For many years I've had an old picture frame which was a bit tatty but which I rather liked anyway.   

I debated whether I would use it in the dining room as it is quite ornate and big.  When I placed it on the wall above the fireplace it came all the way up to the ceiling, it was too tall.  But then I noticed the feet of the frame...I could easily chop the bottom off.   

So that's what I did.  I cut off the bottom scrolls so the mirror fit the space above the fireplace.  I actually think it looks better without the bottom scrolls, much lighter and more elegant. 

I also cut off the back so the frame is more shallow and is more in scale with the chimney and the fireplace.  

My most difficult decision in this process was whether to gild the frame or leave it as it was.  I did like the aged look but, although it looks quite nice in the photos, in reality it looked a bit cheap and, well, tatty.  

So I took out my gilding tools and gold leaf again and gilded the mirror.  As you may know by now, I enjoy gilding and I love the reflective qualities of real gold leaf.  

It looks very shiny and new now and I am not sure if I will leave it like this but I won't apply any aging techniques to the mirror before adding other gilded elements like sconces and wall brackets.  

I found a make-up mirror which was thin enough to fit inside the frame and cut it to size.  I aged the edges of the mirror glass slightly, but in the end the aging is barely noticeable.  

For the hearth I made a black insert and a slab of marble on the floor.  I made the grey marble for another project and although I didn't use it then, it was a perfect fit and colour for this project.  The grey colour of the marble slab is repeated in the fireplace and in the floral wallpaper. 

Next step is finishing the paneling and the windows.  

This is the first of hopefully several little Imari plates I have painted for a new room in my canal house Herengracht.  I took this photo when it was nearly finished, but not fired yet.  

The idea for the new room came to me when I finally started work on the staircase I wanted for my house. The space behind the staircase was intended to be a courtyard, but as it would be almost impossible to see it without sticking your head into the kitchen, I decided to do something different and make a little tea room or tea cabinet. 

I built the staircase from oak following a template I designed.  It wasn't easy but I now have the bare bones of the staircase.  Next I have to build the sides and make stair furniture.  I want to try and make it myself, maybe do some metal casting or have it cast for me.  That may take a while ;-)  

Next to the staircase is the entrance to the dining room.  I made two sets of double doors for this room, which of course means twelve hinges to fix.  Never a job I look forward to.  But this time, apart from losing a hinge (and despite the crawling on hands and knees with a flashlight I didn't find it again) hanging the doors went well.  I have few more jobs to do on them. 

Nothing is finished or attached yet as you can see.  

View from the dining room to the hall with the staircase.  To the left of the fireplace is the second set of doors, leading to the tea cabinet.  

In Dutch houses however, a cabinet was a little or secret room used as a work room or to house an art collection and could be anywhere in the house.   My room will be filled with oriental porcelain and be used as a little tea room.  

The wallpaper I used was given to me by a friend.  I think the colour is perfect with the Imari porcelain and forms a nice contrast with the colour in the dining room.  

The floor was made by me years ago for another house and with a tiny adjustment, was a perfect fit for this room.  I think the wood I used for it is walnut.  

View of the tea cabinet from the dining room.  It really is a tiny room.  It will just about hold a table and two chairs.  It will be lit by candles or wall sconces and maybe, I'm still thinking about it, I will make a roof light in the ceiling.  

But, lots af work to do yet.  And paint and collect more porcelain.