Having made the plunge for double storey and length, just how much white wall and wood beam was I going to go for?

First I needed to put in the essentials of basic wall covering, balcony/minstrel gallery and ponder whether to add windows on outer walls and/or glazed and non-glazed inner sections looking into other rooms.  This would give a peep show effect and let lighting come from other areas into the Hall.

Patterning with texture

I had panels from Angela Downton that could be used as gothic windows or wall panelling.  This being early days, I lacked the confidence to just go all out and cut out window shapes in the walls so I went for using them as panelling.  Now I just take a run at it and hope I can infill where necessary (see tower windows – also by amd).

The panelling sits high up near the roof beams and gives a shadowy depth to the upper reaches, which I quite like.  Which brings me back to the need for colour – ‘lighten up’, as it were.

Small motif flowing up stairs and onto gallery

I’d already plumped for stencil patterns up the main staircase and entry hallway, letting it travel onto the landing and minstrel gallery – some further colour was definitely going to be needed.  But how?

To mural or not to murial?

Many buildings of the period have wall paintings.  (This particular link is both odd and interesting.)

Do you have a go yourself, hoping that the basic skill will look suitably naive, or print out a real image from computer and paste to the wall?

Definitely printing it out was the way to go and I enjoyed the research.  However, I then came unstuck, as I had no colour printer, only monochrome laser – most recent previous need being print handouts.  I didn’t feel I could play around with the images at someone else’s expense, so just printed them the once as they appeared on screen at Isla’s house.

I went for pages from early books that contained more naïve images and, where possible, scenes from everyday life.  As my inhabitants were going to be adventurous merchants, I looked for images of boats but widened the search to include knightly activities, troubadours and ladies, and monks amongst the people.

There are wonderful pages of scenes from the season in the countrside, but they are so beautifully detailed I thought that I should stick with simpler, rougher lines to go with the overall style of work.  But even though the colours and shapes were simple, they were stronger than I wanted, making the images look more cartoon like than was comfortable.  The good old white chalk wash came in handy, taking down the colouring sufficiently randomly, giving a bit more of a worn look and substituting a journey to another computer to manipulate images and reprint.

Simple images for wall adornment

Still picking which pic - view of possible murals from balcony

Ceiling covering

Another lightening up aspect would be a white ceiling.  I bought a sheet of ceiling tin.  You’ll have seen it in use in quite a number of models.  The most usually available has an involved design with various areas that could be picked out in some colour or other.  I elected to see a cross shape as my repeat and promptly spent 3 hours painting 105 crosses with bronze enamel craft paint and generally getting dizzy and leg weary.

Where are we up to?

Now I had a dark upper Hall with 3 panels of wall paintings together at a mid level and a white and bronze ceiling; the lower half of the walls having been left in traditional white with wood beams.  Probably going to put some hangings here when dressing the set later.

Variation on the theme

Part of the lower section is the wall to the kitchen on the right front of the picture below.  This is where I decided would be a good area to have the open panels – windows, as it were, without glass.  I was imagining the kitchen heat getting out into the Hall and those working in the kitchen being able to peek out at the doings in the Great Hall.  I used glazed panels between the Hall and the Office entrance hall area so that light could come through at that end.

Long shot of Hall - kitchen divide being the box like item on right below balcony - it's divided into four sections

What’s holding up this big ceiling?

Ceiling beams:  mmmm.  Being nervous about this I decided to take the cowardly, and somewhat silly way out, and design them out of alignment – oh, yes I did.  Just didn’t think I could cope with getting them dead the same.   I measured and placed them not quite equally distributed and not quite parallel.  Annoying but friendly, I felt.  It probably was harder to do than if I’d risked all to get them dead right!  What an idiot!

Panels and beam supports - you can just see through lower glazed panel to lighting in Office

Each beam has a small motif on its support pieces in green with added spots of red and bronze, bringing some of colour a little way down into the dark area.  I made a hook for a future main light, drilled it into the central beam and dirtied the ceiling just above it in the way that I imagined candles might mark it.

Other fiddling patterns

Tin ceiling and mural panels - hook in beam giving a black line shadow.

Not able to leave well alone, I also took dark water crayons to some lower wood work, adding dot and leaf like motifs along them.

All I now needed was a fireplace and lighting.  Ah, yes.  Where to start and what to use?

I’d already plumped for stencil patterns up the main staircase and entry hallway, letting it travel onto the landing and minstrel gallery – some further colour was definitely going to be needed.  But how?


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