Some DIY

I wish I could do more "do-it-yourself" things. I am always amazed at other modern miniature artisans and enthusiasts and what they create. (By the way, have you seen Ann's awesome shelf???) I like to re-purpose things, but I often combine and use what I have, rather than making magic from scratch.

My daughter actually inspired me to go DIY this past week. She was interested in making some items for a "general store" in one of her portable doll houses, and knew Michaels had a whole aisle with unfinished wooden miniature items, and was particularly interested in spools, buckets, and rolling pins. She indeed bought little spools and some friendship bracelet thread and proceeded to make a whole bowl of sewing thread, totally neat. I came home with a few pots from that aisle and found some cool-looking moss from the dried flower section...

and poof! Little moss-filled pots, thanks to some wood finish stain marker and glue!

I had the best of intentions after my minor DIY victory to clean up and store away some new purchases, among them a plexi nursery set from a dollhouse store ($14 for the set):

I originally picked them up at the store and put them down (twice), before snatching them up. I was put off by the pastel decoration but thought I might bring it to a more modern place ;)

I scraped off the pastel as best as I could and washed the pieces in some soapy water. Then, I chose some beloved paper and got to work on the shelf...

and then the crib...

A scene materialized from that. Yes, I know it is not terribly safe to have a child's room at the top of a double-height space without any stairs or barrier from below, but this is really a room for the parents ;)

Did you notice my lovely sea urchin? My son's preschool teacher brought a boxful of them home from her summer vacation in Maine and offered me my pick of a few! I just love their color and texture. And, a Petite Princess table fit right into the hole, creating a clear tabletop! I think it could work as a pouf, too. Perhaps this counts as a DIY??!

I thought I would end where I began, at Michaels. I just read Mini Modern's post about what you can find in craft stores, and she showed some really cool jewelry trinkets and embossed felt. I love how we were on the same wavelength -- I saw her post was as I was finishing my scene, which has some other craft store finds: the fish picture and the modern wall etchings are all jewelry accessories, on clearance ($2 or less). As Modern MC said, those racks are definitely worth a look. I've not only used them for art, but for tabletops and other accents.


Speaking of Mini Modern and utter craftiness, if you should find yourself in San Francisco this coming Thursday, September 16, head on over to the Design Within Reach store on Jackson Street, where a mega modern miniature gathering will be happening! It is from 5-7 p.m. (followed by an after party) and I wish I could teleport myself there from the east coast to attend. I know it will be great, and I cannot wait for the full report! Best of luck to Modern MC, minimodernistas, Paris Renfroe, brinca dada, and also Megan of Modern Mini Houses (her Antrim will be on display)!

Credits: Plexi crib and shelf and wood and plexi side tables (where the tea set is) are from Freda's Fancy doll house store; drum chairs and table top in sea urchin are vintage Petite Princess; whirlygig above crib and lamp are AG Minis; cradle in corner is vintage Fisher Price. Accessories are Re-ment, AG Minis, eBay finds, my local toy store, Barbie by Jonathan Adler, and Bozart.

Re-ment: I have written about the Re-ment in this scene with a few exceptions. The baby bottle, baby jars on the second shelf, and duck pull toy are all from American Kitchen #4, "Cute Little Nursery," and are slightly large for 1:12. The teapot is from Tea Time Collection #5, and is good for 1:12.

Red Room

I continue to make my way around the Citadel and have landed in the upstairs bath. Like the other rooms in the house, this one was decked out in not one, but two, unattractive papers. And hanging beads. Not for me...have a look see.

So, there was some scraping to do and then a transformation to red...

I've had a roll of this red paper with a subtle stripe for a while and felt inspired to use it with something graphically strong on the floor. This Indian-made paper from the Paper Source reminded me of an elaborate tile surface and I thought it would create a dramatic contrast with the bold red.

What do you think? While the wallpaper is now glued, the flooring is adhered with some tacky stick, so I can change it out.

By the way, after doing yet another bath scene (I've done them in both of my VERO houses in recent weeks), I realize that I am in desperate need of some modern bath pieces. Add them to the list...!

In the way of pattern and color, I wanted to share some smaller-scaled chairs (perhaps 1:18 or 1:24) that I just purchased from UK eBay. Aren't these unusual? The bases are made of wood and the seating is cardboard. I don't know what use I will have for them yet, but they are pretty to look at (notice the difference in scale to these 1:10 German chairs):

On a final note of color and pattern, I had a wonderful excursion to the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in Connecticut at the start of our vacation last week. I love Josef Albers' work, as does my husband, so I arranged a special visit and tour with the lovely and patient Jeannette. The older kids got so much out of it; the littlest one not so much, but I am very glad we were able to bask in the colors of some of Albers' works and also view the creations of his equally-talented wife, Anni, who is known for her weaving and textile designs.

Sublime grays by Albers...

A stunning undulating abstract weaving by Anni...

The mailbox was even worth a stare!

Credits: Sink is an eBay find; side table is vintage VERO; hanging lights handmade by Megan of Modern Mini Houses; toilet is IKEA. Accessories are Re-ment, AG Minis, Playmobil, Bozart, and dolls house store finds.

Large VERO Wallpapers

One little scrape was all it took to let my curiosity get the better of large VERO has been apart these past few months, patiently sustaining the workings of my paint stripper as I attempted to reveal its original papers. I am pleased with the results, but not without a fight on my part!

First, a is what the house (and its wallpapers) looked like when it arrived from Germany last year:

The previous owner did some lovely restoring of the house, but I did not care for the flowered and somewhat plain cream papers. I scraped off a corner in the upstairs bedroom and then never looked back. I could see the original papers underneath and wanted to see if I might be able to repair them.

Here's what I found in the bedroom:

Nice, right? I carefully scraped off the new papers and then used an eraser to reduce the appearance of some of the darker smudges. The partition wall papers are in great shape and needed no repair, which was great.

The papers in the bathroom were unfortunately very damaged, as you can see:

I debated for a very long time what to do and tried a few different things, including scanning the green tile paper and trying some hexagonal tile paper. Neither worked. Then, I decided to use some of the vintage 1:1 papers I bought a few months ago (and blogged about here), and I think they work.

What do you think?

The papers in the kitchen downstairs were too damaged to keep on one side; the partition wall was salvageable:

So, I used some of those great scans from Annina's VERO for one wall there, and also used it for the other side of the partition wall, which was also too damaged as you can see:

Now covered!

The other living room wall is pretty beat up, but I could not bear to cover it. I carefully scraped on and off for a few weeks and decided to keep it with its rips and other scars. You can see the before and after here:

I am happy to have my little gem shining a bit brighter!

Credits: Bedroom furniture is a vintage German set that came with this house, and the clock is also vintage German, but purchased separately; the plant in the corner is vintage TOMY. The bathroom sink is an eBay find; the bath is a dish from Crate and Barrel (the tap in the tub is actually a funnel from the "Mike the Mechanic" set by Mighty World); the shelving unit is by Paris Renfroe; chair is vintage Petite Princess; side table is AG Minis; cowhide rug and book on table are handmade by Oese; white wooden rug is from a window treatment card sample from Lowe's; plant is vintage TOMY; light is vintage Lundby. Accessories are AG Minis, Tynies, Re-ment, made by me, Playmobil, Manor House Miniatures, and from France.

More A-Frame Love

Apparently I am not the only one who loves A-frames. A lot of comments on my last post revealed your affection for this style of house and I am definitely looking forward to refurbishing mine. By the way, Modern MC of Mini Modern recalls seeing my A-frame in kit form on eBay back in January. While she no longer has the images of the kit, it's a clue! Thanks, MC!

In the meantime, I wanted to share some amazing images of a handmade A-frame 1:12 house, courtesy of Martha B., whose father built it from scratch over a decade ago for her son. Just look at the quality of the craftsmanship, the great architectural accents, and layout. Feast your eyes on this:

Martha gave me some background:

My dad built it from scratch...not from a kit. His inspiration for it came from the old 1960's claymation T.V. show Davey & Goliath. In it Davey and his family vacation in an A-Frame (episode 'A Sudden Storm'). My dad sat through the video several times making notes for the exterior and interior... although he did make some adjustments to fit his own design.

He used 1" = 1' scale...helped along with our son's
toy figurines from the show. Materials...he was very thrifty...using a lot of stuff he had in his work shop. Old plexi-glass from a screen door became the front window, scrap lumber and plywood became the floor, roof and window dividers. He also created and painted the chimney. The interior... he designed the kitchen with a sink (dug out a portion from the wood and painted it white) and put screws for the cabinet handles. A fireplace mantle is cut plywood with colored paper flames.

The IKEA furniture was added several years after Dad finished the house. He had made several original pieces...dining set with chairs and a bed...but much too fragile for our son to play with.

You asked if our son still uses it. No...those days are gone. He's now a teen. But we've set the A-Frame aside for his future family...:)

Neat, right? I adore the faux stone and the interior finishing. I tried to find an online clip of the Davey & Goliath episode to see the inspiration for this house, but no luck. I'll keep looking.

Eager to see some pics of the furniture?? Equally amazing as the house, and made with wood scraps, fabric, foam, and ingenuity:

All house and furniture photos by Martha B.

Thank you so much for sharing, Martha B.! By the way, you must head over to Martha's blog (or as she calls it, her "blogette"), Nibs. She referred me to two recent posts related to dolls houses -- one shows a great book find about modern dolls houses and the other about the wonders of handmade furniture. I know I will continue to follow Martha's posts.

I also heard back from Sandy Buchmann of Buchmanns Toymaker Shop about their A-frame, which I saw on their website:

Sandy says:

It was designed in 1976 and took 1st Prize at the N.Y. State Fair the same year. The idea came to me in a dream to do a A frame doll house with a removable Plexiglas front. At that time I had never seen an A frame doll house and thought that it would be fun to do. So my husband who is a wood craftsman, made the house with scrapes of things around our house and shared in the designing with me. Scale is 1" to 1 ft. The furniture was also made by us except the livingroom sofa and chairs. We have made it once again in different interior colors. Every thing we made from things we found around the house. Our Prize was won in the "something from nothing" category.

VERY cool, no? Another case where scraps and some creative elbow grease results in something new and interesting. I think we can all relate to dreaming about dolls houses! On a final note, the moderator of this Flickr group asked to include some of my A-frame photos. Check it out if you are looking for 1:12 inspiration in 1:1!

Mon Chalet Amour

A vintage A-frame chalet-style dolls house has entered my life...and collection! I purchased it on Etsy and it needs a bit of rehab. I was tempted to both buy it and *not* buy it because it needed work!! The seller told me that it was constructed from a kit and is 1:12 scale, but she did not have the time to refinish it. I did some searching and could not turn up any information on the kit; the bottom has only a fragment of a sticker:

Doesn't tell me much!

While I am eager to dig in to right the wrongs, I am also unsure about the direction. My first impression of the house, after packing it out --

...was that the wallpaper and curtains needed to go. They were easy to remove, but the adhesive papers left a sticky residue. I decided to leave the sisal-type wall covering on the bottom level.

Then, I assessed the condition, and overall it is decent, but has nicks here and there, including in the front.

I am also not sold on the current paint job and color. I picked up some dark brown spray paint and experimented with the color on the curved stairwell and small divider on top.

What do you think? Do I re-paint the darker color or preserve the current hue? Or go completely radical and paint this puppy white???

How about wallpaper or coverings? On the one hand, I think it could look cool, but on the other, I like the wood exposed. The sisal works -- perhaps that approach?

I do like the layout, which diverges from most of my other houses. I did a quick setup in the house to test out scales. There's mostly 1:10 and 1:12, and both work pretty well (apologies in advance for the grubby backdrop of our garage).

As I was researching A-frame kits, I came across this image of a very cool custom A-frame by Buchmann's, a toy shop in upstate New York. Neat, right?

I have emailed them seeking more information on the house and furnishings and will hopefully post on it soon. Speaking of custom, I managed to win some Contemporary Doll House Plans by Doll Domiciles recently on eBay (Mini Dork posted on another set a few weeks back), so I will share some pics of that as soon as I can get to opening them!

In the meantime, I welcome your ideas and feedback on my A-frame!

UPDATE, 9/12/10: Reader Payton tipped me off to an eBay listing that provides a very big clue on this house. It is indeed a kit, made by Whitman and it dates from 1978. I was not able to copy the photo of the box from the eBay listing, but it looks like the front has a porch, which makes sense given the marks there on my house. Another reader, Div, also has the kit and offered to scan the directions for me, so I can share those when I get them! THANKS!

Credits: Kitchen/dining: sink and stove is vintage Bodo Hennig; refrigerator came with my Citadel house; table is vintage German; lucite chairs are from eBay. Living room: couch is vintage VERO; chair is vintage German; boomerang table is by Paris Renfroe; Eames lounger is Reac. Bedroom: Bed is vintage German; console is by Paris Renfroe; Panton chair is vintage Bodo Hennig; rug is by Peppercorn Minis. Bath: Bathtub, sink, and toilet are vintage Bodo Hennig; plant is vintage TOMY. Outside: plant is vintage TOMY; pillow is handmade by Tarkus; and wing chair is an eBay find. Accessories are Re-ment, Manor House Miniatures, doll store finds, and eBay.

Rec Room

This vintage Lundby ping pong table brings me back to the 70s. We had one at our summer place and it was endless fun. My brother and I would play constantly when we were smaller, and even our older siblings wanted to get in on the action! While all the ping pong memories are happy, I do recall my Mom not being too thrilled when my brother and I would try to burn the balls on the grill (I guess we got bored...).

The table really set the rest of the scene. I recently won some AG Minis 50s diner seats on eBay, and was wondering if and how I'd put them to use. Well, they seemed to fit right in here!

The flooring consists of tag sale finds -- they are trivets. Looked like they belonged underfoot to me. :)

Credits: Ping pong table, crystal side lamp and standing lamp are vintage Lundby; diner seating is by AG Minis; table and three chairs are vintage German; white shelving is by Re-ment; wall art is a card from the Paper Source that I colored to bring out the pattern (thanks, Henry!); ball clock is handmade by Pubdoll; flooring/trivets and fabric visible on right side through the sliding panel were bought at a tag sale; purse is from a swap with Oese; chess set is from eBay; plant is vintage TOMY. Accessories are Re-ment, AG Minis, Mighty World, Playmobil, Tynies, Bozart, Manor House Miniatures, and random eBay finds.

Re-ment: I have written about the Re-ment in this scene with one exception. The lovely green covered bowl in the shelving unit on the right is from Tea Time #4, Antique Japanese Glass, and is good for 1:12.

Laurie Simmons Styles the New York Times Magazine

My brain went pop when I saw the cover of the New York Times Magazine this morning. Convinced I was looking at a mini Eames lounger ottoman and Barcelona chair, I checked for the credit inside the front cover and saw that artist Laurie Simmons, who created the Kaleidoscope House with architect Peter Wheelwright, contributed a range of tableaux (with prop styling by Mary Howard Studio) for an article about chronic depression entitled "My Shrunk Life." No, I have not yet read the article...too taken with the visuals.

I spot a Bozart couch, a tulip chair, and a Courbusier chair. Have a look yourself!

Going Dutch

Fun! There is an article about me in the current issue of Poppenhuizen & Miniaturen, and Sylvia of Lotje's Dollhouse was kind enough to send me a scan. Sylvia is actually the feature story on the cover and does amazing work. Thanks again, Sylvia!

Hopefully, the magazine will send me an actual copy, but until then, I have these to share.

In other news, ever see those House Tour features on Apartment Therapy? Well, I thought, they should do a 1:12 feature! And they did! :)


When we lived in "the city" (that's the isle of Manhattan, in New York City), we'd do takeout all the time. We had a great Cuban-Chinese place that we loved, and a burrito place too. Then, there was some tasty pizza and pasta. And the great falafel joint and yummy Chinese. Ahh...the good 'ol days. Nowadays, ensconced in the suburbs, I just get bossed around by my three kids, who tend to demand three different meals. Well, no more of that -- they get what goes on the table! I admit my resolve slips into the dead zone of chicken nuggets some days, but I usually try to steel myself for a food fight and forge ahead on nutrition :)

Takeout boxes never looked like this one from the Crate and Barrel outlet, my go-to discount mecca of choice as of late. I was there looking around for a gift for a blogger pal who shall remain nameless (it's a surprise, folks!), and saw this somewhat dented white box of circles for $6.00. Dining came to mind, and it just looked so chic, peaceful, and quiet, just like those easy, calm, fun takeout days. Not that I'd trade them for now, but I can live temporarily through this little scene. You'll see I tried a few different accessories and approaches -- looks like Asian takeout here!

On more little scenes, a BIG scene will soon bloom with the opening of the Call of the Small exhibit at Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre in Canberra, curated by Anna-Maria, the whiz behind The Shopping Sherpa. Have you all been following the progress of this very neat show to which I happily lent my blog name? Anna-Maria worked her wizardry and encouraged artists working in 1:1 to take it down a notch...and then some. The creations look amazing, and I only wish I could transport myself to Canberra to see the exhibit when it opens on August 12. But alas, this eye candy from some recent posts by Anna-Maria will have to do...

Credits: Table is by Elf Miniatures; chairs are vintage Wolverine; flooring is green glitter card stock from Michael's; plants are vintage TOMY (yeah! I finally scored another one, along with two other elusive TOMY plants); shelving on wall are two vintage Fisher Price benches; globe light is by minimodernistas. Accessories are Re-ment, dollhouse store finds, and stolen from my kid's goody bag from a birthday party. Seriously.

Re-ment: The plate, bowls, and chopsticks are from Tea Time #7, Nagomi Japanese Dishes, and are good for 1:12. The small blue vase on the top shelf is from Tea Time #4, Antique Japanese Glass and is good for 1:12.


When I got my VERO House from Germany last year, it was in pretty rough shape. Each room had its own affliction -- torn or damaged wallpaper, wood or window cracks, paint chipping -- likely courtesy of one or a few different owners. I have been trying to piece together its history, but as many of you know it can be so difficult to locate definitive information for vintage houses.

I do know the house was likely made by VERO in the late 1960s, perhaps early 70s. Since I bought my house on German eBay in fall 2009, I have seen a few others come to market that look very similar. One find helped me to see what the rooms originally looked like and how they were decorated. You can see more on that here.

One such room is on the lower left, and is most probably meant as a bath. Here is an example from a very similar house:

In my case, this room was the most damaged, covered in layers of thick, heavy blue paint and papers. It looked as if ancient frescoes had made their home there! Scraping to the original papers was not an option. This is what it looked like:

I scraped the papers and paint off as best as I could and then smoothed the craggy spots. After painting a molding piece along the back wall, I covered the ceiling in a remnant piece of grey-colored wood. I had painted the ceiling white, but that looked completely bizarre and out of place, given the creamy/aged pallor of the rest of the house.

I bought some papers and new paper paste at the Paper Source this weekend -- as part of a very fun mini meet-up with Dale of Dale's Dreams and Paula, who is getting back into minis and just got an amazing modern acquisition (thanks again for a great afternoon, ladies!) -- and tried them out. The results:

I was trying to be faithful to the 1960s/70s vibe of the house -- what do you think? I left the original blue papers on the floor and covered it in some of my favorite Chilewich placemat, hoping for a tile effect.

Next I might move to the main entrance/living area...

Credits: Sink is a UK eBay find; toilet is IKEA; rug is by Peppercorn Minis; planter is a craft store find and plant is an aquarium plant; wastebasket and light are AG Minis; Eames Hang-it-All is by minimodernistas; purse is handmade by Oese. Accessories are Re-ment and Barbie by Jonathan Adler.

Re-ment: The green soap and lotion bottle on the sink are from Cosmetics, Natural #4, and are good for 1:12.

The Other Side of the Citadel

My mini life is a bit in disarray these days. I am still recovering from the Design Within Reach Event, and have not had any time to organize my houses or things. I'm in the middle of a wallpaper scraping in the large VERO (more to come on that), and have been working my way around the Citadel. I have been neglecting the bottom floor in my other VERO and have also been neglecting myself. For the past few weeks I have been on a roller coaster of sick -- three different variations of a cold virus. Yuck. I am hopefully on the mend.

On the Citadel, I migrated to the other side to test out another room, which has made me think more about the overall layout of the house. The previous owner had the kitchen on the ground floor, tucked in a corner:

Don't think this's pretty compact, doesn't open up to any other rooms, and connects to the main entryway via a door. The owner had built-in cabinets in a traditional style that I plan to eventually pry from the wall.

I am considering moving the kitchen to the other side of the house, in the adjacent ground floor room, which is accessible via the main entryway and also has a sliding set of doors. As you can see, I have not yet started scraping here.

The two rooms above this one will likely end up as a bedroom and bathroom. I did a quick scene in the potential bedroom. Before:

After, with lots of different papers from the Paper Source:

I'd love to address the outdoor spaces next; there's a patio above the bedroom and a lovely curved terrace that got knocked off the side of the house when we drove it from Chicago to New Jersey. The front entrance of the house needs help, too. I took off the main plexi window panes in the hopes of re-fabricating it.

Little by little...

Credits: Couch by Annina; light is minimodernistas; coffee table is by Paris Renfroe; cabinet is vintage VERO; chair is Reac; wallpaper and flooring are all papers from the Paper Source. Accessories are by Re-ment, Gigi N Studio, and random doll store finds.

Vollmer and Preiser

I have long admired the wonderful, mod-looking HO and N-scale commercial buildings crafted by Vollmer in the 1950s and 1960s. Nothing gets me more than tiny for tiny! I finally got my hands on two such structures -- a department store and a toy store ("Spielwaren") -- which were originally intended for model train scenes. I wanted to try to capture their details and color, and challenged myself to see how closely I could zoom in on windows, doors, and the vibrant papers underneath.

I love the details of this long window pane.

Over the July 4th weekend, I visited Freda's Fancy, a doll house store in the Long Island town where my mother lives, and found a box of these great N scale figures, made by Preiser. They really reminded me of the very talented artist Slinkachu, who does amazing photography of these types of "people" adrift in the big real world as part of his "Little People" project. His street art installation work is so humorous and well-done. Have a look on his blog.

The set I have is here:

I had some fun setting them up in front of the buildings:

After reading through Slinkachu's bio, I saw reference made to the figures he uses, and they are indeed made by one in the same: Preiser. There's whole world of them on eBay, by the way. The details are amazingly fine and the possibilities great. Please let me know if you have similar Vollmer treasures! I'd love to see your photos.

Flickr Up!

The photos from my Design Within Reach event are now posted on Flickr. All the photos were taken by the wonderful Andrea Kane (thanks, Andrea!), and they are fun to look through. You'll see the range of folks who came (like the three lovely ladies above), as well as some eye candy of the Emerson. Mark Green, who designed the furniture for the house, is there as well, and you'll be able to see many shots of the fantastic pieces on his laptop.

Andrea's photos helped to engage the local press, too. A photo collage appeared in the Princeton Packet yesterday:

And a local blogger had a perspective on minis that I had not thought of before; see more on the Artful Blogger.

I heard from Filippa today, who is a stylist for a Danish kids magazine, and she let me know that a little blurb about me appeared on their site and in the magazine. They like my take on the Lundby Stockholm; check it out. You'll see there's a link in the blurb to the great offerings at Minimii, which Megan at Modern Mini Houses wrote about just today! Minis are in the air...

Let me know what you think of the event photos, and thanks for following along on this adventure!

Design Within Reach Recap

Thanks to everyone for all of your support during the preparation for my Design Within Reach event, which occurred on Thursday, June 24, in Princeton, NJ. A BIG thanks goes to the store and its staff - Troyce, Meredith, and Henry - for inviting me to put up the display and for giving me the freedom to create something new and different.

It was an incredibly fun and surreal time, and it made all the work (and stress!) worth it. I thought I would give a little (actually, it's pretty long on details) recap with some of my photos taken after the event; I had the foresight to have a photographer at the event, but lacked the foresight to bring my own camera! All of the event pictures will be posted to my Flickr soon, hopefully next week, and I'll let you know when they are there.

What happened before 1:30 p.m.?
My day started early, getting the kids off to school and then running some last minute errands for the display. I had stayed up quite late the night before putting the finishing touches on the Kaleidoscope House and the two fish condos that would also be part of the event. I knew it was going to be very important to pack everything away safely and in an organized manner so that I could unpack as efficiently as possible at the store. I memorized all the setups as I put items away in little sorting trays and larger boxes and tried to group them by room. This took a while, people, let me tell you! I also had to finish some last minute framing of some of my K House photographs and I also wrote and framed a description for what was on view, noting all the loans from Elf Miniatures, minimodernistas, Paris Renfroe, and Peppercorn Minis. I threw my new business cards in along with a little Alessi tray to display them. I showered, dressed, and set outvery slowly in the car for the store.

At 2:00 p.m. I arrived at the store, leaving me two hours to set everything up. The store looked great, and Meredith and Henry were there to help me strategize on where to place everything. We figured out that the house would go on a lovely long extendable table in the front middle of the store, and my photographs and fish condos on a shelving unit on the opposite side. I set up the condos and Meredith placed them along with my photographs. This is how it all looked:

I used two pieces in the store to do setups: an Eames black wire table and a Rolly side table, and Meredith suggested spacing them out apart from the house display in other parts of the store so as not to crowd things. Excellent decision. I set them up quickly and went to work on the house. Henry and Meredith offered to help, but then could see that I whirling around to place everything solo. :)

By 3:00 p.m., most of the furniture was set up, and it became apparent to me that I should have tried harder to clean some of the blue-tac and other marks that have built up over time. I did what I could and felt relieved to have some extras of Glenda's rugs and some artwork! I then placed all of the accessories and tweaked things here and there.

Mark Green, an architect who designed the furniture for the brinca dada Emerson House, then arrived! It was so great to see the Emerson for the first time. It is large when opened up, so we decided to add a leaf to the table and it worked beautifully. Mark prepared the house for the display and let us know that Doug and Tim of brinca dada had to take all the furniture prototypes to the west coast for a trade show. So, while very unfortunate no furniture was there to see, Mark brought out his laptop and showed us some amazing renderings of everything, and was also able to show all the guests later on. We all just drooled and drooled. Here's a peek:

When 4:00 p.m. rolled around, I was done, and felt a huge sigh of relief. People started to come in and there was sustained attendance throughout the three hours. It was a bit surreal to see people look at the house and setups in a space other than my basement, and also great to have friends, work colleagues, and others come to catch a glimpse of my madness. Lots of people asked questions, mostly about how I got started and if I make my own furnishings. People were amazed at the craftsmanship of all of the loaned pieces and were genuinely impressed that these artisans could create such realistic copies of classic modern design in 1:12 scale.

And there were 1:12 to 1:1 mirror images all around the store, like the 1:1 Nelson desk:

And Elf Miniatures' version!

Here is my lovely new teak shelf from Mini Modern (thanks, MC!), by Paris Renfroe:

Look how nice Glenda's rug works as a wall hanging, next to Doris' heavenly bed:

People loved the cozy luxury of this space:

And enjoyed the play of colors in the kitchen:

If anyone knows these Theo Klein stoves, you know that they look like toys from the back. So I used some reflective paper to simulate stainless.

Among the visitors, there were two lovely women who said they followed my blog and had come from a distance -- I am sorry I did not ask their names, nor where they came from (if you are reading, please comment, and let me know, so I can thank you again!). Then, I spent time speaking with three other older women who talked about their own dollhouse ventures, and one expressed interest in sushi for doll houses. I referred her to the store down the street that currently carries a Re-ment sushi set! Another woman was a furniture designer who seemed intrigued by the possibilities in 1:12, especially since you don't need as much space to work! Some children came and were all so incredibly well behaved and engaged. It was so interesting to hear people's impressions and perspectives and observe their reactions to what was on display.

After 7:00 p.m., we moved the house up on a shelf, along with the Emerson and the Eames and Rolly tables. I am so glad I decided to do the event, even though it stretched me pretty thin and was a challenge to plan. I could not have done it without the support of my husband and kids, who kept reminding me to have fun. It was truly a learning experience, designed around creativity and exploration.

Credits: Thanks again to all the artisans for lending their wonderful work. I am only highlighting their loans here; the accessories and other furnishings are from my collection. Kitchen: Green kitchen unit and dishwasher, table, and one stove from Elf Miniatures; Arc and globe lamps and blond tall cabinet by minimodernistas; low bench, abstract artwork, and cowhide ottomans by Paris Renfroe; rug by sink by Peppercorn Minis. TV Room: Couch and TV stand by minimodernistas. Office: Nelson desk and shelving unit by Elf Miniatures; rug by Peppercorn Minis; curved trefoil table by Paris Renfroe. Bath: Jacuzzi and sink by Elf Miniatures; hatbox toilet by Paris Renfroe. Bedroom: Bed, linens, and side table by minimodernistas; rug wall hanging by Peppercorn Minis. Eames wire table: Noguchi coffee table by Paris Renfroe. Rolly side table: curved chaise and potted plants by Paris Renfroe. Orange fish condo: sink by Elf Miniatures; S chair by Paris Renfroe.

Prep Peek

Lots of prep this weekend for my Design Within Reach event this Thursday. Still have things to do, but wanted to share some tiny teaser peeks at a few scenes from the Kaleidoscope House.

This beauty below is a lovely, completely unexpected gift from Mini Modern (via Paris Renfroe) that arrived last week. It is a stunning piece, and yes I am only showing you a snippet so as not to spoil its "unveiling" at the event :)

The kitchen has been the biggest challenge, but I think I got it all worked out...more later.

The bathroom has turned out very nicely. Check out that Elf Miniatures jacuzzi tub!

And I'd love to plop back into bed on a minimodernistas creation!

Rugs soon to come from Peppercorn Minis and I'll be all set! Fingers crossed!

Mini Modern and Call Small: Gone Fishing

It's not too often this mini community of modern collectors can "synch" up our houses and do a joint post, but Mini Modern and I thought it would be fun to do one, sight unseen, of our own takes on the Fish Condo from the SFMOMA store. Cool idea, right? Totally her idea, by the way...she's got tons of 'em :) This joint post is also apropos because Mini Modern and I met up when I was in SF and had a fun chat in the lobby of the actual SFMOMA -- a very nice birthday treat for me! She is as nice and clever as you think she is, and very funny. It was a pleasure!

I like the concept of using the Fish Condo since it is not intended as a doll house or modern setting, and as I found, it offers many possibilities. The tank actually comes with a glass insert that I decided not to use this time around, but will try to in the future. I have two, so was playing around with the configurations, which led me to devise this as a guest "shack" in the Hamptons. I jokingly say "shack," because the Hamptons is a very chic and popular location for summer homes out on the southern fork of the eastern end of Long Island, NY. The beaches are lovely, and the real estate prime. Some houses look like this:

My condo might be the guest house to a pad such as that! I photographed this by one of the windows in our living room, to help with the outdoor beachy vibe, but it ended up raining, so the sun took a dive.

It was fun setting this up, and now I cannot wait to head over to Mini Modern's blog for a look at her condo setup! Enjoy!

Credits: Couch is vintage Bodo Hennig; orange chair is Reac; coffee table is Bozart; console is by Paris Renfroe; stools are from Manor House Miniatures; both lights are by AG Minis (I flipped the blue table lamp up on the ceiling); "rugs" are cardboard covered with two different Marimekko fabrics; marble bust is from my husband's collection; front outdoor plant is vintage TOMY; smaller plant in the back is Playmobil; statue is vintage Petite Princess; dog is from a game called Lucky Puppy Math; textured wall covering is a place mat by Chilewich; orange dot wall covering is scrapbook paper. Accessories are Japanese erasers, Re-ment, Manor House Miniatures, and our local toy store.

Designing an Event

Perhaps you are like me when you set up scenes: you have an idea, you gather some furnishings and a setting, and you play around until you end up with something that stirs up a feeling of "just right." I am going to try to apply this as naturally as I can to an exciting opportunity: a modern miniatures event at my local Design Within Reach store in Princeton, NJ, on Thursday, June 24 from 4-7 p.m. It's great that the store is hosting the event, which will also feature the wonderful new 1:16 Emerson House from brinca dada. Mark Green, who had a major hand in designing the furniture, will be on hand to represent and share the house. I cannot wait!

I am planning to bring my Kaleidoscope House and am now designing setups for the whole house, as well as for some select DWR furniture in the store. I have arranged for some very beautiful and exciting loans from Elf Miniatures and minimodernistas (and am planning to use some of my own Paris Renfroe pieces), since I would like to showcase some of the (very) great mini talent out there. By the way, both Elf and minimodernistas have started making their designs in 1:16, so please keep them in mind if you have a need in that scale.

Once I knew about the event a few months ago, I decided to get my act together and create a logo for Call of the Small to somehow capture what my blog is about. My husband clued me in to a very cool site, Hatchwise, which offers graphic design services for logos via a contest open to designers all around the world. I submitted my goals for a logo and ended up with a neat visual creation!

You may see the lines of the special wallpaper in my vintage Brio, as well as my beloved minimodernistas globe lamp!

I used the new logo to design my own calling cards with a new tag line: "Where small modern lives large":

This was done very reasonably through Zazzle ($30 for 300), a site where you can easily produce your own cards.

I will hopefully post an album of pictures from the event -- wish me luck! And, of course, if you live near or will be visiting near Princeton, NJ, please come!

By the way, I have heard some mini buzz about a west coast DWR event in the fall that sounds like it will be a gathering of some mini greats...hopefully an official announcement will be out soon!

Credits: Vintage Panton chair by Bodo Hennig; dresser is vintage German.

Lights On

Well, lights on the ceiling, that is...aren't these hanging lights cool?! They were made by my mini bud Megan over at Modern Mini Houses, whom I had the pleasure of meeting on the west coast last month. Her blog is fantastic, and now she has somehow found extra hours in her busy day (when not being a Mom, Internet whiz, and mini blogger) to craft these neat lamps. Or sculpture. Or other fantastic modern decoration! Thanks for sharing these Megan! I hope you like how I used them. You can see another set over at Carol's blog, leftcoastmini.

Credits: Hanging lights by Megan of Modern Mini Houses; credenza is vintage VERO; desk is vintage German; chair is Reac; white shelving unit and crate on floor are Re-ment; wood "floor" under desk consists of two coasters from Crate and Barrel; sculpture is made of wooden children's puzzle blocks; base of sculpture is a natural sponge from the SFMOMA store; plant is vintage TOMY. Accessories are Tynies, Barbie by Jonathan Adler, Bodo Hennig, Re-ment, Manor House Miniatures, and random doll house store finds.

Re-ment: I have noted the Re-ment used in this scene before with some exceptions. The Starbucks-type tumbler and green filing binder in clear bag are from Girls in the City # 6 "Office Supply 101," and are good for 1:12. The clear bag is from Cosmetics "Natural," and is good as a large purse or briefcase. The white crate is from Pretty Placement #9, and is good for 1:12. The Murano-type glass decanter and plates in the credenza are from Tea Time Collection #3, "Ryuku Glass," and are good for 1:12.

Mellow Yellow

I've returned to my Brio house to experiment with different scales and styles. I have only set up the house once since I bought it, so was eager to return to the upstairs "lounge" room.

I have been stalking the kitchen table (with the built-in flowers) from the Princess Patti line for quite some time. It was manufactured as part of the Petite Princess line (3/4 scale) for one year only, 1965, on the west coast. So, the pieces (kitchen and bathroom especially) are very hard to find, and when you do, they are pricey. I ended buying two of the tables recently and they ended up being relatively reasonable (no more than $20 each). I have used one here with this awesome chair, which is part of the line, but not part of this purchase. The chairs usually go for $40 each or more! I bought this one some time ago for $7 because it was not designated Princess Patti in the listing; I didn't even know what it was until months later. Don't you love when that happens?!!

By the way, there is a 1:144 scale version of the Princess Patti display house now on eBay -- adorable, but outrageously priced: $150!

The couch is vintage VERO and is close to 1:10 scale, but I think it works here. The coffee table is 1:12, and the sideboard closer to 1:10.

It was so much fun setting up this room. I reaffirmed my *love* of this house!

Credits: Couch is vintage VERO; sideboard is vintage German; coffee table and hanging globe light are minimodernistas; table and chair are vintage Princess Patti; green rug is AG Minis; white patterned rug is Bozart. Accessories are Re-ment and Ryan's Room.

Re-ment: I used a few new Re-ment pieces in this scene. The agenda and purse are both from Girls in the City #6 "Office Supplies 101," and are slightly large for 1:12. The lemons in the blue bowl are from Grandmother's European Dinners #6, and are also slightly large for 1:12.


Summer is coming and trips to the pool will become the standard on the weekends (and perhaps a dip in the evenings during the week). We joined a new pool and spent some happy hours there this weekend with friends. The kids have the ability to stay in the water for what seems like hours, and also have the capacity to consume endless quantities of food! They shrivel up like prunes, happily wash off in the shower, and then even more happily get into their warm dry clothes.

Here is a little bath that has a lot of play as well: there's a Playmobil shower and accessories, the egg stool (one of my favorite Re-ment), and the godfather of play, Andy Warhol, looks down on it all. I always find it a fun challenge to cram as much as possible into this tiny bathroom space in the Stockholm, and am always surprised when things fit (in) together.

Speaking of play, I brought some of my playthings to my littlest's preschool one morning last week to share my hobby. The kids, all between three and four, were not only adorable, but really smart and engaged. I had so much fun showing them a pop up house, one of my new fish "condos," and my vintage German school house. On the latter, it took them a while to figure out what it might be, but then they caught on once I pointed out the blackboard. :)

Happy summer!

Credits: Couch is vintage Creative Playthings; stool and shelving is Re-ment; shower is Playmobil City; base of shower is a bowl from Crate and Barrel; Warhol "art" is a postcard from the SFMOMA store; low blue shelf is Lundby; plant by shower is from a rummage sale; potted plant is vintage German; pillows by Annina and Ryan's Room. Accessories are Playmobil, FAO Schwarz, and random doll store finds.