18 March 2009
Julie Jackson of Dee-Daw Designs creates Monet’s kitchen from a photo of his house in Giverney France ...
Last year I came across a photo of the dining room of the painter Monet’s house in Giverney France. It absolutely screamed out at me to be made as a room box, and the completed box was featured in Dolls House and Miniature Scene Issues 172, 173 and 174.
On the day I delivered the box to Editor Janet Kirkwood I happened to mention I had seen pictures of the kitchen and how I thought that it too would make a good project - quick as a flash Janet said she would love to see it, and how soon could I do it? – Me and my big mouth!
- 9mm MDF sheeting for box
- 1.5mm and 2mm white plastic sheeting
- 3mm ‘L’ shaped plastruct beading
- 10mm x 5mm rectangular plastruct tubing
- 1.5mm plastruct piping
- 2 doors (1 half glazed)
- 1 window (6 panes to match half glazed door)
- Small dresser
- 2 Bedside tables
- Small piece of 5mm thick hardwood for board between the bedside tables
- Kitchen table
- Two kitchen chairs
- 2 pairs of small blue check curtains
- Small wooden dowel for curtain pole
- 3 Shelf kits with black brackets
- Dulux match pot in ‘First Dawn’
- Humbrol enamel colour 47 plus white to mix
- PLUS: an enormous amount of copperware, kitchen accessories, metal castings, brass knobs all as listed in the article.
- Small model-makers tennon saw
- Mire block
- Modellers’ adhesive for plastic sheeting,
- UHU and Super glue
- Metal ruler
- Scalpel or disposable craft knife
It’s one thing to see a picture and say that looks like fun to do, it’s another to actually crack on and do it. This box has presented me with several new challenges and problems to overcome, and I have been down a couple of false trails before finding my way to completing it. I have included these ‘false trails’ in this article to let you know that these projects are not always the logical progression and simple action plans that they can sometimes seem! (And also even the professionals don’t get it right first time!)
The first problem was finding enough images to form a plan of the room. After scouring the Internet, and using the reference book I had bought for the dining room project, I realised that my original idea to have the kitchen box so that it could stand next to the dining room was not practical. This was because the main item of interest in the kitchen is the magnificent stove, and had the box been in the ‘correct’ position the stove would be on the side wall and lose all visual impact. I therefore decided to rotate the box through 90º so that the stove was on the back wall.
Once the room orientation was sorted, I then needed to investigate how to duplicate the tiled walls. My initial idea was to create my own tiles from Fimo sheets that I would run through a pasta machine to give a consistent thickness. I could then cut the sheets into tiles and decorate them with waterslide decals in the same way that I created the plates for the dining room. Fine in theory - however, although it was great fun to produce the sheets of Fimo, I found that they were difficult to cut into small tiles.
I had a stroke of luck when I was explaining my predicament to a friend (who conveniently owns a Dolls House shop), and she showed me a tiled sheet made of vacuum-formed plastic. I ran this through the pasta machine with the Fimo and peeled off the sheet to reveal a perfect 3D tile effect. I created a tile design based on the one used in the kitchen and printed a sheet of waterslide decals. I then cut the decal sheet into individual tiles and applied them to the Fimo. Next problem – the decals would not adhere to the Fimo and it took an enormous amount of time to do. Time for a new plan! As I already had the tile decal designed, I printed sheets off on glossy photo card. It didn’t give me the 3D effect I had wanted, but it was simple, it worked and looked good.
I had also intended to use this technique to create the hexagonal floor tiles, using a crafters punch to cut out the hexagons from terracotta coloured Fimo sheets. Next problem – I couldn’t obtain a hexagonal cutter the right size, so I opted for printing my own floor tiles. I created a sheet of hexagon shapes and imported a photo of a real terracotta tile into it to get a nice textured effect. This seemed to work well, until I looked at my photo references and the colour just wasn’t right. I tried tweaking the image in a photo editing programme I have, but was still unhappy with the results. In the end I gave up with the technical solutions and went back to basics. I coloured in each tile with my daughters best orange felt tipped pen – and got exactly the colour I wanted!
But enough about the false starts, let's get on with the project! I used the dining room box as a guide for size and had my local B&Q cut me the four MDF rectangles needed to form the box. The box was then nailed and glued together.
The first thing I did was to place in the box all the I had bought already. Once these were in position I then, using my reference pictures drew onto the walls and floor, the position of the fireplace, stove and shelves. This was all done ‘by eye’ using the proportions of the doors and window as a guide – i.e. the fireplace in the photos was 2/3 the width of the door next to it. (Pictured left)
I then set to creating the features from the drawings on the inside of the box. I decided to use plastic sheeting and plastruct moulding for the construction. It was the first time I had used it, and it’s a great improvement over card, using the correct adhesive means that the sheet melts and forms a strong bond, and it gives a super smooth finish for painted surfaces. I made most of my items with the 1.5mm thick sheet and used the 2mm for the shelves and panels. I used a rectangular tube of plastuct to reinforce the inside corners and help to make sure I glued them squarely together!
I made several sections for the back wall, and I started with the back wall door which opens into the dining room. From the drawings on the floor of the box I made a right angle of sheeting to butt up to the plastic door frame. I then added a piece over the door to create the look of the door recess. (Pictured right)
I then moved on to the fireplace which I created in the same way, taking the measurements from the drawings inside the box. I started with the end panel which butts up the right angle created for the door frame. This was the key piece, as it was the main positioning piece for not only the fireplace, but also the stove hood, which runs across the top of both. I created the basic shape of the fireplace and left a cut out for the fire. I then made the stove hood using a sheet for the front and a piece of rectangular moulding for the shelf. The shelf moulding has a square cut end to go against the wall beside the window, and a 45º cut at the other end to join another loose piece to ‘wrap’ the shelf around the stove hood. (Pictured above right)
Once these three main items were constructed I added the hexagonal tiled floor paper to the box and coloured it in orange (as detailed in the problems section earlier!). (Pictured left)
I then painted the sections and ‘L’ shaped moulding for the fireplace trim in the distinctive shades of blue used. The pale blue walls were painted with a ‘match pot’ of emulsion from the Dulux range (First Dawn) and the ‘woodwork’ was painted with an enamel paint I mixed to match, based on the Humbrol tin number 47 for the darker shade and mixed with some white for the lighter.
I then took a knife to my dining room box and opened up the door which should lead to kitchen. I took a photo looking through the doorway to put in my kitchen room box to give the correct view! I also printed out a couple of holiday pictures for the door and window views – one of Alnwick castle gardens (door) and one of Longleat gardens (window). (Pictured right)
Before assembling the back wall sections in the box, I covered the fireplace and stove hood with the tiled sheets I had made. The fireplace edges were covered by painted ‘L’ shaped plastruct strips. The fireplace inset was made with an angled strip of plastic sheeting on a back board painted satin black and edged with a wooden twin-bead moulding painted with brass enamel. (Pictured below)
I also added the tiled panel and skirting board to the right-hand wall and edged the tiles with a tile strip I had created to match the one in the real kitchen. Once this was done I added the door and wall section with the door open to reveal the ‘view’. The fireplace was joined to the stove hood, and the shelf ‘wrap’ section was attached to the completed assembly. This was then glued in position on the back wall.
I then added the door and window section to the left hand wall. I created a panel by joining the door and window together, and as with the back wall door, I created a false wall with plastic sheeting to disguise the door and window frame.
To complete the left hand side wall I added a panel of tiles and tile border strip, I also added the panel under the stove hood and on the back wall. From the reference material I had collected I found that the panel of tiles at the stove back had been added at a different time to the main room tiles which explains why there is a mixture of blue and white tiles. This panel I created using the grid for the main tile panels and I then added in several new design tiles to give the harlequin effect to match my references. (Pictured above)
(Please note: Links open in new windows/tabs)
Julie is always available to answer any queries on her projects.
Email: [email protected] or visit the Dee-Daw Designs website at
www.dee-dawdesigns.com to see some of the accessories and dressed furniture Julie currently has available.
Dolls and accessories
The Wonham Collection from Carl Schmeider
Tel: 01398 332400
Buy online at: www.thewonhamcollection.co.uk
Plastic sheeting, plastruct mouldings and adhesives
Tasma Products: Available from good model making shops and Dolls House shops
Tel: 01763 260716 for your nearest stockist
Plastic sheeting, mouldings and adhesives
W HOBBY LIMITED
Tel: 020 8761 4244
Bare metal castings
Tel: 01442 267871
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