Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Dollhouse Room Box Featuring a Spirio, by Steinway

My husband has been selling Steinway pianos for more than 35 years now. The introduction of the Spirio, Steinway's high definition player piano, has been nothing short of a game-changer. People absolutely love it, and the supplies are limited.

One day our retail manager, Jenny Hung, mentioned to me that it would be fun to have a miniature of a Spirio. We got to talking. She showed me ads featuring the Spirios. "They are hard to get, you know. It would be super to have a miniature as a way to talk about them."

So I got to work.

Wowzer. Did you ever have one of those craft projects that really pushed your limits? This one did! Everything had to be done twice, and in one case as often as four times. My fingers are sore from working on this in the evenings. However, it's almost done. Let me walk you through my madness...

This is looking into the room box from the right to the left corner. I'm thinking about re-doing the entire floor. As you can see, it doesn't extend under the books on the bookshelves. However, I am pretty happy with the legs on the piano. I bought the piano, but the legs were not the iconic Steinway style, so I had to make new ones. I used chopsticks, which when you think about how most people can at least play Chopsticks, it's sort of funny, isn't it? If you look closely you might be able to see that the legs have tiny casters on them. I made the wheels of the casters from clay. I still want to replace the piano bench, as that's not a Steinway artist's bench. I also need to get gold paint to write Steinway and Spirio on the fall board, plus adding the Steinway lyre. Then I need to put a polyester shine on the piano because most Spirios have a polyester finish.

What gave me fits was that silly archway. I purchased it online and one leg is slightly canted inward. That meant I had to manipulate the molded panel to the right so it didn't make the leg look crooked, which it is. I also think I should detach the books and set them back farther so they seem more realistic. I want to add lighting, too, and I think that'll help give the illusion of depth.

The curtains are white silk. I think I'll put a nighttime or twilight scene outside the window.

This is the best "action" photo I could find (in color) of the great Vladimir Horowitz. A part of the magic of the Spirio is that Steinway can reverse engineer performances of late, great artists, so you can actually have the same performance on your piano. You'll see why this photo is important later.

I wanted to mix classic with a bit of funk. That's why I did the zebra rug. I printed the zebra hide on flocked paper, painted it, and then spread white glue over the image. To that, I added one ply of tissue and pressed it into the glue. (If you'll notice, most tissues are actually two pieces of paper pressed together.) The result is a texture that looks realistic.

The white leather chair was a real challenge. I made four separate sofas/chairs that were too big, too modern, too whatever. I made the faux leather using directions by the fabulous Kris Compas, who learned the technique from Bluette Maloney. You paint silk with acrylic paint, and once dry, spray it with an acrylic fixative. However, the finished "leather" is not forgiving. It's a challenge to get it glued down and to shape it properly.

I bought the unfinished "marble" fireplace online. I have my own technique for making the faux marbling. I squirt a variety of acrylic paint colors onto a non-porous surface and then dab a crumpled up piece of plastic wrap into the mixed paints. This I dab onto the surface until I'm happy with the result. When it's dry, I coat it with Mod Podge gloss.

In the far right corner is an urn I made by quilling, which is essentially wrapping a thin strip of paper around itself and shaping it. The "enamel" paint on the urn is nail polish. This photo gives you a better look at the urn with the plant.

Vladimir appears on the flat-screen television over the mantelpiece. That piece was a pain in the butt. I used corrugated cardstock to build out that back of the screen, and it collapsed on me! I had to fill and shape it with Elmer's Wood putty. The silver trim is actually cut from an aluminum pan that held food at a store function. (How's that for recycling?) The white trim around the panels needs to be touched up, too. I made each panel twice. ARGH! the trim is actually matchsticks, and I should have bought the long matchsticks because I had to glue several short ones together to get the right sizes.

The chandelier about killed me. I was using a very fine wire that kept breaking. Beads flew all over the place. I think I've found a better solution, and I want to add more beads to the piece.

The fire in the fireplace isn't the best I've ever made. I'd like to add sequins or glitter to be more realistic. 

I want to add a pillow and maybe a book to the armchair. Perhaps even a footstool. On the mantle, I need some decorative touches.

Oh, and I also want to add a fireplace screen in gold.

Other than's finished. (LOL)

Any suggestions? Thoughts about what to put on the mantle? Ideas for the footstool? What colors should the pillow be?


Amy said...

I love this! How long did you work on it totally. It's so elegant.

Joanna Slan said...

About 160 hours and my husband pointed out the piano legs are too small. Rip it, rip it, rip it. I'll have to fix them.

Helen Q. Valenzuela said...

I am in awe of you! About the only thing I've ever done that is distantly close to this is creating my own Barbie house, furniture and decorative touches when I was a very young girl. When I first saw that photo on Facebook, I thought it was a real room.

As for suggestions on decorations, the mantle should have candlesticks, small matching topiaries, framed photos, or things of that nature. The throw pillow should be a print fabric that incorporates the black/white of the zebra rug and the color of the walls - then with a touch of pink and gold. It will have to be a very tiny print!