Hi, my name is Elga and I live in South Africa. I love dollhouses and miniatures. My two biggest passions are furniture making and embroidery and of course the two combined. Welcome and enjoy browsing my blog.
May 2014 be a great year for you all both in the happy and sad times, as I grow older I know that each year will bring it's own joys and sorrows, I believe a positive attitude towards each situation makes a huge difference in our experience of life, so grab next year and what it holds for you with both hands and make the best of it. I pray for God's blessing on each one of my family and friends :-)
Well....after my last post, when I started working out some of the furniture sizes....I realized my house was still too small. One of the issues being that with a dollhouse you kind of loose your fourth wall since you have to look in from somewhere, and with all the doors and windows the wall spaces in between wasn't wide enough, with my husband's encouragement I made the house deeper and added the stoep (veranda). The front gable will open and the rest of the opening doors will be on the side walls.
The final plan, the rooms are now exactly to scale as they are in the real house.
The stoep adds so much character to the house with its build in seats.
They had so much space in the houses, notice the build in cupboard next to the double doors on the left hand side of the photo, I plan on putting one into my dining room.
A built in fireplace with doors to keep it closed during summer.
I want to make an armoire similar to this one, they are huge and the reason for needing wider walls.
I decided to build a mock-up of the Cape Dutch home to make sure that I am happy with the dimensions...well, I wasn't, the rooms were just a bit cramped, I wanted to put a stoep (verandah) around the house but have decided to sacrifice that idea for big enough rooms.
The first mock-up, you are looking at the house from the back.
The dining room.
And the bedroom, although the rooms aren't small, they are just not big enough for the furniture I want to put in them. I added only a few centimeters, but it made a huge difference.
The new floor plan, I also decided to put the dining room in the back as it was in the real houses, I didn't like the idea of having to walk through the entrance hall to the dining room.
The kitchen is wider and deeper and now have space for a concealed staircase up to the loft just as the real house had it. I am thinking of making storage space underneath the stairs for food, it would have been nice and cool in there.
The extra space in the bedroom means that the bed won't be crowded by the big armoire and four seater settee I plan on making.
Josje, how do you like the kitchen's stable door and those hinges?
And for all my Dutch friends who were surprised by the Dutch interiors and architecture, settling the Cape of Good Hope were the brainchild of the VOC, they needed a place to stock up on fresh food and water during the ship voyages to the east to bring back all those lovely spices, silks, etc to The Netherlands. So all the first Governors and farmers in the Cape were Dutch people, they set their mark on the Cape for the first 150 years from 1652 when Jan van Riebeeck and his wife Maria came to the Cape with three shiploads full of people and supplies with instructions from the VOC to build a fort to protect them against the at times hostile natives and to start farms to supply the passing ships with fresh vegetables, fruit and meat. The VOC ruled the Cape for many years with an iron fist, it was quite difficult for a free man to start a farm or business in those first years.
Wow, it is more than two months since my last post, life has just been very busy and although I am continuously working on orders, there is nothing much new to show you.
I have always wanted to build a Colonial house and want to start on that next year. About two years ago I thought that it would be nice to build a typical South African Colonial house of the eighteenth century and when I stumbled across two very rare out of print books on the subject, one on the architecture and one on the locally made furniture of the time, I decided that I must have these books, well, I finally found copies in a good condition and ever since they arrived on Friday, I have done nothing but, dream, plan and scheme. During the Eighteenth century South Africa was very much under the rule of the Dutch and they had a big influence on the architecture and furniture of the time and the style is aptly called Cape Dutch, only the Cape province excited in those years, most of the others came in the next hundred years. Our family's first ancestor on my father's side Hendrik Oostwald Eksteen came to the Cape of Good Hope in 1702 as a twenty four old from Germany, he had three wives in succession, the first two died young and the third survived him for about 40 years, he had 18 children, many of them died young and at the time he was one of the richest men in the Cape, alas, none of that fortune has filtered through to me, although he was German, most of my blood line is Dutch. My middle brother loves family history and traced us all the way back.
Well, on to the houses, the townhouses was based very much on the ones you find in Amsterdam, but oh the country houses are just so different and magnificent, due to no lack of space, they generally only had a ground floor with a loft that was used for storage. To replicate this in miniature is going to need lots of space and building only a few of the rooms.
I am basing the general outlay of my house on this one, Stellenberg, a house that is in one of the suburbs of Cape Town and I think still privately owned.
The front of the house.
The back, showing the courtyard. You can see nicer photos of the house here and here.
The beautiful entrance hall.
The floor plan of the house from my book.
And my floor plan, with most of the back of the house gone, I need to fit this house on a table I have, as it is it is going to be huge, I had to reduce the rooms as it is a bit in size, but I didn't want to lose too much, as I don't want to lose the sense of space and grandeur. I might compromise and put a bedroom in the loft, I still have a lot of reading to do and it is quite possible that they did use the loft space as well, lots of the houses were build in a H shape with only six big rooms.
I will use other elements from other houses too, like this gorgeous gable from Morgenster.
The scale drawing of the gable in my book.
And I love the front door of yet another house Rust en Vreugde, my Dutch friends will understand all the names well.
Here are two more links to enjoy on Cape Dutch Houses, first up Groot Constantia and a variety of houses on this blog. Many of these houses are either museums or part of wine estates and so easily accessible to the public, only problem, I live 1600km's away, hopefully I will be able to visit there sometime next year.
In my next post I will show you some of the furniture from the other book.
I am married and the mother of two grown up daughters plus two dogs and two cats. I love working with my hands and enjoy furniture making, petit point, doll making, crochet and knitting and I am also building a dollhouse to house all my treasures.