It's been a long time since I dusted off the blog but as I begin a new journey with a Tennyson, it seemed like a good time to sweep out the cobwebs and record my progress as I go.
The inspiration for this house is the book, "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin. There are two houses that are featured in the book: one is a sea side resort set on Grand Isle, Louisiana where the main character spends her summers. The second is a house in New Orleans that Edna rents when she discovers she needs a place to hide away and pursue her art. While the book is set in 1899, neither house is a traditional Victorian. In fact, the reason both figure so largely in the story is because they are different from the house of Edna's husband who is rather obsessed with possessions and grandeur.
As soon as I saw the Tennyson, it resonated with me as an interpretation of how I feel about this book. I'm not going to be combining the two houses or trying to duplicate either of them.....it's more of a tone that represents the way the book makes me feel. I see it as light and airy, in sea side colors of sage green and creamy sand tones. I also chose to use monochromatic furniture throughout the house and bought up every piece of white wire wicker I could find. The pops of color will be in the art work, the accessories and knick knacks, and the textiles used for dressing the beds, chairs, and sofas--in other words, the focus will be on personality and creativity as the colors pull the eye to the things that represent individuality. The wallpaper echos the muted greens and ivory of the exterior and the floors will be hardwood stained golden oak.
On the first floor will be two parlors, one formal for entertaining and one casual for general family use. The second floor will have two bedrooms, and the third floor attic will be one large room with a bedroom, a sitting area, and an art studio.
I started the Tennyson four years ago, putting it into dry fit and filling it with all the furnishings right down to rugs on the floor and framed art for the walls. But a decline in my health brought it to a halt right there and the poor house remained in dry fit patiently awaiting my return. When we moved from Colorado to Arizona, I packed up the furnishings, took the house out of dry fit and moved it along with me. As soon as I got my studio unpacked here, I put the Tenny back into dry fit and refurnished it so I could play with it and be motivated to build again every time I saw it. In a lot of ways that house had helped me keep the faith that I would be able to return to the miniatures I love so much.
This is how she's looked for the past four years:
When I was able to start building again, I started with a little Loganberry to regain my equilibrium and once that was finished I knew I could handle the Tennyson. After looking at my original design plan I made some modifications to accommodate my current abilities but that was mainly to the wiring plan. I had originally intended on putting 36 lights into this house but I've scaled that back to a more manageable 8. With the exception of upgrading the doors and the two windows in the attic, I'll be doing a straight build with no bashing this time. I had planned on making my own porch and balcony railings but decided to go with the factory specs instead. The only other change was to the exterior color after Tracy posted this inspiration pic on Facebook and I fell in love with the sages and ivory.
The Tennyson won't be a painted lady because I want to keep the lines simple and clean but I really like this palette.
Today I started painting the porch railing pieces. Again. That was the only thing I had accomplished before I got too sick to build and they're painted the original hunter green I was going to work with. Painting them ivory has been a bit of a chore and it'll take about four coats to cover it, but I like to paint and have been getting into the Zone. I like to listen to audio books while I work and decided that "Dandelion Wine" by Ray Bradbury was a good place to start with this build.
I'll try hard to keep up with this blog while I'm building altho I won't be able to post step by step instructions as I've done in the past and it may take a long time for me to finish since I'm not always physically able to get into the studio every day. Mainly this is just a way of sharing the joy of being back in the studio with my friends. It feels soooooooooooooooo good to be building again! I feel more like myself than I have in a very, very long time.