March 29, 2009

Acorn Cottage Fireplace


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My what an ornate fireplace for such a humble, woodland cottage. Well that was not unusual in the Cottage Orne style as these were not humble real life dwellings, they were indeed fantasy pieces inspired by the romantic notion that the simple life was the good life. Creature comforts and luxury along with the arts were part of the fantasy.

This fireplace beneath its faux limestone finish is of humble origins, it is EPS blue insulation builders foam. I bet you would never have guessed that. I designed the fireplace on the computer and then carved it using burrs in a computer driven milling machine. It was cut as 5 pieces and then glued together. The stone block lines were detailed in by hand. The stone finish is acrylic paint, no stucco coating as that would hide the fine details in the foam.

I made the grate for the fireplace as well as the chandelier from various bits and pieces of brass and solder. The light bulbs in the chandelier were tinted a warm golden color with Krylon yellow, stained glass spray paint. Squirt a little into a cup and paint it onto the bulb with a brush. What a warm glow it gives the room and it takes away that harsh white glare of very bright miniature light bulbs. The fireplace bulbs were coated with the red and orange versions of the stained glass, spray paint.

The ceiling has a mural of a cloudy sky with just a hint of sunset pink glow to the edges of the clouds. I never would have thought I could paint a convincing sky but it is easy and someday I will show you how to do this.

The print on the wall is from "Les Tres Riches Heures" a devotional book of hours commissioned by the Duc du Berry. I felt the gothic arches in the print went nicely with the gothic detailing on the Acorn Cottage. Tall trees with arching branches in the forest inspiring the arches inside a cathedral all celebrating the glory of God was a common thought in the olden days. Of course my project is simply a cottage in the woods but maybe you will find it inspirational in some small way.
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