Dollhouse Decorating

Miniature Decorating Ideas |Articles on decorating dollhouses and the history of this artform

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I have had a life-long love affair with dollhouse miniatures, and careers in art education and interior design. I hope to combine these life experiences to help other miniature enthusiasts get more out of this wonderful hobby we enjoy, a hobby that often reaches the level of an art form. Susan Downing

Posted on 08 January, 2017

queen-anne-mansions-rick-tower-mansard-roof

Rick Maccione of Dollhouse Mansions with his customized Queen Anne dollhouse, which has a flat “tower” mansard roof.

Mansard Roofs On Dollhouses

The mansard roof is a “device” popularized by the 17th-century French architect Francois Mansart (1598-1666). I’ve put the word device in quotes because its development was a result of two imperatives. First, if an architect designed a building more stylish or taller than the King’s buildings, there was the possibility His Majesty might order the builder to bring the structure into “code” — smaller and

aesthetically dull. Second, it was an absolute fact that one of the King’s men, the Tax Man, would put a levy on anything over two stories. Mansart argued his roof was actually the attic and not an additional story. He got away with it and became the most successful French architect of his time.

Second Empire

mansard-roof-kit-jenns-world

Jennifer of Jenn’s Mini World advice: “I used plenty of tape to hold these pieces in place until the glue set.”

The most significant period for the dollhouse enthusiast was the Second Empire (1852-1870) when mansard roofs had a fashionable rebirth under Napoleon III. Many of the Victorian style dollhouses look great with a mansard, rather than a gabled roof. Queen Anne, Italianate, Romanesque, High Victorian Gothic and Stick Style are the most common Victorians to make the switch.

A New Roof

Many kits are available if your aging Victorian needs a new roof. Jennifer of the Jenn’s Mini World blog has an excellent post on a mansard roof trim kit offered by Beacon Hill. It’s a pictorial step-by-step in which one piece of advice caught my eye. “I used plenty tape to hold these pieces in place until the glue set.”

Research

Before starting a miniature project involving a mansard roof, I encourage you to read James C. Massey & Shirley Maxwell article “The Mania For Mansards” for an understanding of the three types of mansard roofs used in the second half of the 19th Century. My opinion is reading this article, and other research goes along with the maxim “measure twice, cut once.” I bet you will find many more options than you may think.

 

Susan Downing, with Patrick Owens

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Posted by Patrick Owens

Categories: Victorian


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