Sunday, February 21, 2021

Hot Stuff - French House


Handy husband B. has fulfilled his promise to make me something for my Miniature Houses. I had two thoughts on what I would like for my Christmas gifts last year. The first idea/request was for a replacement stove for the French country kitchen. I showed him pictures of a Lacanche stove and he said "no problem, what colour!" 

I documented the process so this post is in the form of a tutorial and as an encouragement for you to think about the possibility that you could do something similar. 

Patience is the first requirement - patience to cut carefully, patience to sand, fill and to let the layers of paint cure. Patience to create the illusion of knobs etc. and realize it will not be a quick project.

How to get from here .. to there!

Decide on a style, check the space you have to fill. We printed a picture just to remind us of the "look" and adapted the size of the doors to fit the space. 

B visited the Dollar Store to look for bamboo to make the basic box. There were two cutting boards of bamboo - note that the larger one was hollow with two laminated sides. This larger cutting board was difficult to work with so I would recommend the smaller one that was solid. Just buy two so you have enough to make a mistake. I think they were $3 each in Canada. 

When we built the fridge for the Swedish House, detailed in a previous post, we found it was easy to get a highly polished look with Rustoleum Enamel spray paints.    

Make your basic box - mine is 5 1/2" across and almost 3" deep- fill the edges and sand. Make sure everything is very smooth so it will take the primer and layers of spray paint to produce a smooth a glossy finish. B sprayed four times with Navy Blue enamel Rustoleum - allowing each to dry overnight. I did mention patience was essential.
Cut the doors and dry fit.  You could make the doors with thin foam board perhaps. Think about the space required for the metal trim on the base, the metal grill under the knobs and the space for knobs and handles- also the width of the handles.

Once you have done a dry fit to your satisfaction, prepare the doors by sanding gently and priming then painting ....more waiting. 

While you are waiting for paint to dry search for something suitable to represent the trims on the unit. I settled on needlepoint canvas painted and stiffened by silver enamel paint for the metal grill.
The silver metal-look kick board at the base of the stove is sticky backed silver foil paper. We call it MacTac in Canada. I have used it in the past on mini table tops - painted to represent a zinc table top.

B: To create the handles I used lengths of hollow brass tubing, cut to length and spray-painted silver. 
I used a small plastic straw from a juice box for the end cap (painted brass) and finished it with a ball chain through which I put a flat head pin. Important - this ball and pin head has to be added in to the overall width of the end size of your door handles to fit the width of your door correctly. 

Look carefully and you will see that the large top handle will be attached to the stove by two lobster necklace clasps. I cut the moving part out to create hook/hangers for the handle.

Below: Straw cut into sections and painted ... now dry.  Make more straw pieces than you need as they can crush easily - these are a section of the decorative ends of the handles. 

 J.: We tried beads as spacers behind the brass tubing handles to raise them off the front of the oven doors.  I thought they worked well but B. liked the look of earring backs with the sides cut flush. This was more difficult as a machine was required to cut the edges and a steady hand to epoxy them on to the door handle.  Just find an appropriate bead!

J.: Writing of appropriate beads - I used a bead and glued a cap on to each to create the knobs. I know one can buy 3D printed knobs. That may be a good idea along with buying the grills for the top for a very professional look. 

The manufacturers ID medallion on the centre door is another jewellery finding filled with off-white nail polish. I actually wrote Lacanche on it!

KEEP GOING ...... you are almost there!

The top caused me the most angst .... I almost succumbed and spent money!!! No, that was not the idea! 

The burners - These are one part of a grommet in a couple of sizes. In the centre of the smaller three is part of a press stud - painted to match ... the ones in the larger grommet parts are just two things that were in my metal collection - also painted.  The grill was a challenge - shown is ribbed foam. B. had used this foam on the kitchen doors of the Swedish House to create the look of reeded doors. It was one of many ideas we tried.

In the end I found a section from a lead stove kit to suggest a grill shown in one of the final pics.

Maybe we should have tea and cookies and smell the roses!

You need to be in a Zen frame of mind when you are saving yourself a LOT of money by DIY.

The finish is almost in reach!

Roast lamb by my wonderful friend Fatima, of Beauxminis and VancouverDollhouseMiniatureShow. Look for her detailed tutorials on Instagram for inspiration. 

Elizabeth of offers two stove tutorials - search the archives for Home on the Range 4th April 2014 and Land's End 30th August 2014.  Just go there and disappear for a few hours into the wonderful world of Elizabeth's StudioE.

Of course to patience personified #1 husband B. many thanks!


  1. It's unbelievably gratifying when THE long awaited GREAT REVEAL, finally arrives and it proves to be even MORE WONDERFUL than what you'd ever imagined: this is how Excited I am about your new French blue Enamelled Range: IT'S PERFECT!!!
    It looks as if it has Always been in this kitchen and renders the other one, entirely obsolete.
    The richness of the colour you've chosen for the stove, ties in so well with the french tile backsplash which in turn harmonizes with the warm yellow kitchen walls- LOVE IT!

    I'm also impressed by the understated degree of shine on the enamel which is Spot On; but what I think I enjoy the most is the luxurious details (and instructions) of all of the decorative custom hardware including its hand-painted logo - all of which I think is simply Ingenious!

    Then, to top it all off, the various photos of the stove in situ, displaying your glorious copperware and Fatima's juicy leg of lamb with the sunshine pouring in through the garden window highlighting your new stove,it makes me want to be there, inside your warm and inviting mini kitchen with my knife and fork poised to dive in and enjoy that succulent roast, hot from the oven- SIMPLY AMAZING!

    Take your bows J.&B.💐 throwing roses to both of you

    ENCORE! ENCORE! 👏🏽👏🏽


  2. You and Bruce are such an amazing team!! Your new Lacanche range is, as Bunny says, perfection! The colour is spot-on and the fittings are all ingenious.
    Hopefully I will see it in person one of these years!

  3. You and your husband must be very proud, you achieve to make a fantastic stove. Brilliant!!

  4. "no problem, what colour!" should be written into everyone's marriage vows! Enormously satisfying to have something come out this amazingly, and such a wonderful addition to a charming kitchen! Great work, team!

  5. The result of this range is stunning. Careful work and taking the time for each step that it needs has produced a stunning result!

    It is quite impressive and I love it. An ornament to an already beautiful miniature kitchen!


  6. You and your husband are an amazing team. It's simply stunning how the range looks and thank you so much for making it a tutorial, not that I think I could ever accomplish such a result. Bravo!
    Hugs, Drora

  7. Great post! I really enjoyed your alternating voices and comments. And a great tutorial for the stove! It’s always useful to learn how someone else has done something and the different ways common items have been used. But most of all, well done on the brilliant job of making the stove look amazing. Your French kitchen looks like the perfect place for a relaxing cup of tea in the sunlight.

  8. It's an absolute masterpiece by a master designer/engineer/carpenter! Thanks so much for the tutorial. I've never seen those bamboo tissue boxes but maybe it's because I haven't been looking, they're no doubt useful for all manner of projects so I'll start.

  9. Thank you so much for showing us the step-by-step, it is really inspiring. I love the way you have both made a really professional looking stove using bits and bobs - the true nature of miniature making! Jonquil