Sea House Warming Hut Deck Extension

Floor and foundation plan for the deck extension

Floor and foundation plan for the deck extension

For the Warming Hut front deck extension, I glued two pieces of illustration board together with wood glue to make a 1/8-inch (3 mm) thick subfloor. I let it dry thoroughly, then sanded the edges smooth and even.

You can also see one of my preferred pencils, the Palomino Blackwing 602. (“It’s not just a pencil, it’s an experience.”) If you like pencils like I do, it lives up to the hype.

Deck extension plan v2

Deck extension plan v2

For various reasons, including some mistakes aberrations with the front wall alignments,  I decided to switch the deck extension to the right side of the Hut, and inset the foundation so the deck overhangs consistently with the base kit. I remeasured and cut the pieces from 5/8-in poplar (which is what I had on hand).

Gluing up the deck extension foundation

Gluing up the deck extension foundation

Of course I forgot to flip the plan back over to account for building it upside down, but the glue had not yet set and it was easy scrape it off and reconfigure the layout.

Adding the support posts to the rest of the Warming Hut

Adding the support posts to the rest of the Warming Hut

While that was drying, I measured for placement and glued the main structure posts to the foundation.


After the glue set, I flipped the hut back over onto the project board, and set the extension foundation in place. Most of the posts will be obscured by the boulders and bedrock of the site, and for now I’m leaving the build loose from the board. I plan to model and mold the boulders with air dry clay, which worked so well — and are so fun to make! — for the Sea House Pavilion. After the clay dries and shrinks in place, which seems to take several days, I’ll glue the posts to the project board.

Sea House Warming Hut deck extension, vision in progress

Sea House Warming Hut deck extension, vision in progress

Here’s the kit deck and my illustration board extension subfloor. I’m glad it’s still March and the contest deadline is not ’til December 16.

Which also reminds me: I have the whole beautiful unopened base kit HBS/ sent me, which I’d like to pass on to one who wants to join in the miniature madhouse of real imaginary world building. Just leave a comment, and I’ll randomly select from the respondents on 31 March, 2015. Please! Thank you!

Fun with Cream Cans

Vintage cream cans hold flowers

Another great tutorial from Kris Compas

I took another break from construction on the Warming Hut to make Kris Comapas’s latest project, a miniature covered cream can. I always learn something new from her! This time it’s how she paints a galvanized finish. It’s like magic.

Tiny cream cans, made from card stock

Tiny cream cans, made from card stock

I left them overnight, for the wood glue she favors to set up.

The next day, I sanded them smoothish, and painted two coats of gray acrylic.

My approximation of galvanized base, a blend of nimbus gray and a touch of lamp black.

My approximation of galvanized base, a blend of nimbus gray and a touch of lamp black.

Then I got really involved, and didn’t take any more pictures. But that’s OK, because Kris’s tutorials are always very well documented. Also I tried and failed twice to drill a hole lengthwise through a quarter-inch length of toothpick for the wooden handle, so I used a little roll of cardstock painted black to look like a piece of hose.

Poppies for the Warming Hut Roof

1:12 California poppies kit from The Miniature Garden Center

Contents of a 1:12 scale California poppies kit

I went micro today, and made up one of the flower kits from The Miniature Garden Center. Those dots you see are 3/16-inch (4.7 mm) in diameter.

volunteer poppies near the herb garden

Inspiration: volunteer poppies near the herb garden

California poppies might be my favorite flowering plant. If it wasn’t for freesias. Or peonies. Or coneflowers.

miniature California poppies

The kit assembled, with some variations.

Because these will be growing on a windswept roof, I cut the two-inch long stem wires in half. California poppies are rarely leggy.

miniature California poppies

Waiting to be planted on the living roof

Even though California poppies are too delicate and wild to be a good cut flower, they’ll be a nice spot of color in building tableaux. I made more eucalyptus branches, too. Come sit and have a glass of orange juice, and enjoy the morning light.

Oh also, this is the whole of the background picture I used in the deck extension shot. It was taken at sundown on the aforementioned cliffs at Mussel Rock. There was a brisk wind that lifted Lula’s ears as she leaned into it.

Lula reading the smell stories on the wind, December 2014

Lula reading the smell stories on the wind, December 2014

Your scale reference here is that she was a 130-pound (59 kilo) Mastiff mix (Dogue de Bordeaux and Bullmastiff), and she died two weeks after this walk. We miss her.

Warming Hut Deck Extension

Mockup of the Warming Hut deck extension, with a little Photoshop tomfoolery

Mockup of the Warming Hut deck extension, with a little Photoshop tomfoolery

The Sea House Warming Hut is snugged into a rocky outcrop on the cliffs, and will have an L-shaped front deck. Here’s a cardboard mockup of the extension, with the Bruce Dawson benches in place for scale.

I drew a plan in Illustrator to work out the measurements, based on the 5/8-inch square poplar I’ll use for the additional foundation and the supporting pillars. I like using Illustrator because I can enter exact dimensions, and easily move stuff around.

Deck extension plan (not to code)

Deck extension plan (not to code)

The exterior siding is going to run horizontally, and my plan is to wrap it around the curved deck wall in a seamless run. We’ll see how that goes.

There will be a wide stair leading up to the entry, either of wood or stone. Going to try the salt trick on the painted air-dry clay boulders and bedrock that supports the entire hut. And to top it all off, a living roof of moss, grasses and California poppies :) I ordered some flower kits from Georgie Steeds’ Miniature Garden Center Etsy shop. Love her stuff, as well as SDK Miniatures’ kits. HBS/ used to carry some of the SDK kits, not sure if they still do.

I knew you were wondering. The rock formations you see in the ocean shot above is Pedro Point, southern-most in Pacifica, as seen from the cliffs at Mussel Rock, to the north.

a wealth of opportunity

modern miniatures

The limited edition 2015 HBS/ Creatin’ Contest starting kit

Like some of the other miniaturists who were enticed to participate in HBS/ build blog-along, I had already purchased and begun to build this year’s starting kit. And I’ll enter the Sea House Warming Hut in the contest come December 16, even though I have no aspiration of winning, having been honored with the Grand Prize in 2013 for my Sea House Pavilion. (Note to all those who don’t enter their projects because you think you have no chance: no one was more astonished to win than I was. Truly. So show your work and enter! It’s way fun.)

So what to do with this second kit provided by HBS?

Much as I’d like to, I haven’t the time (or space) to do another project. I’d like to offer the kit as encouragement to anyone who might be hesitant to enter the contest, or undertake miniature world building. Leave a comment, and I’ll randomly draw a name on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 from those who respond. I ask only that you consider using the kit to enter the contest, and that you pay shipping costs (I’m in Northern California, and the kit weighs about 11 pounds). What say you?

modern miniatures

Perfect furniture by Bruce Dawson, who has shuttered his studio and is closing out inventory :(

Not a lot of progress on the Warming Hut, what with all the March birthday celebrations.

I did see that one of my favorite miniature furniture builders, Bruce Dawson, is retiring (again) and closing out all his inventory through his Etsy shop bedMiniatures. Shown above are the unpainted 1:12 basswood items I picked up. (He has some half-inch scale pieces as well.) Do check out his shop. His prices are more than reasonable. There are still a few cherry Mission style tables and bookcases that are especially wonderful. Don’t miss this opportunity! You’ll be very, very glad.

Warming Hut Paint Prep

Warming Hut

There are many, many sides of many windows that must be masked, with many small strips of masking tape. But still, the paint will leak.

With 90 percent honesty, prepping and painting miniature woodwork is as tedious as prepping and painting their full-size counterparts. For the Sea House Warming Hut, I considered staining all the trim — a mildly less tedious process — using the same Minwax Classic Gray that the exterior cladding will be. Instead, I opted to paint a semigloss “Simply White” for contrast. My impatient paint application suggests the multiple paint layers slapped on over the years in an effort to preserve coastal buildings from salty corrosion.

And so I carry on, striving for both mindfulness in the process and the satisfaction that only sanding with tiny squares of 600-grit paper can bring.

Through the unpainted window above you can see the Chrysnbon kit stove I assembled and painted like 300 different colors before returning to matte black, that will heat the hut. Still unsure if I’ll use it. I’m rather taken with this modern “Shaker” stove, designed by Antonio Citterio with Toan Nguyen in 2006. I think it would translate to 1:12 scale beautifully, and be fun to build.

Shaker wood burning stove/fireplace, designed by Antonio Citterio with Toan Nguyen. Beauty.

Shaker wood burning stove/fireplace, designed by Antonio Citterio with Toan Nguyen. Beauty.

Finally, this is the unobscured featured image for March on this site’s landing page. It’s a birch tree in Soquel, California that wants to see you. march 2015 header

Until next time, when the paint is dry, and ready to be sanded, then painted. And sanded.

Floor and Build

modern miniature floorThe Sea House Warming Hut floor is bleached, salvaged wood planks milled from the old mythical Sea House Pleasure Pier. Even though the scale of the woodgrain is off, I favor HBS’s  3/4-inch “rustic clapboard siding strips”. And a lot of sanding and pencil point nail heads.

modern miniature building

I soaked a few strips of  1/32 x 5/32-inch basswood in water, and bent them round the rim of the same bowl used to draw the half-circle for the stonework. Then I let them dry in the sun (which made me feel better about the freakishly warm weather we’ve been having).

modern miniature woodworking

This part was fiddly. I glued the curved pieces, one at a time, to cover the uneven gap between wood floor and stonework. I held them in place by hand until the glue set up, then clamped to dry fully. This surround will also help keep the debris from the wood stove contained.

modern miniature woodworking

A few coats of satin varnish, and I’m ready to start building.

modern miniatures, Sea House Warming Hut

Also fiddly, especially if one first fits the sidewalls overhanging the back foundation rather than the front, as it says nowhere in the instructions, other than “Sidewalls will slightly overhang the foundation”, and have to pop everything off and start again. Even though one did a complete dry fit.

Next up is painting the trim and the sliding door.

Rafters and Stonework

modern miniatures, Sea House Warming Hut

Sand. Paint. Wait. Sand. Paint. Wait. Sand. Paint. Wait.

Got the first and second coats of paint on the rafters. I’m going to glue it up, then put a third coat on the whole assembly. And yes, it’s the same green (MSL 106 Rhododendron Leaf) used on the Sea House Pavilion :)

The floor is going to be wide-plank salvaged wood from the original Pleasure Pier, inset with a circle of native-quarried stone for the vintage wood-burning stove.

I painted several acrylic washes ( warm and green-gray, black, and “sand”) on 140 lb. watercolor paper and while still wet, sprinkled it with sea salt. Science magic!

modern miniatures, Sea House warming Hut, stone

When it was dry, I brushed the salt crystals off, and drew concentric circles the diameter of the surround.

modern miniatures, Sea House Warming Hut, painting stone texture

And cut them out. With scissors.

modern miniatures, Sea House Warming Hut, making stone tile

I cut individual tiles to fit the area and glued them down.

modern miniatures, Sea House Warming Hut, stone tiles

I “mortared”with a medium gray acrylic glaze. When that dries, I’ll give a coat or two of matte varnish.

Sea House Warming Hut, modern miniatures, faux stone tile

Next: wood plank flooring.

Sea House Warming Hut

Sea House has a new logo

The venerable and imaginary Sea House organization has a new logo!

Filled a couple of notebook pages with ideas, sketches, color studies and measurements for the new build for the HBS/ 2015 Creatin’ Contest, then went back in time and crafted a new logo for the Sea House Pleasure Pier empire.

Sea House Warming Hut

It can get nipply on the North Coast, and a thoughtfully-provisioned warming hut is a welcome respite after a beach meander or cliff walk. Maybe even a destination?

and so it begins

Dry fit of the 2015 contest base kit

Dry fit of the HBS/ 2015 contest base kit

Yay! Denise’s City Cottage Kit, the starting point for the HBS/ 2015 building contest has arrived. Once again there’s an interesting roof line, and some solid other architectural details that invite interpretation. Here it is in dry-fit. No idea what it might become, but I’ve opened a fresh page in my notebook, and later will pour a glass of wine to help me listen and think.

I’ve 11 months to do so, as the submission deadline is 16 December, 2015. And because we can now submit our entries online, I expect I’ll be working up to the very last day, as my projects tend to expand to the maximum time allotted them.