I'm delighted to share with you the
photos and history of the newest piece in my personal
It's called "A Piece of Cake"
, but could just as easily be called "Between Friends".
You'll soon see why.
Read below how a badly neglected, unfinished
shop front was magically transformed into the
centerpiece of my miniature collection.
Many years ago, I purchased this unfinished store
front box from the late Keith Ballhagen. My original
intentions were to turn it into a ladies shoppe.
I soon discovered that a ladies shop would require
much more square footage than this box included.
It was placed on a high dusty shelf, and ignored
for years. It was one of the things that I mentally
put on my "when I retire" list, and
I thought that perhaps I could turn it into a
cake shop to showcase the fabulous cakes I had
purchased from Carolyn Brown.. But more about
When my friend Moonyeen Moller came to visit
and work on the lighting for my Ladies boutique,
I was immediately amazed at just how creative
and talented she really is! In addition to her
fabulous lighting techniques which she is so well
known for, she is incredibly imaginative and gifted
in so many other areas too! She does fabulous
finishes, and is wonderfully creative. Not afraid
to think WAYYY outside the box!
Before she left my house, I climbed the ladder
and took down this dusty store front and handed
it to her. I said, "Take this home with you
and turn it into a cake shop for me. You can do
anything you want, use any finishes or colors
you want, and make any changes to the box you
want. Don't tell me a thing about it as you work,
make it a surprise. You have total carte blanche.
Just keep it Edwardian era and wonderful.
She grinned a big grin, grabbed the box and said
"Sure, it's a piece of cake"
I knew immediately that this would be the name
of the cake shop when it was finished. The more
we used the name, the more I loved it, and so
it was to be. "A Piece of Cake" was
I bet if you asked Moonyeen, she would tell you
that this project was anything BUT a piece of
cake. She worked so very hard on the shop. Inside
and out, front and back, not a detail was omitted.
Here, she has lined out the grid pattern to make
the faux brick work on the side of the building.
She has also made up the paper patterns that will
be used for the hand leaded stained glass work
in the windows.
The glass top was removed and replaced with a
wooden multi layered ceiling. This would allow
us to use lovely ceiling fixtures in the room.
Note the construction activity above the door
Moonyeen selects a color scheme like you and
I would select a new blouse. She tries it on!!!
Here, she has painted the doors and areas in
the facade a deep red, and put a quick coat of
deep brown on the other areas of the facade. The
red will be replaced with a marble effect later,
but for now, she wants to know that she likes
the palette and that the overall color placement
is well balanced.
Notice that lots of the original scrolls and
doo dads have been removed form the front, and
that above the door the area is now recessed.
This will allow for a great place for signage,
which can now be lit by lights hidden up inside
the recessed area.
If you know Moonyeen, you know that the lights
in this project, as with all her projects is going
to be WAYYY over the top. Actually they are under
the bottom too!!!
This photos shows the base that she has built
to sit the entire building on. Not only will this
allow for a great sidewalk area in front of the
shop, and elevate it 4" making it nicer to
view, it also provides a grand place to hide three
transformers and extensive wiring.
Yes, I said three transformers. The lighting
on this storefront is amazing. There are "open
hours" lights, which include all interior
lights, even the showcase lights and of course
the ceiling fixtures. There are "After Hours"
lights that can be used when the store has closed
for the day. These illuminate the front sign and
the front bay windows.
These two combinations can be used separately
or together, because they are each accessed by
their own small push button on the back side of
the platform. ;
Only a single cord with a plug on the end extends
from this building, inspite of the elaborate lighting.
Just one single cord!!! No transformers falling
out of the wall sockets here!!!
||Moonyeen used illustration
board to mock up a false wall in the back of the
shop. This wall would allow us to build a recessed
and lit display area. It also has a door which leads
to the back room. The door will allow the viewer
to imagine the very busy bakery that must lay just
out of sight.
A gorgeous hand laid oak floor was finished with
several layers of varnish and sanded between each
one, resulting in a floor so gorgeous I wish it
was in my REAL kitchen!
The interior of the shop was painted a lovely
warm buttery yellow.
With the exterior, lighting and interior finishes
complete, Moonyeen came back to deliver the shop,
and spend a week with us playing with some of
the finishing touches.
While Moonyeen was hard at work on the shop,
my family and I had taken a lovely vacation to
Washington state. While having breakfast in an
historical Victorian Building in Port Townsend,
I realized that I was sitting in what could have
easily been the interior of the cake shop Moonyeen
was working on. l The tall front windows on either
side of the door, high ceilings, wooden floors,
even the doorway to the back room, were nearly
identical. It was amazing and a bit spooky. I
took lots of pictures of the inside of the bakery,
inspite of my teenagers letting me know that I
was embarrassing the daylights out of them. One
of the things I loved them most was the exquisite
art noveau wallpaper border that they had in the
I was tickled to death when I was able to find
the exact pattern on the Internet and reproduce
it for my own cake shop.
Here you can see a bit of the beautiful copper
patterned ceiling that Moonyeen installed, as
well as the false back wall, with the newly built
display cabinet. The two beautiful gaslight chandeliers
are by Lumenations by Mr. K, my favorite lighting
artist. The door has a frosted glass window, with
lettering that was laser etched letting the visitors
know that this leads to a "Private"
area. Using the colors in the wallpaper border,
we selected a lovely green for the plate shelf
that runs around the perimeter, as well as crown
molding and baseboards.
With most of the real construction finished,
it was time for the fun part! Filling the room.
The plate shelves are lined with a collection
of Roseville pottery made by Kendall Minis. I
felt that the colors and era of these pieces was
perfect for the setting we were creating. Here
you can also see the gorgeous wallpaper border
a bit closer. If you want to see it in more detail,
it is used at the top of this page as decoration
Remember those cakes I started to tell you about???
Well when the cake shop was finished, it was apparent
that more cakes were needed. And there is simply
no way that once you have one of Carolyn Brown's
cakes that you could ever be happy with any less.
The original dozen or so cakes I had originally
purchased from her were mainly in pinks and purples,
so I emailed her and asked her to make me a large
selection of cakes, and please add some yellows,
peaches and even greens and dark reds of possible,
to add more variety and also go along with the
colors we were using in the shoppe.
Carolyn outdid herself. No other way to say it!
I am going to quit writing, and past a photo of
each of the cakes here, so that you can appreciate
the tremendous detail that she has put into each
and every one.
A hatbox cake made just for me. Carolyn calls
me the hat lady! Love IT!
Hungry yet??? Yes, the chocolate DOES look so
real you want to lick it!!! Here are the cakes
in the store counter too..forgot to photograph
them before gluing them into place. Notice the
darling hat cake in the lower center.
Carolyn can be reached at mapleleafminiatures.com
if you are now dying for a cake of your own!
Here is the interior of the shop. The glass
shelves are filled with finished cakes ready
to be picked up.
For the visitor looking for a quick snack,
two pastry carts are filled with sweet delights.
The counter top display cabinet was made by
my husband Larrell, who helped with all of
the finishing and arranging of this project.
Pastry carts and bistro sets
are by Bespaq.
Here is a photo of the right side of the interior.
Note the little bins of silverware on the pastry
cart, the box of napkins and the yummy treats
just waiting for you?
The chalkboard above the cash register counter
has the days specials listed.
Here is the left side of the room, with more
framed pastry artwork, and a second filled pastry
cart. Can't you just smell the chocolate and strawberries?
Note: the pastries on the carts are the only
baked goods not done by Carolyn. The cake shown
on this cart was purchased on ebay as were the
food items on the other pastry cart.
||Here's the view when peeking in through
the right front window.
||And here's the view through the left
||This photo shows you some of the finer details,
like the raised lettering on the laser cut sign,
and the exquisite leaded stained glass windows that
Moonyeen slaved over. If you look carefully, you
might see the pretty cake logos which are etched
into each of the glass doors.
Here is one last photo of the shop. I wish you
could feel how this shop just glows from within!
A very big thank you to Moonyeen Moller for all
the creativity, talent and energy she put into
creating this piece for me. Thank you too to Carolyn
Brown, who will always be my favorite baker! Making
a showcase for your work was the inspiration for
And special thanks to Larrell, who helped with
every step along the way, from mitering (Yuck)
to hinging, to listening to me change my mind
a million times. People ask me all the time how
I manage to get so much done. Truth is, all of
my time is taken up on business projects and I
never seem to have time to work on my own things.
I have finally discovered the way to complete
my personal projects! Get someone else to do them!!!
I'm fortunate to have incredibly talented friends
to step in and do just that!