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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Steampunk Kitchen Construction Update

Hi folks!
Christmas Day is only four days away!  

Fractal Image by Larry Chang
This work is licensed under a 

I wish you all a magical and delightful Christmas Season this year!

In the meantime, I am focusing further on filling out the Steampunk kitchen build.  I am having a good time with this, but like most everything else, it is a truly time consuming project!  The progress is slow, but fairly steady, even in the face of the busy Christmas Season.

I thought you might enjoy seeing the underlying inspiration for this kitchen project.  I read an article a few months ago, just when I was beginning my thinking on the miniature house project.  The article so intrigued me, both for the historic value and for the associations it brought up for me.  All "Downton Abbey", and Jane Austen connotations.

I have a true love of old things, especially old things that retain their original character.  The article was about just such a kitchen which was discovered in a basement in the UK.  The basement kitchen, servants bells and all, had been walled up for over 60 years.  You simply must take a look if you love old things.  You can find the article at the Daily News website.

The beginnings of my Edwardian inspired Steampunk Kitchen

I left you with having just bricked up two walls of the kitchen, and having painted the kitchen brick in Tuscan colors.  After my last post, I added an additional coat of 'Burnt Umber' diluted with about 50 % Floating Medium again.  It was enough to darken and unify the brick colors without obliterating the overall colors, which I genuinely liked.  Floating mediums are ideal for laying in softer color and picking out detail, without obscuring other details. 

You'll be able to see that I also have blocked in the major color groupings for walls, ceilings and window wells.   I want the overall effect of the whole to create a sense of the kitchen in an Old English Manor, with a twist of elegance that is entirely Steampunk.  So the backgrounds are simple, everyday surfaces that will set off the more elegant and unconventional furnishings in the final outcome.  I think I have a good start there. 

Mount board trim being cut and painted

I've just used mount board to create simple trims that will be enhanced further as I continue working on the kitchen details.  Since the shapes are simple, the mount board works beautifully for the outcome I am looking for.  It also creates a sense of a metallic texture once painted up, while wood would need to be fully sanded and re-textured in order to create the same effect.  The mount board pieces were painted with Deco Arts "Rich Espresso", and Deco Arts "Worn Penny" Metallic paint.  

'Metal' trim installed on dumbwaiter

I've installed the trim on the dumbwaiter, and will expand this treatment throughout the kitchen build.  

Future Trim additions

I have also added an arch over the window wells, extending the 'Turner's Yellow" Acrylic into the arch, and cutting trim to help create the shape definition.

Beginnings of the 'Metal' Floor

Much of the trim in the Steampunk Kitchen rooms will be metallic finishes. I like the elegance and uniqueness it creates, and it, by itself, will go a long way toward creating the sort of effect I am looking for.  You will be proud of me.  I actually DREW up what I wanted in this kitchen, since it is rather complex!  I HAD to put it down on paper.  I am reasonably certain I will be working on this room for quite some time. 

I began the flooring for the raised portion of the room by cutting irregularly shaped rectangles out of mount board.  I wanted to create the look of metal sheets and scrap used as flooring materials. 

I used a variation on a technique that I have shared before to create the feel of metal sheeting that would have been hand forged, and would not be entirely smooth.  I wanted that textured look rather than the smooth, modern look of today's sheet metal. 

To use this technique, all you need is the unsanded grout, a putty knife and an old toothbrush.  

Unsanded Grout with texturing from a toothbrush

I layered each piece of mount board with a thin layer of unsanded grout, and smoothed it out evenly.  The photo above was my first test piece, and I adapted to a much thinner layer on all the other pieces, as I thought the thickness above was out of scale.   

After coating each piece with unsanded grout, I drew the putty knife along each edge to smooth out the edges, creating a sense of individual sheets of metal.  I used the toothbrush to create a texture that was evenly distributed  and somewhat rough.  I then laid the putty knife very, very lightly over the top of the layer of grout and drew it gently across the surface to level and "join" portions of the texture to give a completely random pattern of smooth and rough areas as you can see in the photo below. 

Orange Orange Basecoat!

The next step toward creating the metal pieces was to overlay each piece with 'Orange Orange" Acrylic paint. 

I used a second layer of the 'Rich Espresso' metallic paint over the top of this orange coat, applied with a brush again.  I just wanted the impression of depth created by the orange color, but did not want much of the orange color to actually show through.  I now had pieces that were a brassy gold with just a hint of orange showing through.  I followed this with a layer of deep purple, again thinned heavily with Floating Medium, and sponged in. A final sponged in coat (not thinned this time) of Rich Espresso and I ended up with the metal effect I had hoped for, sort of dark and moody, while rich with color.

The finished 'Metal" floor panels

Below is a shot of the floor installed in the Butler's pantry.  I really am happy with the rich sheen and understated effect of the flooring, and the sense of old well used metal that was created.   I am absolutely jazzed about the irregular shapes and sizes.  The darker flooring offsets the warm brick colors and the very bright yellows used for the walls and windows.  

I may actually put a layer of satin varnish or something like that over the floor, as it is presently a little rougher than I think would be "navigable" by it's tiny occupants, and in any case, the rougher surface would be difficult to maintain, and would not look good for long if left as is.  But I don't expect to change the overall effect, since I think it serves for what I had hoped for. 

'Metal' Floor Panels Installed

I am adding just a couple more photos of the spaces so you can get a sense of the full room.  I am very pleased with the color combinations at the moment, though the blue looks a bit bright without the treatments I plan to give it.  That will be a simple matter of paint magic.  The grayed shade of blue is what I wanted, so I am happy with the overall effect.  

Butler's Pantry

A gratuitous shot of the dumbwaiter with the flooring installed.  Mostly including that because I love the angle!  :0) 


And a last shot of the entire room with some of the "to be" elements mocked up.  So far, while this portion of the project has been one of the hardest so far in regard to the use of space, I am very happy with the overall progress and the rich coloring of the kitchen so far. 

The Steampunk Kitchen So Far

I am not likely to post again before Christmas, so I want to once again wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Until Next Time!

Doug S


  1. Oh Doug, this just keeps getting better and better....where to start! I just love the metal floor - it is marvellous. I think you got the hammered look just perfect. I love all the metal in your house, and the colours you use are hitting the mark, just spot on :)
    The colours are warm but not brash, I have a soft spot for bronze tones, so I just love all that you are doing here.
    I hope you get plenty of 'Doug' time over the holidays, and indulge yourself in your Manor!!!
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours.
    Until 2015!
    All the best

    1. Hi there Vivian, I am so pleased you are enjoying the outcomes for the Manor kitchens. Metal will continue to be a theme throughout the house, especially in these ground floor rooms. Metals are sort of at the heart of the Steampunk genre. I am really enjoying "creating" using all these metal tones.

      I love color, just in case you haven't figured that out yet. :0) Color and Space are my "thing", I love working with both, and this is no exception. I am glad you don't find the colors brash, there is such a fine edge between brash and just right. I do feel I am pushing the edge of that line somewhat with my color choices in this room!

      I wish you the same good fortune, to have time (and money!) to indulge yourself in your miniatures, and I hope that your time with your family and friends is extra special this year.

      Thank You for the warmth and glow you always leave behind with your comments! I always look forward to hearing from you!


    2. Ah Doug, that is so kind of you to say.... I also look forward so much to reading your blogs!
      All the best for 2015.

  2. Hi Doug! I absolutely love your metal floor, because I think you got the hammered look just right, just like Vivian said. And all of the 'metal' in your house even doesn't make it chilly (I don't know the exact English word for it), no, because you choose the right paint colors, so it feels warm and comfortable. I like those rich decorated doors of the dumbwaiter, the result is perfect.
    It is so great to see how you work on this house, I enjoy reading your blog posts.
    Thanks for sharing the article of the newspaper, what a find was the old kitchen and all of the utensils and accessories, wow!! Tucked away for so many years, what a shame for people like us ;)!
    I hope you can find some time to work at your house, so we can see soon what you will have done :D!
    Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and my very best wishes for 2015!
    Kind regards, Ilona

    1. Welcome back Ilona! I am glad to see you back in blog land. I am glad you are feeling better!

      Your comment about the metals not making the rooms feel chilly (you got the English just perfect there! :0)) really struck a nerve with me. I hadn't really thought about how I use color, it sort of is a natural outpouring of who I am, but it made me realize that there is a method to my madness. In fact, I think I'll post about that sometime, since I think a lot of people struggle with color. It would be an interesting topic to post on! So sometime I will do that! :0) Meanwhile, I am happy that you feel that the colors are right. Even with my color interest, I often dither around for quite a long time trying to get just the right color!

      I really, really responded to that article in the Daily News too. I have not forgotten it because it caught my imagination so deeply! All those questions that come up about why a kitchen would be closed up with everything just preserved like a time capsule! It defies my imagination! I guess someone had a LOT of money! (and another kitchen!) :0)

      Any ideas about why someone would do that? I would sure love to know, wouldn't you?

      Have a Merry Christmas! We open our gifts together tonight after our Christmas Eve Service. I am so looking forward to our family time. Enjoy yours!

      Best wishes for your day! Doug .

  3. Hello Doug,
    I hope you had a merry Christmas, The kitchen is really coming along! The floor is beautiful and the metal trim is a very nice touch. I love the esthetic for the kitchen. The colors you chose with the metal create a very warm, welcoming feeling.
    Big hug,

  4. OMG They are beautiful. I am so you .

  5. Hi Bev! I am so glad you like them! Welcome to the blog!


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