The Villa, A French building from the 1900's

Hello again,

Today I'd like to share with you a project I built last year called the Villa.

The villa could have been built in a swanky suburb of Paris or in Normandy on a cliff overlooking the sea in the 1900's... Up to you!

It all started with two prints I found on a flea market in Tours, my hometown, in France. These prints were supposed to show what architects could build for potential customers. The pages came from a book called 'L'Architecture pour tous".

Today, photos and computers allow us to visualize projects in a second. I guess in 1900, it took time to draw and print pictures like this.

Then , it took me a few days to draw an accurate picture of the facades. I usually spend hours with a ruler and a calculator, multiplying or dividing numbers and drawing on graph paper, sticking pages together. Every measure needs to be accurate.

What makes the charm of our buildings in 1/12 is the accuracy of the dimensions.

Sometimes, I see a beautiful scene on FB but one object in the picture is too big and it ruins everything. The magic doesn't operate.

I like it when people wonder if it is real or miniature. Below is a picture where I think it works....

(Garden chair by Catherine Ferouelle, garden urn by Elisabeth Causeret and parasol by Pedrete Trigos)

After drawing the 2 facades at the right scale, I had a challenge, I had to imagine what the two other sides looked like as I only had the front and the back side.

For this project, I had decided to build the house in 4 D. I mean the house would have its 4 sides done. The front and the back side open and there are 9 rooms inside.

Then came the cutting of the main walls and opening the doors and windows.

Then the different elements were added. I work in my living room. As I am teaching in the daytime, I work in the evening or at the weekends. Miniature building is just a hobby, not my job.

This house has a lovely open veranda. I could imagine people having a Martini watching the sunset...or a glass of chilled rosee , LOL

And after some hours of work , it became real!

And now we are just expecting the guests at nightfall...

The chairs are just waiting for them.

Chairs by Eva Johanson, the table by Olga Arnautova. Both have shops on Etsy

Then I built the three other sides and although I have pictures of every step, I'll try to make it short or you will run away...

...Now the house has four sides and the main interior walls. There comes the time to cut and adjust all the cornerstones.

That can be tricky sometimes...

Oops, that's me!.

As you can see, this is going to be a BIG house... but the scale is correct! Rich people built big houses!

The facades and the rooms need an incredible length of mouldings. Buying them woldd be very costly so I bought a router and make my own mouldings. It's not difficult but very dirty......! The router is from Proxxon. It's not difficut to use.

I have to reduce the cost of making my buildings to a minimum so I make almost everything by myself, including doors and windows. I only buy plaster decorations from Sue Cook in England.

When the building is done, comes the painting. Plastwood is a kind of plastic or PVC so it needs sanding and a good layer of "peinture d'impression" (?) before I can start thinking about the real colour of the stone work.

I uually apply two layers before I can think of ageing a building.

Now the house is painted. By hand. A looong day!

The roof you can see is just a pattern. Building a roof is , for me, very difficut. I am not good at math and geometry so I work as a tailor. I make patterns in (cheap) plastic sheet called Future board in Thailand. That way, I get exactly the right design before cutting the real roof.

Then when it's dry I can start weathering the facades, I use acylic paintings with a sponge and a dry brush. I put a liitle colour at a time with a lot of water, a bit like like 'aquarelle" I guess. The layers have to be transparent. It's not easy but now I can work quite quickly

That can take ...days...

The good thing is that if I am not happy with the weathering, I can wash it all and start again. That happens sometimes.

The house is almost finished now, I need to weather the roof and build the chimneys. The slates are etched in the plastwood with a kind of tool I have made. Very long to do. One by one. I do that listening to music. I can't wwatch TV and do t at the same time.

The Villa is almost finished. The four sides are painted and weathered

West side

I hope you have enjoyed my post.

I wish Alison and Nigel a great show at the London Dollhouse Festival this weekend. I am sure people will love what they create. I will be very proud to display Alison's furniture in the house I am working on now.

Next week, I will show you the interior of the villa.....

If you want to read more about my other projects, you can visit my blog

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at

Have a great weekend :)

Tel. 07539 880641                        

© 2016 by Alison Davies Miniatures. 

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