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Victorianna living room (a.k.a. “perfectionism in motion”)

I am working on the Victorianna’s porch and will post about that next, but before gluing in the porch I needed to glue in the front door, and I took this as an opportunity to finish up some stuff in the living room. Here’s what I started out with:

Behind the smaller couch, there’s a French door. When I cut the wallpaper I cut a bit too much off the top of the door opening, so bare wall is visible over the built-in trim. I considered flipping the door around, since the door casing I’m using is slightly larger than the built-in trim and would cover the gap, but then the doors would open into the living room and the space between them and the couch would be very tight. Things like that bother me even if no one actually lives in this house.

I needed to add a shim anyway to compensate for the wall not being as deep as the door (see this post for details), so I got the idea to add something wider than the door trim, to cover up the wallpaper gap.

Painted, it looks like a beveled edge or a fourth stripe in the casing. Great, problem solved.

On to the front door. I painted a couple of Houseworks doorknobs with black paint. It scrapes off pretty easily, but it’s okay as long as you don’t touch the doorknob too much. Before gluing these on I colored in the part behind the keyhole with black Sharpie so you don’t see the door through it.

This door also has a problem with a gap at the top. Normally that would be covered up by trim, but the header on this door is taller than usual — the same size as the casing, actually. So if I just used casing, the gap above the door wouldn’t be covered up.

Also, this door sticks into the room a bit, so the trim needs to compensate for that. I should have added strip wood to the outside trim so the inside would be flush with the wall, like I did with the window in the little girl’s bedroom. But because there’s a notch cut into the porch floorboards to accommodate the door, the door can’t stick out on the outside any farther than it already does.

I could have added a fancy header (that’s how I handled these doors in the Queen Anne Rowhouse), but didn’t want it to compete with the bay window right next to it. Instead I decided to copy what I did with the French door, adding a shim behind the casing that sticks out to cover the gap.

This door is hard to reach, so I thought it would be easier to line everything up and glue in the pieces if I added shims to the wall instead of to the trim.

After gluing on the shims, I added wood filler to the cracks. (Being hard to reach means the door’s also hard to photograph, so apologies in advance for the blurry pictures that follow!)

Then, I painted over the cracks. I’m pretty proud of myself for managing to do this without getting paint all over the place.

Here it is with the trim added. Yuck. It doesn’t have the neat edge that the French door trim has, and the gap where the baseboard meets the trim looks bad.

I was very unhappy with it, but at this point I didn’t think I could pull off the trim without tearing the wallpaper. (The trim around the bay window is done AND I can’t get any more of this wallpaper, so damaging it would have been a Very Big Problem!) I started experimenting with quarter round to cover up the shims. This didn’t look too bad, but it would be better if I could get rid of that portion of the shim sticking out the top.

I sliced through it with an Xacto knife.

Amazingly, that worked! I got the wood off without damaging the paper. Huge sigh of relief.

I added the painted quarter round.

Next I masked the corner, added wood filler, and touched up the paint on the seams. Even with masking tape protecting the wallpaper, I wasn’t able to paint the edge of the shim that I’d cut with the Xacto knife — I couldn’t hold the paintbrush at the correct angle to reach the wood without bumping it into the ceiling. Luckily you can only see that bare top edge if you look from a really crazy angle, which no one but me would ever try to do.

Considering how hard it is to reach the door and how bad my first attempt turned out, I’m frankly amazed this looks as good as it does. Of course, I could have just added quarter round to the edge of the trim in the first place, and covered up that gap with a lot less angst. But since when do I do things the easy way?

This got me thinking again about the French door. I really do like how that beveled edge turned out, but…

…adding quarter round would look good too, wouldn’t it?

Yes, yes it would. And now the two doors are consistent.

Quick detour to the dining room. Besides the front door, I also needed to glue in the piano window before attaching the porch. This is a Houseworks window that I chopped down. Rather than trying to cut down the window acetate that came with it, I used the thinner stuff that cuts with scissors, held in with pieces of strip wood glued to the inside edges of the window. The trim matches the windows in the two girl’s bedrooms (details here and here).

Okay, back to the living room! I’m planning to use a scratch built entertainment center in here that I got for free with a dollhouse someone was giving away. (You can see how it started out in the first picture at the top of this post.) I dressed it up by adding crown around the top, and double bead on the vertical edges of the shelves and horizontal edge of the counter.

I had put in baseboard here without thinking about how that pushed the entertainment center away from the wall. I removed the baseboard, tearing the wallpaper in the process… good thing it’ll be covered up! I cut the baseboard to accommodate the entertainment center and glued the smaller pieces back in.

Now it’s flush against the wall, like a built-in. I’ll add door hardware, a TV, and stuff on the shelves at some point (I’m not planning to glue it in permanently).

I also had this 3D printed table from Shapeways set aside for this room. Usually tables like this have a glass top, which I obviously couldn’t do, so I decided to try a granite slab look.

I painted the top light gray, then used a dry brush to sponge on various shades of gray and a tiny bit of the pink from the front of the house (which looks almost white).

I painted the base dark gray, and coated the whole thing with gloss varnish. It isn’t particularly glossy, but it has a slight sheen.

Here’s the almost finished living room. I can’t add baseboard to the left of the French door until the trim around the kitchen door is done (which first requires wallpapering the kitchen), but the rest of the trim in here is done. I’m cross stitching a rug for the floor.



It is *hard* to get good pictures of this room. (I need a teeny tiny drone!) I finally managed to take this one by covering up the open wall and sticking the camera through the open French door.

9 Comments

  1. I so much appreciate your talent and detailed explanations at problem solving. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thought process…which I believe are the best tutorials of all.

    Amazing work! Can’t wait for the next edition.

    Happy Fall!
    John.

    • Thanks! I feel like I spend a lot of time undoing my mistakes (not all of them make it on to the blog!), but I hope that documenting them will help someone else avoid the same mistake completely…

  2. That wall unit looks familiar :-)

  3. Your work is AWESOME! Looks like someone could move right in! Thanks so much for sharing your successes, mistakes, and skills as you create!

    KB

  4. Dear Emily,
    Love to read how you tackle the ‘small’ problems that occur as you move through the finishing and decorating of this miniature home…the doors look lovely with the quarter round trim. Adding furniture and accessories will certainly bring the room to life…thanks for sharing the method and the photos!
    Cheers,
    Alayne

  5. Hi, found your lovely work looking for Queen Anne ideas. I need look no further. Be interested to see how you tackle a porch. See blog for progress so far.

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