This morning I asked DH to take me to Hobbycraft where I bought:
- 1.5x2.5mm styrene strip, which will be the vertical lines on the outside walls to simulate 'board and batten' siding.
- some wider styrene strip to be skirting
- some scrapbooking papers to be wallpaper and flooring - sadly I won't have Robin Betterley's beautiful artwork.
- some more gesso.
- some Games Workshop 'Bleached Bone' paint which is a sort of beige that I will use to paint the windows and doors.
- Painted one coat of gesso across the grain on all pieces (which I had sprayed with sealer last night), doing both sides where necessary (walls and floors). With a small brush, I painted gesso onto the stair treads/risers, and into the stairwall railings.
- rubbed fine surface filler into the plywood edges that will be on show: the exposed edges of floors, the edge of the roof cutouts, the edge of the bay window cut out, the edges of the archways from the kitchen through to the living room.
- Sanded down all the gesso with a palm sander to a nice smooth finish. I can still see a slight wood grain but it is a pretty good foundation for paint. This also revealed a few more flaws that needed touching up with fine surface filler.
- Painted an initial coat of matt white house emulsion on the outside walls. I can't do a finish coat until the house is assembled and I have filled in around the tabs.
- Painted an initial coat (or perhaps final, depending on coverage) of white 'suede effect' paint on the ceilings - essentially this is paint with a very fine grit in it. I used it on the Willowcrest and found it gives good coverage and a good appearance.
Chimney: While the paint was drying, I had a dig around in our shed to find wood scraps to make a chimney. Once I started looking at the Pickett Hill (PH) chimney, I realised that I should have cut my left wall window openings closer to the outside edges of the wall. I had centred my new window openings over the original Fairfield windows. I should have planned my chimney first, then centred the windows into the space left between the chimney and the edge of the wall, which would have created openings further to the left and right than mine. I think my version will still look ok, but the proportions won't be the same as the PH. Here you can see the basis of the chimney, I need to add an additional piece of flat wood between the two main sections as a moulding. I won't glue the chimney to the house until the house is assembled, because I will need to cut out the roof pieces to allow the chimney to pass through.
Attic false walls: This morning, when it was still too early to use power tools (family sleeping), I taped the house pieces together again to have a think about the attic rooms. I need to create false vertical walls for the bathroom and master bedroom. The bedroom wall is a little higher than the Lydia Pickett wardrobe, and the bathroom wall is a little higher than the Lydia Pickett bathroom shelf. This removes a surprising amount of floor space, which I feel reluctant to do, but I guess it is necessary so that there are walls to position the furniture against. There will be a door in each wall, suggesting that there is a corridor giving access. My son suggested that I dangle a rope ladder out of the bedroom window since there is no actual staircase going up to the attic floor.
Playing around with some vertical mock walls revealed a flaw in my floor plan: I have replaced the small oval window from the PH with a larger round GrandtLine window (because I couldn't find an oval one). Because the round window is bigger, running a false wall of the required height along to the window is going to place the wall right next to the window frame - very unattractive. I think I am going to have to modify the PH floor plan for the bathroom. I will run the vertical wall along as far as the door, then turn a right angle back to the roof. This will leave a little open area near the round window. I have decided to construct the false walls out of foam core since they won't be load bearing and I will need to cut the top edge at an angle to fit under the roof line.