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Sunday, December 28, 2014

How It was Adorned with Goodly Stones
[the Scullery Floor, of Course!]

I've managed to steal a few moments here and there over the holidays to work on the Steampunk Kitchens. I have a "To Do" list much taller than I am, and I've done a few of those things...  but most are being put off until tomorrow!  Tomorrow, they say, never comes! 

Be that as it may, I make some progress each day on the kitchens.  My effort since the last post has been primarily on the 'rest' of the kitchen floors.  I've also added a bit of detail to the trim around the dumbwaiter, and have built and installed [in dry fit] the wall between the Butler's Pantry [right][and the Scullery [left].

To add the rivets to the dumbwaiter trim, I used small brads from Michael's. I trimmed off the tabs and glued the brad heads on to create the rivets.  I'll expand this treatment, or variations thereof, throughout the kitchens. 

As part of the process of building the wall between the Scullery and Butler's Pantry, I continued to run up against the fact that I just was not quite happy with the floor plan I had worked out.  I basically liked it, but it closed in the kitchen visually quite a lot, and I wanted to change that.  I played with my mocked up furnishings until I found a way to make it all work better, and still be visually open. Many of the changes were minor, but they make a huge difference!  Here is the 'new' floor plan.  

I've moved the bread ovens to the left side (not pictured) and switched the "ovens" (front left) with the "wood fired range" (back left).  This really opened everything up, and I am still able to keep all the items I had hoped for in the kitchen. 

I think I will be happier with the final result.  One of the things that bothered me was that the first floor rooms, when set side by side, did not visually balance, and this arrangement also resolved that nagging little business.  I can now move on in peace.  :0) 

Now on to the featured story!  The adorning of the Scullery Floor with Stones.   

In the Victorian era, which of course is at the root of the Steampunk genre, the scullery was essentially the wash room.  Water was pumped into pots and tubs for washing clothes and washing floors, 'dirty jobs like plucking a chicken or cutting up meat were performed here, and often the scullery was used for storing the less important pots and pans, dishes, and kitchen tools, all in the same space!  In some of the more unfortunate instances, the outhouse was located just outside the scullery as well, which tended to not create a healthy environment for the occupants of that particular home!   This was not an 'elegant' room.

Scullery at Lindisfarne Castle

As a result, the Scullery was constantly wet, and often had standing water. Many household scullery maids stood on boards and pallets in order to keep their feet dry.   Due to the standing water, scullery floors were often at a lower level than the rest of the kitchen to collect the water and keep it from spreading to other portions of the house.  I wanted to honor these historic facts by creating a Scullery floor that would evoke the time period. I decided to create a floor of cut stone in the sunken Scullery area of the kitchens.

The technique to create the stone floor tile textures was yet another variation on the unsanded grout theme. I've shown that twice, so won't go in to it in detail here.  If you are arriving here for the first time, you can see the basic process used to create the flooring in my last post.  

What I will share with you instead is the color process I used and a bit about how I went about cutting the flooring.  I think it worked out very well. 

I started by cutting random lengths and widths of mounting board to fit the shape of the Scullery floors. 

I applied the unsanded grout, as usual, to each piece prior to cutting down farther.  I then laid in the paint colors.

The basic colors I used are as follows, in order of progression:

Sea Foam Green
Gleams Silver - Applied with a Sea Sponge

Dapple Grey - Applied with a Sea Sponge

White - Applied with a Sea Sponge

Raw Sienna - Applied with a Sea Sponge and then wiped out with a paper towel

The color process resulted in a beautifully warm, yet very lightly colored slate floor.   I then cut down the larger pieces of mount board into smaller, also random, pieces that would approximate a likely mixture of cut stone pieces in 1/12 scale.  The effect was magical.  It never fails to amaze me how a painted piece looks unfinished UNTIL you put it into place.  Context is everything!

I would like to mention, for those that might attempt to duplicate this process at some point, that I made a mistake at the beginning.  I would do something different next time.  

This process is a "wet" process.  First, the layer of unsanded grout, then several coats of paint one after the other softens the mount board considerably in this process.  You do need to apply each paint coat one after the other, or you do not get the mixing of color that creates the realism. 

A little disaster - my 'Stones' separated!

I used a mount board that was composed of two layers.   The process of wetting everything so much during the painting process caused the two layers to separate as they dried.  I would remedy that by ensuring that the board I started with was one ply board, or by sealing the pieces before beginning the process of painting. As it was, I had to glue several pieces down again.  An alternative, if you had a book with a water proof surface, would be to weight the floor down, thus ensuring that the 'stones' dry in one piece. 

I think the real lesson learned is to weight anything that is drying flat down with something heavy!  I knew that, but did I do it?  Of course not! 

However, in spite of my little reminder, the floor came out wonderfully, and I think it ended up being what I was looking for.  I'm leaving you with a bit of a hint of things to come.  Can anyone guess what my newest little mock up will become?  :0)   I'll devote a later post to that once I have completed the real thing!  Meanwhile, you get to imagine!

  Hope you all are enjoying a bit of a vacation over the holidays!

Until next time!

Doug S


  1. Good man Doug...I'm so glad to see you got a bit of mini-time squeezed into the holiday season :) Firstly, I hope you and your family had a lovely Christmas!
    I am loving your flag floor. It looks so real and looks like it has been there a lifetime. The rivets are just brilliant too! Every little detail you apply just makes everything gel together and it all looks like it 'belongs'. Thanks for the tips - it's always lovely to learn. I wish you and your family and happy and healthy 2015.
    All the best
    Have a wonderful New Year and I hope 2015 brings you all the health and happiness

  2. Sorry Doug, I don't know what happened there....but you get the drift:)

    1. Hi Vivian!

      We had an especially wonderful Christmas this year. There was just something special about our time together, one of those times you could 'try' to recreate, but would never be able to. Everything, and everyone, was just right! I am so very Thankful for all I have been given.

      It is fun to start seeing things begin to 'look like something' after nearly a year. I think I am finally reaching that point where the fruits of my labor will begin to pay off. Starting a project like this I know I did not realize how much faith I had to put in to the final goal before reaching a point that the goal begins to seem realistic! It is good to be getting to a place where the changes 'change' things! I am glad the project is resonating with you!

      I wish you the best for your New Year as well. Enjoy every moment of it, even those that seem tough. Every day is a wonderful gift!


  3. Hi Doug! I went and had a look at the un-earthed kitchen that you gave the link to and what a Find that must have been for both the owners and for historians. Certainly a modern day buried treasure.
    I enjoyed reading your post and finding that you have plans to include a dumb-waiter into your build, which is such an Exciting and Novel idea! Love the application of those rivets, which looks Totally Cool!
    The information that you related about the history of a Scullery was also very interesting. One of the reasons that I enjoy this hobby as much as I do, is that it always challenges the mind and gets you delving deeper into learning about things that make you THINK, whether it is why something was done or how something was used, regardless, it gets you involved in the minutia of the past to enable one to use that knowledge in the construction of the present. Your faux stone floor has has the look of solid stone! You are spot on when you say that "Context is Everything"; because the Scullery stone floor that you have laid in the kitchen, does indeed look... Magical!
    I wish you a Very Happy and Creative New Year! :D


    1. Good Evening Elizabeth! I was totally enthralled with the unearthed kitchen myself! I love the history of "people" (as opposed to dates!) so much anyway, Then to get an opportunity to see, even just in photos, 'the real thing' without the changes we inevitably add to things over time! What a treat that was.

      I also enjoy the history as much as the rest of the hobby. I love doing the research and finding out new things about our ancestors and how they lived. It is so different, most of the time, than our 'romanticized' version of their lives.

      Be that as it may, I have no problem 'romanticizing' my miniatures! It is just so much fun!

      It is not only the history that is a challenge! I am enthralled with the creative bending of the mind this hobby continually demands of me! I love a good challenge, and there are a LOT of "good challenges" that come along with figuring out how to recreate life in miniature. I have a considerable challenge just now on that new mock up piece I referenced at the end of the post. How will I solve that problem? Well, I am still working on it. I may just have to learn something new! THAT is cool! :0)

      Have a wonderful New Year yourself! I am excited to see where you turn your energies as you transition from your current project to a newer challenge! Yes, I am assuming you will continue to share your wonderful stories! :0)

      Best Wishes for 2015!


  4. Hi Doug! First of all my very best wishes to you and yours for 2015!!!! I'm glad to read that you all had a great time and that the 4 year old did enjoy it too :)!
    I have had a very busy time, that meant for me: no blogging, because of all the traditions that we have here in this time, I'm sorry....;)!
    Regarding your newest miniature work in your kitchen: I absolutely like your stone floor, it just look like a real one. Thank you for showing how you have 'built up' the colors, you did a great job with that, the result is admirable!
    The picture of the scullery at Lindisfarne Castle made me very curious, as always with this sort of pictures. I love to imagine myself how it would be to be there and how it must have been to be there in earlier times. I use the same imagination for creating my miniatures, whatever it will be what I want to create.
    I also love to do some research and to share it on my blog, just like the carbide 'shooting' tradition :D! Many bloggers think it makes a lot of noise, but they forget that we are on the countryside, so you have more that enough space for it, while the loud bangs is heard like a low popping noise at the distance. But it isn't when you are on the farm yard and the meadows where the carbide shooting is, then you always have to wear a good isolated ear protection. The carbide shooting is always in the meadows far off the road, difficult to see, because you have to be invited by your farmers/neighbours to be there. It's an old tradition, but wonderful. Although it sounds very noisy, no one gets harmed, because there are strict safety rules and you must have a license for the carbide shooting.
    Okay, this was a good study of the English language for me now, I hope you can understand what I'm trying to write down, hahaha!
    I just wanted to let you know that I still follow your blog, but that sometimes I just don't have time enough to answer, or to write a comment (in English), please forgive me ;)!
    My best wishes for this brand new one-old-day New Year, I hope it also will be a very creative one for you!
    Kind regards, Ilona

    1. Hello Illona! No worries! I feel very honored that you want to follow and comment at all, so never feel bad for not making it "on time"! I love your comments, and do miss you when you don't make it, but hey! We all have 'real lives', right! Only so much time for our little kingdoms. I love the fact that you feel it is worth taking the time to translate the posts and to answer them at all!

      I've always dreamed of living in the country. You are so lucky to have that opportunity! I was born and bred "in the city" (OK, some of them were just towns!), but I have always been a country boy at heart. It is wonderful that you have all that space to use for such 'large' traditions! :0)

      Look forward to hearing from you again! :0)


  5. Hello Doug,
    I think opening up the kitchen areas was a good idea! It would be a shame to not see some of your amazing detail. I had the same problem with my kitchen. the scullery floor is great. I'm sorry you had to go through the trouble with it separating...been there, hated it. The end result is what counts and it is stunning!
    Big hug,


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