THE GROUND FLOOR
The Ensuite Salon
The first floor, which curiously has the lowest ceilings, has the most luxurious rooms, which are the two reception rooms. The dominant colour is red and cream with original red printed wallpaper. It is very Napoleon III in style. The room on the right oddly corresponds with the entrance door where you would logically expect a hall.
The two reception rooms share an ensemble of red silk furniture mounted on cardboard which were probably home-made and are French, since the cardboard bears, in gold letters, the name of fashion suppliers of the time. The center table is simply made with a thread bobbin covered with silk and a lace top. The room is granted with a grand green ceramic mantelpiece in the Renaissance style which was the rage notably in France in the early to mid-nineteenth century and is decorated with luscious candlesticks, a clock and a gold mirror. A very pretty decorative item is placed there, it is a miniature bronze horse pulling a carriage made with a mother of pearl shell, probably used to place tiny bonbons for very spoiled tiny dolls!
The particularity of this room is that the walls are covered with a fine ensemble of authentic 18th-century bird etchings, hand-coloured in ink, all mounted on cardboard and framed with gilt paper and hanging from ribbon cords. They are all exquisite and well worth minute observation, featuring a nice array of both exotic and European birds. A console in the background displays a collection of very tiny shells. By the door separating the two rooms is a pair of Venitian glass love birds on a Romantic-era base, actually dating from the Directoire period, and a French Sèvres porcelain bisque vase.
The two big Chinese vases placed on each side of the mantelpiece remind us the taste for large porcelain objects since the 18th-century in wealthy households. This is also a typical touch from BillyBoy* who loves porcelain in doll’s houses and who liked them there. A nice set of gilt chairs of smaller scale is placed on the sides of the separation door, as well as a pretty gilt table on which is placed a gilt soft metal bird cage on its stand, surprisingly empty. Where has the bird gone?
The next reception room has the same cream colour wainscoting. There used to be a Louis XV-style banquette, which was part of a set called “Ensemble Louis XV” (sold in toy catalogues in the early 1900’s in France) which has been replaced by a lovely Biedermeier lounge chair (called a chaise longue) covered in bottle green velvet; a black low table edged in gilt beaded papers with a gorgeous hand-blown tea set from Laucha, Bohemia, on its Sevrès porcelain tray. The room has also its Chinese touch, with a Coromandel-style screen, a Chinese-style vase on a little table. The other main piece of furniture is a secretary. On top of it was an original photograph portrait of the Tsar Nicolas II and the Tsarine Alexandra Fedeorovna, maybe brought to Western Europe by aristocrat refugees (actually BillyBoy*'s family) in the early 1910’s. It is now on the mantelpiece in the smoking room.
The lady of the house, a Grödnertal wooden doll, in the center of the room, does not seem to be very bothered. She wears a deep blue taffeta dress in typical Second Empire-style fashion with a flat bow on the back and she is about to serve tea. She came with the house and was for quite a while the only character of this mansion. I like her very much and I placed her this way, because she is such a perfect hostess. However, there is still a question as to weather she is the lady of the house or not because she seems much more discreet than the Lady's Bedroom on the top floor suggests...