The large reception room, or Blue Salon, is situated at the front of the house next to the entrance on the main floor.  The room is connected to the small reception room or Yellow Salon by double sliding doors.   

The room has two large sash windows which look out onto the 'Herengracht'.

The biggest source of inspiration for the Blue Salon is the room shown in this painting by Lelie.  It was painted in 1794-1795 and depicts Jan GildemeesterJansz. and his art collection.   In 1792 Gildemeester became the owner of  Herengracht 475, one of the most beautiful houses in the 'Gouden bocht' (the 'Golden bend').  

Gildemeester was an avid art collector and started an art gallery in his house.  After his death in 1798 his entire art collection was sold at auction.  The room depicted in this painting and where Gildemeester exhibited part of his art collection,  still exists intact today although it is now part of an office building.  The painting is now at the Rijksmuseum.

In the Blue Salon, which is based on this room, I will also display my art collection, albeit on a much smaller scale than Jan Gildemeester did.




On this 'work-in-progress'  photo you can see the start of the work on the sliding doors between the Yellow and the Blue Salon. 


It is obvious where I got the names for the Yellow and Blue Salon from.  The blue wallpaper is  'Chantilly'  by Susan Bembridge Designs.  It originally is a soft blue wallpaper with a cream pattern.  With a view to the paintings I want to hang on these walls, I thought the pattern was a little bit busy and so I gave it a wash of dark turquoise acrylic paint.  


The turquoise colour of the wallpaper is a perfect match to the silk fabrics I would like to use in this room.



Johann Zoffany 1775

Sir Lawrence Dundas with his grandson


Johann Zoffany 1765
The Dutton Family,  Farley Hall


In my search for interiors from the second half of the 18th century, a stumbled upon a couple of paintings by Johann Zoffany, a German born 18th century painter who worked predominantly in England.  Two of these paintings show walls in a very similar colour to the one I chose for my Blue Salon.

On all three paintings you can clearly see that the wealthy hung their walls full of art.  Also clearly visible is the wall to wall carpets on the floors.  It could be a problem trying to recreate this in miniature.  To embroider the carpets would take many years and I'm not sure I would like to start such a huge job.  Or actually I am sure, I won't do that!   Another option is to print it onto fabric, but then I would have to get it professionally done because my own printer can't go any bigger than A4.  A third option is to find a fabric with a pattern resembling the carpet. 


Just like I did on the doors and the fireplace in the Yellow Salon, I used wreaths and festoons made from Dresden paper to decorate this fireplace.   

The decorative elements I used on the corners were made by Sue Cook.  I bought them many years ago to decorate the ceiling of the library in my first Canal House, but I never used them there.  

I have gilded the mirror frame with real 23 carat gold leaf from Giusto Manetti.   Of course I could have used fake gold which is a lot cheaper, but nothing beats the shine of real gold.  I read somewhere that real gold has the most reflective surface of all natural materials.  

On these YouTube videos you can see how I apply gold leaf to my miniatures:   

Gilding miniatures with gold leaf (part one)

Gilding miniatures with gold leaf (part two)

I have also gilded the two wall sconces which I placed on either side of the mirror.  Because the wall sconces are in the Rococo style, I decided to change them a little bit.  I cut and filed some of the scrolls off and added bows underneath the candles.  The wall sconces now match the ornaments on the fireplace a bit better.   

Just like I did in the yellow Salon, I put low panelling around the walls of the room.   The photo on the right shows one of the wall panels being re-glued, after I had discovered I had put one of the windows in the wrong spot.   

I had to cut all of the wall panels and the panelling away from the wall before I could cut out and replace the window.  That provided me with a problem as I did not have any of the wallpaper left to adjust the new size of the wallpanel.  Initially I had forgotten that this room would have four walls instead of three (as is the case in my previous dollshouse), and so I did not buy enough wallpaper.     

Buying more of the same wallpaper wasn't really an option, as I had painted over the original wallpaper with blue paint which I had mixed myself to match the curtain fabric.  Mixing the same colour again is very very difficult, if not impossible.  Well, necessity is the mother of invention, so I worked with what I had and added moulding to hide any gaps.  

The Louis XVI style in the last quarter of the 18th century saw a return to classicism, using straight lines and classical and naturalistic decorations.   


I will be using these classical elements on the fireplace in the Blue Salon:  straight lines and decorations with garlands, festoons and wreaths.  I am starting the build of the fireplace with sourcing the right materials.  


The light grey marbling effect I painted on the fireplace combines beautifully with the blue wallpaper.  Before I arrived at the right grey colour, the fireplace had seen several other shades of grey.  But it was either too brown or too blue, too dark, too get the idea.   A colour which may look great at first, can create a totally different effect in other light conditions.  Sometimes this works surprisingly well, sometimes it doesn't.  





Moral of this story:  make sure you always have more than enough material to work with.                                                                     It is better to have a little too much than to have too little!

After all that work it is time for a break, it is high time for tea!  The beautiful tea caddy was made by Keith Bougourd of Small-Time.      The silver spoon was made by Mike Sparrow.



I made the curtains from a beautiful blue silk which matches my painted wallpaper perfectly.  The pattern I used is the same one I used for the curtains in the yellow salon.  

In order to achieve perfect pleats I used different sizes of paint brushes.  The paint brushes are smaller at the top which makes the draped pleats look a bit more natural than when I would have used a 'Pretty Pleater'. The curtains are lined with a very fine white silk.



The room has many lovely decorative elements.  In order not to distract from them too much I didn't want the furniture to be too ornate.  Out of the blue (how appropriate) I had the idea of making a modern sofa.  I decided to make a modular sofa in two parts, one of which is a chaise longue.


For the upholstery of the sofa I used a  lovely linnen fabric in a neutral colour.  The colour matches the 'marble'  fireplace perfectly.  

I find the combination of classical and modern elements a very successful one here!




At the DHN fair in Ulft (October 2016) I found Alison Davies's lovely chairs.  I bought four chairs and upholstered them in raspberry coloured silk, the same colour as the silk velvet throw on the sofa.  I gilded one of the chairs but that didn't look as good as I had hoped in the room it was intended for, the Yellow Salon.  Luckily it looked magnificent in the Blue Salon. The warm gold and raspberry colours form a wonderful contrast with the cooler blues and whites in the room.

The painting has the same raspberry colour in it, as well as the whites and the blues of the room.  It was painted by Leslie Smith, after an original by Christiaen van Pol.


The lovely tea table was made by Elga Koster.  The top of the table now holds a piece of plastic card, but it is awaiting my endeavors as an embroiderer.  I aim to design and embroider a flowery top for it.  As I am not a great embroiderer, that may take a while.  

The silver hot water kettle on stand was my first purchase from Jens Torp in 2003.  Many of his pieces have found their way into my houses since ;-) 

The ivory lotus cup on stand was made by Vonas Miniatures.  The flowers in the pot are made from metal by Gill Rawling of Petite Fleur.  





        TO THE KITCHEN...............
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