Tissue Box House of Three

In my quest for sleek modernity in mini form, I gravitate to "home-grown" creations that showcase repurposing of everyday items. In the past, I've done this with the FISH HOTEL by Umbra, with an IKEA vegetable bin, and with my tissue box covers from Crate & Barrel. I decided to come back to the tissue box covers to attempt a new configuration. They actually were in an exhibit at Grounds for Sculpture here in my home state of New Jersey for a few months, where four of the rectangular boxes formed into a square "house." I cleaned off the gobs of tacky wax from the installation and started fresh with three.

Due to mess and other storage constraints, I often challenge myself to working with "minis within reach." This means I have to use whatever I can grab easily, so the items could be leftover from another scene, or new purchases that I have just opened, or things currently on view in other doll houses. It's limiting, but also liberating, because it frees up your mind to go with things that you normally might not have chosen and to make them work.

So...here is my take on a small modernist abode with three tissue box covers, working with minis within reach:

I like the effect overall, but of course the internal space is small and not overly realistic as a living space. Did you notice that I hid a bath upstairs? Nice and secluded spot for a dip!

Did you also notice those cool books in the credenza and black and white file folders in the shelving unit? These were handmade by Margaret, who won my inaugural ***FREE ALERT*** on the Call of the Small Facebook page. Thanks so much for these unnecessary, but very appreciated, treats, which were joined by other books and office supplies! Anna-Maria was the winner of the July giveaway...a modern rocking chair is soon to be on its way to Australia! Stay tuned for the August giveaway!

Credits: Chairs are Reac; egg table and white shelving unit are Re-ment; credenza is by MitchyMoo Miniatures; mini dollhouse is vintage TOMY; stairs are from my TOMY Sylvanian; globe lamp is by minimodernistas; tub is a condiment bowl from Crate & Barrel; blue stool is vintage German; pink flooring and blue flowered shade are adhesive ribbons from the Paper Source; other shade is a place mat by Chilewich; books in credenza are handmade by Margaret B; green vase was from a swap with the Shopping Sherpa; planter on roof is the sink from the Villa Sibi; "grass" on roof is a paint sample from Lowes. Accessories are AG Minis, Ryan's Room, Manor House Miniatures, Delph Miniatures, ELF Miniatures, and doll house store finds.

The time it took me: 44 minutes


When I first got into modern minis in late 2008, I was in awe of the cutting edge style of the Kaleidoscope House and its furnishings, the sleek minimalism of the Villa Sibi, iconic Reac chairs, and vintage pieces from Lundby, TOMY, Brio, and others, which looked so incredibly fresh at 30 or 40 years old. As I continued to collect, I realized that actually there was a serious lack of modern furnishings, and I quickly sought out the work of artisans such as Elizabeth Le Pla (ELF Miniatures), Paris Renfroe (PRD Miniatures), and Doris Nathanson (minimodernistas)--all of whom were brought to the fore by Mini Modern in particular--and accumulated Re-ment in the hopes of a good fit for 1:12.

While I was (and am!) grateful to collect the aforementioned work, I gradually felt inspired to create modern interiors by repurposing commonly found items. So, you may have noticed that I often use place mats, coasters, dishes and bowls, ornaments, charms, scrap book paper, and many other odds and ends. My latest repurpose activity is a room box of sorts, constructed from four white lacquer tissue cover boxes ($7.99 each on clearance at my beloved Crate and Barrel outlet). I had the four pieces on my mantel for quite some time, trying to figure out how I could configure them. My hope was that I could fashion a minimalist haven like Pubdoll's Lego and Lundby masterpiece, here. No such luck. Then I thought I could do something that fanned open, but then they just looked like tissue box covers at awkward angles.

Then I came up with a square shape out of the rectangles, and I challenged myself to furnish each room, as if a house. Since I had the boxes sitting in a room that I pass through many times, I always thought of new things to place or add, so, I'd throw things in here or there and hope that I'd sort them out later.

Well, here are the results...a "house" with a kitchen, living room, bath, nursery, and bedroom!

I considered adding a Lundby patio set on top, and still might. I did the finishing touches today, including coverage for the open "window" panes. I used Chilewich place mats for the living room and bedroom, and a West Elm place mat for the kitchen shade. The nursery has something a bit more unconventional --  a tree! Flooring in the house is embossed felt and scrap book paper.

In the kitchen, did you notice that I mixed vintage Lundby with the new Lundby Stockholm accessories? The cup for the espresso machine is impossibly tiny, even looks small for 1:16!

The sculpture up in the bedroom is a memo clip (with the clip taken off) strung with beads. Other beads and jewelry were used on the walls there. The bathroom light fixture consists of two beads glued together.

This was challenging and fun. I am toying with entering this into an exhibit at an arts center nearby that has a call for any type of sculptural work...but then I would have some serious tacky waxing to do!!!

UPDATE, 2/8/11: I always upload my pictures to Flickr after I post on my blog, but this time, I noticed that one of the pictures of the whole tissue box structure kept getting views and comments. It was "Explored" by Flickr, meaning that it really resonated with viewers on the site! My photo was one of the top ten most "interesting" on February 6 -- you can see it listed with others here: http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/2011/02/06/. Go minis!

Credits: Kitchen: Stove and sink are vintage Lundby; light is minimodernistas; shade is a West Elm placemat; dog is from a kid's game called Lucky Puppy Math; flooring is scrap book paper from JoAnn Fabrics. Living Room: couch and lamp are vintage Lundby; side table is Re-ment; cork table and scrap book paper flooring is from JoAnn Fabrics; carpet squares are by Paris Renfroe; window treatment is a Chilewich place mat; wall planter is from Manor House Miniatures. Nursery: crib and rocking horse are by brinca dada; lamp is a vintage eBay find; shelving is Re-ment; flooring is scrap book paper from Michaels; tree and sandcastle are Jolees. Bath: sink and toilet are vintage Lundby; carpet square is Paris Renfroe; light is made of two beads from JoAnn Fabrics. Bedroom: bed is vintage German; coverlet and pillow are Bozart; file boxes are ELF Miniatures; sculpture is a memo clip from Crate and Barrel with beads from JoAnn Fabrics; flooring is embossed felt from Michaels; window treatment is a Chilewich place mat. Roof: the planter is a napkin holder from Bed, Bath, and Beyond with an aquarium plant from Petco. Accessories are Lundby, Re-ment, ELF Miniatures, Manor House Miniatures, Japanese erasers, and random toy store and hobby store finds.

Re-ment: I have written about the Re-ment in this scene with one exception: the loaf of bread in the bag in the kitchen is from Natalie's French Goods #4, and is good for 1:12.