One of my current projects, a work in progress recently started, is this old doll house now morphing into a dark, shadowy, gloomy, bit punky, bit grungy, weather worn, even menacing, haunted house for Halloween season.
You can probably see I’m looking to get an aged & weathered-beaten stucco type finish on the outside walls.
This is the house before I started. It’s an older, classic Victorian style dolls house that came just as you see it in the 2 images above. Being an older version it has no plastic parts & is all wood. It is quite heavy.
The house really didn’t need much doing to it other than repairing & replacing some damaged roof shingles, an easy task.
A few of the horizontal window frame pieces, a window sill or two, may need replacing. But, then, I’m not sure I’ll fix them, as originally made, given the conversion taking place. We’ll see.
While you can see the inside is a little tired, worn & shabby from all the pre-love/pre-use, I wont do much to it other than perhaps tidy up any loose paper pieces & paint it a darker colour. The inside has no real utilitarian value as the house is more of a decorative piece to be seen from the outside only.
Primarily a Halloween house project I have at least 3 themes or ideas in mind. Nothing definite at this stage. What you see in the 2 images (above) is the first paint job & before deciding, what, exactly, to convert it into.
The 3 contenders are:
1/ The local ‘Dead & Breakfast‘ – the Victorian, gothic style, somewhat mysterious, guest house, or inn, where one finds jealousy, philandering, adultery, cuckulding (original meaning), bigamy, jilted love, murder, passion, poison, suspicious deaths, disappearances . . . Ya just never know.
2/ The local ‘Coven House‘ – let’s not kill all the witches – it might end up being the gathering place for the local witches where one finds the gathering, the coven. The place where the local witches hang out, stirring their simmering cauldrons, crafting, designing, chanting their spells and hexes . . . where one finds the black cats, scarecrows, bats & skeletons . . . Ya just never know.
3/ The local ‘Mother House‘ – the old abandoned convent, the Mother House, once inhabited by old nuns who constantly told us we were committing terrible sins & heading for hell. These all-sacrificing nuns beholden to their one & only Mother Superior. Alas, no more nuns in this abandoned house of God. No more clinking & clacking of rosaries, of waving crucifixes, of covering themselves in holy water, praying for those of us, the sinners, the naughty girls, the wild girls, praying for the salvation of our wicked little souls . . . Ya just never know.
It could also be the long abandoned ‘Lawyers Office’ – an office belonging to the once local town lawyer. What secrets can & must be shared about such a creepy, derelict ruin? With nobody using the place, caring for it, the wood floors are rickety, creaking, even dangerous in parts. Yet, the floors still, tenuously, support rows & rows of heavy, leather bound law books, those dusty old tomes. Some books are strewn on the floor, revealing moth-eaten covers & pages, some torn & chewed by what can only be rats and mice. Yes, animals, rodents, use the building. Windows are broken, painted walls are dirty, faded, the paint peeling off, chipping away. Squatters have been there. If only the walls could talk. Perhaps the secret files, the missing evidence, is in there? And what about the missing client? And don’t forget relinquishing possession left an abandoned wine cellar down below, a dark, heavily cobwebbed musty room of wall to wall shelves, shelves stacked not of law books but of unopened bottles of red wine, corked wine, bottle aged Barossa shiraz, fine wine no doubt, each bottle coated in layers of thick dust accumulated over many years. Alas, such an abandoned Law Office must wait for another day . . .
But, then, I might simply leave it as an abandoned house, a place that was once a family home now left to the vagaries of life, of weather, the elements and whatever else finds its way into & onto the house rendering it the local ‘Haunted House‘ . . . a creepy, mysterious old place that nobody will enter for fear of what may be lurking inside . . . Ya just never know.
Here I’m starting the makeover using a charcoal shade of paint kind of roughly slathered on for the dark & moody finish.
Creating a rough kind of texture.
More progress . . . notice I started on the trim work . . . a dirty brownish shade
As I mentioned, while the inside is of little concern to me, I will add some tiny battery operated flicker candles for that eerie, candle light effect.
I will also add some worn, torn & tatty curtains in the windows.
Er, gradually starting to morph into what I have in mind
Ultimately embellishments may appear on the surface of these worn & weathered stucco walls, walls etched by the vagaries of age & weather to reveal spider webs, to reveal remnants of wild & ancient growths like dead & dried creepers, ivy & vines, dead moss . . .
Perhaps, even a skull, bones, a skeleton, a skeleton of the human ilk, may appear on the veranda, hanging over the porch railing . . .
and working on the font door
And of course, according to Halloween folklore, there will be the corvidae, the crows & ravens, those special birds. These large and beautiful birds, crows, are my all time favourite here at home at Fat Lawyer Farm. Hop on over to Insta @fatlawyerfarm for more. Such magical creatures, their call, the ravensong (crow song) their behaviours.
Not sure how they came to be a part of Halloween tradition. Perhaps because they are scavengers. Perhaps one only has to read Edgar Alan Poe’s poem, “The Raven”. And remember Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, “The Birds”?
These birds are scavengers, like vultures and condors, and this plays into the macabre of Halloween. Due to their carrion diet, even before the traditions of Halloween, the Celtic peoples strongly associated corvids with war, death, and the battlefield. They were known to feast on the remains of those struck down in battle.
Being larger they have a deeper but similar caw sound. It was the poem by Edgar Allen Poe, “The Raven,” that may have led to the association of ravens and hence crows at Halloween. The narrator in the poem calls the raven a thing of evil and a prophet, suggesting a connection with the supernatural. This talking raven responds to the questions of the narrator helping to drive him mad. His intelligence and talking ability adds to the mystery of the poem and reflects the natural abilities of these amazing birds.
As I say, Ya just never know . . .
* To be continued in Pt 2