Posted by: marymarthatours | March 31, 2011

Building Barley Hall – part two, the Service Wing

In previous blogs last September and this January, I talked about creating the plans for a 1/12th scale miniature of Barley Hall in York, England for my friend, Mary B. I’ve gotten a good start on the Service Wing section that includes the pantries and an upstairs office.


The pantry at Barley Hall in York, England

The upstairs office at Barley Hall


I started by figuring out the full-scale measurements of the Barley Hall floor plan. The architectural drawing I’m using is drawn in 1:50 scale, or 1 inch on the plan equals 50 actual inches. Using an engineering ruler with a 1:50 scale, I was able to measure and note the actual dimensions of the rooms in the wing that I’ll be doing in miniature. I had to do a bit of fudging, because the building is not quite square. Those figures were then converted to the 1/12th scale we’ll be using for our building.

Unfortunately, the architectural drawings do not include the interior room layout. That is shown on a perspective elevation drawing of the Hall, which is not in a format that lends itself to a ruler. I needed to use the drawing, my visit to the site, and photos to lay out the rooms to scale on a piece of paper.


Rough floor plan with measurements

Heights of outside and interior walls and placement of windows on a wall were also dimensions that I had to estimate from photos and measurements made when Martha and I visited last September.

Now it was time to do some building. In order to determine the order of the construction steps, I decided to build a model in “half-scale” (1” = 2’) using foam board for all the floors, walls, and roofs. Foam board is relatively inexpensive, easy to cut and work with, and half the thickness of the plywood Mary will use.

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I cheated and drew a few of the interior details on the walls. At the same time I added the correct materials, dimensions, and building steps to the “Barley Hall Construction Instructions” document that I am writing for Mary to follow. For some of the more complicated steps, I’ve drawn detailed plans for her in 1/12th scale.


For the rest of the Service Wing I followed the procedure of: 1) measuring; 2) converting to ½ scale; 3) cutting and assembling my model; and 4) writing out the instructions for the full scale building. The most fun part is building the model — the biggest challenge is writing the instructions. But it’s coming along really well, and I’m hoping Mary B. will be pleased.


Next week I’ll be making my annual visit to the Chicago International Miniature Show. You can be sure that I’ll be checking out medieval floor tiles, roof slates, and accessories. Last year I bought Mary B. two rats for the pantry as a joke — this year I’ll look for a cat.

(by Mary)


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