Thursday, 16 February 2012

My Latest Dolls House Project: Welcome to The Swan Inn


I finally feel ready to unveil the latest dolls house project that I have been working on for the past year. It's been sitting in the cellar with me for most of this winter, and I haven't done much with it for a while. It is an English country pub, based an a design plan taken from Brian Nickolls' book Making Character Dolls' Houses, the same book that I got the plans for my Georgian House from! Just like the Georgian House, I have adapted the plans slightly and made some changes that suited me.


I have enjoyed making this dolls house, and can certainly see a marked improvement in my woodwork skills between this one and the Georgian House I built first. It's neater, with a crisper finish. I chose a simple off white colour for the exterior, The colour you see is actually a second choice, as the first paint I used looked almost the same as the colour I had used on the window frames, and I wanted a bit of contrast. All the main construction of this house is now finished, it's just the details I need to work on now, a pub sign, painting the stone flags in front of the pub etc. I also want some flowers outside, Brian Nickolls' design has a small garden outside the pub, but I don't have room for one at the moment, so will maybe have some potted plants. I am also trying to make a wisteria to climb the wall outside the pub, so that might be something you'll see later. Whatever I decide, I do think the exterior needs a little more added to it to bring it to life.


This pub has appealed to me since I saw it in the book when I was building my bigger Georgian House. I love buildings like this, you find them all over the UK, vernacular buildings not designed by architects but by builders and masons, and often with regional variations, but no less attractive than much polite architecture. I have seen buildings similar to this one in Dartmoor, the windows on the upper storey are very low, almost level with the floor. The extension at the side of the pub was originally a stable on Brian Nickolls' plans, but I didn't like it, so changed the design slightly to create a kitchen area, which I have already posted back in January, it's still one of the most complete rooms inside my pub, but I will show you more of the interior in a later post.

I did think of giving my pub another name (Brian has called his pub The Swan in his book) and toyed with The Fox, or the Red Lion, but actually I quite like The Swan, and so the name stuck!

50 comments:

  1. It's lovely Andy and there's so much scope to personalise it further. I'm not knocking your joinery skills on the Georgian House but you can certainly see the difference in the Swan Inn.
    Already looking forward to the next Post.
    Hugs
    Si

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    1. Hi Simon!!

      Yes, I will have fun making this house look more like a pub over the next few months! Including painting a traditional pub sign!

      I can certainly see an improvement in the finish between this house and my Georgian one, I had much better understanding of the tools and how to use them, and was careful not to make mistakes that I had on the first project, particularly with things like lighting.

      But now you've got me thinking; is there room in the pub for a Kent Fireplace?! ;)

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    2. LOL Maybe an old vintage one??

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    3. I think I need to build another dolls house! Gods know where I'm going to put it though!

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    1. Moltes gràcies! Estic molt content que t'agradi la casa dels meus nines!

      abraçades

      Andy xx

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  3. This is fabulous and I can see why you love it. I too love Georgian buildings - all types my favourite era.

    You are indeed so right about this type of style too. I lived in Suffolk and in a cottage, its windows were just like these including the porch. When upstairs you'd have to sit on the floor in order to look out of the windows...not many homes like that! We were lucky with downstairs, the previous owner was tall, so he had the floors dug out so we never hit our heads on the beams. :o)

    I look forward to seeing more on this.
    Michelle :o)

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    1. hello Michelle,

      Your house in Suffolk sounds lovely, I suppose it was cheaper to build low windows in cottages like this one than putting dormer windows in the roof, but it does look odd when your in teh rooms I agree, I once stayed in a cottage with windows just like it too!

      LOL! I often bang my head on the wooden beams down here in my cellar! and on the door frames in the house. Probably not a surprise as I'm 6'4 tall! digging out the floor is a good idea if you're tall and live in a house with low beams.

      I also stayed in a friend's house once where the roof beams ran through the middle of his rooms upstairs, which were once just attic storage, you either had to crawl under them or climb over them, I would have had to move!!

      ;0)

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  4. ANDY, it's enchanting! Great job on the exterior! We don't have such buildings in the U.S. but it reminds me of a 'RL' stone cottage that the Guthrie Theatre here in Minneapolis (Sir Tyrone Guthrie)? designed for the Renaissance Festival where I once worked at as set designer.

    Anyway, your 'Swan' is delightful and I for one can't wait to see the inside!!!

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    1. I'm so daft sometimes! When I first read what you wrote here I thought, wow! Ralph Lauren is building houses now, as well as furnishing them!? then I realised what you actually meant!! LOL!

      It's funny to think that when a lot of our old cottages were being built, America was still a very young country (from a western perspective anyway!) Have you any idea what the oldest house in America is, or where?

      I'll reveal more about the interior soon. The best I can describe it at the moment is basic, there's not much in it!

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    2. Sorry about that, Andy 'RL' (real life) is used commonly in another miniature forum I frequent. I hope you don't mind if I feign ignorance next time the term is used and I can go, "Ralph Lauren, --what??!" :)

      I feel like I should know the answer to your question, but I'm guessing that there is no 100% documented 'ye olde-est house in America!' (It would have long ago been marketed to death). The oldest houses in the U.S. are in Massachusetts, and look a lot like English Medieval structures, with clapboard siding.

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    3. Hi John,

      well I couldn't tell you the oldest house in the UK for that matter, so it was a bit of a daft question!

      Actually what you said about an old house being marketed to death in America reminded me of George Washington's ancestral home in England. Sulgrave Manor is open as a museum, flies an american flag outside and makes much of the Washington connection, but he never ever stayed there! It is an interesting old house though!!

      You've used RL in posts before, I was just having a blond moment at the time!! ;o)

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  5. Andy,

    Its gorgeous!! It is so typical of the pubs you see around on a country drive. That simple and understated architecture creates such charm. I can just see the wisteria climbing up the front, it brings back lovely memories of stoping at the local pub for a plowman's lunch and popping out to the little beer garden out the back. I can't wait to see whats inside. The possibilities are endless. Perhaps a little B&B up stairs.......what fun!!

    I love the little doors and the pub sign will be gorgeous with a little swan on it.......in fact I think I know some one that could through his hand at a good swan.......; )

    ML Fi xx

    P.S I got my wood, lets hope i can have a good bash at the kitchen this weekend.

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    1. think I know what happened to you original post! found it in my Spam file, how RUDE!!

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    2. SPAM FILE?????

      Outrageous!!! I know who's behind this!!! It's Snowy, I think he was trying to sabotage our friendship!!!

      Always, Fi xx

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  6. This is really wonderful. :) Fantastic job.

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    1. Hello!

      Thank you, I am pleased that you like this one!

      Andy xx

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  7. Oooh, I LOVE your New Little House! I can't wait to see all the details you will add! I agree that "The Swan" is a good name for it.
    We have a few very early eighteenth century homes over here that have those tiny windows at floor level in the upstairs.... so cute... but a little unnerving.... unless your bed is on the floor... (which they often were)... then you can see out just fine!
    Are you making this a Contemporary setting.... or a historical one? It has Tons of charm already!

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    1. Hi Daydreamer,

      Thanks, it's good that you agree with me about the pub's name. I had visions of creating a little stream with some swans outside the pub when I was building it, but I can't fit any garden onto the front yet sadly, unless I put the house on the floor.

      The pub itself is set in a period between 1920 and 1950, not completely settled on that yet (except it won't be WW2)

      so not ancient, but not modern either. It has a country hunting theme inside, but that's all I'm going to say right now!

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  8. You did a splendid job with building this house. My compliments.
    Hugs

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    1. Hello Drora,

      Thank you for your comments, so pleased that you like this house! ;)

      Andy xx

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  9. Oh, I love this... crisp, white, asymmetrical - and I love the mini horse shoe above the door - I hope it brings you lots of luck!

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    1. Hello!

      Yes, when I was building the porch I thought it needed a horse shoe, and found one on Sandy Eismont's stall at Miniaturia in Birmingham last year. I hope it brings some luck too!

      Regards
      Andy xx

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  10. Andy,

    I will come back tomorrow and comment. I left a long one this morning and some thing weird happened and its not here now!!!!

    Fi xx

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    1. Hello Fi,

      yes I am not sure what happened to your message, I got an email to say that you had posted one, but it wasn't listed here. Look forword to hearing what you have to say about my new house!

      Has the postman collected your little boxes yet?

      Andy xx

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    2. Hi Andy,

      It's gorgeous! It is so typical of the little cottages and pubs you see around. It brings back happy memories of stopping of at a country pub and stepping out to the little beer garden for a plowman's lunch. I can just see the wisteria growing up over the front door and the little sign with the swan. You know, I think I know some one that might be able to fashion you a swan for your sign........; ) I can't wait to see the inside, so many possibilities.

      I have no idea what happened to my last message it was slipped in just after John. Very strange!!!

      Much Love,

      Fi xxx

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    3. P.S Andy, I just saw the little bird on the chimeny........sooooo cute!!!
      Oh and I got my wood yesterday.

      xx

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    4. I forget that you've been to Britain several times, so you know all about our country pubs. They are quite nice places to pop into for a drink and a bite to eat on a sunny (or indeed rainy) day! They are struggling a bit at the moment and many pubs have closed down over the past few years, but there are still plenty about.

      Now I'm not sure who you had in mind to paint my Swan sign. I have ordered a bracket for the hanging sign today, as I went to a doll's house fair in Thame today. I have also bought myself a Wisteria kit from Miniature Garden Centre, at the same fair, which I am assured is fairly easy, just needs lots of time and patience!! I was planning to make my own, but I was so impressed by the one I saw today that I bought the kit (I MUST be MAD!!!)

      Good to know you got your wood, I hope you didn't clean him out!!!!

      Ah yes the little blackbird on the chimney! I think he's very sweet too, I bought him at Miniaturia in Birmingham last year (you must have eagle eyes to have spotted him!!)

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    5. Well Andy, I'm sure you'll do wonders with the Wisteria kit, although I have heard they can take a bit of patients. I had David in mind for the swan as I have seen the beautiful swan he fashioned a while ago. Although a little birdie told me that you your self are quite the artist...... ; ) I would however be more than happy to to paint a tiny swan for you, so if your other options don't work out just let me know....; ) hehe.

      Wood wood woood......I have all sorts!

      xx

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    6. Well, it's not every day you hear a woman shouting that she's got wood!!!! ;o)

      That little black bird has a blabby beak!

      I am going to attampt to paint a swan sign, it will probably end up on the wood scraps pile, but we shall see! I might well take you up on your offer! I would ask David, but don't really want a swan floating in an existential bubble surrounded by rays of light and floating eyes, but if I ever change my mind on that one I know I can always ask him!! lol!

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    7. Ahh yes, the latter would be an interesting proposal, the thought does make me giggle......

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    8. LOL! interesting certainly!! but I think it might scare the punters!!

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  11. Que manos tienes, ese proyecto, hecho realidad es una preciosidad, mis felicitaciones.
    Que tengas un feliz fin de semana.
    Mil besos...Julia.

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    1. Gracias Julia, me alegra que te guste esta pequeña casa tanto!

      abrazos
      Andy xx

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  12. Ciao!!! Bellissimo lavoro!!! Complimenti!!!
    Un bacio
    elvira

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    1. Ciao Elvira!

      Grazie, sono molto contento che ti piace casa dei miei bambole.

      baci e abbracci

      Andy xx

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  13. Andy,

    What a beautiful inn! I thought your Georgian was spectacular but this is even more spectacular.

    Incredible workmanship. I can't wait to see more!
    Cheers,
    Iris

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    1. Hello Iris,

      Thank you for those very kind words! I am thrilled that you like the pub so much, I hope it lives up to your expectations when you see inside it!

      Regards
      Andy xx

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  14. I like this. It's a nice looking building and I'm interested in seeing the interior too. It's just as well you're not going down the WW2 route - you'd have to deal with rationing and utility furniture - no fun there!!

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    1. Hi Irene,

      I am pleased you like this house, I was a little worried about showing it off to everyone, but people seem to like it very much, which is nice to know!! ;)

      I did think that WW2, with all the rationing and hardship would be a bit depressing in a dolls house, and I doubt that there would have been much booze about either!!

      Utility furniture had its charm, there a woman who specialises in unitity furniture miniatures, she was at the Thame dolls house fair today, I was tempted to buy one or two pieces, but that would have planted me well into the 1940's, so I think simple country pieces will work best in the pub.

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  15. Hello Andy,
    I hope you're doing well! I loved all your posts, but it is great to see your work. You did a tremendous job on putting together the Swann Inn. It is beautiful and I can't wait to see how you finish it...the possibilities for an Inn are so much fun and I know you'll do a great job.
    Keep up the great work, and have a greatw eek,
    All the best,
    Giac

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  16. Hello Giac,

    I'm doing very well thanks.

    I am really pleased that you like this house, I really respect your opinion, as I think you are a brilliant wood worker and miniaturist!

    I have been having fun planning some things for the pub, but it needs basic things like tables and chairs yet!

    I know when I look at Irene's Apple Tea Room just how much it takes to fill a model like mine!! Still, progress is slow but steady. I shall post a few pictures of the inside very soon!

    I have to save some money for the Miniaturia Show in Birmingham in a few weeks time now, so hope fully there may be more inside the swan soon!!

    regards
    Andy xx

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    1. I'm busy saving too - I'll be there on the Sunday.

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    2. Hi Irene, I'm not sure what day I will be going, I think teh trains are easier on Saturdays, a more regular service. I don't want to have to drive to Birmingham, I hate the M1!! Trains are much easier, but if I come on Sunday I'll let you know!

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  17. Hi Andy, please contact me privately, there is something I would like to give to you. There is a mail me button on my blog on the top left.

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    1. Hi Elga, have sent you an email, hope that you get it OK! ;)

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  18. Hello Andy!
    This new project of yours looks great and I look forward to seeing inside. I have thoroughly enjoyed all your posts and have learned quite a bit.
    I appreciate your kind comments on my last post and here is a link for the pleater...www.danneruff.com
    Also, the "Blast of Steam Iron is just that.....an electric iron for pressing your real clothing. They have a function that allows you to blast steam in bursts. Hope that answers the questions for you.
    Look forward to more of your splendid work.
    Warm thoughts from Ray

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    1. Hi Ray,

      Thank you for the link on the pleater, will check it out. I will check my iron to see if it will do blasts of steam, though I must confess that David uses it far more than I ever do!! ;)

      Thank you also for your kind words. I am pleased that everyone seems to like this new project, it's very humble compared to the many great projects that you are all working on, particularly yours Ray, I will post some interior pics soon.

      regards
      Andy xx

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  19. Me parece una preciosidad de casa, el color me encanta. Tu trabajo ha sido magnífico. Estoy deseando verla por dentro. Besos y feliz domingo

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  20. Hola Sionchi,

    Gracias, me has querido como mi pequeño pub! Estoy satisfecho con el color también se ve natural. sólo tiene que vestirse con algunos detalles extra para traerlo a la vida!

    abrazos
    Andy x

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