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.