The Wild Sanctuary In Miniature

I've been a modeler for most of my life—indeed, over half a century, now. Shortly after purchasing the property, I decided to make a scale model of it, both as something fun to do and as a study aid to understand how my house fits into its environment.

Using my topographic survey, I printed out drawings of the property at my preferred modeling scale of 1:160 (a.k.a. N Scale), traced them onto sheets of Foamcore of a thickness that scaled out to the survey topo line increments, and assembled an accurate 3D model of the landscape in my little camper (below) around September 2015. Even at the small scale of 1:160, the model was still nearly four feet square—which dashed my hopes of making it a coffee table for the house. Incidentally, each topo line represents two feet of elevation change, and the maximum difference in elevation, which occurs along the left edge, is 70 feet.

Then I began making a scale model of the house itself, which took quite a long time because the house design continued to morph for years, even as I was building it. Unfortunately, as the project neared completion in June 2018, a good friend of mine at the time was helping me fabricate the house model, when things suddenly went off the rails: out of the blue, the friend betrayed me just when I was at my very lowest point during the commercial property debacle. Sadly the experience killed my desire to continue the project—all the sadder for the fact that we'd just finished work on a perfect little replica of my cabin (which was about the size of a wine bottle cork); I was even planning to sell it commercially as a kit. So much for that...

But time has a way of healing some wounds, at least, and about a year and a half later I decided to resume the project—by myself, this time. And so, by October 2019 I was back at it. My first chore was to restore the Foamcore base, which was in need of some repair and a good cleaning, having sat in storage for four years. Then I wrapped the edges with wood (below) to give it a more finished look as well as to protect it from any further damage.

Subsequently I had some friends over, one of them being an architect, and when he saw the model of the property, he recommended that I not finish it with trees and plants and such, as I'd planned to do, but instead just paint it white and hang it on the wall like a low-relief sculpture. I liked the idea so much that I decided to do just that. Here it is hanging next to the bed on the only wall in the living space with enough room for it.

On 8 December 2019 I completed a scale model of the foundation, which is all I'll build, to provide orientation on the property. The model car is temporarily posed just for size reference, although I'd been tempted to add it permanently.

The crazy relief sculpture was finished on 11 December 2019, and is back on the wall next to the bed. It includes the model car (now painted solid white to match everything else), as well as a scale figure representing Yours Truly standing at the edge of the foundation staring out at The View—as I'd done so often while building the full-size house.

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