Thursday, 28 February 2013

Edwardian Dolls House Decoration - Part Two

Pale colours and tiles in a dolls house bathroom
As promised, here is a room-by-room guide to colours for an Edwardian dolls house.

  • The Kitchen: walls were white or cream. Skirting boards and cornices were stained or painted dark brown. The scullery and pantry were traditionally painted pale blue, as it was thought this colour discouraged flies. Around the wet areas tiles in cream or white were often used.
  • The Bathroom: walls were a light colour, often pale blue or white and some bathroom walls were partially tiled. A cheaper method of lining the walls was to use enamelled zinc which could be painted over. You can replicate this in a dolls house by using embossed wallpaper.
  • The Nursery: the Edwardians believed that a child's sensitivity and intuition were developed by its environment and so the nursery had to be light, bright and clean. Striped wallpapers gave a crisp, fresh look. Paintwork on walls and nursery furniture was white or cream. Wallpaper friezes of nursery rhyme characters and alphabets were popular as were whimsical motifs such as crescent moons with smiley faces, circus figures and fairytale characters for decorating the walls. Dolls house suppliers often have Kate Greenaway wallpapers and friezes for sale.
  • The Bedrooms: floral wallpapers were popular (I used a floral fabric for the walls in my Edwardian dolls house bedroom). Fashionable paint colours were white, pale pink, sea green, soft blue and grey. Stencilling was in fashion to add decorative paint effects as a frieze around the walls or around doorways and windows.
  • The Dining Room: here you can use striped wallpapers in richer colours such as dull green, dull blue and soft red. Some rooms had oak panelling on the walls. A deep frieze round the tops of the walls would be a different colour or design. Ceilings might be embossed tiles or plaster work and the light would be suspended from a ceiling rose, painted white or cream.
  • The Drawing Room: this was the most decorated room in the house as it was where visitors were entertained. The family's most important furniture and ornaments were displayed here, set off against fashionably painted or wallpapered decor.
It is easy to replicate an authentically decorated Edwardian interior, a change from the dark decor, overly ornamented and cluttered rooms of Victorian times. When decorating your dolls house in Edwardian style, keep thinking of lighter colours and fresher looks and you can't go wrong!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Interior Decorating for an Edwardian Dolls House - Part 1

Art Nouveau inspired carpet and cushion for a dolls house
Dull Green for an Edwardian Dolls House Dining Room

If you are wanting an authentic-looking interior for your Edwardian dolls house, you may be interested in finding out more about the colours and styles used for decorating in that era (1901-1910). Several factors influenced the choice of  interiors. 
  • Advances in painting and printing technologies in the early 20th century meant new colours and wallpaper patterns were developed and used.
  • Decorating styles such as Art Nouveau and designers like Charles Rennie Mackintosh each favoured different interior colour schemes.
  • With the new interest and theories in healthy living, sunlight and fresh air, the darker colours of the Victorians were replaced with lighter tones for paintwork and wallpapers.
  • The increased use of electric light in homes meant the discolouration of walls and woodwork by old gas lamps no longer influenced decorating colours.
  Art Nouveau used these colours for interiors: lilac, violet, a pale deep pink, pale blue, sage green, mustard and olive green. Wallpapers and tiles featured flowing lines, the 'whiplash' motif and stylised foliage and flower patterns. 
  Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a Scottish architect and designer. His rooms were light and minimalist with white walls, ceiling and carpets. Touches of pale pink and soft grey showed in decorative details such as the 'Glasgow rose' design on walls and furniture. You can now buy dolls house furniture in this style in 1:12 scale.
  I love doing all the research to make my dolls houses seem as real as possible. So in my next blog post I'll give a room-by-room guide to the colours used in Edwardian times.That may inspire you!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Mini Knits for the 1/12 scale Dolls' House

Published by Guild of Master Craftsman Publications
I have done quite a bit of knitting for my various mini projects so was interested to find this book at the library to inspire me to do more. 
  It is written by Linda Spratley who took her hobbies of knitting and dolls houses and developed them into a miniatures business.
  The book is well set-out with very clear photos of each piece. It is divided into chapters:

  • baby knits
  • children's knits
  • adult knits
  • home furnishings
The levels of skill required to complete each pattern are labelled as easy, intermediate and advanced. Abbreviations used are clearly described at the beginning of the book.
  The projects for babies are made to fit those little rubber baby dolls you can buy.
  The patterns are worked in one strand of embroidery thread with size 19 (UK) or size 5/0 (USA) knitting needles. Tiny beads are used as buttons.
  Knitted garments are shown being worn by dolls. That was my only disappointment with the book. The dolls all look very unhappy and grim!

A Resource for Tudor Dolls Houses

A Tudor Dolls House
I thought I must share with you this wonderful resource if you are making a Tudor dolls house and wondering what to put in it to give that authentic feel.
  In 1601, John and Jane Daniells and their family were living in Rectory House in Hackney in England. Unfortunately they fell foul of the law and their home and possessions were confiscated. Sad for them but for us, a fantastic look into their lives as a comprehensive inventory of their house contents in now available on-line.
  You can go on on a virtual tour of their house, peruse the picture gallery and read the room-by-room list of their possessions, furnishings and even their clothing.
  For example (and I've kept the original spelling) in a trunk in Mr Daniell's chamber there were:

  • one nightcap wrought with black silke and gould and a purse imbrodered with goulde
  • one ould riding hood
  • one shirte
  • one vellett Cappe
  • one peire of Cloath rounded of a Cloake
  •  5 fallinge bandes
  • one girdle a paire of hangers of green silke and gould and a string of gould to hang his dagger on
  • one Ruffle with purled lace
  • twoe paire of Boothose
  • one Flannell Wascote wrought with red Cruelle
  • twoe Dublettes of blacke stuffe
  • one dammaske Cloake with Sleeves garded with vellett
  • one paire of Fuger sattyn hose payned with Velvett
  • one peire of blewe cloth
  • twoe peire of Tawnye vellett; old
  • one greene quilted Cappe
  • the Trunke wherin these goodes remayne
Does that make you want to whip out your needle and thread and stitch something for a trunk in your Tudor dolls house?
  I hope you have an interesting time exploring this website about the Daniells.

Friday, 1 February 2013

1:12 Scale Books as Accessories for a Tudor Dolls House

Accessories for Leisure Time in a Tudor Parlour
I've been thinking, when looking at my Tudor dolls house, what the people of that era in the 15th and 16th centuries did in their spare time. I imagine that, if you were poor and worked as a labourer or farm tenant, you'd fall into bed exhausted at nightfall! But if you had money and servants to do all the heavy, hard work for you, you would have time in the afternoons and evenings to relax with some entertainment.
  So in my Tudor dolls house I put an illustrated manuscript book on the settle with its blackwork embroidery cover, a mandolin to serenade the lady of the house, and a draughts board. The book is one of Barbara Brear's. You can read my interview with her if you look under 'Guest Interviews' in this blog's menu.
   Books were treasured possessions in Tudor times. They were kept in drawstring bags to protect them and when being read, placed on cushions so the covers would not get scratched or marked.
Sometimes they had embroidered and embellished covers with velvet or canvas bindings.
  Many of the books have survived so we are lucky to be able to read what they were reading six centuries ago. Some examples are:

  • 'The Good Huswife's Handmaid for Cookerie in her Kitchen', a recipe book from 1588.
  • Story books that featured sprites, fairies and nymphs, and romantic tales of chivalry.
  • Embroidery pattern books published in Germany were available from 1550 onwards.
  • Herbals and bestiaries illustrated with woodcut prints.
  • 'How to' books for farming, gardening, and fishing.
So there is a lot of scope for you to make your own books for a miniature Tudor setting. What will you choose?