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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 'MĂ©tro 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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