Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Fox Manor

The Attic - The School Room

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all well.  It came to my attention when I put up my last post that my replies to your comments were not being received.  I get notified through my google email when someone posts a comment on my blog.  I have always replied to people that way.  It seems now, that my replies to you were not being received.  I have been so upset, to think that you think I am rude not replying to you!
Please, please know that each and every comment that anyone made on my blog was always replied to.  I so appreciate each and every one who takes the time to comment on my wee blog so I will be replying to you all through the blog from now on.


This is the last room in Fox Manor to be decorated....all together  now, aww....:(

The School Room had, I think, been the hardest room for me to 'see' for quite some time.  But once I decided what I wanted to do, things started to come together really well!

I had initially envisaged a cold, harsh, and quite a dark room, but I wasn't really happy with that scenario.  I'm not naturally a dark person!

My other attic rooms are quite cheery and bright for the wee ones of the Manor, and I couldn't quite get my head around the fact that the children would be stepping out of their lovely Playroom and Night Nursery to end up in a cold and stark School Room.

To that end, I have produced this........


Well, I have decided that my School Room had originally been used as a bedroom for a couple of maids and had also been a storage area during it's lifetime too!  Hence, the different wallpapers used to decorate the room over the years are still in place. LOL.  Any leftover wallpaper used to decorate the Manor was not wasted, but used in here!  The Manor has been completely revamped since, but not this little room.  It still 'tells' the story of the Manor in times gone by!  So when the children arrived, the maids were shipped out into the converted outhouses on the Estate and the attic floor was then used for the benefit of the children!  How's that for a background story!! :)

The children's governess is a forward thinking young lady, who loves teaching and believes in bringing out the best in her young pupils; she actually loves the room but thinks a brighter and more vibrant décor would be a more appropriate surrounding for education.  The Lady of the house, can't quite understand the governess' need to brighten up the room, and, as yet, hasn't actually decided whether to spend the money on re-doing that attic room or not!

My own maternal grandmother in RL was a governess to Prince Borghese's children in Italy, or possibly France, I believe, away back at the turn of the last century, and I have always thought of her as being a young adventurous woman out in the world teaching and loving it - but it's also so sad that I know very little else about her during that time!

A view of the blackboard, pointer and duster.

The wallpaper on the left wall with the door is a gorgeous paper by Susan Bembridge Designs called Paxton House - Morning Room.  It has a dark beige background with garlands in a faded black/grey.  I have made a wooden plank wainscot here by staining the planks, skirting and dado with walnut dye and then painting over the top with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Cream.  I rubbed some of the paint off and age-waxed the lot to give it a multi-tonal, slightly dirty effect - the first time I aged anything in my Manor I have to add!

The right-hand sloping wall is decorated with Les Chinoiseries paper in Manila Rose.  It has warm apricot/pink tones with little birds....lovely.

A view of two of the walls!

The chimney breast mirrors the one in The Playroom, in that it goes out through the roof.  It is also made in the same way.  I made the hearth from black mountboard and scored it to resemble slabs of slate.  I've done this before and it's very effective, I think.  I love this little fireplace even though it's quite plain.

The back wall....the other sloping wall, has a row of storage units in the attic eaves - harking back to earlier times in Fox Manor.  My governess loves them as she can store so many more books there and still have the room looking reasonably tidy!  The units have been painted with Farrow & Ball 'Green Smoke' and lined with 'old newspapers'.  The wall above has been decorated with Les Chinoiseries paper called 'Bourges', a lovely floral stripe in beige and apricot tones.

The cupboards are lined in you do!

A view of the cupboard doors in the making and the wainscoting.

The gap to the right holds some wiring.  The rest are in the cupboards.

I initially had this idea of a row of cupboards along the back wall as you see them, then I changed my mind to make a false wall at the back with larger cupboard doors - but the little row of cupboards eventually won!  With this in mind, I should have just made a little set of units and slid them in...... but, me being me, I had started the basic framework for the false wall, had it very well glued in, couldn't remove it, so I had to work around it!  Ah well! 

I should have spent even more time staring at the empty room instead of running ram-stam into starting it!  Lesson learned!!

To the right-hand side of the unit I have papered thick, stiff cardboard on both sides to fill the empty space.  In here I have more wiring running through, but I have put a tiny little brass knob at the top of this so I can lift the piece out if need be!

I love these little units.  They're not perfect, but I think they suit the space so well!

I took a big chance in using three different wallpapers in here; I really wanted to try it, but I am delighted with the effect.  It's just how I envisioned the space.  Sometimes I find it hard enough choosing one paper for a room, never mind three!  Well, I spent ages swapping papers about, choosing, then changing my mind again.  But I love the three I finally went for. :)

When I showed my husband, 'the joiner', my finished room, he looked, and said nothing, and I just knew he was looking at the crooked doors and the finish of the little units; so he had to be gently reminded that this room was an attic and the furniture here would not have been so finely and precisely finished off - the way it should be done.....apparently!! :)

The flooring is the same as the rest of the rooms in the attic.  Just plain plank flooring with a walnut stain and wax.

This gives the whole attic space a unity.

Again, I have opted not to put up a ceiling rose.  I personally feel that such an extravagance would not have been permitted in the attic!

I would love this desk area myself!

There is a hanging oil lamp in this room.....modernisation hasn't got this far up the Manor yet!  But I'm not surprised, sure they haven't even redecorated in here for years :)   I also have a lamp on the governess' desk along with some other little items I have picked up along the way :)  I don't know if you can make them out - photography is not my strong point - but on the desk there is a tiny little ink pen with a brass nib, a brass inkwell along with a carafe and glass for water, a little brass school bell with a clapper and a fabulous ink blotter.  I made the vase of flowers there as well.  There is a gorgeous little brass lamp on the unit at the back.  The wood and brass clock works!

The stack of leather books, the dictionary, the diary and tied bundle of notes on the desk are all handmade by Nicole from PetiteUniques.  Nicole has a wonderful shop on Etsy.  Here's the link it's really worth a visit!

Both lamps in the room can be unplugged as I have all the wiring hidden in the unit.

The McQueenie Double Desk Kit.

The desk is unfinished here while the seat has had a coat of wax.

I have made the children's double desk from a McQueenie Miniatures kit and I found it to be so straightforward to do.  I just gave it a light coat of wax when assembled.  It's lovely, and it comes complete with little inkwells. 

The children's slates were gifts from Art of Mini...they have some amazing items.

The wall blackboard in its raw state - made by my own fair hands!

The blackboard, pointer and duster with a walnut finish.
In situ....

I made the blackboard behind the governess' desk.  It truly is a blackboard.  I painted a piece of wood with blackboard paint and it turned out really well.  I 'framed' the blackboard with timber, and altered a piece of ceiling coving for the curved base so I can place the chalk, duster and pointer there.  I stained the lot with a walnut varnish.  I am delighted with the way they all turned out :)

The pointer was made from a cocktail stick with one end cut off and sanded; and the duster was a piece of wood with a piece of thick grey cardboard attached.  It looks just like the ones I remember at school!

I still have to experiment a little with an effective method for chalk writing on my blackboard and the little slates for the children.  I want to put a little more life into the room and I think that may do the trick!  So any suggestions for what to use to get fine white writing would be greatly appreciated!!

Lights on!

Lights off!
On taking a picture of the three attic rooms together, it seems that the Schoolroom, is, in fact, dark.  Even with the lights on lol.  But I assure you that it's not as bad as it looks in the photos :)

This floor has been completed fairly quickly once I got started.  I have enjoyed it, all the tramping up and down the little steps I have, was all right once I got going.  Still, I was very much aware that one wrong move from me would be a disaster!  I have no balance nor a head for heights!  Such a brilliant combination lol!  No.  I don't go skiing!!!!

So there we have it folks!  My Manor is, basically finished! :)  :(  Yes, I don't know how I feel.

Anyway, I still have loads to do to 'fill' it up.

I also have to start to knuckle down and think about how I want the outside to look.

Next time, I will put up a post showing the whole Manor.  It will be the first reveal for me too.  As you have probably noticed; as I finish a floor I cover it up to protect it from the workings of the next.  As a result, I haven't actually seen it with all the rooms visible at once with all the lighting on!

Now that I'm writing this, I'm getting quite excited about seeing it myself!  LOL

Until the next time, all the best and take care of yourselves.


PS  I have just reached 80 followers!!  Yippee.....  If I ever make it to 100, I will do something very special!