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Monday, August 11, 2014

The Birth of the Steampunk Chateau Oriel Windows

One of the challenges of learning the art of miniature on a project such as the Steampunk Chateau is the interesting and often tricky task of re-interpreting our real world in a new and interesting way, while promoting the sense of fantasy and drama that goes along with the Steampunk Vibe.

An Oriel Window - Image Courtesy of Richard Croft CC
I have always had an incredible love of architecture, particularly architecture that is unique and memorable.  One of those architectural features that I love is the Oriel Window.

I knew when I started that I wanted to have this sort of window featured in my Chateau.  Even before I decided to take this build the direction of Steampunk, I had planned to include this element, because it is so memorable and can add so much interest to a facade.

When I built the cardboard model I didn't know for sure what direction I would take with the Oriel windows, so you see them represented in the cardboard model as curved box windows.

Second Floor Oriel Windows represented as curved boxes
My challenge, once I took it on, was to turn those Oriel window plans into a Steampunk reality.  This is something I thought long and hard on...and really, for some time came up with very little!

My wife and I were in Hobby Lobby one day (which since I started this project has been a way too frequent occurrence!) and we were looking at the amazing variety of beautiful objects they display.   I looked at several of their lanterns, and the inspiration hit.  I saw "the shape" that I wanted the window to be...perfection!  And rusty to boot!

Now I don't know how many of you have bought something knowing you were going to cut it up immediately upon reaching home...but that is an interesting experience!  I shelled out the money thinking the entire time what a complete fool I was!  I almost could not do it!

But I succeeded, and upon reaching home, immediately set out to turn it into the Steampunk Oriel window I envisioned.   The first thing I did, to make sure I wasn't completely off base, was to test the size of the "window" with my little friend Jorge.  I think it distressed him a tad..but we made it through the experience!

My first task was to cut the lantern into it's several pieces. 

Now this, dear reader, was not something I had any idea how to do! My mechanical son (where DOES he get that from?!) showed me how to use my Dremel to cut the metal, and I learned a new skill that I never thought I would ever have!

With such a successful disassembly operation, I confidently moved forward with developing my ideas.  I ended up with a starting point that I sort of liked...

Furthering the Oriel Window concept
I especially liked that "Extreme Moose Tracks" ice cream....oh how we suffer for the cause!

The concept I chose to use in the end after a detour!

I continued to work with the idea and ended up with a concept I very much liked.  This is the concept I adopted and am furthering as I move forward with the build.

Now for a little aside... I'll tell you about another of those little corrections I made to my vision as I went through the process.

I have always loved the look of Art Nouveau, and one of the shapes I love is shown below, the pedestrian entrance to the 'Métro de Paris' Rapid Transit System.

Abesses entrance 1.jpg

So my original vision of the new Oriel Window had this detail on it.  Ready for a laugh?  Here is my original drawing of that detail...  Without hours of work....perspective is not my thing...!

Ready to fly off into the Sunset

I set about trying to make this idea work....and one of the first decisions I made was that it didn't!!

It started out promising....

A promising start!

but it ended in disaster!  


I hated it!  What was worse, it just did NOT work with the rest of the architecture....  So...we had a bit of a change in plans!  Back to the drawing board!

Well, I think it is time to end this post for the moment.  I'll be back with more on the Oriel windows soon....

Until then!  Have a great day!

Doug S


  1. Hello Doug,
    I love your solution to create the oriole window. It will look beautiful and very appropriate on your project. Well done. don't despair, I know you will come up with a terrific idea for the top.
    Big hug,

    1. Hi Giac! I so appreciate your comments!

      I am certainly happy with the final solution, it pleases me if no one else! It certainly was fun,any way you look at it! I look forward to finishing off the facade so that I can see it "in context"!


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