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The Samurai's Summer House


Deb

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When I first saw the Coventry Cottage, the first thing that impacted me was the open airy look of the floorplan and I began to see it as a Japanese summer house. Considering that it is a victorian cottage, that's quite a stretch, but the potential was there.

I've bashed a little bit on some other kits, but mostly individual features, not an entire house. This little house has so much potential to be anything the builder wants it to be that I had the courage to start a major bash.

The roofline was the first part of the bash. My initial thought was to add a third peak to the middle of the gables and I did quite a few paper mockups of how I thought that would work before I actually put the house into a dry fit. My plan was to add a third peak and then use paperclay to make tiles for the roof instead of shingles. However, once I got it into the dry fit, that plan changed.

After getting the house put together in it's original form, I turned it every direction and decided that the style of the house lends itself more to a rural Japanese setting……..the summer home of a samurai. That style of house would have traditionally had a more flat roof on top of sloping sides and a thatched covering to stay cooler and allow air to circulate. A second floor would not have been typical, however, a more affluent home owner might have added a half-story as a sleeping loft.

So the bash began with sawing off the peaks and taking off the top portion of the roof pieces. I cut flat pieces from basswood to make the roof top. The back portions of the roof were also cut down, removing the horizontal piece at the top. Instead of the original inverted U shape, I now had four single pieces that met up with the roofline and formed the corners of the attic. The attic was now a half story and my roof was the shape I wanted it to be.

Here are some pics of the roof pieces that were cut down or otherwise altered.

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And the bassboard pieces I cut to make the roof top.

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Here's the house in dry fit with the bashed roofline.

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The windows were the next step. I'm using Houseworks windows—four-pane windows in the attic which will be at floor level, and 24 pane windows in place of the bays.

I marked off the lines for the windows and cut out the extra space needed. Using scraps from the pieces, I fit in "fillers" on the top and bottom of the windows to fill in the spaces. I'll putty the seams and fill in the holes that were there for the original fittings.

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I'll be putting sliding rice paper doors in between the dining area and the living area, so I opened up the doorway on the center partition between the two rooms.

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I decided to leave off the porch and create my own lattice work enclosure on it instead, so the pieces on the sides of the foundation under the bay also had to be cut off. I left the tabs under the house since a Japanese house of that period would have been elevated off the ground to allow air to circulate. Here's the first floor after being bashed.

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