Never forget. Confusion. Contact. Reminiscing. Life. Work. Darkness. Light. Time. Bright. Shadows. Moved. Shaken. Changed.


Credits: Chair and mirrored planter are vintage eBay finds; desk is composed of two lucite boxes from Muji; flooring is scrapbook paper from Michaels; Manhattan skyline is a card from the Guggenheim; clock is Lundby. Accessories are Re-ment, from our local toy store, ELF Miniatures, Mighty World, AG Minis, and doll house store finds.

Re-ment: The Rubiks Cube is by Megahouse, from the Family Game Collection #6, and is large for 1:12. Totally realistic, even turns!

The time it took me: 33 minutes

Citadel Rink Table

A trip to the Crate & Barrel outlet in Cranbury, NJ, never disappoints...for 1:12 and 1:1!! We were shopping for some new pieces for our kids' rooms, and I left with a few cool items to repurpose from the clearance bins. I cleaned out the main living space in my Citadel house and set up a scene guided by a new silver and bronze-edged metal circular votive holder ($2.50). Looks like a magical skating rink! I filled the center hole with a vintage wooden bowl and moss, and for a base, I used a lava lamp cover, which suited it pretty well (its previous incarnation was as a modern pendant light fixture).

I wanted to bring together all sorts of textures, so I added a piece of burlap from the Paper Source and covered my Kaleidoscope House kitchen counter unit in one of my favorite papers from Kate's Paperie. The artwork on the wall is a silicone coaster from Crate & Barrel, also on clearance (.75). For the other side of the room, I used a vintage German table and chair and some Fisher Price tables on the wall, with a sweet Eames elephant and an AG Minis plant.

Like it? The lighting was totally rigged, by the way. One of the beauties and challenges of the house is the dramatic overhang -- the space below can be a bear to photograph without some light through the windows. So...

Ugly, but it works!

Credits: Table and wall art are from Crate & Barrel; chairs and kitchen counter are Bozart; bike is Maisto; desk table and chair are vintage German; Eames elephant is Reac; light fixture and green rug are by minimodernistas; burlap rug is from the Paper Source; plant is AG Minis; wall shelves are vintage Fisher Price tables; magazines and file holder were handmade by The Shopping Sherpa; books were a gift from Margaret. Accessories are Re-ment, doll house store finds, craft items, Mighty World, ELF Miniatures, and vintage German eBay finds.

Re-ment: The water bottle is from Sushi Bar #2, and is good for 1:12.

Stroke Chair by Diatom Studio

Isn't it great when you can clear your head and focus solely on one task and on nothing but that task? I had a nice half hour of brain task time putting my new "Stroke" miniature chair together. The chair was a "thank you" from the London-based Diatom Studio for donating $25 toward their successful SketchChair Kickstarter campaign, which was for the creation of a free, open source software that allows you to design your own furniture. The concept is pretty great: provide people with a cool digital tool to design and create functional objects, and at the same time, those people share that knowledge with a broader community who can contribute further. And...there is potential for miniature designs as well!

I'm glad that I made my little contribution to help Diatom reach its goal -- they raised over $30,000 on Kickstarter, and I was among 100 + people who got to choose one of five miniature chair designs. You can see all the contributor names on their website -- I am 96, and my chair was numbered accordingly.

I chose the "Stroke" chair for its beautiful, undulating lines. According to Diatom, it is sized to 1:9 scale. I'd say this is accurate, since it is definitely larger than 1:12. The chair comes on a die-cut sheet of wood with instructions, and was packaged beautifully.

I should have paid closer attention to the numbers and letters and worked more systematically, but I was too excited to put it all together. In my eagerness, I had to re-do some of the pieces, and broke a few. Luckily, the flaws are not too noticeable in the final product, and I took it for a spin!

Thanks, Diatom! Any other proud owners of these mini chairs out there? Show your stuff! And THANKS to the wonderful Mini Modern for sharing news of this opportunity back in May (and thanks to Paris Renfroe for tipping her off). See, there's already a community of interest! Just wait, we'll be cooking up our own miniature chairs yet!

You have until 11:59 p.m. EDT this Wednesday, August 31, to win some Re-ment and storage containers! Go to this photo on the Call of the Small Facebook page for the August ***FREE ALERT***and leave a comment for your chance to win!

Credits: Stroke chair by Diatom Studio; round table is vintage Brio; low table is by Mitchy Moo Miniatures; planter is a condiment vessel from West Elm with an aquarium plant; shoes are AG Minis; car is a miniature Mini Cooper from our local dealership (gift from my hubby). Accessories are Lilu Shop on Etsy, Manor House Miniatures, ELF Miniatures, Mighty World, and Ryan's Room.

Shaken, but Sorted

So I finally get shelving up in my doll house room in the basement, and New Jersey goes and has an EARTHQUAKE! In New Jersey???! Yup, the effects of a 5.8 earthquake in Virginia were felt all the way up the east cost today. Luckily, it only lasted 10-15 seconds and all is fine. My first, and hopefully last, earthquake.

There's a few posts in the pipeline -- a review of the "Otherworldly" exhibition at the Museum of Arts & Design and a super-surprise-you'll-never-guess post -- so this one will be brief!

At long last, the shelves and brackets purchased for a song at the Crate & Barrel outlet near me are installed and most of my doll houses now are aloft in the room! I also organized a bunch of furnishings in my (not so) spare time on the shelves and reworked the perimeter storage.

Better, right?

I couldn't resist doing a quick scene in the Kaleidoscope House...a celebratory hurrah for that work! Now I just have to keep it all clean!

A reminder to join in on the August ***FREE ALERT*** on the Call of the Small Facebook page. There's some great Re-ment and storage containers up for grabs. You have until Wednesday, August 31, to comment...give it a whirl!

Credits: Couch is a vintage eBay buy; pillow is minimodernistas; side table is vintage VERO; plant is TOMY; rug is handmade by The Shopping Sherpa; table is a drawer pull; light is Re-ment; wall art is an ornament from Crate & Barrel; wallpaper is scrapbook paper. Accessories are Bozart, Manor House Miniatures, beads, and doll house store finds.

The time it took me: 17 minutes (for the K House scene) and I lost count on the organizing and cleaning!

Bennett House at NYIGF

This week, I made it into the city to take in the August market at the New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF). I was pressed for time, so I focused my energies on the Accent on Design section in the mammoth Javits Center.

The brinca dada booth was among my first stops, and I was rewarded: the final 3/4" scale Bennett House was on display, along with a new line of furniture! Founder and CEO Doug Rollins was on hand to answer my many questions as I stared and stared at the final house (they previously showed a prototype at the Toy Fair in February; you can see my post here).

So what did I learn this time around about the house?

* It's smaller than the prototype, but still opens up to provide many levels of play. There's even a hinged  garage and an elevator (hand cranked)!

* It's a straightforward assembly made of eco-friendly woods...Doug assured me that it would not take longer than 45 minutes (P.S. This is not a lightweight house...definitely has some heft)

* Doug and his partner Tim Boyle, the architect who designed the house, used a completely different manufacturer from the Emerson, and are very happy with the quality. Doug does not foresee any issues and knows he will have happy customers.

* A whole new line of furniture is available with the house and will be sold as a complete set for $399 or by room, and prices will range from $29.99 to $49.99 per set. This new line is a *major* upgrade from the Emerson line...real wood grains, some leather, fabric, hinged details, and working drawers. Doug told me that they were designed by Cecilia Reboursin.

* Unlike the Emerson, the house will not be electrified. Too complex, and eliminates production delays and difficulties.

* The Bennett will be a limited run, only 300 are planned and a portion of that will be shipped to Europe.

* Retail price: $599

* The house is still on track to be available in October, and they will start taking pre-orders in the next few weeks.

How about some photos? The quality is not ideal -- they were all taken with my iPhone. The final flooring in the house will be bamboo, and Doug showed me a sample. I took some of the furniture shots on the sample. He also mentioned that the flooring in the garage will be cement-like.

That's Doug making a sale on a Bennett in the background, one of the few that occurred while I was at the booth!

The garage -- floor will have a cement finish

LOVE the stool, and the lounger is pretty great as well

Fabric topped bed!

That's a leather covering on the office chair

Two rugs come with the set

Nursery furniture also features fabric toppings

Lovely shape!

What do you think??

You might have seen the Dylan lurking in the background. Doug tells me the house, which retails for $149, is doing very well since it launched this spring and started shipping in the summer. The final furniture was on display, and I was impressed by the its sturdiness and style. For $14.99, it's a steal.

Here's some video of the Dylan and its furnishings (excuse crappy video quality):

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the latest from brinca dada. Is the Bennett on your wish list? Is the Dylan already in your house? What shall we ask Doug and Tim to make for us next?!

An Earring Challenge: Joint Post with Lemon Cadet

Summer days are dwindling...seemed like a good time for a joint post! Lemon Cadet, who runs Project: Project blog, suggested that we do a joint post with one piece from a pair of very cool industrial earrings by Melissa Borrell. We would use the earring however it inspired us. I have no clue what she's doing with it, and vice versa.

I actually first saw Melissa's work at the New York International Gift Fair back in February (I'm headed to the Gift Fair on Tuesday for the August market -- fun!). She crafts stunningly creative pieces, much like wearable art. This particular pair is Deco-inspired and made of metal. The earrings actually pop out of a flat sheet; check out this image from Melissa's site:
Courtesy of

Neat, right?

I gravitated back to my Cadet Room Box for the scene and knew I wanted to use some new decorative paper from the Paper Source for the wall; the flooring is scrapbook paper with a green suede-like finish. While I originally thought the earring could work as a hanging fixture of some sort, the flatness of it made it impossible to look realistic. I then quickly decided to use it as an ornamental feature on the credenza, much like a trivet or place mat (Chilewich designs come to mind).

Hope you like my take on the earring -- can't wait to see what Lemon Cadet cooked up! Check out her post!

By the way, I launched my August ***FREE ALERT*** giveaway today on the Call of the Small Facebook page! This month, I am giving away a set of Re-ment and storage boxes from Crate & Barrel. Just comment on the photo and you are entered for a chance to win. Comments will be open through Wednesday, August 31, 11:59 p.m. EST. This is open to followers on my Facebook page, domestic and international. GOOD LUCK!!

Credits: Couch and side chair are Hall's Lifetime Toys; Asian screen and side table are Petite Princess; Noguchi table is by Paris Renfroe; credenza is vintage German; lamp and silver bowl are eBay finds; pillow is by minimodernistas; planter is a napkin holder from Crate & Barrel, and the greenery is an aquarium plant; wallpaper is from the Paper Source; flooring is scrapbook paper from Michaels.

The time it took me: 1 hour

Still Life

Do you ever think of your miniature setups as a series of still lifes? I often do. This new vintage chair and ottoman set lends itself especially well to a still life...I've never seen anything like it. Constructed of wood with a 1950s profile, the chair is covered in what appears to be oil cloth or coated wall paper, as is its ottoman. The legs are metal covered in red plastic, and taper to pointed ends. Neat, huh? If you know anything about it, let me know. I have a feeling it may be a handmade one-of-a-kind, but perhaps not!

I love this Modella credenza -- so photogenic, and functional. Even the little red drawers open!

The setting for this scene is thanks to the lovely Lemon Cadet...we did some joint purchases recently, and she added in this very beautiful room box to my package! It is composed of a plastic and foam core base with channels to put in three three panels. You can change them out, cover with scrapbook paper or other materials, etc. Nice possibilities, and super easy to store! I hereby christen my new "Cadet Room Box" with this scene -- thanks, Lemon Cadet!!!

I also wanted to share an online opportunity for you mini-hobbyists and mini-makers to share your creative perspective with the world. The Museum of Arts and Design in New York City currently has a very cool exhibition on view that focuses on mini worlds: "Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities." As part of the exhibit, they launched an online gallery, "Small Realities," and they welcome submissions that present alternate realities in small form.

I submitted some photos and a statement; you can view it here. Check out all the submissions, and please consider submitting your own work -- it would be great to see the online gallery grow! Let me know if you participate. By the way, I am planning to see the exhibition this month, and will report back.

Credits: Vintage ottoman and chair and Arc lamp are eBay purchases; credenza is Modella; rug is jute scrapbook paper from the Paper Source, and the bird wallpaper is also from there; moss glass pot is from the Lemon Cadet package, and it is filled with hobby store moss and wrapped with some strands from the jute scrapbook paper. Accessories are vintage German and Re-ment.

The time it took me: 57 minutes

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. 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

A Giveaway and a Getaway

A quick post to highlight my monthly ***FREE ALERT*** giveaways on the Call of the Small Facebook page -- the July one ends on Saturday, July 30, at 7 p.m. EST and yes, it is an opportunity to get a piece from my collection! Last month, I gave away a set of traditional furniture, and encouraged my Facebook fans to come up with a creative use for the pieces. I chose Margaret as the winner, with her neat inspiration board approach -- congrats again!

This month, I am giving away a rocking chair in the style of Thonet, as seen above: the chrome gives it a very modern vibe, no? If you are on Facebook, "like" my page, and just leave a comment for a chance to win! I'll choose the winner using the Random Integer Generator, and as of right now, chances for winning are pretty good -- less than ten of you have commented!

And, if you're not on Facebook, no worries. I am planning a giveaway on the blog for the near future (perhaps when I crack 500 followers!).

An endnote: a trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond never disappoints if you've got your mini goggles on and your stack of 20% off or $5 off coupons. We went to replace our kitchen sink mat and came out with a bag of stuff completely unrelated to it, including this funky curved guest towel holder:

Room divider? Crazy ceiling accent? How about an outdoor trellis wall for a private outdoor getaway space? Here's the result in my Villa Sibi patio area:

I think I can feel the breeze! :)

Credits: Trellis is a towel holder from Bed, Bath and Beyond ($7.99 with $5 off coupon); table is vintage Brio; stools are stereo speakers; bench is by MitchyMoo Miniatures; plant is vintage German. Accessories are vintage German, Ryan's Room, and random eBay finds.

The time it took me: 11 minutes


I love when I see potential for a scene in a space rarely utilized in one of my dolls houses. My Villa Sibi, designed by Wolfgang Sirch and Christopher Bitzer ("Sibi!") is one of the few houses that inhabits our main living space. It was my first house, and the impetus for what is now my passion for collecting modern miniatures.

Did you know there is a pool attached to the Villa Sibi? It is a very neat, narrow rectangular box with two sets of sliding doors -- one set is white opaque, the other dark clear. As I walked by the house last night, I thought this little slice of real estate would make for a nice airy sitting room, much like you would find in modern floor plans, where it opens up directly to the outside.

So, I removed the white opaque panels, and in went my (new) vintage Lundby leather couch and chair (1:16 works best in this space) along with a vintage Swedish desk...a quick scene was born!

By the way, there has been a Villa Sibi up on eBay for quite some time now, for $499 BIN. This is certainly not cheap, but it is less than what they normally go for. I myself found mine on Craigslist for less than this amount, so it's always worth scouring online listings for a buy. It is a great house.

My love for the Villa Sibi has extended to Flickr, where I created a group for pictures of the house. If you are on Flickr, please join to add your own photos, or just to lurk!

Credits: Chair and couch are vintage Lundby; desk is vintage Swedish; wall art is a card from my buddy D; side table is a cork crafting item from Michaels; magazine holder is from a vintage chrome set of furniture; watering can is Bodo Hennig; Mini Cooper was a gift from my husband. Accessories are Re-ment, AG Minis, Mighty World, Lilu Shop on Etsy, ELF Miniatures, and random dolls house store finds.

The time it took me: 23 minutes

Citadel Muck-About

I would not be surprised if you are confused by this room (what is it supposed to be, exactly??). I was very confused getting there, so it's not just you!

I had wanted to show you some progress in my Betsy McCall House, but no dice, and I instead decided to do a "quick" overhaul of this upstairs room in my Citadel. Not so quick as it turns out.

I was convinced I had to change the wallpapers that had been tacked up from the last scene I did in this room, almost exactly one year ago to the date (that's actually pretty spooky). I love the papers, but wanted to use a particular sheet of scrapbook paper for the floor that in no way matched and I got super stubborn about using it. I kept trying to match wallpapers, and cut and sized at least three different kinds and nothing worked. After a lot of back-and-forth, I decided to use the lovely geometric flowered paper on the back wall only and then a place mat for the floor. This worked much better. I then brought back the original two papers (yup) for the other two walls and proceeded to kick myself for taking them off in the first place.

By this point I was completely exhausted and puzzled about what to put in the room. I put in an old fashioned sink first and liked how nice it looked against the wall. Not wanting to do a kitchen, I decided to do a modern, clean, "muck-about" room, one in which you could tidy, eat, or read. My littlest son has "muck-about" Fridays at his preschool, where the kids basically do whatever they want in the playground. Mud and dirt are pretty popular, but they couldn't be happier. (By the way, I admit some inspiration for "muck about" from my adventure cleaning bubble gum out of the nooks and crannies of my dryer this weekend after a load of laundry emerged suspiciously streaked in pink!)

How do you muck about in your dollhouse??

Speaking of mucky, I acquired a Princess Patti kitchen sink unit as part of my Besty McCall house purchase, and it was in a pretty dirty state. I was really happy to get it, especially with its original set of dishes. I gently cleaned it up, but then saw that a lot of the gold paint had worn off and tarnished in places.

I recalled a gold poster paint Sharpie from a kid's project and set to work refinishing my Princess Patti kitchen sink. What do you think?

I also wanted to share another little treasure from my McCall purchase, which is actually in pristine condition: an unusual wooden Japanese tea set in a box, labeled "Shirokiya," which I discovered is a department store in Hawaii that also sold items in the mainland. Anyone ever see anything like this?

Credits: Sink is a dollhouse store find; wooden planter/receptacle is Manor House Miniatures, filled with a cut piece of natural sponge from the SFMOMA store; mat is a window shade sample from Lowes; Expedit shelving is by ELF Miniatures; console is PRD Miniatures; zigzag chairs are Reac; chair and table are Hall's Lifetime Toys; lamp is vintage German; magazine holder is Re-ment; topiary is AG Minis; flooring is a place mat from Bed, Bath, and Beyond; wallpaper is from the Paper Source; cork behind console was bought at a tag sale. Accessories are Re-ment, Nancy Tobey, AG Minis, vintage German eBay finds, ELF Miniatures, Chrysonbon, Manor House Miniatures, and random dollhouse store finds.

The time it took me: 2 hours (all that sizing and cutting of unused wallpaper! Blech!)

Betsy McCall House

Thanks to this network of modern miniature lovers, a Betsy McCall dolls house has made it into my collection. The McCall house was sold via plans in the mid 1950s, and cost 60 cents at the time. It is named for the McCall Corporation, founded in the early part of the twentieth century for namesake Scottish tailor James McCall. The company published many influential magazines, including Popular Mechanics and Redbook, and produced popular sewing patterns.

I am sure that the dolls house appealed to many little girls (and probably some boys too) because it resembled the popular split level houses of the day, and it could be entirely customized. The structure is simple, with plentiful windows and lovely mid century lines, and certainly holds appeal for THIS girl ;) My house came from Laurie of Long Island, New York, and I picked it up last week on our way out to a family reunion. This is not the first time the kids have had to share our minivan with a guest:

It's good the house is so sturdy!!

Laurie owned the house as a girl growing up in the 1960s and used it to hold her many lovely miniatures. The house was built by Laurie's neighbor, and she filled it with minis from her travels and with pieces from Petite Princess, Dol Toi, Renwal, and Plasco. I found Laurie and her house via a recent post on Megan's blog, Modern Mini Houses, where I also read about the McCall house and its history last year. That particular post demonstrates the fun process of discovering origins and sharing information in this generous community; at least four collectors provided input that led to the definitive identification.

Laurie's house is actually a mirror image of the plans, with the exception of the car port, which is still on the left. In addition to purchasing the house from Laurie, I also purchased all of her miniatures, which included the original plans and cut guides, and even an order form!

And now the house itself...

The drawer exists, I took it out to take the photos. Laurie used it to store her miniatures.

You can see how her neighbor flipped the orientation; Laurie is not sure why, but I don't think it has an adverse affect. In terms of the exterior, Laurie told me that she decided to do the front of the house in the manner of many of the houses in her neighborhood, which had similar grey stonework and pale blue paint. She did not take her decorating further into the interior, with the exception of papering some of the rooms. and putting down some flooring. In both cases, all the materials were 1:1 scale repurposed for her house.

I love the punch of red on the door, chimney, and in the car port.

What's next now that I have fully explored the nooks and crannies? Well, the house needs a good cleaning, and is a blank slate for wallpaper and flooring. I want to honor Laurie's ownership by maintaining the grey stone, although I think I will put more stone further up to the top of the small window on the right hand side (Laurie gave me the extra stones she had). I also think that I will paint over the blue on the exterior with a dove grey, to pick up on the stonework. I like the red of the door and the white window and roof trim. Not sure about what to use for the roof material yet. I do love the fish wallpaper in that one room, and think I will paper it with a similar one I have from the Paper Source. And what of the large opening on the back of the house, on the ground floor...sliding doors? Another wall of windows? I will likely put a planter out front, under the large window by the door.

Any other ideas? Please share! You can post a comment here, email me at call-small(at)call-small(dot)com, or post on my Facebook page.

I know I will take some inspiration from Melissa Johnson's renovation of her McCall house -- Megan posted on it here. Seeing what Melissa did reminds me that I have a l o n g way to go until mine is complete!

By the way, I am selling some of the miniatures from Laurie's collection on eBay now. Have a look!


The Villa Sibi is the setting for some chrome this week. Check out at this vintage set I bought recently, which includes a table and six chairs, a shelving unit, an arc lamp, a mirrored planter, coffee table, and stereo and speakers, all in 1:12 scale. Most everything is metal and the tables and shelving units have plexi inserts; the chairs are covered in leather. I don't have any pieces like this (with the exception of the arc lamp), so I was excited to win it on eBay. The set may also help solve a little mystery...I have two of the same arc lamps, and always wondered about their maker and if they were part of a set. Seeing them all together provides a bit of a clue...anyone know anything about this set?

Even though the Sibi has a post 90s minimalist aesthetic, the 80s chrome works I think!

I tried to fashion a clustered pendant light out of holiday decorations bought at a yard sale. Not entirely successful, but I enjoyed the detour!

Some real cluster lamps...
Lamps by Kathleen Hills

British-made ceramic cluster lamp on
Then some cheap (.25!) decorations...

Credits: Chrome shelving unit, table, arc lamp, chairs, plexi magazine holder, stereo, speakers, and mirrored planter are all part of a vintage set; rug is handmade by The Shopping Sherpa; couch is minimodernistas; Barcelona chair is Reac; long planter is vintage TOMY; stereo table consists of two AG Minis tables; zebra print wall art is scrapbook paper; peacock wallpaper is from the Paper Source; pendant light is made (badly) by me out of holiday decorations. Accessories are Re-ment, AG Minis, Lilu Shop on Etsy, random eBay finds, and beads.

The time it took me: 48 minutes

Rooms-in-Miniature: Out of the Box

I took another dip into 1:24 scale, but I had a *really* good reason: a boxed Rooms-in-Miniature set, manufactured by Miner Industries of Japan in the mid-1960s!

You might remember my post from a few months ago on my boxed set of the Miner furniture, which featured dining room, bedroom, and living room pieces.While my set included likely every piece of furniture sold, it did not come with any of the accessories, paneling, or room box that I saw in a 1964 ad from a Sears catalogue. Alas, I found one (yes, also on eBay), and it was actually one of three room sets being offered. I could only afford to bid on one, the living room set, although it was a tough choice. My bid was successful, and I awaited my prize.

A small detour: Tiffany, the seller, is a former Design Within Reach proprietor and mid century modern fan. She knew the boxed sets were special when she was helping a friend with an estate sale. These particular boxes are all marked with Montgomery Ward price tags (marked down to $1.97!!!). Like me, Tiffany could not really find out much about Miner, and may ask her local miniature museum in Denver. I know if she finds out more, she will let us know! You also may enjoy a blog posting about the sets, here. Some familiar names are mentioned. :) Thanks, Tiffany!

Once my set arrived, I had a ball opening all the packaging and photographing everything (you've been forewarned; lots of photos coming).

Here's the timeline of the big unveiling, all through pictures and captions:

Yes, marked down to less than $2.00!

I loved the way everything was tucked snugly in its place

Many of the loose items were in their original tissue

The side chair, while lovely, is yellowed from age on the back cushion.

Not quite sure what this piece is for...perhaps a plain shelf for the wall brackets?

Like the chair, these tables have seen better days...likely warped from age and temperature changes.

I realize that this is a very simple structure, but the directions were so clear and easy.

It looked to me as if all the pieces made it; a few had come loose.

The paneling is reversible!

I chose the wood paneling, which slides easily into the tracks of the bottom.

On goes the top track and the struts for hanging!
Green carpeting goes in...

Time for the hanging pegs to go on the tracks

Now onto some decorating! The flowers had mostly disintegrated, but I used some intact ones anyway. The painting did not make it in this time around.

The hanging lamp has a special bracket with a longer peg.

Two sheets of acetate are for the ceiling and front and make for a nice way to display your setup!

Happy decorating!

A note about my posts: I do try very hard to post at least twice a week, but this does not always happen. I aim to communicate daily via the Call of the Small page on Facebook and on my Twitter feed, so join in and tune in, and feel free to email me at call-small(at)call-small(dot)com with interesting news and links about our fun modern mini world!

Credits: All pieces and box are from the living room Rooms-in-Miniature set from Miner Industries of Japan. I am always curious to learn more about these pieces or the company, so do let me know if you can shed any further light on this.

The time it took me: 1 hour, 40 minutes.

TOMY Smaller Home Kitchen

Even though the TOMY Smaller Home and Garden house is 1:16 scale, the kitchen somehow feels bigger than my 1:1 scale one. I felt like I had so much space to fill, in what is the last room to furnish in this house (for the first time at least). I posted on the upstairs and living room, and have been meaning to get to the expansive kitchen for a while.

I do love the design of this space and the 70s vibe. I decided to put a work space in the nook under the stairs, and dedicated the other half as kitchen. While I always try to evoke the reality of living spaces in my scenes, this one is a departure...there is no refrigerator, nor a pantry, the orange shelving in between the sink and stove is actually two Bodo Hennig chairs from a nursery set (you can see it here in its intended state), and the light fixture above the sink is a vintage German table lamp that I dismantled. Oh well...these are miniatures after all, folks!

Sunshine yellow has really been an inspirational color for me lately, so you'll see those pops of color around. Perhaps the lack of a refrigerator makes this a summer kitchen, perfect for those lazy afternoons.

Credits: Table is Princess Patti, from the Petite Princess line; chairs are Reac; sink unit and plant are vintage TOMY; oven unit and abstract painting are vintage Lundby; orange counter is made of two vintage Bodo Hennig chairs on their sides; microwave is Miele by Theo Klein; garbage can and desk lamp are AG Minis; desk is from the Villa Sibi; wall board and file boxes are handmade by The Shopping Sherpa; laptop is by Lilu Shop on Etsy; vase is a bead from The Place to Bead; stool is vintage German; cat is Playmobil. Accessories are Re-ment, Mighty World, AG Minis, and many different doll house store finds.

The time it took me: 1 hour, 5 minutes

New News on brinca dada's Dylan

All photos courtesy of brinca dada

There's news to be had on the Dylan, the latest creation from brinca dada. Earlier this year I blogged about the Dylan here and here, and it was exciting to see this inventive follow-up to the Emerson, the wildly successful modern 1:16 scale house that launched the company. While founder and CEO Doug Rollins admits that there were production issues with the Emerson, they are committed to continuing their efforts to create products that are "beautiful and fun." (By the way, check out the brinca dada website for a sale on the Emerson now.)

Doug shared some details on the Dylan and was kind enough to satisfy my intense curiosity with some new renderings of the house and furniture. The house, which Doug says is inspired by the work of minimalist masters Paul Rudolph and Tadao Ando, looks very similar to the prototype I saw at the Gift Fair, but the main difference is that it is now not collapsible. Doug said that it came down to a safety issue so they decided to launch it as a fixed structure. Constructed in 1:16 scale and made of MDF and other woods, the Dylan features lead-free and non-toxic paints, and includes four rooms on two levels. The house will be available on the brinca dada website (and in select stores) in mid-July for $149, which is at the lower end of the range Doug shared at the Gift Fair in February. And yes, brinca dada will ship the house internationally!

Care for a peek inside?

There will be a set of 26 pieces of modern furniture, made of foamboard, for a very reasonable $14.99. While in my opinion there are some similarities to the MoMA Modern Play House pieces, the Dylan set shows more sophisticated profiles with just the right pops of color.

I personally really like the design. It's boxy, but I think the open panes give it an airiness and sense of fun. Remember, this is a toy for kids too, not just us rabid modern mini fans! I see many possibilities for modern scenes and setups, and while I am disappointed that the design no longer supports a collapsible functionality, it's not a deal-breaker for me. Heck, only one of my houses is truly collapsible (my Large VERO) and I never take advantage of this feature.

Share your own feedback on the renderings, and let me know if you have other queries. I know Doug would be more than happy to provide the answers if he can, and I look forward to seeing the house in person at the NY International Gift Fair in August.

On the Bennett, the next brinca dada offering waiting in the wings, it is still in production and Doug hopes to share more on it soon. There's also some plans in the works for the Emerson. I know we'll all stay tuned...


The floor of the upper room in my Large VERO house has always charmed is a black and brown checkered linoleum and has such a strong vintage vibe. This room is intended as a bath, and I actually spent months scraping and re-wallpapering it (you can see the before and after in this post). The green cascading stripe design is from a roll of vintage 1:1 scale papers and they do work well. You might not be able to see it in this scene, but there is also a green tile on one of the walls. I tend to hide most of it in scenes because there are tears and holes, so that's how I ended up using my Brio Mobilia desk set.

The lovely vintage German lamp was purchased from my blogging buddy Amy of Amy's Miniatures and Smalls. I've had it for some time, and this is the first time I have used it. The base consists of two stacked oval pieces of wood and the curved neck of the lamp swivels so that the shade can be positioned as needed.

The yellow and gold vase is actually a bead from a local store, The Place to Bead.

It was labeled "vintage German," and I just loved the shape and color. This helped guide the yellow and blue color scheme in the desk area. See that blue package of vanilla wafer cookies by Re-ment? I just bought a 1:1 bag for some hungry little folk in my house. I would do a "big and small" photo, but I don't think I can equal the talent in the Re-ment Addicts Group on Flickr -- check out their big and small photos here. And here is Fishmo's take on the big and small wafers -- genius!

Photo by Fishmo
Brings a big smile to my face!

A postscript: the reality of making scenes...and not cleaning up!

Credits: Couch is VERO; lamp is vintage German; desk set is Brio Mobilia; chair is Reac; stone elephant sculpture was purchased at an estate sale for $2.50; plant is from Lolly's; pillow is by minimodernistas. Accessories are Re-ment, handmade by The Shopping Sherpa, beads from The Place to Bead, AG Minis, Mighty World, Three Blind Mice dollhouse show, Petite Princess, and Bandai.

The time it took me: 50 minutes


This scene is not as I had planned.

I originally set out to use the cute, retro bird paper as a backdrop for a kitchen. Laziness and the late hour prevented me from going downstairs to retrieve some TOMY kitchen items, so I started to play around with these white Re-ment shelving units and a bag of Bead for Life beads I purchased recently. Somehow, a new setup emerged, inspired by the types of hip storefronts that occupy the streets of the east village and NoHo in Manhattan. When I lived near the lower east side in the early 1990s, the area had not yet turned a corner on trendy, and was pretty gritty. As time passed, new apartments and condos cropped up, and soon cute stores followed in these tiny, tiny spaces, which managed to look completely cool and airy, with clothing, jewelry, housewares, and other items.

So, here's my sliver of east village/NoHo life, probably a pottery and bric-a-brac store. You'll see that I named it "FLOW." These vintage alphabet blocks were purchased at an outdoor antiques mart, but were incomplete; my intent was to call it "FLOAT," but alas, no "T" was to be found. There was a "W," though!

By the way, thanks for joining me on Facebook, and liking the Call of the Small page! I just reached 100 likes -- thanks!

Credits: White shelving units are Re-ment; globe lamp by minimodernistas; all vases are Bead for Life beads, made of paper by hardworking, entrepreneurial women in Uganda; vespa is from Jazams, my awesome local toy store; 1:24 scale midcentury chair and boomerang table by Paul MacAlister; vintage alphabet blocks are from an antique mart near Lambertville, NJ; mini origami are made by my son and sit in a top from an AMAC box; pine cone planter made by me; wallpaper is scrapbook paper from Michaels; chair is Bozart; rug under chair is cut from a Chilewich placemat. Accessories are AG Minis, Re-ment, Manor House Miniatures, and handmade by me.

The time it took me: 1 hour, 25 minutes (the beads kept falling down, victims of my clumsy mitts!)


The small side room in my Lundby Stockholm can be a challenge to furnish and I tend to want to try to use larger scale pieces just to see if I can do it! In the past, I've used the room as a bedroom, bathroom, garage, laundry room, and spa, and this time decided to do a (mini) wet bar.

I used a 1:10 scale table with a dramatic pedestal and a vintage Lundby sink (thanks, Julie!). I paired the sink with a table that was roughly the same height and covered the front with a window shade sample from Lowes (pick up these freebies when you see them; they WILL come in handy!). I was wanting to add a vintage lamp that I got in a joint-purchase with Lemon Cadet, but decided to pull off the shade and flip it upside down for a mod wine chiller.

Thoughts on this? Would you come for a drink? ;)

Credits: Tables are vintage German; sink unit and chairs are vintage Lundby; lights are Re-ment ashtrays flipped; vase and magazines are handmade by The Shopping Sherpa; wine chiller is a vintage lamp shade. Accessories are Mighty World, Bozart, and random dollhouse store finds.

The time it took me: 55 minutes

Peacock Bloom

Peacock feathers have bloomed in my Villa Sibi, a lovely backdrop for some modern miniatures by Carol, also known as Pinch of Pepper, who blogs at MitchyMoo Miniatures. Have you seen her great tutorials?? There is one on wiring your own chic LED lights and how to fashion a simple, yet ingenious S chair, and she recently posted on modern wallpapers. Welcome, Mitchy Moo! Keep it up!

I had the fun task of trying out some of Carol's creations: LED lights; a credenza; and a coffee table. It is clear that Carol is talented and is a nimble operator when it comes to the very tiny parts of the lights, and the smooth, precise edges of the credenza.

I rarely use electrified lights, but Carol makes it pretty easy. See the lovely African boxwood column lamp? It's a cool, versatile piece, like modern sculpture. The coffee table reminds me of vintage Bodo Hennig. Made of solid zebrano, it is a sturdy complement to my Paul MacAlister sofas and holds its own against the (yes) zebra print carpet.

This is how it all lights up! I really should use electrical tape, but this did the trick for the photos

The credenza is fun, with its single sliding door in accent purple; the wood is magnolia.

The other light did not make it into this scene--it is an industrial-looking black hanging fixture...would look great in a "tough" modern space. Hope to use it soon!!

I am really impressed with Carol's work, and I have encouraged her to please keep up her involvement with modern minis. At this time, she cannot devote herself to creating and selling modern minis, BUT she is adding new content to her blog all the time and welcomes your suggestions for tutorials, projects, etc! To see more pictures of Carol's work, check out her Flickr stream.

Thanks, Carol!

If you are on Facebook, like the Call of the Small page! I post there frequently on things of interest -- check it out and LIKE me. There's a gadget on my blog sidebar.

Credits: Couches by Paul MacAlister; coffee table, lamp, and credenza by MitchyMoo Miniatures; light base is an AMAC box; shelving unit is a dollhouse store find; rug is scrapbook paper from Michaels; peacock wallpaper is from the Paper Source;  plant and wastebasket are AG Minis; vase on table is a bead made of recycled paper, purchased as part of a Bead for Life sale at a friend's house -- Bead for Life is a great organization that provides "sustainable opportunities for women to lift their families out of extreme poverty." These enterprising women create the beads by hand and fashion them into jewelry. They are beautiful!! Accessories are AG Minis, Re-ment, Playmobil, Manor House Miniatures, ELF Miniatures, and Crailsheimer.

The time it took me: 1 hour, 10 minutes