Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Maquette: de zolders - The attics

First of all I want to wish everybody a very happy Newyear. I hope that 2019 brings a lot of good things to all of you! And I would like to thank you all for your nice comments on my last post. And welcome to Brandy Wilcoxen for becoming the newest follower of my blog.

I start the new year with finishing the model on which I will base the Dolls' house itself. So today I want to do a post to show you the plan for the attic of Huis ter Swinnendael.
Model making in progress. Putting the empty boxes of the winebottles to good use. :-)

Because of the domed ceilings in the large entrancehall, and the ceiling and lantern on the roof above the art-gallery, the floorspace of the central part of the house can't be used on this level. Because of this, the attic will only have four rooms.

The lay out of the attic rooms.
On the left side there  will be the kleerzolder (clothes attic) where the clean clothes and linnens are mangled, ironed and pressed. The black blob surrounded by the blue and white tiles is where a stove will stand. It will be used to heat up the irons. The cupbourds surrounding it have shelves to store the linnen that is pressed and folded but not stored downstairs in one of the bedrooms. I will need to make purpose furniture like a linnenpress and a mangle and tables for ironing end folding.
De kleerzolder or clothes attic.
Behind it, separated by a latticed fence will be the attic where obsolete furniture and household items will be stored.  Perhaps I will add a mezzanine floor above the attic for storing the wood and peat that fuels the hearth and ovens in the kitchen and the fireplaces in the rooms. But I am not sure yet. In townhouses, fuel was always stored in an attic. It was high and dry and an ideal place. Swinnendael is a country house within a park. Its trees provide all the firewood that is required. From there it could be hauled to the house when required via the servants entrance.
The storage attic.
In the opposite wall is a door which will give access to the space above the enteance hall. It won't be a room/attic but can house the winch used to lower and raise the large chandelier that will hang in the entrance hall below it.
The third room in the attic will be the maids room. It will be situated in the right wing. It will have Bedstedes (built in beds) for the housemaids to sleep in. In between you will find builtin wardrobes. Perhaps some sewing and repairwork and darning was done here in the evening. Like in the staff rooms in the cellar the rooms up here will be whitewashed. Because of all the wood there will be no open fires on this floor. The maids room and the kleerzolder will have iron stoves standing inside the fireplaces. I have read that in the 17th century these kinds of stoves were imported from germany. The spectacular Rembrandthuis dollshouse has one as well.
The maids rooms with three box-beds or bedsteds.
They were no doubt more economical than open fires but that probably was not inportant to the family residing here. Their park provided all the fuel the needed. So I plan to put them in the attic for safety rather than economy.
And last but not least, this attic will house a secret. A room that even not all the current inhabitants know about. Behind the maids room lies a small space tucked away. It is a "schuilkapel" or secret chapel. Schuilkerken were catholic churches which were condoned in the Republic of the 7 provinces but whose places of worship ought to be concealed from the public eye. To be accepted as a member of the elite one had to be a protestant.
The secret chapel, used as an oratorium by Lady Zonneschut.
I imagine that the grandfather of Carel Polyander Zonneschut had secretly converted to catholicism and a chaplain held holy mass here. Probably on a sunday after he and his family and staff had attended the protestant service in the village church. A chapel that was forgotten when his son, the fiercely protestant father of Carel Polyander closed it off.
However Carel Polyander is an 18th century amateur philosopher. He is an atheist at worst and an agnostic at best. Despite the troubles in the family, he loves his wife dearly. When they lived in Paris, during his ambasadorship, his wife, Lijsbeth-Anna Zonneschut, converted to catholicism. When they returned to the Netherlands he reopened the chapel and redecorated it for her to use as a private place of prayer. I imagine her praying here, hoping that her royalist husband and revolutionary son will bury the hatchet and make peace again.
The secret chapel,, dedicated to Saint Sebastian.
Thank you for popping in. I  hope you like my plans for the attic floor. The model of the dollshouse I am building is finaly finished. Of course details and colourschemes will change throughout he build but this maquette will be the blueprint for the real deal.

Feel free to leave a comment below. That's it for now. Enjoy you'r own projects and till the next time!



  1. Happy new year Huibrecht!
    I really like the historical explanations that accompany the realization of the attic. <The secret chapel is beautiful!
    good continuation

  2. Alle beste wensen voor 2019 voor jou, Hubert!
    Jij hebt jouw plannen dus al klaar voor het zoldergedeelte van jouw Huis? Het ziet er prima uit: alle historische gegevens zijn verzameld over alle betreffende kamers/ruimten, ik ben benieuwd.
    De kerstvakantie is goed 'gebruikt', fijn om je plannen zo om te kunnen zetten in deze maquette, zoiets lukt mij niet ;).
    Groetjes, Ilona

  3. Un proyecto impresionante , estaré pendiente de su ejecución. Feliz año nuevo:-)

  4. The wall colors and ornamentation are rich and Very Beautiful and I really enjoyed reading the background story too- so interesting!

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