Between the cracks in the pavement I've put some small weeds and grasses. I bought some very fine gravel from a model railroad shop and used that in a few places between the bricks and the curbstones and by the steps to the basement.
Above the entrance to the basement I've hung the nice lantern which I had originally made for the window above the front door. On the photo top right on this page the lantern is still in its original spot. Because I made the window above the front door bigger, the lantern didn't fit in it any longer.
I made the lantern from card stock and painted it using the same high quality outdoor paint I used on the windows and doors. I cut the 'glass' for the lantern from blister wrap packaging.
In front of the house I have put a few potted plants. I made the hydrangea from a kit by vaRIAatjes*. I bought the pots of lavender at a show in London. They are made by a very talented lady who makes the most beautiful plants, but unfortunately I can't remember her name.
This potted peony I copied after a real one which was flowering in my garden. I used coloured tissue paper to make the flowers and printer paper (painted green) for the leaves.
There are some weeds growing between the bricks on the pavement. A dandelion is flowering close to the stoop. To make the dandelion I used painted printer paper. I drew the shapes of the leaves in pencil before cutting them out.
On the right a close up of a beautiful terracotta pot and some grasses between the bricks of the pavement.
Two common blackbirds are fighting over some pieces of bread. The blackbirds were made by Georgia Marfels from Germany.
In 2009 I made a beautiful flowering clematis to put by the front door. (A Bloomin' Easy kit by Bonnie Lavish). I shaped the flowers and leaves while they were slightly wet from the watercolour paint I used to give them some extra colour.
Update 2016: The flowers are still looking good, but they have suffered from some fading even though they are not in direct sunlight.
There is a beautiful, minuscule butterfly on one of the flowers. So delicate and small! The butterfly was made by Julia Cissell of God's Flying Flowers.
This is the complete façade as it looks today. I have made some changes to the gable. In Dutch we call a gable of this shape a 'klokgevel' , which would translate as 'bell gable'. These types of gables in the style of Louis XIV are relatively rare, maybe because the bell gable was predominantly used on the more common houses.
The gables in the Louis XIV style were richly decorated with playful ornaments, often topped by beautifully architectural scrolls or a decorative vase.
The flower-ornaments on the gable came with the house when I bought it from 'de Stolp'. I have joined the ornaments by adding some curved architraving and moulding (again made from a wine-box lid), which fits exactly around the ornaments. I copied the ornamental vase from a house in Amsterdam and made it out of paperclay.
I used the same house as an example to make the hoisting beam. I used several blocks of wood and different types of moulding for it. The first pigeon has found its way there already. A few floors down two house-sparrows have settled on the window-sill. I don't think the façade will stay clean for very long with all of these feathered friends around!
March 2013: It has been 10 years since I started on the Canal House. Even though I have always said it would be a 10 year project, I am not quite finished with the house yet. I have done several other miniature projects in those 10 years, which meant work on the house halted. But, the completion of the Canal House is imminent.
The latest change has been the addition of a very narrow facade next to the original facade of Singel 224. At the back of the Canal House is all the wiring for the lighting and a wooden box which houses the ensuite bathroom for the bedroom. Because of this box extension the house can't stand flush against the wall anymore, which means that from the sides you can easily see the ugly back with all of the wiring. The solution for this was making the extra facade. In Amsterdam there are about seven or eight of these kinds of small facades, just wide enough for only one window. The most beautiful example I think is the Kleine Trippenhuis' with a front facade of only 2,44 meters wide. The ' Kleine Trippenhuis' was the inspiration for my miniature small facade.
The small facade is attached to Singel 224 with magnets so that I can easily remove it when I need to work on the wiring at the back of the house.
I have tried to match the small facade to the style of the original facade. I happened to still have the remainder of the bricks for the pavement and street which I cut 10 years ago from sandpaper, which made it a lot easier to add a bit of street matching up with the original street. In those ten years dust, light and touching have faded the bricks somewhat so there is a visible difference between the old and the new part, but I don't mind that.
Of course you should not be able to see through the windows (as the whole point is to hide the wiring behind it), so I made simple white cotton curtains for all of the windows. By painting the small facade white, it does not distract attention away from the main house. I actually think the main house is enhanced by it!
The beautiful decorative columns next to the front door are by Sue Cook. Even though these columns are much more decorative than the columns I made myself years ago for the front door of Singel 224, I wanted to use them anyway. They fit in well with the style of the Dutch classicism, a building style which was used until the end of the 17th century.
My narrow facade was built in 1690, so that's still within the time frame. ;-)
March 2013: After adding an extra facade to the front of the house, of course I had to add one to the back as well.
For the rear facade I kept the same window configuration as I used on the front. The style of the gable and the back door is more plain than on the front.
I could not resist making a small room behind the back door of the small facade. Using a simple wooden box I made a room with stone floors (egg carton actually), white walls and a false door which suggests there are more rooms in the narrow house.
The desk with all the contents and the little chair were given to me by Erna a few years ago. She wanted to focus on another hobby and gave me all of her miniatures materials and some books. Such a wonderful gift to receive! These two pieces of furniture fit the little room perfectly.
I bought the sunflowers at a little market in Bangkok in 2003, when I just dicovered the world of miniatures. The porcelain dogs are by Valerie Casson, the painting of the kitten is a partial copy of the painting 'Chacun son tour: patience' by Jules Leroy (from a Christie's auction catalogue).
I made small gardens behind both back facades. Or maybe I should say patios, as these gardens are not very big!
On the patio behind the small facade I made a drain for the downspout and the outside faucet. On the garden wall hangs a ' cast iron' door grill which I made years ago. The rustic garden bench is another piece I made years ago, using twigs from the corkscrew hazel. Although the garden is small, there is plenty of room for pots and plants. I'll have no excuse to be bored over the next few years!
The garden behind the big house is of course a bit wider than the patio in the photos above, so it has room for some wonderful patio furniture. The metal garden furniture which folds up just like the full scale ones, was made by Sergio Piacentino (Piamini from France). Above the back door I made a lovely little canopy using some plastic fencing, clear acrylic sheet and very thin lead.
Against the garden wall I made a deep planter in which I planted a trained apple tree. I used florist wire, spackle and acrylic paint to make the apple tree. The photo below shows it at the stage where I have just started adding the paper leaves to the tree.
The paper leaves received several layers of paint, a grey colour on the bottom of the leaves and yellow and green colours for the top of the leaves.
I made the apples out of Fimo clay. Not one of my favourite things to do!
The fantastic work shoes by the back door were made by Patrizia Santi from Italy (Patrisan).
The working secateurs on the tableare by Edmund Drescher from Germany. The tea pot in the shape of a watering can with a rabbit sitting in it was made by Janice Crawley from Canada.
The cat on the garden wall was named 'Tonnetje' (Little Barrel) by me, after the place I found him, at the fair in Kensington, London. The cat was made by Annie Willis from the UK.
A few vegetables are growing underneath the apple tree. There is red lettuce, green cabbage and cauliflower (made by Angie Scarr). The seedlings were made by me from Fimo, just as I did with the apples. I don't think I will be using clay again in the next few years, that was quite enough for me!
The rabbit has dicovered the cabbages! (Rabbit made by Dolores van den Akker from the Netherlands). If you look closely you will discover another little animal which discovered the vegetables... a rat! And it's eating the radishes! So that's what Tonnetje is looking at from its perch on the wall... (rat made by Georgia Marfels from Germany).
I have been asked many times for a photo showing the entire canal house. The photo below shows the canal house as was in June 2011. Not finished yet, but a lot has been done. You can click on most rooms in the photo, which will take you to the page where you can read about that room.
The front and back facades are practically ready. I'm decorating the rooms in the house surely but slowly, one by one. If you'd like to read the history of the house and its owners, click on the photo of the book below right. If you'd like to continue the tour of the house, please click on the photo of the front door below left to enter the house.
Would you like to come in?