part 4 - the cottage wash house

It seems that the last time I posted about progress on the wash house was in early July, and I thought I'd get it done in no time. Boy, was I wrong.
Is it hard for you to get back to a project you haven't worked on in a long time? It is for me.

During the last few days I did most of the "brickwork".
What bricks? I don't see any bricks, you say, ah, but they're there - under the plaster.
Here's how far I've progressed.
I bricked up the set kettle (a.k.a. boiler) once before, but then ripped off all the brickwork because it looked all wrong. the "bricks" were a bit too small. Actually, they weren't REALLY too small, they just looked too small. The brick boiler would have been too messy and lumpy looking in the end. I had to cut a whole new set of bricks.

What did I use to make the bricks? I used pressed paper egg cartons.
Here's a well I made for of my Gnome's Cottage. I made the stones out of egg cartons.
Here's a plastered over stone fireplace from the Kitschy Kitchen. I used the egg carton to make stones
Here's a link to Connie Sauve's egg carton brick tutorial. Lots of pictures and a good tutorial on making bricks. The first time I tried it, I admit I was dubious if I'd like the finished results, but I was very pleased with how my stones came out on that gnome's well. Yes, that was my first egg carton work.

For the wash house I wanted the look of bricks that had been plastered over, but with a bit of brick color showing through here and there. There's actually a good reason why people used to cover bricks with plaster. Before the early 1800's interiors of brick fireplaces were often coated with plaster because the heat of the fire could cause the bricks to crack.
Some bricks, like those used in many old English cottages, were soft, and liable to erode from rain over time, so they were covered with plaster too.

I decided to make my bricks a yellow ochre color, instead of the more often seen brick red.
Once my egg carton bricks were glued on, I gave them a coat of yellow ochre acrylic craft paint.
Later I applied some plaster, also known as drywall compound, joint compound, or spackle. In some places it was heavier, in others, lighter, letting the color underneath show through.
I wanted the top of the brick set kettle or boiler to be smooth, so after the plaster dried I wet a paper towel and rubbed the surface to make it smoother. I also rubbed down some other areas that were a bit too lumpy. As long as the plaster hasn't been painted, you can wet it down and smmoth it out however you like. You can easily add another layer of plaster too, if you feel the surface needs it. I still have to fill in some areas with brick and plaster, and smooth down a few spots. I still haven't glued the insert I'm working on to the actual roombox yet either.

I want to leave the top half of the chimney piece fairly smooth. I rather like having the different textures.
Next I'll be making timbers for the wall and ceiling. I'm planning on using some square dowels for that.

Continued here.....


  1. It is really coming out so wonderful! I look forward to more photo's of your progress!

  2. I could kiss you! I've been trying to make cobblestones, trying one method after another with no luck! This is perfect. I hope it will come out as beautiful as your brickwork!!!

  3. Thank you both! Good luck with your cobblestones, Vita. The trick is in the painting, use several colors. I think for the gnome's well I used an off white, payne's gray, green earth, burnt umber, and maybe a grayish blue. It's been a few years, so I'm not sure. All you need is a dot of this or a dot of that on the wet surface & blend them together. It's a trick that you can learn with some practice.

  4. I'm loving seeing the progress here. It reminds me so much of my grandmother's wash house! Beautiful job!