The Archway, a dolls' house creative competition entry
5 December 2012
Time for another wonderful entry from this year’s Creative Competition.
If you recall, it involved using one or more of Dolls House Emporium Corner Shop combinations.
Julie Baker, from Dorset, built this imaginative Cobbler’s Lane Archway.
She says: “I was really pleased to see this year’s competition was based around a shop as my current ongoing project is a small street of period shops.
"My original plan was to link one end of the street with a property that spanned the street, with an archway underneath allowing access from outside and having a large house at the other end.
“As soon as I saw the new corner shop I saw that this could be incorporated in my archway building and I began to make plans.
“By doubling up the shops to make two matching ends, then joining them together with an archway with rooms above I could see that this would fit very well with my existing plans - albeit rather larger than I had originally intended.
“My original plans had a stable and forge on the ground floor one on either side of the archway, a tearooms occupying the whole of the first floor and a small bedsit above the central part in a tower. It’s intended to be set roughly around the end of Victorian beginning of Edwardian eras but I haven’t really stuck rigidly to either.
“I also wanted to try and create a mews style feel for the back of the property by making a balcony right across at first floor level.
“Once both parts of my corner shop had arrived I did a quick dry run, to see how it all went together and then decided it would be a lot easier to make it up in order to get accurate measurements for the other side. I set about making up both kits. They went together really well and looked great even with my rearrangements and I was able to get the measurements I needed to make the other parts and also to work out where I wanted lights and where to hide the electrics.
“I used the original ground floor windows on both sides of the front on the first floor and constructed a similar frame for one end from pieces of strip wood. The far end being above the forge did not need a window. On the ground floor I did the same and added a small door out into the archway from the shop/stable and another from the back of the forge into the street behind. The existing door I moved to the opposite end to use on the forge and I constructed a matching surround but with a stable door to put into the shop doorway as the original one was not high enough for a horse to go through unless I took out the glass top and increased the size of the door.
“I intend to have a small green area between the archway and my existing shops where the smith has a store of logs, dumps any odd bits and pieces and keeps a few chickens.
“The stable is fitted with two stalls made of bass wood painted brown and has racks for saddles and bridles, tying rings, hay racks, buckets, a water tap, mice, rats, cats and a couple of ponies tethered in their stalls with halters made from thin string.
“In the Forge various hooks hang from the beams and ropes are attached to the walls with a couple of cleats. The forge itself is made from a block of pinewood covered with card brick slips with a chimney and hood made from bass wood painted black to look like metal. Reuben Goodsell, the smith, can be seen hard at work in his check shirt and leather apron with his two dogs looking on, one sitting on a pile of old sacking. I bought him as a modern man in a blue towelling bath robe and enjoyed transforming him into my smith.
"Up the stairs is a covered balcony with wooden railings and two doors. The first door leads into the tearooms. The second doorway, (Private Staff Only) is into the kitchen end of the tearoom, and is used by Francine who runs the tearoom, her two assistants, young ladies in black and white, and Violet the tower occupant.
“A steep open staircase leads up from the tearooms into the room above, which is laid out as a bedsit. The mansard roof on that side of the building is hollow and gives the tower room its own very private outside space.
“The furniture and fittings are a mixture of purchased and homemade, for example a lot of the wooden pieces I made myself from basswood or hardwood sheets, but I’m sure you will recognise the brass bed, the tearoom counters and the Aga.
“Some of the bare wood has been painted, other pieces are stained with wood dyes and French polished. Again some of the food is purchased, some home made from Fimo. A lot of the blacksmiths clutter I have picked up at Dolls House Fairs or from bits of metal fittings from my sewing box and the shed.
“Almost all the soft furnishings are homemade, hand stitched. I’ve been collecting bits for this project for some time and already had a lot of the food and crockery, the white tables and chairs, brass bed, Aga and various other bits and pieces.
“The signs, like those for the rest of my street, were done on my PC and have been waiting for suitable premises to be made. They’re mounted on thick card and then framed and varnished to protect them. For the ponies buckets, tank, Belfast sink and other watery items I have used ‘Scenic Water’.
“It’s not exactly been a small project and trying to keep the two separate sections looking as though they are part of the same building, when one is in my summerhouse and the other in the dining room, has been something of a challenge. It’s involved a lot of carrying them about,carefully, trying to avoid the bad weather when I’ve needed to check things and making bits piecemeal and then fitting them in when I can.“