Renovation Progress on the Betsy McCall Dollhouse

I continue to make progress on my Betsy McCall dollhouse, inspired by some new paper purchases from JoAnn Fabrics. I decided that this room would be in grey tones, as a complement to the adjoining rooms, which are in shades of yellow, cream, and grey. I had actually tried to wallpaper the space a few months ago in yellow and white tones, but the paper was way too thin. I loved the patterns but they did not hold up at all with the wallpaper glue. 

This new paper with the cross pattern is heavy-duty with a nice texture. The crosses also helped to guide me as I cut the paper, ensuring even edges when I cut the paper to size. The back wall has one of my favorite textured "pebble" papers from Kate's Paperie; I've used it a number of times in my houses. In fact, the adjacent bedroom has the cream version.

For the flooring, I tried a new vinyl paper in a grey wood tone -- it worked really well!

The midcentury shelf, by Paris Renfroe of PRD Miniatures, is one of my treasured pieces. It was gifted to me by Mini Modern for my birthday a while back. It is simply the most gorgeous little piece, so perfect in its details. And it's a joy to style.

The photo below shows the reality of this hobby -- lots of hidden mess to ensure pretty pictures!

There is one room left, the main ground floor space that is intended to be the kitchen. Let's see what I come up with...! Until then, some parting shots of this new space, along with its neighbors.

Credits: Shelf by PRD Miniatures; couch by Annina Diston; table is Bozart; plant container is a napkin holder from CB2; side table is a vintage napkin holder, purchased at a tag sale; light is by minimodernistas; rug is by The Shopping Sherpa. Accessories are Re-ment, PRD Miniatures, minimodernistas, Nancy Tobey,, Phllip Nuveen, and dollhouse store finds.

The time it took me: 2 hours, 15 minutes, includes wallpapering time.

Sleep Modern

I renovated another room in my vintage midcentury Betsy McCall house. I have been thinking about this room for a while, and originally thought it would work as a bathroom, but after adding flooring and wallpaper, I decided to furnish it as a bedroom with furnishings from Djeco.

First, here's a few pictures of the room when I first got the house:

I hunted down some durable paper from the Paper Source, and got to work. The flooring paper has a very waxy finish, so that worked well. And I love the pattern!

No plant here

With plant

Quite a difference!



This is a great house -- always fun to upgrade it! By the way, not sure if you are familiar with the site Retro Renovation, but one of the founders did her Betsy McCall from scratch. It's very cool, check it out.

Photo courtesy of Retro Renovation
Credits: Bed, side table, pillows, and lamp by Djeco; bed covering and ceiling light by Lundby; plant by TOMY; wall and floor coverings from the Paper Source.

The time it took me: 2.5 hours to renovate and furnish over a period of days -- kept coming back to it!

Mini Marilyn

Ever get new goods and feel compelled to use them all in one scene?? That's the deal here.

The setting is the IKEA Lekman storage box, which serves as a great room box. Mine is purple, which is not sold anymore, and I usually need to cover the walls to mask the color and create a more realistic environment.

Brick scrapbook paper does the trick!

I'm very excited about my first items from the very talented Phillip Nuveen: replicas of Eames House birds and a Jeff Koons balloon dog. So. Cool.

And Nuveen's merchandise comes in shopping bags, too!

See my new Marilyn Monroe canvas by Andy Warhol? That came from a new line of miniature vinyl and plush pieces from Kidrobot: the Andy Warhol Campbell's Soup Can Mystery Mini Series.

Very, very cool!

It inspired me to add in the other artwork, which are pictures from the Kaleidoscope House inspired by artists Barbara Kruger and Lisa Yuskavage.

The little bulldog completes the scene, angling to hop onto the couch!

Credits: Couch is Minimodernistas; sideboard is vintage VERO; coffee tables are Patie of minisx2; cowhide lounger is Reac; plant is TOMY, but in a DIY planter; light is Lundby; rugs are felt pieces from Michael's. Accessories are Phillip Nuveen, Kidrobot, and Paris Renfroe.

The time it took me: 45 minutes

Mies van der Rohe Daybed

This scene is built around the iconic Mies van der Rohe daybed. It is such a fantastic piece. As photographed, the scene looked "sleepy" to me, kind of dreamy. I played with the lighting a bit to try to evoke different moods. I also used the plant in the foreground in some cases, and in others, not. I couldn't decide if it worked or not.

Photographing this scene reminded me of the many hours spent wallpapering this space. I think the paper has held up so well, which makes me not regret all that measuring, cutting, and gluing!

I don't recall where or when I got the bee artwork. It is a heavy plastic -- perhaps it was part of a belt or some jewelry. The other shield-like piece is also a random find -- not sure where I got it or how it was originally used.

I'd love to get one of these daybeds for real one day -- a 1:1 scale version!! One can dream...

Credits: Daybed by Reac; rug by IKEA; shelving unit by Patie of minisx2 on Etsy; topiary plant is
AG Minis; long plant is TOMY; stools are Paris Renfroe.; arc lamp is an eBay find. Accessories are Dragondee, Oese, and doll show finds.

The time it took me: 45 minutes

Productive, on a Large Scale

It's been a long time! I have had a ton of distractions that have prevented me from blogging, but mostly all productive. I have missed communicating with my readers and the larger "mini" community, but the time provided me with some clarity about my collection and its organization -- it's difficult to create scenes and work with your houses when things are in complete disarray.

One huge obstacle was flooding in our basement, which is where my collection lives. Our hot water heater decided to break and we had a real mess on our hands. Luckily, very little of my collection was affected, but it did impact the entire basement space. So, we've been spending the past few months on cleaning, mold remediation, painting, and reorganizing. This work forced me to *really* look at my collection and how I was maintaining the houses and accessories.

The results are really nice so far...I'll have more to share once we complete the last room, but here are a few snaps:

Ignore wire

New Worktable!

 Yes, lots of sorting...

This process has provided a nice opportunity to reconnect with my collection, too.

While my work continues, I managed to set up a quick scene in the Loft to Love house from Target.

See those stairs? I made some carpeting from remnants of FLOR tiles that my husband used in his home office. They work pretty well!

Hopefully, more soon!

Credits: Chair is Reac; table is by MitchyMoo; wall shelving is by Dragondee; rug is a dollhouse plant is by AG Minis and it is in a napkin holder from the Crate & Barrel outlet.; wallpaper is from Paper Source. Accessories are Re-ment, Dragondee, Manor House Miniatures, Paris Renfroe, AG Minis.

Hightstown Dollhouse Show: 2016

I'm lucky to have a small and manageable dollhouse show to go to right by my house: the Hightstown Miniature Show, now in its 37th year. This is my fourth year going--I've written about my visits before--and I've now honed my system for visiting and buying.

Here are my tips for this show, and these may apply to other similar traditional shows:
  • First: SHOW UP LATE. I arrived with only 90 minutes left for the show and it was not crowded and I found a lot of things. Also, most sellers were offering 1/2 off everything since it was toward the end.
  • Second: MODERN IS NOT MAINSTREAM. No one is really collecting modern, so you can find some cool styles, usually discounted. This makes the first tip even more relevant, since early birds will be hunting down Victorian quarter scale and not midcentury.
  • Third: ALWAYS DO AN EXTRA LOOP AROUND, EVEN IF YOU THINK YOU'VE SEEN EVERYTHING. You haven't seen it all, trust me. I always find things in places I thought I had looked. You just overlooked them!
  • Fourth: HAVE PATIENCE WITH THE DOLLAR BINS. While it might all look broken and/or dusty, you can find some gems in the plentiful dollar bins -- most sellers have some version of them.
So, all in all, it was a productive and happy experience. I do like "getting lost" in all the stuff, and there was a lot of it. 

Here are my spoils!

There are some useful things here, for sure. Let's take a closer look...

These cool retro outdoor chairs, also pictured at the top of the post, were sold by this woman who had used them in her original dollhouse growing up in the 1960s. They are metal with plastic tubing, just like the real chairs! The pillow was from a different seller.

This table and chairs were also from the same seller who had them in her house. I am wondering if they are by KAGE or Strombecker....any ideas?

Did you see this paper? I am hoping this might work as exterior stonework for my Contemporary House by Doll Domiciles. I hope to have an update on it soon.

A comfy dog bed -- did not have one of these. Nice green rug, too.
I got a very nice wooden dining table that needs a leg fixed. 
Lovely leeks, handmade
A dollhouse for a dollhouse shelf, and a vintage Lundby light
Some retro-wrapped gifts and decorative glass objects
More artwork!
Curious about the price tag for all this stuff? Less than $30!

Hope you enjoyed seeing my finds.

Cubic Dollhouse by Djeco

I feel like I am on a roll with sharing some new modern dollhouses (I just profiled the new "Loft to Love" house here), so I wanted to send another one your way.

Welcome, Cubic House by Djeco!

I've read that the house was inspired by classic architecture, and I can see a strong resemblance to the De Stijl ("the style") movement, which developed in Amsterdam in the early part of the 20th century. A famous example is the Rietveld Schroeder house, built in 1924.

Photo courtesy of Designblog

See the resemblance??

Back to the dollhouse: you may have seen my post last year regarding a few Cubic House furniture sets. The house, which is closest to 1:16 scale, requires some assembly, so I had not yet opened the box. I decided to break the plastic wrapping on the box last week and got to work. My son expressed interest, so I enlisted him to help!

The assembly was pretty straightforward, although I'd recommend two people, since there are a number of tiny screws and it helps to have an extra pair of hands to hold things steady. The component parts are made of a smooth, sturdy wood. Many of the walls are painted in vibrant colors, but the floors are uniform in the natural wood color, which is nice. There are some clever features, such as a "bookshelf," which is beneath a wall of windows, and a transparent roof.

I cleaned off my desk by the window in our living room to utilize natural light, and started placing some furniture in the house. The decorating took place over the past week; I would do "drive-bys" and drop in a rug here, a chair there, until it all came together.

Overall, the construction and materials are of a very high quality. I'd say that the layout is a bit limited, but you could definitely improvise with different setups and wall and floor coverings. And, of course, there are no stairwells or doors, so you definitely have to use your imagination. Keep in mind that the starting age for the house is *four*, so we adults need to keep our demands in check!

You can find the house online, via some European stores and eBay. I actually purchased mine from a store all the way in Australia, Milk Tooth.

Hope you enjoyed this look at the house--do share if you have one too!

Credits: Bottom Floor: Dining table and chairs are custom pieces by Patie of Minisx2 on Etsy; couch is a vintage artisan piece that I bought in Denver; rug and globe lamp are minimodernistas; stool is vintage Brio; long planter is vintage TOMY; topiary is AG Minis; patio chairs and checkered floor tiles are Megahouse; fireplace is vintage Lundby; circular rug is a placemat from CB2. Top Floor: Desk and chair are vintage Brio; cork board is a custom piece by The Shopping Sherpa; Barcelona chair is Reac; side table is Re-ment; rug is Lundby; shelving unit is ELF Miniatures; plant is an eBay find. Accessories throughout are: Re-ment, eBay, dollhouse store finds, and Lundby.

Loft to Love Dollhouse

The new Loft to Love dollhouse by Our Generation, still available at Target, is one of the more fun modern structures to come along recently. (Having said this, I must admit that I have not yet cracked open my Cubic House by Djeco, which l believe will be equally as fun, if not more so.)

The house is part of the "Lori" line of 6 inch dolls, so it is scaled for 1:12. I've actually had the Loft for a few months now, having bought it on impulse from Target; somehow, a trip for deodorant ended with a dollhouse and a boxed set of desk furniture! The house cost $49.99, and the furniture was $14.99.

You can see Modern Mini Houses's post on the house, which includes links to other reviews. As she notes, the house is being sold on eBay for double the retail price, so I'd recommend snatching it up from Target if you are interested in adding this to your collection.

The layout of the house is very open and simple. It comes with the stairs already built-in, along with a kitchen set and island, which has two chairs. The kitchen area also has built-in ceiling lights, which are plastic and bright yellow. All the kitchen furnishings are plastic, as are the stairs. The rest of the structure is heavy pressed wood, including the interior flooring and walls. The roof is covered in a green felt, and the exterior walls stylishly mimics concrete and wood. The floor-to-ceiling windows are quite nice and impart a very modern vibe.

Overall, the house is well-made, although the plastic imparts a cheaper and less realistic look to the kitchen set. I ended up using the set and island, but used different chairs.

For the upstairs, I did use the new desk set, but minus the yellow chair and some of the accessories like the globe and bulky computer. The set comes with a piece of chalk as the black area is chalk-ready -- clever!

I used a Lundby light for the stairwell, which worked well. You can capture some dramatic angles -- not bad for a house marketed at 3 year olds!

So...did I need another house? No. Am I glad I bought it? Yes. It's sturdy and has options for versatility; there is a lot that could be done to give the stairs, floors, and walls a different look. And the price was right!

Credits: Kitchen: chairs are Bozart; plant is TOMY; rug in kitchen is from the Paper Source; cork rug by front door is from a Con-Tact roll of adhesive cork paper; hanging light is Lundby. Upstairs: desk set is Lori Loft to Love; chair is Reac; couch is Brio; stool is vintage German; rug is paper from the Paper Source. Accessories: Bandai, Re-ment,, Dragondee, LiLu Shop on Etsy, Shopping Sherpa, and eBay.

The time it took me: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Citadel Terrace

Minor victory: I added the terrace to my Citadel house, which has been a long time coming! The Citadel was one of the first houses I purchased, and somewhat impulsively. Back in 2009, it came up on eBay as a Buy it Now, pickup only in Chicago, IL. I live in NJ, but rationalized that I had family there, so why not?

As it turns out, our family did not have to do anything, since we took a road trip with our three kids and went to pick it up! You can read about our adventure here.

Since then, the Citadel has brought me great joy. It's been the setting for both of my book cover projects, and the editorial work I did for Ladies' Home Journal. I've spent lots of hours wallpapering and restoring one side of the house; I still have the other side to tackle, as well as the central stairwell, which is supposed to be enclosed in plexi.

I love this house. Period! I was wanting to give it a little love, so I decided to glue back the terrace to where it belongs. It broke off during the car ride home back in 2009, and has been sitting around for almost 7 years!!! And it was pretty painless to do too...

I hope you enjoy the result!

Credits: Chairs are CB2 ornaments; pillows are minimodernistas; topiary is AG Minis; other plant is TOMY; table is vintage Petite Princess; glasses are vintage German. In the living area, the couch and rug are minimodernistas; table and shelving unit are by Patie of MinisX2 on Etsy. Accessories are AG Minis, Re-ment,, Michaels, eBay finds, and dollhouse show purchases.

BUST Magazine

The arrows are mine :)
Modern miniatures are featured in BUST Magazine. That's right, BUST. Yes, that BUST. And we are "grown-ass ladies making tiny homes." I didn't know that when I did the interview, but now I do.

That's my photo! Page 60
After doing the interview, I found out that the magazine wanted to send a photographer to shoot me with some of my houses. EEEK. They provided some direction on what they wanted to photograph (3-4 different houses), but we left it pretty open. I decided not to set up any scenes, and instead spent time cleaning and dusting. Good choice.

In the end, they loved the Bodensee, so we focused on decorating there. I used some Breuer dining chairs for the first time, and was also able to highlight Pepper's amazing metal wall sculpture, which she custom made for me a few years ago. It worked perfectly over the fireplace.

Yes, I look COMPLETELY psychotic. Dollhouses relax me, honestly. They don't freak me out.
A scene in my Betsy McCall house
Whoo-hoo, a photo by Megan of Modern Mini Houses!
YAY! The Shopping Sherpa is featured.
My Blue Box house
I was very glad that some fantastic fellow collectors were featured in the piece, such as Megan of Modern Mini Houses and Anna-Maria of The Shopping Sherpa. I loved seeing their work in print, and reading their comments on the hobby. All in all, a nice article. 

I gave some suggestions on artisans, too.


Mini Safari

I've been a fan of Safari Ltd for quote some time, so I was thrilled when they asked me to preview some new 2016 products. Safari knows that I work with miniatures, especially their "Good Luck Minis" line, so they shared a few samples and I did up a scene in my Lundby Stockholm.

Can you spot the mammoth, harp seal, zebra, and heart? Each piece is about the size of a nickel and is painted by hand for realistic detail. The pieces are incredibly sturdy and add a great amount of visual interest for small-scale scenes.

You can easily scroll through the Safari line on Amazon, and also check out their blog for more insider detail.

Go wild!

Credits: Couch, rug, and ottoman are minimodernistas; desk and cubby shelf is by Dragondee; plant is AG Minis; chair is Reac; computer is from Lilu Shop on Etsy. Accessories are Manor House Miniatures, eBay, PRD Miniatures, AG Minis, Ray Storey, and Re-ment.

The time it took me: 35 minutes

Blue Box Dollhouse

I've had my Blue Box dollhouse for quite some time now, but it has been forgotten amongst the other houses in my collection. In fact, I neglected to add it to the My Collection resource page, so I put it there with other small scale houses.

These plastic houses, manufactured in Hong Kong, date from the 1980s. They are quite petite and are closest to 1:24 scale. My house came with its own furniture and people and the people are actually more interesting than the furniture, which is quite boxy and lacks detail. You can see more about this style of house on Rebecca's blog; here is a photo of one of her Blue Box houses that is identical to mine:

Courtesy of Rebecca's Collections
I decided to decorate my house with new floor coverings and I also added washi tape to the living room wall. I had to really search through my collection for pieces that were of the right size. It was challenging!! And you can see that some of the pieces are a tad too large, but I still used them. The pieces that actually worked particularly well are the ones by Paul MacAlister -- in addition to some beautiful 1:12 furnishings, I have a set of his 1:24 scale pieces and I put some to use here.

My people were feeling a bit dwarfed by their surroundings!

It was actually a lot of fun to decorate this house. I am embarrassed to say that this took place over some weeks...! I never had more than 15 minutes at a time, so progress was slow. And I know there is so much more that could be done, like wallpaper, but if I didn't capture it now, I'm not sure when I might have done it!

Credits: Livingroom shows a LISA couch, a Paul MacAlister table, and a Dol Toi ottoman. Kitchen has a table and chairs by Fisher Price and a Paul MacAlister shelf. Bathroom has a Fisher Price vanity and a TOMY plant. Mudroom has a Plyamobil stroller and baby and a Lil' Bratz stool. Entryway has a Paul MacAlister credenza. Accessories in all rooms by: Re-ment, Paper Source, AG Minis,, Gigi N Studio, Minimodernistas, Playmobil, Michaels, and Lundby.

The time it took me: See above; weeks!

Arne Jacobsen Seven Series Dollhouse Chair

Ahhhh....a "wish list" item acquired!

The iconic "Seven" series chair, designed in 1955 by Arne Jacobsen and reproduced in miniature by Brio in the 1960s and 70s, has at last landed in my collection. It's only one, but it is a start. I purchased it on eBay for $30.

As I was taking photos of my new acquisition, I recalled a similar post by The Shopping Sherpa of her *many* Seven chairs. Drool.

Such a great chair, and now my Brio stool and desk has a friend!

In the category of recent acquisitions, I picked up a white Barcelona chair, which looks pretty styling.

Also, the crafts store Michaels has expanded its dollhouse offerings with Sparrow Miniatures. I picked up a few items such as a table, some decorative accents, plants, and a clipboard!

Credits: Desk, chair, and stool by Brio; chair by Reac; side table by Re-ment; flooring is from the Paper Source. Accessories are Lundby, Re-ment, and Michaels.

The time it took me: 15 minutes

Djeco Cubic Dollhouse Furniture: A First Look

Do you Djeco? 

I was excited to see a new Cubic dollhouse and furniture from Djeco, a veteran Paris-based toy company founded in 1954. I just got my package all the way from Milk Tooth in Australia and had some fun unpacking.

Nice touch!

All arrived intact and in delectable boxes just waiting to be opened. I could tell right away that the quality was going to be high.

The pieces are between 1:16 and 1:18 in scale and are made of wood and plastic. The colors are great and the furniture is stylishly modern. I only bought the dining and bedroom sets -- there are other rooms, but I had to shut my wallet at some point. ;)

All in all, the pieces are very well made and sturdy. The one exception was the bedding, which was not as perfect as it could have been (the pictures show the messy underside). Also, I would have preferred to lose the candles in the dining set. I love the blue bowl, but it would have been good to see plates, glasses, or even a plant.

I'm very excited to set up the Cubic house, but that will have to wait until I can steal some time away to put it all together and play.

If you have some Djeco too, do share!

Inspired: Mad Men

While the majority of my styling takes place on a small scale, I have made efforts over the past year or so to slowly transform rooms around our actual house, or even corners of rooms. I'm strongly adverse to paying retail, so I often hunt for good deals, tempered by an eye toward quality.

While it is sometimes easy to envision how you'd approach styling a real room, inspiration definitely helps. I love design magazines, blogs, and websites, and Instagram feeds with an artistic point of view. I wouldn't necessary single out TV as inspiration, but there is an exception. The show Mad Men, now in its final season, has drool-worthy midcentury interiors, and I admit to being distracted by the authentic composition of the rooms while watching.

Courtesy of the New York Times

Courtesy of Interior Design
I was contacted by the site Chairish to do a Mad Men-inspired style board in honor of the show's last season using actual pieces from their available collection of gorgeous Mid-Century furnishings. If you've never cruised around Chairish, do so! It's a site of well-curated furnishings and accessories, vintage and otherwise, and you can sort the listings by type, prince range, and even location of the seller.

So, here's what I came up with: a more "glam" riff on what you might see in the show. I even included some jewelry!

It was a fun diversion -- try it!

Oprah Magazine: Styling the Bennett House

I had a great opportunity back in December to style an entire Bennett House by brinca dada for the March 2015 issue of Oprah Magazine. The job came at a great time, since I had off from work over Christmas break, and I completed it in a little over a week (for comparison, my Ladies' Home Journal styling job took place over a few months). It was intensive but very fun.

The article is about how to "spiff up" your home for spring, so I had a framework from the editorial team to get me started. The photo editor knew that they wanted a modern, clean interior with specific things such as a large mirror in the entryway, plants on the upper level, a fireplace with birch logs, etc. So even before I had the house in hand, I started to consider what would work best from my collection.

About that house...I had to completely assemble it as part of the job. So, it was shipped to me flat and I immediately got to work. I'll be honest--it took me many hours to identify and organize the pieces and also get the adhesive off the windows. There was a lot of mental and physical elbow grease up front, but the results were great. It's a fantastic house that is a joy to style. 

Here is the completed house:

Once it was assembled, I had a much better sense of what furnishings would work. The house is closest to 1:16 scale, although 1:12 will also work. I realized the one thing I was lacking was a complete modern kitchen in 1:16 scale, so I ended up purchasing a Lundby Smaland one from a dollhouse store about an hour away.

Once I had the Lundby set, the rest of the kitchen came together quickly. The ceiling light is from IKEA and came in handy, and the clock is a favorite of mine from Bandai. I paired some colorful Reac Eames chairs with a custom dining table by Patie of Minisx2 on Etsy. The doggie was not planned by the magazine, but I added him in, and he made the cut! I love the way this room turned out.

The foyer also came together nicely. I ended up using a great 1:10 scale Bodo Hennig table, which worked well in that double-height space, along with a great graphic rug from minimodernistas. The mirror is a craft item, and I paired it with some funky fur boots by Re-ment. The light is a pull chain for a 1:1 scale ceiling fan from Lowe's, and the plant is AG Minis.

Yup, that's me
The biggest challenge was coming up with a modern fireplace and realistic birch logs. I ended up creating a fireplace with some wooden and plastic pieces and then actually found some real miniature birch logs at Michael's. I sent the magazine two different options and they ended up choosing the white one, which looks great with the picture frames by Paris Renfroe.

I was thrilled to be able to use a great "Long and Low" couch, pillow, and print ottoman by minimodernistas. They all worked really well in the space. 

The bedroom features a vintage German bed and a dresser, which I was not convinced would work in the space, but they did. 

The magazine was careful not to have the rooms be overtly midcentury modern; this was, of course, my original direction :)

No Eames for you!

No Risom, either!
They went for a Bodo Hennig chair instead, along with the globe fixture from minimodernistas.
The rooms went through some iterations, but not many. It was nice to see the house come together.

And yes, they kept the Mini Cooper, too!

Since the magazine hired a studio to take the photos, I had to pack up each of the furnishings and label everything according to its location. I also took pictures of the placements just in case. I then boxed up the house and drove it into New York City, directly to Hearst Corporation, which publishes the magazine.

My two older ones helped get everything safely into the Oprah offices :)

Here is the final spread, along with views of the individual pages. Very exciting!

The magazine added a red door, as well as a closet in the foyer

And my credit!!!

"Dollhouse Stylist." I LIKE IT. Hope you enjoyed the results!

Betsy McCall Dollhouse: More Progress

It's not often that I get to share a progress update on one of my houses, but I've made some time to work bit by bit on my Betsy McCall house. For quite some time, the house has been sitting cramped on a work table. It's tricky to get to, and the lighting stinks. These factors don't help, nor did the clutter in and around the house.

Over the last few months, though, I've been organizing my collection, and even sold two houses, in the spirit of streamlining my possessions. I have now found a home for most of my furnishings and accessories in neat little boxes that are all organized in one space. This also helped me clean out the shelving and re-organize the placement of some of my houses. I got rid of a table and opened up my main dollhouse room, which is in our basement.

An improvement, right?

Since I moved the McCall house into my main dollhouse room from the work space, I was able to pay it some attention. I admit to be inspired by recent posts on Retro Renovation about Kate's valiant efforts to build her McCall house from the plans and decorate. She just got a hold of some lovely retro papers. I am super jealous :)

I've not taken as big a leap as Kate -- more baby steps -- but I have made some changes. First, I painted the trim and other accents in the house, which I had not done previously.

Then, I tackled the the bedroom, which adjoins the main living space. I have already papered the living space in a bold graphic pattern, so I was looking to keep with patterns, but in complementary colors.

I decided on geometric yellow and gray scrapbook paper for the two side walls, and then a new polka dotted pattern from the Paper Source. I think they work quite well together!

This is a fun and great house to have made some small progress on -- I hope to get to more of it in the near future. I think the bathroom might be next!

Credits: Daybed is Paul MacAlister; credenza is by Cyd of Mini Mod Pod; grey rug is a felt coaster; white rug is adhesive felt; geometric wall paper is scrapbook paper and dotted paper is from the Paper Source; lamp is a dollhouse store find. Accessories are Lundby; Re-ment; AG Minis; Paris Renfroe; and The Shopping Sherpa.

The time it took me: 3 hours, including painting of trim, wallpapering, and pattern-cutting!

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House

There's a fantastic-looking new exhibition about twelve extraordinary dollhouses, spanning 300 years, from the U.K.'s Museum of Childhood. Entitled Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, the presentation is multi-dimensional and multi-sensory -- not only are there houses, but complementary audio stories about the inhabitants. These stories provide a window on the lives lived in these famous and popular homes from the museum's collection, which date from 1712 to 2001.

Highlights from the exhibition include:

Jennys Home (1960s)

There is also a "Dream House" component of the exhibition, which includes room boxes dreamed up by contemporary designers, inspired by the houses in the show. Here are a few of my favorites:

A Night in the Studio by Ina Hyun K Shin

Room with a View by Nancy Edwards

Wellbeing Bathroom by Roger Arguer

In addition to the houses, audio stories, and designer room boxes, the exhibition website provides access to writings about dollhouses, called "Small Stories." Topics range from conservation, to gender roles, to furniture making. There's also a great blog that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the collection.

You can also access Tweets and online mentions of the show on Storify and see some wonderful pictures on Pinterest.

Pinned from

The book Dolls' Houses from the V&A Museum of Childhood, written by Halina Pasierbska, was produced in conjunction with the show. I've already purchased by copy -- it's available on Barnes & Noble and other retailers in the U.S.

I would love to go see the show in person...maybe by some stroke of luck I'll find myself in London before September 6, 2015!

Please let me know if you have seen it!


The Villa Sibi inspires zen-like moments...I think it's the slatted sliding wall panel along the back of the house and the soft birch color.  So, despite the work environment projected here, perhaps it comes with a certain serenity.

The desk and stool were on my "wish list" for quite some time. They are vintage Brio and came with some wear and tear, but otherwise met my expectations!

The drawer unit is Bodo Hennig, and they are two separate units that are stacked. I had not seen this before, but I liked the pop of color in what is a very practical design.

The wallpaper is from the Paper Source and I love the warmth and pattern.

By the way, there's some beauty in numbers today: 12-13-14!

Credits: Desk, stool, and couch are Brio Mobilia; drawer unit is Bodo Hennig; side table is Re-ment; plant and ladder are TOMY. Accessories are Ray Storey, Paris Renfroe, Bandai, Re-ment, and dollhouse show finds.