Author Archives: DoF@theinfill

About DoF@theinfill

Learning and playing with craft related new physical tasks, mostly with highly variable results. Great fun and lots of room for invention and learning.

Unroll the cladding


Safety warning perhaps?

First find the face mask.  I’m using very thin fibreglass cladding for the brickwork on the lower half of the walls and each time I’ve handled it I’ve forgotten to find the mask first.  It does make some dust when you’re cutting it (not much) and what I find worst of all are the bits that get into the skin of your hands.  I tried wearing small, thin, medical gloves but found that I couldn’t get the fine finger management for adjusting anything.

I’m not advertising this cladding very well am I, but I do like the look of it.

theinfill art deco dolls house blog, theinfill dolls house blog, theinfill 1930s-50s Deco House, Hogepotche Hall –Hodgepodge Hall - Medieval Tudor Jacobean dolls house blog - external cladding

I used it on the coal bunker yesterday. As you can see it’s very thin and, if you look at the insert image you can see not only an example of the back of a piece but also at top left, just how easily it will break and flake. It also seems to have the odd pinhole in the sheet now and again. Its grouting has a sandy finish to it.

The sheets of cladding come with an edge that needs trimming on at least three sides.  When you first look at it you can see that the imprint of the brick pattern isn’t square to some of the edges.  Trimming off the waste is tricky, keeping square with the run of the bricks.

theinfill art deco dolls house blog, theinfill dolls house blog, theinfill 1930s-50s Deco House, Hogepotche Hall –Hodgepodge Hall - Medieval Tudor Jacobean dolls house blog - external cladding

On the bottom right you can just see how fragile the cladding is at the edges. It’s been handled a lot over the last year and I’m hoping I can fiddle something in to compensate for the mess or that will have to become an area for a tall plant or two.

Today’s debacle

It’s also possible that the building isn’t all that wonky but that I’m not capable of handling large sheets of material without avoiding distortion.

Other handling notes to self

  • I’ve cut the door space leaving enough to turn in for the reveals which are now glued back.  The material doesn’t like that at all and it takes some time to encourage the folding back pieces to remain where you’d like them and not crack or break up.
  • I’d also forgotten how hard I found joining sheets of the cladding when doing the facade.  I couldn’t get the bricks to align.  They do when you have them side by side on a flat table but once they got anywhere near my ‘not quite square’ building activities, it just didn’t work.
theinfill art deco dolls house blog, theinfill dolls house blog, theinfill 1930s-50s Deco House, Hogepotche Hall –Hodgepodge Hall - Medieval Tudor Jacobean dolls house blog - external cladding

Not only is my work not square, there’s a bay window. I seem to recall that the damp brickwork towards the top, just where the bay meets the flat bit by the porch may be concealing a bad match up going on.
(Notice the bottom right edge is not quite as ‘ruined’ as in the previous pic.)

Well, the small piece from the bay and over the porch isn’t that big so there goes the distortion theory, perhaps.


I’ve cut out every alternate brick (see the edge of the sheet in the first photo) and, in this case, overlaid the new sheet on the old.  You can see in the second of these two photos here just how much the new piece overlaps the first one.

If I’d remembered sooner I could have tried giving both edges a crenellated finish and interweaving them, though it is fragile material.  However, in this case, the long sheet was already stuck down when the misalignment struck.

Despite the list of ‘complaints’, I do like this brickwork when it is in place.  Not sure whether this ‘few courses at a time’ routine is going to work with the next bit and we could be finding unnecessary plumbing or climbing plants in unexpected places to disguise the resulting mess.  I’ll let you know 😉  I could be regretting not staying with the egg box bricks!




The coal bunker

Needing a break from all that walling, I started to play with some of the scraps of greyboard lying around.  I need a hidey-hole for the electronics – am using two short six plug switched units.  Decided that a flat-topped coal bunker would do the trick, placed just outside the side entrance to the house for easy use on rainy days when you’re the one sent out for more fuel.

Sizing up the job

Although the controls are small, they still need a bunker of unusual size, so if we put a dividing wall in (needed to help support the card sides) and imagine we  have coal at one end and storage for the smaller gardening tools at the other it might look OK.  It has the added benefit of giving something of interest to look at from both front and back views of the side path.

It will be a sealed unit that can be lifted up to access the electrics, though am thinking of putting plant pots etc on the flat top.

The path itself will be raised up slightly to allow any stray wiring to sit comfortably underneath.

Story so far

theinfill art deco dolls house blog, theinfill dolls house blog, theinfill 1930s-50s Deco House, Hogepotche Hall –Hodgepodge Hall - Medieval Tudor Jacobean dolls house blog - external - coal bunker

Gardening side of the double bunker, now with the lid on.
I don’t plan to do anything further with it until the house cladding is on and the path is down, I think, as it will be easier to assess what’s needed then.
I’m now thinking a milk bottle mini crate my look well on top there too, perhaps.

Science and foolish goings-on


Trying to defy gravity and avoid warp

The time has come (when time actually allows) to prepare the remains of the outer face of the building prior to checking all the levels for the upstairs ceilings.  Why is the outer face going to make any difference to the ceilings?  Well, I’ll tell you – the levels have been checked constantly but I’m hoping that with a bit of fiddling around that any oddities that might be lurking may be aided by the outer shell top edge if necessary.  It’ll possibly make more sense as it goes along, I hope.

The gravity and the warp ‘thing’

Well, they go hand-in-hand as I want to clad the outer faces, or at least the very long one up the side of the semi and wish to add a sheet of greyboard as the outer skin.  Trying to build in many lightweight layers of different materials so that any individual attempts on their part to bend and flex with time and temperature will be slowed down by the attempts of their neighbours in the sandwich to do likewise, but in a differing manner.

The sandwich

  • The main structure is built with foamboard with wood strip lengths set down and across the inside
  • The internal decoration is mostly fixed to mountboard affixed to that wood strip
  • Externally I’m now attaching bits of wood strip here and there making it look not unlike an unpainted timber frame I suppose
  • Then the gravity defiance has to happen as greyboard sheets are attached to said external wood strip

So we have mountboard to wood strip to foamboard, and now we’re getting more wood strip to the outer face of the foamboard upon which will be greyboard.

Equals sandwich – and an outside chance of giving the building a finished looking face.

As you can see from first two photos there are three windows and a door to be cut out of the next sheet.

Yes, I did do measurements for the door and still got it wrong, but the wet paint plus measurements have resulted in a neat fit around the window cills and along the faces of the windows.

Not just greyboard?

The dream is that the lower half of these walls is brick, the upper white rough-cast and I’m hoping to face the window and door reveals in each material according to which floor they’re on.

Stuck now as have run out of the greyboard but it is on its way.

A Dollhouse Rescue


Caught a little at the moment in domestic affairs but came across this interesting transformation and thought I might pass it on.

Susannah Talley, writer, interior designer, artist … was caught up in the maelstrom of life, downsizing, family illness etc when she came across a modern dollhouse sitting in a pile of trash:  this article in The Cut has, amongst images of her downsizing, a few photos of the dollhouse.

I’m particularly fascinated by what I take to be a photo wrap-around, containing images of herself and her late husband seated with corner bookshelves between, which adds an extra ‘couple of feet’ as it were to the perspective/size of the room.  Intriguing …