The year moves on


Fining down activities

When puzzles and problems hang around (in this case methods for the New Build) variety is something I like to play with. It gives the brain space to chew things over without the ‘me-ness’ nagging at the tangles of thought. Hence at the mix and match of the New Build + Bandstand.  Unfortunately ‘the new’ needs to keep looking new and Bandstand involves lots of painting of bitty things and the Potting Shed can’t cater for it.

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Autumn garden collage, looking here a little like a Harvest Festival arrangement

Along with the sunny autumn, the Bandstand has to move on into a winter storage mode until another day – it just can’t play nicely with clean foamboard, wallpapers and information files lying around.

Talking of the time of year, we occasionally ‘stop’ for a day or two or friends come here in October/November, so I’ll be disappearing from the workroom for a wee while.


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The room is 8′ x 11′ so when you enter walk sideways

Space being of the premium in here – you should see it (but too shameful to photograph).  I’ve made a rat run around a load of work surfaces but cutting large sheets of board will be amusing.  You see, every table in the room is a different height so can’t spread big sheets over a couple and then expect no bends, tears, cracks etc. Going to have to work on that one – probably spread into places I shouldn’t spread🙂 At least the wood for the base (had to buy new in the end) will be the first thing to be reduced in size instead of it leaning up against the workbench, blocking off access to stuff underneath, so that will be a relief.

Meanwhile when I do report for duty once more, what’s the side distraction going to be?  Sense ought to dictate having a go at as many bits of furniture type stuff for the New Build as possible, don’t you think?  Exactly how well that’ll go will be fun to explore.  Failing that something will come to mind I’m sure.

And to keep the appetite whetted for the 50s period, look what lives in one of the boxes on one of the shelves.

Back in the Potting Shed in a couple of weeks, see you then😉

A little cupboard hunting


As a break from looking at building details and wooden furniture I had a sudden fancy for more colour and started chasing down crockery, porcelain, vases and ornaments.  There’s so much to choose from pattern-wise, from the Clarice Cliff to the Utility coloured which I always makes me think of staff rooms as the teachers’ used it when I was at infant/junior school.  It came in blue, green, a very pleasant primrose or pink I believe. Then I came to my senses and I  used my head for once and opened my own cupboards.  Here’s a few examples of odd bits:  some I suspect might be repros and possibly more of them will be 1950s rather than 30s.

Full sized examples hiding out at home

I’ve included pics of the base of each for those interested in markings😉

Used to have a few bits of Laburnum but during a clear out years back I only kept the jug.  The green sugar bowls (a later repro I think) I use as dessert dishes.  There’s a bit of a yellow to red theme going here but I do have the odd blue decorated item somewhere.

Now the page looks like a crockery catalogue!  But it’s given me lots to think about if I end up decorating or making some bits.

Design elements used for a different recipe


(No chorizo has been harmed in the making …)

Take one pair of semis
and prepare as follows

New layout/mix – recipe for main course

  1. A slice of what may (or may not) be flats – use slices of the façade and re-arrange as fits your cooking base or dish
  2. Add a good handful of Art Deco as has been handed down to us and re-interpreted a century later
  3. Spoon in some of the design elements from more up market semis and detached houses (suggestions below)
    1. wider hallway
    2. stairs with quarter turns
    3. window on stairs bottom and top
    4. side entrance into hallway not kitchen
  4. Use most of a packet of the standby layout of a house (straight walk through from front door to kitchen area, pantry in kitchen, old chimney style recess in kitchen for range or cooker, three bedrooms – two large one very small
  5. Adjust/change/add windows all round to taste
  6. Decorate to preference

a)  dress both sides to add interest

i)   windows
ii)  a render crumble topping

b)  back

i)   add a setting of windows to match the internal fillings
ii)  for the sweet toothed, add further render crumble here

Photos of early version of recipe in progress

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Having a go at a ‘full size’ 1:12 facade drawing. Messy but useful. Really makes me look at the detail of how each sections abuts to the next

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I’ve started up a folder with data and enlarged images of details for the plans and for working on the build. Measurements retaken from clearer images collected recently but I wish they would stay unchanged.  Some things don’t seem as ‘comfortable’ when taken down to 1:12

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Also started up a folder on furnishings. I’ve started with Utility images and think I might try to make some of them(?)

And for desert – a couple of pairs of gloves

Between times I’ve been working on the Bandstand musicians.  The clay is still in need of sanding down in the all white hands and feet but at this stage were not quite dry enough.  I like to keep them in cool storage for at least a week before using.

As a finishing flavour –  the rare delicacy of boots for two

More hands feet and house to follow.


And the rest of the week, pencil in hand


as dotty as a dotty thingy

Thursday/Friday – Not so glorious ignorance

Must stop making it up as I go along and read the instructional articles that I should have consulted pre Hogepotche.   That was more a pouring out of life and age, as t’were.  But this time I need to use my head a whole lot more.  One can only hope that it’s never too late to learn.

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Cold and reading, with clothes pegs for company

Friday – Frozen and fascinated

Books and internet plus going through the doll’s house magazines I occasionally bought.  So far mostly used them as eye candy and mind stimulation but now’s the time to dig deeper for words of wisdom.

Sitting in the ‘Potting Shed’ where I could spread out and sort freely, popping those clothes pegs on sets of pages as book marks – not put  heating on yet so almost needed boots!

Later in warmth

Started drawing up floor plans from info gathered from builders/architect plans on the web, so I must have been making some sort of decisions when I wasn’t looking.

Need the floor plans with side pathways, front garden etc as soon as possible, not just for all materials but to gauge the size of the base.  With luck we may have the wood lying about somewhere just waiting to be used.

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Ground floor rough layout. The smaller rooms bother me

How will it go

I should set a date for the left-hand house. Let’s say it stopped more or less in or around 1955.  (Then possibly allow the odd item or fabric from later as a bit of a clash?)

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First floor even rougher layout.  The toilet off on its own is a viewing problem as it’s the back wall that I plan to be openable. Move the toilet to rest of bathroom?

1:12 drawn with 5 mm squares – 2 squares = 1″
Imagined width of building 18.5′ and depth of a single semi 28.5′ without bay
(approx 8.70 m x 5.65 m)

I know how I want to change the frontage and the plan on paper seems to work more or less to those ideas but I won’t be comfortable about it until I can produce a scale diagram of the facade.

Kitchens and bathrooms were very small in the houses that I can recall and this is confirmed by the floor plans of original 30s houses I found online and whose layout I’m roughly following.  Because of the size restrictions I’m imposing I began playing with the furniture layout in the kitchen to see how things might fit but as I got carried away down memory lane, adding shelves and cupboards here and there, I didn’t keep in mind the back wall has to be removable! (Hence the patch over top left ground floor as I had to redraw it, and spilled water top right on same page is an elbow in the wrong place.)

It would be possible to add depth to a removable back wall and put a sink in its little floor space but am holding off on that until all else fails, so the sink will be on the left-hand wall instead.

Saturday – Reading with care

Trying to pick up where left off with information articles.  Must find what seems relevant for reference when I get stuck.  This will happen because I’ll have failed to read and retain enough info before I start and so, when the problem arises, I will need to have the know-how to hand  in order to tow myself out of it!

Sunday – Home entertainment

For our evening entertainment we worked together and found the pair of semis online and ‘walked about’ the area bit as it were. We also looked it up in historical maps.  It seems that the area was built piecemeal from around the late 20s, with these two probably appearing in 1930/31 though can’t be sure as they don’t appear until the 1936 map.  It’s also possible that some (not necessarily all) of these semis were built as flats, with the side door being numbered differently to the front.  It is of course also possible that some, if not all have been subsequently converted either to flats or from flats to two-storey homes.


With more images of the buildings I’m going to have a go at drawing the frontage.  S has advised re ceiling heights (he’s a part-time surveyor and gets to see these things) and he also knows the likely pitch of the roof so it should be possible for me to take a swing at it I think.

In the meantime I’ve hacked and generally cut about with a photo editor and tried out some window layouts.

  • Don’t require the width of the bottom left window to be 3 sets of panes wide – prefer 1 or 2
  • The size of the hip roof pyramid seem small balanced against the width of the house to its left.  Don’t want a bigger pyramid but would like to reduce the house width on the left instead
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Excuse the curly roof as have picked up the side wall and left the whole roof where it was – just playing with ideas.
The bit of roof that sticks out shows how much frontage wall has been cut away by reducing the bottom window and sliding the side wall in

  1. Taken a panel out of window next to front door in both images so now 2 sets of panes not 3
  2. Played with the first floor window yoyo-ing it back and forth over front door
  3. Moved the house side wall over about equivalent of a metre

First image:  I like window directly over door, it has a balance but it crowds the upper bay and what’s that whopping great space to the left of it supposed to be?  Do I add another window there to balance?

Second image:  replaced the upper window where it was but still removed one length of window below.  Looks more balanced and is the simpler of the two ideas

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Just thought I’d give it whirl while I was at it and added a second window across first floor to the first image with the window crowding the bedroom bay

Third image:  ‘horrible but interesting – messy and probably owes more to current views on having lots of windows besides which that extra window is there only as a space filler.  Doesn’t work at all.  This is a very small bedroom – single bed and chest of drawers, possibly what used to be known as a single wardrobe and enough floor space left for a rug and one person to stand up only.  It probably couldn’t ‘carry’ two windows.

Will go with the second image for the attempt at drawing up.

Counting bricks – how tall?

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Not sure I’ve got the brick count right, but these measurements can be changed a little here and there when drawing up the front plan and allowing for the thickness of flooring between storeys

Now comes the exciting bit – best get the paper out and remove all liquids from the vicinity.