A successful advance birthday present from my dad allowed me to bid on Trade Me for a number of furniture items from the ‘House of Miniatures’ range. These are reproduction, scaled down authentic pieces in kit form and I got a lot for the bargain price of $100. I’ve since seen individual chairs for around $30 so was feeling ultra happy!
The range is of American heritage, but the right period for Emily’s house and since it is ‘Emily’s house’, she can have whatever she wants!
Each kit has everything you need, excepting fixative. Each piece is accompanied by a short historical description so I have learnt so much about the furniture of the time.
The first piece I made was a lyre-back chair, typical of the early 1800’s and heavily influenced by French design. The strings of the lyre shaped splat were often brass rods, decorated with a leaf design. The front of the back supports, side rails and front legs were sometimes carved with fluting and some versions had feet shaped like animal paws. My chairs are simpler than this which suits Emily’s style. The initial upholstery provided was blue….not sure about that.
I made two lyre-back chairs for the dining room, really easy to construct once I got my head around the pattern. Like IKEA furniture, the trick was in ensuring I had all the pieces set out in advance, plus a steady hand and lots of patience.
I also made two side chairs, fairly basic when compared to the lyre-backs. I learned that the front legs are called saber-let due to the sharp incurved profile which is similar to a saber.
As the chairs were to furnish the dining room, I needed to think about wall and floor coverings. Our neighbour had given me a book of wallpaper samples called ‘Tiffany Miniatures’ and I was lucky to find a lovely plain blue which complimented the colour of the chair upholstery. Unfortunately there was insufficient to paper all three walls, so I opted for a feature wall, using a complimentary regency striped blue paper from a book of German wallpaper samples I found. Still there wasn’t enough, but after a bit of research on the internet, I found that wood panelling was all the rage and in another wallpaper sample book, there were sheets that looked like panelling! So the bottom half of the room became panelled and the upper half papered.
For the floor, I had considered lollipop sticks but after practicing with a few, it looked terrible and threw the whole room off scale. Then I discovered all the free downloads of different papers on the internet and after playing around with the scale of the paper, I was eventually able to print off some very nice parquet flooring which was laid and then given two coats of PVA.