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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Kitchen Plan Mockup

Hello folks!  

I want to wish all of you in the U.S.A. a very Happy Thanksgiving Season! Be sure to take inventory and notice all the wonderful things to be grateful for!  I am continually amazed at all that has been given to us, and how we can miss so much of it by just not paying attention.  Don't let this opportunity pass you by!  Give Thanks for all of the beauty in your life.

Speaking of beauty, I don't have a particularly "beautiful" post today.  This post is all about the creative process I use, and gives you an idea where I am going with the Kitchen in the Steampunk Chateau.  I warn you, it is pretty much ALL white!  But I hope you will find it interesting all the same. 

The Empty Box.  Always scary for me!

Some of you might wonder, given my several statements about how I do things, whether I plan at all!  I truly do!  

I always have a cadre of ideas.  Coming up with ideas is not my problem!   It is fitting them all into the picture and not getting too much happening that is my challenge.  

Knowing this about myself, I do usually build some sort of mock up of everything I do.  I may end up using the "mock up" to build the real thing if I like how it turns out, or I may entirely rebuild everything.  I went into this kitchen planning exercise knowing I would be rebuilding everything, so I didn't take a ton of time to create a beautiful mock up.  What I was after was a space plan.

Initial Sketch and Sample Pictures

I started, as usual, with a very quickly drawn plan.  I do not usually spend a lot of time on making beautiful pictures.  I do a LOT of research on the Internet and in Books, looking for examples I can work from to adapt for my own designs.  I keep the pictures in a folder, and if they are small, I'll glue them into the journal I keep on the project.  I add random ideas, plans, lessons learned, formulas, you name it, if I think I might want it later, it goes into this book.  I am on my second journal since January!  

Here is where I get to indulge my need for 3D work.  For some reason, I do not readily plan space based upon a 2D plan.  I always get things wrong.  I still don't know why, but its a pain!  So I most often start with a 3D mock up.   I've done this for years, even in real world projects. 

Playing with space

My first step is to cut Foam Core board or Cardboard into the general shapes, specifically the footprint for the furniture or built in items I think I want.  I set the 2 dimensional sizes by locating the dimensions of real world items. There are Interior Design books that you can purchase that give you standard sizes for just about anything inside a home.  I reference these if I cannot find a quicker source!  :0) 

So using the 2 dimensional pieces,I can play with those like a little puzzle. This allows me to "see" the dimensions in a way that I can process readily. I play with them until I get a configuration I like that meets my intended goals. Once I've "located" an item, and adjusted sizes if necessary, I label the card.  I repeat this until I have all of my ideas either on the space plan, or have rejected them due to either space or due to a change in my thinking based on the "puzzle". 

A list of adjusted dimensions

This exercise helps me to isolate the sizes of the items I want in the room.  A kitchen, in particular, is a very complex room, and there is a lot to fit and adjust.  I write the dimensions I want on a piece of paper (my journal!) and then I actually do redraw the plan with any changes.  Again, not much of a drawing, but I don't feel the effort is worth the gain for me to draw pretty plans.  I CAN do it, I just don't want to!  :0) 

A very fuzzy picture of the adjusted plan!

I'm sorry for the poor quality of the pictures of my journal pages.  My camera doesn't like to point "down" to get pictures, and they never turn out.   Oh well, this way, things remain a surprise for just a bit longer, don't they?!

I use this second plan mostly to capture my final arrangements.  I don't accurately dimension the plan most of the time, though I have been known to do that.  Mocking up in 2D helps me manage the dimensions, and I don't have to do that math!  Who'd think addition and subtraction could be so hard!  I swear, I know how, but put me into drawing dimensions on a plan view, and I fail.  Every time!  Cutting out little pieces is so much LESS EFFORT!

The final dimensions are determined for the rooms!

Using my handicapped method, I was able to verify the dimensions I needed for my raised platform.  Some of you will remember that the Entry Floor is raised by about 1/2 inch as opposed to the level of this floor. What works out nice is that a Scullery was usually built about 6 inches lower in height than the rest of the house floors in the Victorian era, because the poor Scullery Maid was standing in water all day long, and if the Scullery floor wasn't lower, water would seep into the rest of the house.  This worked nicely in my favor!

The Butler's Pantry is located at the door on the right rear, and is 7 1/2" by 7/12" in diameter.  The Kitchen is located at the front of the room box and is 8" by 14".  The Scullery is also 7 1/2" by 7 1/2" as well.  

A picture of the Butlers Pantry (right) and the Scullery (left)

Beginning at the back, I began to add the 3D models to the space.  I use straight pins to attach the pieces to one another as necessary.  This allows me to look at the way surfaces work together and allows me to adjust heights, sizes, and shapes as necessary to obtain the best interplay of space. 

Adding in furnishings that will be in the kitchen

You can see that I am using several levels of space to create interest, and to mimic real life use scenarios. Function usually drives heights, sizes and shapes.  I have twisted a thing or two a bit for interest though, to use the space in the best fashion I can imagine.  They are still "in scale" but will be interesting due to unusual features, I hope. 

The room arrangement as the plan stands for now

I continued to add the 3D elements until I reached the front of the room box.  I really like what is happening. You can see I am using the hidden space concept in this design again.  I love what happens with space when you hide just a bit of it.  It comes alive with interest.  By the way, the collapsed table in the forefront was not ever built!  My construction was not THAT bad! 

The final Mock Up Configuration

Here is a view from the top,  which will give you a bit more sense of how the space is being used.  

Rather than itemize everything with a picture, I am going to list what is in the room.  Maybe you can  have some fun trying to guess what is what is where! 

In these rooms, there will be:

a dumbwaiter
a bread oven
a Victorian Stove
a Victorian Oven
a Work Table 
a dirty sink
a clean sink
a servants table
and a dish rack  

And that is just the big stuff!  This room will be a long project, I can already tell.  (For those of you trying to find the dish rack, it isn't built either!)

Jorge evaluates the space plan

My friend Jorge has declared that he is happy with the space in general.  He does hope to have nicer furnishings some day though!

I hope you've enjoyed seeing where the Kitchen, Scullery, and Butlers Pantry are headed!  I had in my mind that I would just do a quick "complete the ceiling, walls, and floors" and then go back to the decorating of all the rooms, but I had another think coming!  The complexity of this room is going to cause me to need to do most of this room box build before attaching the kitchens to the rest of the house.  So we'll be dallying here for a while. 

Again, I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!  If you are not in the USA, I invite you to take inventory anyway! Luckily, there does not have to be a holiday in order to Give Thanks!

Until next time!

Doug S


  1. Hi Doug! Just like you I like to visualize things in miniature too, but unlike you I almost never don't draw plans ;)! Your kitchen plan (is that a so called mockup?) makes it much easier to see how large, or small things are and where to place them, am I right ;)? Well if so, I think that you gave me a super good idea to do this for myself, when I'm going to build a miniature farm in 1:12 scale (in centimeters) :D!
    Your kitchen plans make me very curious to see your miniature kitchen in progress. An underwater will that be? With lots of water I guess for washing the dishes :D LOL! No, serious....I'm curious to see what you will come up with. Since I've seen what you did with the other room, I think it will be very original. Well, we'll see ;)!
    Happy Thanksgiving to your family and you! Have a nice day!
    Kind regards, Ilona

    1. Welcome Illona!

      Yes, my "kitchen plan" is the "mockup". A mock up is like a "first draft". It means that I build just enough to help me plan the space and see how everything goes together. I might change sizes, add features to balance space or may even eliminate something if I don't like the way it works with the room. I like doing it because it gives me a really good idea how things will "feel" once I am done. That is the part I struggle with, and the mock up helps me with that. I am sure it will help you too!

      I love the idea of a miniature farm! I look forward to seeing that! I think doing a mock up for your miniature farm is a great idea!

      Have a wonderful day!


  2. Hi Doug,
    As always, I love to see how your creative mind works! I love the layout of your kitchen and am so looking forward to seeing it all come together. I usually end up putting furniture into my space to see how it all looks! I seem to spend more time putting my pieces in and out of boxes than decorating!
    Have happy Thanksgiving. I always think that every day we are able to get up and out of bed is a good day.....
    All the best and take care

    1. Hi Vivian,

      I agree, every day is a day to give thanks for what we have, and to be grateful for everything and everyone in our lives. It is a "good thing" to be grateful!

      I think it is a common theme among miniaturists who build "architectural miniatures" (see how I got out of calling it a dollhouse?!) to play with the furnishings a tad. I mean, what is this all about except enjoying our creative hearts? I don't have a lot of furniture yet, or I am sure I would be "playing" with it too! I could actually see myself postponing those "challenges" by rearranging things instead.

      I've been noodling about exactly how to approach this kitchen build ever since I got it pulled together. This is one of those rooms where every part is dependent upon another. I woke up this morning "worrying" about how I was going to manage. Silly boy!

      Thank You, as always, for your encouragement!


  3. Hello Doug,
    The layout is awesome! I love the areas you created and can't wait to see it come to life.
    Big hug,


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