Posted by: marymarthatours | July 28, 2011

Building Barley Hall – Part 3: I make one for myself


Barley Hall’s restored Great Hall

My friend Mary B. was delighted in April when I presented her with the plans for her very own one-twelfth scale version of the medieval Barley Hall in York, England. In addition to creating floor plans and elevation drawings, I included the construction instructions she will need to build one wing of the Hall in two sections, the Great Hall and the service wing, which includes pantries and a second floor office.  You can read about my work on Mary’s plans here.



Much as I enjoyed working on this project for my friend, I thought I was done with Barley Hall. That was until one of my fellow members of the Sue’s Day Girls miniature club went off to a Small Scale Miniature Show in Rochester, NY, and came back with a gift for me. It was a half-scale (1”=2’) Tudor chair by Susan Karatjas of SDK Miniatures. “This is your ‘inspiration piece’,” she said to me. “Now you need to build a Barley Hall for yourself”.


That was all the encouragement I needed to get going on my own half-scale version of this wonderful building. And since I had made an extra copy of the inch scale plans and drawings, I had a good start. All I needed to do was convert the 1/12th scale measurements to the smaller 1/24th or half-scale.

I decided to build the Great Hall section first. I had started on the 2-story service section when I drew the plans and built my foam core model. But the Great Hall included two features that I really wanted to work on — the intricately-patterned tile floor with its central hearth, and the wonderful beamed ceiling.


The basic building is constructed with 3/16” birch plywood, and the trim is all basswood stripwood with a few pieces of balsa for some sizes not available in basswood at my hobby store. I used MinWax Gel Stain in chestnut for all of the timbers, beams, and trim and Red Devil Onetime Lightweight Spackling for the stucco walls.

The floor was especially fun. I decided to use Handley House yellow linoleum as the base. This product, with 3/8” squares, is somewhat large for half-scale, but I was still able to reproduce the Barley Hall floor design fairly easily. After cutting a piece of poster board to the shape of the floor, I drew in the hearth in the center of the room, then drew the tile pattern onto the poster board. Thank goodness, I had some great photos of the actual floor from my October visit in York. The next step was to cut, piece, and glue the tile sheet to match the actual design which includes vertical and horizontal stripes set into the diagonally-laid flooring.

clip_image012After marking the dark tiles in the pattern with a pencil dot, I painted the dark tiles with a combination of three colors of Citadel Model Paint. This paint went on thickly and left a good tile-like finish. When the dark tiles were done, I went over the light yellow tiles with a darker yellow. Then the entire sheet was sprayed with matte fixative before grouting with spackle to which a little color was added. A final coat of Model Master Ultra Gloss Clearcoat, and my tile floor was done.

I used Creative Paperclay to create the hearth, following pictures from the site. I painted and aged it after it was dry, and glued it to the center of the floor, adding spackle around the edges. I think the whole floor turned out very nicely.

On my Barley Hall, the roof and the front wall are removable. This way the interior can be easily viewed. This design feature also made it easy to work on the ceiling with its variety of cross beams and trusses.


The half-scale Barley Hall Great Hall isn’t finished yet. I still need to add roof tiles and furnish the interior. There will be three trestle tables, some benches, striped wall hangings, and maybe an ambry. And there will definitely be a lovely “inspiration piece” Tudor chair. Thanks, Sue.  I’m hoping that I can show you the real Barley Hall if we can get enough people to go with us on the England in Miniature Tour in 2012.


(by Mary)

Photo credit:

Barley Hall Great Hall, copyright Fingalo and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License 2.0.


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