zestig jaar geleden, gekregen van iemand waar ze voor gewerkt heeft. Kan ik misschien ook wat mee.......

  20. oh wow Josje, how I wish I had found your blog earlier, your work is exquisite!

    *goes off to rummage through your archive*


  21. This house is going to be another beautiful treasure, the perfect location for the beautiful portrait that inspired you. The flooring is a real delight, a wonderful beginning.

  22. So glad that house is getting a new lease on life!

  23. The portrait is an excellent starting point for your new project and an inspired idea. Like the others, I'm very impressed with your floor (and your patience!).

  24. Prachtig, de kleuren alleen al!!
    Ik probeer zelf elk jaar naar Lille te gaan ( wat niet altijd lukt) maar als je dan met zoiets moois thuiskomt en er groeit zo'n prachtig project uit, is het helemaal een aanwinst.
    Mooi ook de stof op de muren, die ga ik onthouden hi, hi
    Succes verder en we gaan het volgen,

    Groetjes Sylvia

  25. Josje you have done a wonderful job of that floor - bravo! And picking up the colours from the portrait is very clever. Your decorating skill is shining through in this project. I love the fabric on the walls, both the texture and the colours. Subtle and beautiful.
    Sandie (Snippets from my Studio)

  26. What a beautiful project! I love what you have already made.
    I understand why the portrait inspired you. I can't wait to see more...

  27. Hello Josje,
    I think it's fantastic that you saw the potential int his house. The structure is absolutely charming and I'm sure you can give it a new beginning. The portrait is lovely and a great piece to inspire a project. I look forward to seeing more.
    Best wishes,

  28. A beautiful floor and fireplace. And wonderful with fabrics on the wall!
    I`m so glad you have kept the house, already looking forward to see more.

  29. She is so gorgeous. There is some mystery in her blue eyes. How lucky you are to have such a great friend with Walnut veneer. The floor looks amazing, just like the whole idea.

  30. That parquet floor is amazing. i have parquet floors but i din't install plank by plank. It is amazing, really amazing!

  31. Wat een leuk verhaal met de foto's van dit huis en spannend om te zien hoe jij dit allemaal mooi gaat maken!
    Groetjes Nancy


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