All about the the the Featherstone Hall Hotel project

I created this project especially for 200th Issue of Dolls House & Miniature Scene magazine (February 2011). Featherstone Hall Hotel is a Georgian Mansion which has been converted to a country house hotel in the pre-first world war, Edwardian era. This is the first house I have ever built and the articles follow the creation of the hotel from flat pack to finished project in the following 24 issues - including all of the ups, downs, disasters and classic beginner's mistakes!

Click on the tabs on the left to sample other articles in the series, after publication in Dolls House & Miniature Scene Magazine all 24 were collected together with new material on repairs, rennovations and the decoration of the door interiors to make the Featherstone Hall Hotel book (available to buy on the shop page of this website)

But first let me take you on a tour of the hotel to meet the guests and staff…

With over 50 people, each room has a story to tell and we will begin with James the footman who is unloading luggage from the 1913 Model T Ford to take inside the lower hall. A luggage trolley stands by to take the heavier items.

Guests arrive at the reception up the grand staircase, and enter via a revolving door. The hotel manager Mr Fairfax has just come out of his office behind the reception desk to check that Charles Clarke (head desk clerk) has remembered to give the dinner reservations to Oscar Delgado the Maitre d' hotel. Parker the porter has brought down some luggage for a guest and is waiting for its owner to appear. Edward Black (assistant desk clerk) is telephoning downstairs to the kitchen to order some light refreshments for the gentlemen playing snooker in the library.

Through the door to his left is the dining room and conservatory. George and Gloria Makepeace have just entered, and are greeted across the table by Lady Elizabeth Harvey-Jones and her party who are in the middle of a roast fowl dinner. Oscar the Maitre d' Hotel is serving the party from a trolley, and he asks the Makepeace's to wait one moment to be seated at the empty table for two behind him.

In the corner of the restaurant American heiress Sylvia Beaumont is dining with her beau David Smythe.  Sylvia is older than David, but her huge diamond collection has a certain attraction, as although he is from excellent stock, he is rather impoverished by his fascination for the card table! They are being offered a towering selection of cakes on a four tier cake stand by Davis the waiter. There is a doorway through the dining room into the conservatory which is blocked by a cellist and violinist who are playing amongst the palms and oranges to assist the digestion of the esteemed diners. Through the conservatory windows lies the Orangery building across a parterre garden.

Opposite the dining room is the Library - although it is more often used as a snooker room. However the Hon. George Gardiner finds it particularly 'relaxing' to read his newspaper in the snug corner at the end of the bookcases. There are two gentlemen in the smoking room playing cards and discussing the current political situation. Two gentlemen are playing snooker and at the same time having a discussion about the next day's shoot arranged by the hotel.

 

From reception, moving up the stairs past the portraits of the Featherstone family and the chinoiserie grandfather clock, we arrive at the grand Grand Hall. Lady Nancy Saville is receiving Sir Michael Fosdyke. He is totally smitten with her, and has arrived with a stunning bouquet of irises and lilies, pleased with the gift, she gestures to him to sit next to her. At the bottom of the stairs, Elsie the maid is removing a trolley from the Duchesse suite.

The Duchesse suite is occupied by The Hon. Sarah Hookesmead. She sits brushing her hair while her friend Elspeth Grey listens to the latest gossip and enjoys Sarah's chocolates. Pip the dog is trying to attract Elspeth's attention and get a chocolate, but it is in vain as Sarah has just imparted some particularly scandalous gossip.

   

Emily, Sarah's maid is closing the door after Elsie and the trolley, while Jane the room maid is putting fresh towels away in the ensuite bathroom.

Across the Grand Hall from the Duchesse suite is the Dukes suite. Marcus Fortescue has just arrived and is considering what to do before dinner, while Pemberley his valet is unpacking. The vital supplies have already been uncovered; the box of cigars and grooming kit rest on the dresser, and the ensuite bathroom is bedecked with toiletries.

  

From the Grand Hall a lady ascends to the next floor, on the landing is a bathroom - rooms on this level are not ensuite! The bathroom is about to be vacated by Mrs Ainsworthy, and she will step into a chaotic scene. At the end of the hall Bertie the cocker spaniel is cocking his leg on a demi lune table while Mary his owner chases after him down the hall. At the base of the stairs sits 6 year old Richard with his football, watching his sister Phoebe with her pushchair and teddy, trying to drag their granddad George from their parent's room. Chloe and Francis have enjoyed their night at the ball, and champagne in the Toile suite afterwards, while Chloe's parents looked after their grandchildren. But now grandads nerves have become a bit frayed and he is annoyed to see Francis still in bed while Chloe is still fixing her hair, and he is urging them to get on and take the children back!

Also in the hall Mr Gervais Bedford watches the chaos and waits patiently for Amy Helpston. She is a great beauty and sits on the window seat in the Lemon room with her dog Maisie considering Mr Bedford's offer. Maid Margaret is just about to tell him that she is dressing at the moment and will be some time. He does not mind, and he knows that the two gifts he has for her will be sure to please.

Stepping over Richard at the foot of the stairs, we can follow Jessop the valet up with the luggage, to the landing for the last two rooms. At the top of the stairs we find a huge stuffed stags head, bronze stag figure in a dome, and 'Monarch of the glen' painting - all relics from when the Featherstone's owned the hall.

  

The room at the top of the stairs is occupied by Maud and George Thistlemere, Chloe's parents. Maud is checking that Mrs Dewsbury is tucking in the corners of the bed correctly. Just outside the door of the other room on this level is Arthur Sinsel a waiter from the dining room. He carries a tray of drinks for the room occupants, as Margot Dexter (retired opera star) is entertaining Albert Fielding, who has long been a fan.

 

The very last room on this floor is at the end of a long passage running behind Margot Dexter's room. It is a Luggage store which has been taken over by a population of cats and rats with neither having worked out who rules the roost!

More cats and rats can be found in the basement of the house occupied by the lower hall, kitchen, washroom and laundry, butler's pantry and scullery. Felix the Butlers champion mouser has cornered a rat in the scullery, where valet Gervais is polishing shoes and boots before starting on the silver and glassware.

In the Butlers pantry next door, Ronsen senior the butler is supervising Ronsen junior and the paperwork, although junior is currently taking an order from upstairs for sandwiches for the gentlemen in the library. Rex the hound is most annoyed that Ginger the cat has usurped his place on the old armchair.

 

Out in the lower hall Fredrick is talking to Anna the maid on his way through with yet more luggage. Anna stands in the kitchen doorway having a sneaky chat, whilst cook Mavis Gathercole and Chef Dupree discuss how preparations for the special dinner tomorrow are going. In the laundry and washroom Katie the scullery maid is washing up the first batch of dinner dishes, while John pumps water to put some stained jackets in to soak.

 

  

And that brings us to the end of the tour.

Article 2 in the series is entitled 'From flatpack to fabulous', and deals with building the flatpack kit and decorating the house exterior -including a revolving door! 

Click on the tabs on the left to see more articles in this series.

The whole series is included in the Featherstone Hall Hotel book available to buy from this website - see the 'BUY THE BOOK' tab on the left of this page