Sunday, July 4, 2010

Starting on the William and Mary House!

I've been planning like a fiend and sketching madly for the last couple of days, and I have my plans pretty well worked out for the W&M House.  Yesterday we finally went to the lumberyard to get the first lot of materials!

I'm following Derek Rowbottom's basic plans and techniques for the country house in his excellent book, Making Georgian Dolls' Houses, but I'll be making a few alterations.

His original plans make a two storey plus attic building 38" long  and 16" deep, with six main rooms and four attic rooms.  I'm modifying it to make a 48" long building with seven main rooms and three attic rooms -- I'm adding a single storey addition on the ground floor for a kitchen, so that I can have a separate entrance hall (in Rowbottom's original, the front door comes right into the dining room :)

From left to right on the ground floor:  kitchen, dining room, entrance hall, parlour
From left to right on the first floor:  bedroom, library, blue and white room
From left to right in the attic:  servants' bedroom, hall, children's bedroom

I bought a 4' x 2' piece of good one side birch plywood, 3/8" thick.  I also bought two 2' x 8' sheets of 1 inch thick medium density polystyrene foam, since it's the material Rowbottom recommends for side and back walls.  I'm very curious to see what it's like working with this material, because everything I've built so far has been plywood all the way.  If nothing else, it should make the model lighter!

David cut the plywood to size this morning for the base:

We then made an underframe from .75" square pine and glued and clamped it in place on the underside of the base.

Here's the base on the dining room table so I can mark out the different flooring types that I'll need.  The kitchen is going to be tiled, the dining room wood (I'll scribe and stain this nice plywood), the entrance hall will be marble and the parlour wood.

Here's two short lengths of the builders' foam (we had to break each 8' length into two bits to fit it in the car :))

It's got a very useful rabbet on each edge which will mean that I'll be able to get a nice join on the base:

It's not as pretty as flowers, but I've finally started this project and I couldn't be more excited!


  1. I have used that foam for building when I've covered it with Paperclay but nothing else. I would also like to see how it works in other applications.

  2. Nina, what an exciting project! And it's great to have a husband with a great big....saw!!Heehee. I'm really looking forward to watching your progress on this house.

  3. Wow, a big project, should be lots of good viewing for some time to come. And a willing hubbie to help! Will really enjoy seeing it evolve. Have fun.

  4. Ooooh Nina! It is going to be such a big house, how exciting! I am going to love watching the progress. :-)))

  5. Wonderful photos. So interesting to see your project right from the start, I'll be following every step!

  6. Thanks, guys! Yeah, Cynthia, he's got a very big ... saw *giggle* :)

    David's seriously into miniatures himself -- trains and ships -- so he really understands the need, say, for a new tool or something yummy for the collection :) Thank heavens.

    It's going to be FREAKIN' HUGE -- just looking at the base on the table makes me feel a bit overwhelmed. I've only ever just made plywood boxes before. This is a real model of a house, and I'm somewhat apprehensive. Oh well, if I ruin it, it'll be a good learning experience, eh?

    All of a sudden there's so much to do!

  7. Oh, it's definately a BIG house :D I've used the foam in my Toscana houses back wall, was supposed to use it in all but did a small measuring mistake :D It's wonderfully easy to work with and I love it as you get really deep windowsills :)

  8. Abig project and a big house! Can't wait to see the progress on this!:D I am sure it is going to be a perfect house - don't worry Nina!

  9. It is certainly HUGE !!! but I cannot look forward the construction. Good luck, Rosanna

  10. Looking good Nina! I will be watching this one. I have used a bit of the foam in the past and part of my stone carvers house will be foam as well. It is much lighter and if you cut in the suggested bracing, it becomes very strong.



  11. Another great project Nina. We are going to use foam board for Emilys project, havnt a clue how, but hoping its easy to carve out the windows and castle parts! WIll be watching excitedly! Kate xx

  12. I love this part of a project - the planning! It sounds like you've certainly given it a lot of thought and I can't wait to see your progress with this.

  13. I'm looking forward to watching the progress on this house, good luck :-))
    groetjes Ingrid


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