Sunday, October 9, 2011

Furniture Painting Finished

It took most of the week, but the furniture is painted and clearcoated with polyacrylic. The designs came from a cousin's work and a little bell I bought in Kutna Hora. (click to enlarge)

I'm not sure how much more I'll get finished before we have to start packing up for the trip southward. I noticed a goodly amount of robins in the back yard today. They're gathering for their trip to their winter stomping grounds, too.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Furniture Shop Still Swinging

Today I sanded the furniture, put on a coat of gesso and one of the base color, and painted one of the chests. It was fun to see the little assembly line as the tables, chairs, and chests moved along. First photo show them with the little tabs and slots smoothed over with the wallboard mud.
 Next photo shows all but one coated with gesso.
 And the last photo shows the pieces with their base coat. I painted one chest in a manner similar to a chest I photographed in a log cabin in the Czech Republic belonging to the family of one of my cousins. My eyes gave out after the one chest was decorated. I'll address the rest tomorrow. They won't be as intricate, I think. We'll see where the muse takes me.
The paint colors are too raw, and I don't like the flat finish of the acrylics. When the decoration is complete, I'll use a glaze of some sort to mute the colors a bit and give it a satin finish.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

In the steps of my grandfather

My grandfather, the Alois for whom mini Alois is named, was a master cabinetmaker. I'm joking about following in his steps, but I thought about him today as I assembled furniture for the inn. Alois and his brother-in-law operated the Krejsa and Martinek Saloon and Restaurant in Niles, Illinois, in the early 1900s. I never met him, as he passed on long before I was born, but I can feel him and my father looking over my shoulder as I work on this project.

Here is the furniture. It is very simple, but appropriate for the inn. It will be painted, and the chairs will have seat pads to cover the tab-and-slot construction. The table tops will be spackled smooth, as will the cupboards. I don't recall where I got these. They are by Woodcraft, made in China. I put together all three sets, thinking to sell what I don't use, but after doing a little staging, it appears I'll be using all of them on place or another.
Here is where construction stands. All but one exterior wall and the ground floor ceiling glued in place. I'm pleased to report that the stairway and partition wall slide in and out very easily. The swinging door will eventually lead into the kitchen. It is taped to a dowel that is held in place by the weight of the ceiling. I put the dowel there to keep the ceiling from sagging.

The missing wall needs some carpentry work, namely a couple of doorways cut into it before it goes up. As I mentioned earlier, a kitchen wing will be added on the other side of the swinging door. I'd thought to attach it to the main house, but I'm now thinking to make it freestanding. I need to scope out the roof line before making a final decision.
The room layout for the second floor has yet to be finalized. The furniture up there is just scattered about. The general plan is to have the far corner, at the top of the stairs, be a sort of lounge/public area for the guests, with two guest rooms to the left of it and one larger room to the right. A doorway in the missing wall will lead into the room above the kitchen, where there will be a stairway to the 3rd floor/attic rooms and a shared bathroom.

I'd hoped to have a  fireplace in the dining room (on the missing wall), but with three tables, there really isn't room. If I replace one of the square tables with a small round one, it might work. Debating.
The private dining room is looking good. Alois is in his favorite place, behind the bar. He'll be even happier when it is stocked. Although some of the walls appear to be white, the entire ground floor (except for the lobby) is painted Venetian Stucco by Glidden.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Playing in the Mud

Well, the mud is dry, the wallboard mud, that is. Today I sanded and sanded and cleaned the mud out of the slots and sanded it off of the tabs for the walls. Then I wiped down the work area and each piece with a damp rag to pick up the dust the the brush missed, and painted the ground floor sections of each piece.

I used a mini paint roller that I picked up in a paint shop some time ago. I think the store sold Benjamin Moore paints. These were with the display of sample colors. In a spurt of intelligence, I bought more than one, so I have a spare when this one bites the dust. It is a dream for painting walls. The paint goes on smoothly. In this case, one coat is sufficient. Love it!

The order from Hobby Builders Supply arrived today. The hanging lights are going to need some adjusting, as the chains are way too long, but that's a minor item compared to the big electrical question: where to put the electric source. I suppose I can install all of the ground floor ceiling lights and just run the wires up through the ceiling, but then where to? And there are to be some sconces on the ground floor. Where to run their wires?

As soon as I figure that out, the mini electrician can get to work!

The paint color I'm using is Glidden's Venetian Stucco from Walmart. I don't know what it looks like on your computer screen, but the picture appears lighter than the real paint color. I bought three of the tester bottles, and it appears that will be sufficient.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

One step forward ...

Well, maybe not two steps back, but it sure feels like it. I've fiddled with the staircase and the lobby partition wall but I think they are now finished. I filled in the original stairway hole and gave the ceiling a couple coats of white ceiling paint. tonight I finally got up enough nerve to cut the new stairway opening. I measured about four times but still managed to be off enough that it took a little more plastic surgery to get it where it needs to be. The staircase unit slides out as one piece.

 Here is the lobby through the hole where the front door will go. I'm thinking of ways to keep it from getting too closed in so as not to lose too much of the view.
 I like the little flash of red glass in the clerestory windows.
 View through one of the oval windows in the lobby. I had to trim the frame of the other oval to accomodate the stair railing.
The underside of the stairs has been framed in. I see it needs a bit of detail work. Notice the doorknob on the little door into the desk area. Lloyd was concerned about how Alois was to get in and out.
There will be a hanging light in the lobby, behind the leaded glass windows. I think it will shine nicely. Am waiting for delivery so I can get it installed.

I've prepped the rest of the vertical pieces -- flat walls and tower walls. I painted both sides with flat white ceiling paint and then coated the inside surfaces with a skim coat of wallboard mud. I spread it on with a palette knife and like the way it looks. Tomorrow I'll paint it and put some of the walls in place.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Testing Paint

Well, after a hiatus of nearly two weeks, there's finally something to report. The major pieces in play at the moment have been primed with real life, matte-finish, latex ceiling paint; the ground floor walls have been painted with Glidden's Venetian something-or-other.  On the good side, I like the color. It is a soft buff yet seems to be a bit reflective, which will keep the ground floor light. On the other side, I should have primed with gesso, as the latex is so thin that the surface texture of the wood shows. Sanding hasn't helped. So, today's agenda includes painting it all again with gesso and recoating with the color. I may go ahead and cut the new doors in the end wall (on the right) before I repaint. Those doors will connect with the addition (yet to be built). All you can see of the wall in question is the edge.
The dining room (on the right) looks a bit small. Maybe there will be room for three or four 4-tops with a deuce in the bay window.

Alois is eager for me to get the new wall finished. That's on today's agenda, too. The lead tape arrived yesterday for the leaded glass panels, and I think my hand is steady enough to paint "Hospoda" on the larger window. We'll see!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Making Walls Out of Toothpicks

That's what dear husband Lloyd says. "Oh, you're really making something out of all of those toothpicks." Ha. Not just any toothpicks. I did get side one of Panel One finished and couldn't wait to see it in situ. Alois was just as eager and volunteered to help. Keep in mind that the protective film is still on the Plexiglas, and the unstained channel at the bottom is a temporary place holder; the door lacks hardware, and the clerestory windows will have some bits of colored glass (unless I get a better idea). There will be glass to fill in the opening by the registration desk. (The bottom part will become a half-door, so the hotelier/concierge can get in and out.

The other side of this panel has been completed and is drying. I've looked up the Czech word for Pub and will paint it on the window of the door before assembling the "sandwich" (she says confidently).

Later: Alois insists I show you the 2nd panel in place. One side is finished. The other side will have to wait until tomorrow. Wait. It is nearly tomorrow now! (Lloyd says it looks as if it's a screen door. That's because the protective film is still on the Plexiglas.) I put up the outside walls again for context. I need to find a nice hanging light fixture for the lobby. It will shine through the clerestory windows. And maybe a small lamp on the reception desk.
Going to bed now. Good night! :)

Building a wall

Here is a photo of the wall between the foyer and bar/restaurant areas under construction. I cut two pieces of Plexiglas to fit the footprint shown in the last entry, then drew the door and windows on graph paper. I found enough stripwood and mouldings in my stash to start cutting pieces and fitting them together like a puzzle.

I'm working on the bottom of a corrugated cardboard box. The schematic is covered with waxed paper, so the glue won't stick. The pile of lumber on the left comprises the pieces for the other side. It will have to be assembled in reverse so the Plexiglas can be sandwiched between them.

I thought about how to put a finish on the wood and decided it would be better to stain the wood pieces before assembly. I'm using the stain pen seen at left. Only a few of my fingertips are stained; I keep forgetting to put on gloves. When the whole panel is glued together, it will be coated with a few layers of clear satin-finish acrylic. When the whole assembly is dry and can be removed in one piece, I'll do the panel to the left (under the wood pile). It will be easier, as there is no door to deal with.

Haven't worked out how the door will be finished. I think maybe a few mullions. I don't want to block the view into the foyer any more than necessary.

I'm thinking I may turn the finished units over, cover them with waxed paper, and assemble the mirror-image units right on top, so they will fit precisely when glued in place. I think the only glue I have that will work is E-6000, so once they are placed in the acetate, there they'll stay. There won't be much room for adjustment.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Reception Desk is ... not quite open

I awoke this morning still not having thought of how to deal with the foyer wall challenge. In the spirit of avoidance, I switched gears a little bit and worked on the reception desk. Alois says he doesn't need much space. He can keep his guest log under the desk and doesn't need to be there except when he's handing out keys or collecting the rent. The desk is made of matboard and is freestanding. After this photo was taken, I added a panel detail like the one under the stairsto the front and added a half-door to close in the reception area. (Door details haven't yet been painted on.) I painted it and again put on 3 or 4 coats of satin finish polycrylic. It matches the stairway. They almost look as if they are part of a single unit.
When the desk was in place, I taped up some of the outside walls and again considered the foyer wall problem. Lo and behold, the answer was right in front of me. The channel molding indicates where the base of the wall will be. Alois is holding one of the acrylic panels in place. If you enlarge the picture, you can see it more easily. Another piece of acrylic will fill in the section to the right. It has to be fitted to the understair angle, and I'm too brain dead to tackle it now. Later -- or tomorrow -- I'll make a template of cardboard to fit the space and then cut the Plexiglas. A third piece of acrylic will fill the space above the near side of the reception desk.
I bought these panels at Hobby Lobby last week. They are about as thin as the acetate in the windows that come with the kit, maybe a hair thicker. I haven't compared them. It was easy to cut. I scored it with a utility knife and snapped it. I've left the protective film on and won't remove it until I'm ready to glue the wood onto it.

Yes ... glue the wood onto it. The acrylic will form the core of the wall with the wainscoting, door frame, door, window framing, etc., prestained and glued onto it. That will be so much easier than building a wall with a door and a couple of windows in it with fiddly little bits of wood and then fitting the "glass" in the openings. There may be some accents of colored glass; I don't want to block so much of the view that the foyer can't be seen. All this is detail yet to be worked out. My muse is threatening to take a long holiday if I don't provide her with some sustenance and a short nap after our mornings' workout!

The plan is for the wall to be freestanding, so it can be removed for access to the foyer.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Stairway to ... ??

The stairway is finished, painted with 3 or 4 coats of satin-finish polycrylic. I lost count, but I like the way it looks. The restaurant wall behind the stairway is made of foam core board. Part of the 2nd landing is braced with an arc detail. I extended that arc to make the entry to the restaurant area. It cried out for a stones, so out came the egg cartons. As seen here, the stones are painted a base gray. They will be enhanced to make them more realistic and the walls will be painted with gesso to mimic smooth plaster.

I wanted two shades of brown for the stairs and pulled two from the rack of paints. I was pleased with the darker shade, which mimics the walnut stain on the floor. When I opened the lighter color, it appeared to be way too orange. On my way back to the paint rack, I passed the base with the tile insert and realized that the color I had in my hand complemented that of the tiles. So, I followed my initial instinct and am pleased with the result. I even added some panel detailing using the lighter color for accent.

The unpainted area will be covered by part of a wall, although I've not worked out the logistics yet. Also, note the missing top of the railing against the wall.

My thought is to make this wall and stairway removable. However, there's the matter of the railing sticking up through the ceiling. I may have to make the wall removable and fix the stairway in place (although dusting it will become a royal pain). Still thinking about this one.

And then there's the challenge of the divider between the foyer and the bar (the area to the right). The irregularly shaped white cardboard is a stand-in for a divider. If I put it here, it will cut through the tiled area. If I move it to the right, it will mess up the restaurant entrance. I think I may have to figure out a jog in the wall, but I'm leaving that for another day!

While waiting for the paint to dry, I filled in the slots on the porch with Spackle. They're now sanded smooth, so they shouldn't show under the floor paint.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ground Floor Fiddling

As I was assembling the ground floor/base, I remembered some tile samples I'd been given a few years ago. One of them looked to be perfect for the entrance to the Bohemian Inn. The tiles are quarter-inch cubes, which wasn't so perfect, but I had an idea.

I took the tiles off the backing board. Luckily, they were firmly attached to the net backing, so they stay in formation. I had to take a couple rows from the right side to make the pad come out right. It's a little messy, but this part of the tiles will be under the stairs, so it doesn't really matter. Here is the final design. It's glued to a piece of cardboard larger than the tiles and grouted with a brick red grout. In this photo, the left side has been sealed with a semi-gloss polycrylic. It makes the colors pop. I think once it's in place and the floor gets sealed, I'll switch to a satin finish.

I made a frame, stained it, and glued it around the tiles. The smaller clamps are holding shims, also glued.
While the glue was setting (E6000), I drew lines on the floor with a fine point indelible marker to indicate 6" planks and stained it with some old walnut stain I found on the shelf. You can see the hole that will receive the tile section. That is Alois behind the bar. He will be the proprietor when the inn is open for business.
About the bar: I wasn't fond of the mahogany red. Now that it is near the walnut floor, I really don't like it. I'd rather it be a walnut or even a dark oak, but that may be asking a bit much. In any event, I have to figure out how to dull the red. Luckily there are finished panels on the backside that I can experiment on.

The next photo shows the base face down with more shims being glued under the floor. I think with those in place, the tile section in its frame should fit flush with the floor. It worked during the dry fit. Notice the brace to the left of the hole. I was afraid it might be under the tile, but it worked out just fine.
While everything was drying, Alois climbed up to the second floor to check out where the new stairway opening will go. To fit the new floor layout, the stairs will make a quarter turn counter-clockwise and move against the far wall. I assured him we would do another dry fit before cutting the hole.
By the way, I used my Dremel Trio for the first time today to cut the hole for the tile. I was please with the results. The cut was a little bit wavy, but a little attention with an eXacto knife and emery board smoothed it out. A perfect fit.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bohemian Inn & Restaurant -- the Greenleaf Pierce

Since posting about the quilt shop, I've neglected blogging but am still working on minis as time permits. In the past year we've established a second home in New Orleans and will split our time between there and Missouri. In New Orleans, I'm working on a Greenleaf Beacon Hill, which will become home to Sophia and her husband, a respected physician of color in the 1880s. Sophia can be seen arriving at the Creole Cottage to visit Marie Laveau. A goodly chunk of time has been taken up with genealogy and gardening, two other activities I like to indulge in. And we managed a trip to France this spring, where we met some of my husband's relatives.

Now we're in Missouri. The garden is winding down toward autumn, and I finally found time to dig out the Pierce kit. This kit has cried out to become a Bohemian Inn & Restaurant/Tavern from the get-go. It reminds me of the historic inns of the Czech Republic, where my family originated. I've been collecting furnishings for it for a couple of years, at least.

I envision it as having a small entry/reception area, a restaurant, bar, private dining/meeting room, kitchen, and restroom on the ground floor. The upper two floors will be guest rooms and baths. I'll post inspiration photos as I work on the details.

There is a need for some bashing. For one thing, it will need a 3-story addition to include the kitchen on the ground floor with bedrooms above.

These are photos from the Greenleaf website

The blank wall on the right will have doors cut into it. That's where the kitchen/bedrooms addition will go. Note the freestanding stairway on the ground floor. It is a wonderful design but takes up a lot of floor space. The entry/foyer is blocked from view. I want to move it against a wall; it will have to be modified.

The next photo shows my initial idea for ground floor layout. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you'll be able to read the labels.

The problem with this idea is the corner bar placement. It would mean bashing the tower to make a corner for the bar. The next photo shows a better idea: switching the bar and restaurant areas.
The right side of the stairway would become a solid wall. The reception desk would stay under the stairs. A wall with a door will have to close the space between the reception desk and the back left wall so guests wouldn't be able to access the bar/restaurant area in off hours. This floorplan is more practical than the first one. The challenge here will be to construct the wall so as to not block the view of the entry. Maybe some way to use Plexiglas?

The table/benches may move into the restaurant area. I wanted to see what it would look like scale-wise.

Speaking of scale, I was surprised to see how small the rooms are in this build. The footprint is about 24" x 36" (and will be closer to 36" x 36" when the kitchen addition is included), but porches along two sides eat up part of the real estate. I think in the long run the small rooms will add to the authenticity. Most of the inns we experienced in the Czech Republic had very small rooms, with bathrooms shoe-horned into some interesting nooks and crannies.

A trip to the lumber yard for a piece of 1/2" plywood for the base is the next step. It will be 36" x 36". The step after that will be to figure out where this project will reside.