Amos Gooch's Cottage part 1

It's been over four years since I built this Buttercup cottage by Greenleaf into Amos Gooch's cottage, and I never finished it.
Originally the story was that Amos was building a home for his future bride, the lovely Persis Huff.
Amos was a lobsterman, back in the 1880's. He lived in Cape Porpoise, Maine. Yes, there really is a Cape Porpoise, so named by John Smith, the Pocahontas John Smith, that is.
One day the circus came to town, and Amos took Persis to see it. That's where Persis met the man on the flying trapeze. When the circus left, Persis packed her bags and went with it, and with the man on the flying trapeze. Persis was later sighted in Bangor wearing pink tights and a spangled bodice in the bigtop.
Amos was crushed.
One day he sailed away into the morning sun, never to be seen in Cape Porpoise again. Some said that he eventually married a widow up in Skowhegan, but no one knew for sure.
I had meant to landscape the front, later on, after I did something more to the inside, but I reached a standstill. I knew what I wanted on the outside, but not what to do with the tiny 2 rooms.

I had glued horizontal "boards" to the interior walls. It was a common practice in the 1700 and 1800's to nail boards like this to help keep the house warmer. As a bachelor fisherman, Amos would have found his home to be snug and warm during nor'easters, but his future bride would have preferred a nice wallpaper.

I decided to use some thin birch plywood to cut the floorboards, mainly because a had a leftover piece that would make just the right amount of boards. Waste not - want not. I always save my leftover bits and pieces. You never know when they may be useful.
I should have cut the ends off a little more evenly though. Sometimes I get carried away. It's ok, I'll fix that up later.
I am very proud of my nicely scuffed and worn floor, though.

I started by painting it brown. I thinned the paint with water, so it wound up halfway between a stain and paint. In the old days, people painted their floors, they didn't necessarily stain them. Their color of choice was often brown.
After the paint was dry I used a fine sanding sponge to smooth the boards. Of course, you'd get the most wear and tear on a floor at the door. Amos would probably not have thought to use a doormat anyway. I sanded that area with a little more pressure, just enough to remove most of the paint right where anyone coming in would have put their foot down. Next I needed to decide on a "trail" where there would be added scuffing. For instance, maybe Amos headed for the stove or his favorite chair whenever he came in. The floor would show more wear heading in that direction. I also gave a mild scuffing to the floor in general, but keeping in mind that floors in corners or along walls almost never get scuffed.
Finally, I rubbed the floor a little with steel wool.

Once I finished off a stained floor with waxed paper. I had sprayed the floor with a matte finish to seal it, but when I was done found that the floor was still the teensiest bit rough here and there. I knew from past experience that if I sanded it again, or even just buffed it with steel wool, I'd take some of the stain off. I suddenly thought of waxed paper, and I tried buffing the floor with a piece of it and it turned out great. It had a nice satiny smooth finish, with no obvious shine, just a bit of a luster.

Back to Amos's house......

I had recently read an account about an inexpensive way Victorians decorated their floors, and I wanted to do that in the cottage. They would paint the floor a solid color, then stencil a border around the edges of the room, imitating a carpet. Carpets were expensive, many people couldn't afford them. A fellow like Amos might have decided to paint a pretty leafy border on the bedroom floor to please his darling bride. I decided to just use a light stain on that floor, not paint. I felt the light wood color with the leafy vines would look better.

So there I was, that's as far as I got.
A couple of years ago I bought a Chrysnbon stove kit. Recently I started visualizing it in Amos's house, so I put it together.
I'm beginning to think that after many years, Amos came home to his cottage in Cape Porpoise.
I looked through my personal dollhouse furniture stash, then through the New England Miniatures stock to see what I could find suitable.
I found I had a problem. The room was really small. The windows were in the way. Most of the furniture was a little too big to fit to suit me.

I tried out some of the chairs that fit my vision of Amos's house, and as you can see, those 3 chairs alone take quite a bit of room. I do want a couple of chairs that Amos and his pal can relax in, so I'm leaning towards using the ladderback rocker and the firehouse chair.
I wanted to use my walnut kitchen table, but to fit everything I wanted into the room, I was going to need something smaller.
I'm also going to use a Michael's hutch. Those hutches are slightly smaller in scale than true 1:12, and they're often just the thing for compact spaces. It tucks into that corner by the window well enough.

I had no idea of what I was going to do with the upstairs. I realized it was too small to suit me as a bedroom. A while ago I had a thought. Maybe somewhere in his journey Amos adopted an orphan child, sort of like Star in the Shirley Temple movie Captain January. That room would fit a little girl just fine. Maybe the widow in Skowhegan died leaving her young daughter in Amos's care?

Continued here


  1. Thanks for all of the wonderful ideas for flooring! I want a natural wood look in my beach house. I know it's going to take forever to cut and glue all of those little boards! I hope my floor looks a nice as yours when I'm finished!
    Where did you find those tiny stencils? I've been looking everywhere for some!? I could make my own, I guess, but it would be great to find some already made...

  2. Actually, I didn't stencil, I did it freehand. I've had the same problem finding tiny stencils.