Since John's doctors are still pretty adamant about the "no heavy lifting" thing as he recovers from inner ear surgery, we've been focusing on smaller projects in the new steampunk room, like window treatments, lighting, and these sweet new doors:
All together now: OoooOOOOOooooo!
Ok, so those are really just our old doors with fresh paint & stained glass films on them, but still. I didn't want shades again, so these are great: blocks the light and gives privacy. I'm pretty sure I looked at every stained glass window film in existence, from super expensive specialty shops to the mass-market options, but I kept coming back to this one, "Magnolia." Isn't it pretty?
Lucky for us that's the cheapest design available, too - about $20 for a 36 inch panel - and Home Depot even has them in stock!
Installing them was actually easier than I expected, though it is a 2-person job. Just one piece of advice: don't pre-cut the films like the instructions tell you to. Instead, line up the top edge, squeegee the middle in place, and then use a metal ruler as a straight edge to cut the films while they're on the window:
Then you're guaranteed a perfect fit.
The film does shrink a little as it dries, so if you have to use more than one panel like we did, odds are that seam is going to to show:
The seam disappears from a few feet away, though, and the pattern is busy enough that I think even up close it's not too obvious.
Next up, after scouring the 'net for steampunky window treatment options - and coming up dry - we decided to build our own Victorian-style cornices. (Woot woot!)
First, a paper template to nail down the size and shape:
Then I found a decorative molding piece I loved online...
(only $10 each with free shipping, woot!)
... sketched out a design, and John built them all from MDF and trim wood:
The routed edges on the MDF took a LOT of sanding:
(That's steel wool on the table, not a dead thing. In case you were worried.)
Next I painted them cream, and spent an evening carefully painting in liquid gold leaf accents:
We initially planned to age these down with a heavy glaze, but the cream and gold is just so pretty we decided to leave them as-is.
For the window coverings themselves, we re-worked our existing bamboo roll-up shades, cutting them to size with heavy snips so they'd fit inside the window frames:
... and then staining them a rich warm brown:
The shades are still translucent, of course, so we'll be adding a linen backer for privacy.
If I were designing this room for someone else, I'd add red velvet theater curtains over the wood shades. (Think The Muppet Show theater.) For us, though, velvet is just too much - plus you'd need it to go all the way to the floor, which we really don't want, having cats and all.
So instead, I'm thinking we'll just add the unbleached linen backers, and then possibly some subtle, thin gold stripes on the vertical lines in the shade. And fancy brass cord pulls. I'm open to other suggestions, though, if you have any!
And finally, we found something amazing at a local Steampunk event the other week.
They have a couple of these events each year at the famous Renninger's Antique Mart, and they keep getting better, with more costumes, entertainment, and antique vendors. I stupidly didn't bring my camera, but here are a few cellphone pics:
We hadn't been there an hour when we found this on a vendor's table:
Needless to say, I was in love.
Intriguingly, the airship is dated 1970, long before the word "steampunk" was invented, so I guess we have Jules Verne to thank for the inspiration. (And though it looks like a wood carving, it's actually a kind of lightweight hard foam.
We were over the moon when the seller eagerly agreed to our first offer, but a while later - after we'd stowed the ship in the car, and were browsing other booths across the field - the seller's husband came after us, spitting mad and demanding more money or his airship back. It was pretty scary, so even though we eventually parted on good terms, John and I had to leave right after so I could go cry in the car. Bah.
I'm trying not to dwell on the memory, though, because look how beautiful:
(That's my favorite throw pillow in the background, and I just noticed how well the colors match! BONUS.)
The smoke stacks were missing two points, so that night John carved new ones from pink construction foam, glued them in place, and faux-finished them to match. Other than that, we haven't touched it, even to clean it. It looks perfect as-is.
Oh! And next update I'll show you how we've got it mounted and lit on the wall, which is just stunning at night. Stay tuned!