There are a few sources of warmth in this scene. It's a cozy little space, thanks to the CB2 Neville House's proportions. 1:16 or smaller fits best here. I've made use of a Playmobil living room set, which is scaled at 1:18. It is manufactured looking like this:
I had to spray paint something a flat black for a book cover job (yes, I got another one!), so I decided to spray over some of the pieces in this set, specifically, the wood stove, couch, and chair (I left the orange cushions and the cat was black already):

How about the warm glow given off by that fabulous column light by the amazing Pepper of MitchyMoo Miniatures??? She is a genius with minis and a warm person, to boot. Thank you again, Pepper dear!

See the fur teacup on the wall? As an art history major, Meret Oppenheim's creation from 1936 is one of the iconic pieces you learn about in discussion about Surrealism. Fabulous, no?

Of course, a warm pair of boots doesn't hurt!

Happy New Year to all! Stay warm...!

Credits: Couch, chair, wood stove, and cat are all Playmobil; rug is cut felt from Michaels; coffee table is a salt bowl from bodum; light is by Pepper of MitchyMoo Miniatures; wall shelf is Miner. Accessories are Michaels, The Shopping Sherpa, and Manor House Miniatures. 

The time it took me: 47 minutes


"UP." I like when a little word carries so much meaning. There is a visual clue for the word embedded in this scene -- easy to find, I think!

Speaking of up, I flew back from Amsterdam last week, where I was on a work-related trip. I have never been there, and it is a beautiful, magical city. While I only had very little free time, I tried to "feel" the place as much as I could: bicycles whizzing by, cobblestone streets, mirror-like canals, bridges, dimly lit streets at night. The canals were especially picturesque.

In the free time I did have, I visited the newly-renovated and reopened Rijksmuseum and the van Gogh Museum, where my head spun 'round from seeing all the masterpieces that I had seen in books growing up, such as van Gogh's Sunflowers.

And...the Rijksmuseum has a room devoted to antique cabinet dollhouses. Stunning!!!

With all my running around, I never managed to have a photo taken of myself in the city...only a selfie in my hotel room, before heading out for another work function!

I met some lovely people, one of whom thoughtfully gifted me with the modern brown side chair and paint set in this scene. Thank you, C.!

I already had the sunflowers, nicely nestled in a vase by Ray Storey...

Hope everything is looking up for all of you!

Credits: Bed is vintage German; side tables and wall sculpture by Pepper of MitchyMoo Miniatures; shelving unit and striped rug are IKEA; chairs are Reac; couch is an artisan piece by unknown maker; TV unit and coffee table by PRD Miniatures; clear table by Petite Princess; planters by TOMY; plant is AG Minis; lamp by minimodernistas; typographic letters are vintage. Accessories are Modern Mini Houses, Manor House Miniatures, Re-ment, L. Delaney, Ray Storey, AG Minis, The Shopping Sherpa, minimodernistas, and beads from Michaels.

The time it took me: 45 minutes

Philadelphia Miniaturia

Custom desk by Patrizia Santi -- all mine!!
I finally made it to the Philadelphia Miniaturia last weekend. It's considered the largest miniature show on the east coast and has been going on for many years. The show takes place over two and a half days at a hotel in Cherry Hill, N.J., which is located right outside of Philadelphia. It's less than an hour from me, so I really have no excuse not to go! Did anyone else attend this year? Fran Casselman of Fran Made Minis did, but she and I unfortunately missed each other.

I went on Sunday, November 3, the last day of the show. I arrived shortly before the 11:00 a.m. entry time. After getting chastised twice by the guards for looking at some tables in the lobby before the doors opened (yes, just for looking), I went in to browse and buy.

The space was very open and filled with many vendors. Looks like this:

Waiting to get in

Main room
Generally, things are expensive. There were many artisans showing high-quality work, and not only in 1:12. Quarter scale was everywhere...even some modern pieces!

My very first stop was a Tom Frey's gorgeous wood turned bowls and vases.

Such lovely stuff. Tom, who does custom wood turning in 1:1, let me know that this was to be his last show for miniatures. He believes his main audience is petering out and it does not pay to do the shows -- very sad! He will focus on his 1:1 work.

I was lucky to have some more conversations with other vendors, such as Ray Storey. He said the show was a very good success for him, especially his custom lighting fixtures. We chatted as he was wrapping up a $300 order, and he shared some of his new work, inspired by industrial lab works.

I love these pieces, which will be reasonably priced. This one will run about $7.

Looking forward to seeing more when they are available early next year! Of course, I scooped up a few vases!

I was also fortunate to meet Italian artisan Patrizia Santi, whose miniature shoes have many fans here in the U.S. and abroad.

While I did not invest in any pairs of shoes this time around, I could not resist a modern desk, lovingly crafted and painted.

Cannot wait to use this!

On to Lauren Delaney's booth, also known as L. Delaney Miniatures on Etsy.

It was wonderful to meet and talk with Lauren -- we had a nice chat about making miniatures, photography, dollhouse shows, and books! Her booth was very prettily appointed. I spent some time book browsing and walked away with a few treats!

Next I found Dale's Dreams! Dale and I met a few years ago and she has been hard a work creating new lines of furnishings and accessories that she sells in her Etsy shop.

We, too, chatted for a while with her daughter, who was doing a fantastic job of promoting her Mom's work. She pointed out that Dale renews vintage pieces, and she shared a recent project involving a Petite Princess bed and vanity.

Great, isn't it? Please keep Dale in mind -- she is great to work with!

Then, I scooped up some bargain pieces and was on my way home after almost four hours of browsing. My spoils:

Ottoman from Dale's Dreams

Mod ottoman from Dale's Dreams

Bargain pillow and dresser  for .50!

Wood pieces and rug for .25

Tom Frey's gorgeous work

Another Tom Frey purchase -- had to get two! Patrizia Santi's desk is in the background.
L. Delaney's treats!
I did a very quick scene in my Bodensee with a few of the pieces. Hope to use the others very soon!

Credits: Fireplace is CB2; Couch and chair set is Strombecker; ottoman is Dale's Dreams; sculpture is a Kaleidoscope House accessory; chair is Dollyhome; credenza is vintage German. Accessories are Lundby, L. Delaney, Michael's, and Miniatures by Annina.

The time it took me: 15 minutes

Globe and Mail on Modern Miniature Design

A snippet from online -- you can read it here.

Modern miniature design gets some attention in the Globe and Mail -- hello, Toronto!!

An article has appeared in the Globe and Mail about modern dollhouses. The writer, Dave McGinn, did a nice job and it was a pleasure speaking with him. Paris Renfroe is also quoted, along with the people behind the architect-designed dollhouses and auction for KIDS, which I wrote about last week. I'm glad the project is getting some exposure. Not that it needs it, however...happily, many of the reserves on the dollhouses have been met. Most are over $1,000, with the highest at almost $15,000!

You can see the latest bids at A Doll's House.

Happy reading!

Takara Miniature Buildings

A little army of traditional Japanese houses have ended up in my house. Of course I am obsessed with them because they are supremely tiny. And so well made.

Manufactured by Takara in 2003, the houses are actually different types of commercial buildings: a Chinese restaurant, barber, candy shop, seafood shop, and general shop. They each came packaged with stickers that have photo-real imagery -- they really bring the buildings alive.

The are quite sturdy and snap easily together.

Neat, right? The Chinese restaurant even came with a bulb and lights up!

I'm not sure what I will do with them yet. Perhaps display them along with other mini houses I have accumulated over the years. Have I ever shared my 1950s drive-in diner??

Makes me smile.

By the way, I have been on the lookout for a 1:144 scale house set by Re-ment, which came out briefly in 2008:

Photo courtesy of the Re-ment Addicts Flickr group

Amazing, right? They are quite rare and I've seen them go for $300 (nuts)! Should you ever come across a set, do let me know!

A Dolls' House Auction: Twenty Architects Build Small

Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

I just read on daddytypes that twenty leading architects from around the world are participating in a fundraising initiative for the organization KIDS--a UK-based charity that supports children with disabilities-- by creating 21st century dollhouses that each address a disabled child's needs.

What a great project, and what incredible eye candy!

Coffey Architects
Glenn Howell

Dexter Moren Associates

DRDH Architects


Duggan Morris Architects

HLM Architects

James Ramsey Raad Studio

Adjaye Associates


Zaha Hadid

The houses, currently up for bid, will be auctioned off at Bonhams in London on November 11. They are not cheap, people, and many reserves are not yet met.

You can read more about the project at A Dolls' House. I will continue to keep tabs on this!

Quick Impression

I love my vintage Brio, and gravitated to it for a setup with a new yellow flocked couch and chair set from eBay. Perhaps it is Strombecker? The scale is small...a petite 1:16.

I do love yellow...works in moody or bright light. And I had the chance to pair the new set with a vintage Brio chair received a few years ago. It's in rough shape, but I don't have the courage or heart to try and repair the blue flocking! I'd love to get one in better shape some day.


The time it took me: 32 minutes

Credits: Flocked couch and chair are vintage Strombecker (?); chair is vintage Brio; plant is AG Minis; dog (he's hiding!) was a gift from my kids; lamp and curtain are Lundby; pillows are Megahouse; rug is a coaster from CB2.

I'm Still Here

Yes, I am still here! It has been a very long time since I posted last. Life has been quite full, and I feel pulled in many different directions. Sometimes it is difficult to stop moving and take some time to "mini."

So perhaps I should alleviate the pressure of doing my usual length posts each time, and make the effort to post "bite-size" things more often. I'll try it. Can't promise I won't diverge from the plan!

I've gotten a few new acquisitions lately, nothing major. My lack of time to blog also means a lack of time to troll eBay for various finds. I got this art deco-style dresser for a song...it looks quite at home in my Gottschalk room box, no?

'Til next time!

The time it took me: Really, no time at all!

Credits: Table is by Paul MacAlister; dresser is a vintage eBay find. Accessories are Manor House Miniatures and another eBay find.

Planter House: Repurposed west elm

Sorry about the long stretch of time between posts! My non-mini life has been so incredibly hectic. It doesn't matter if it is summer...I have not had much down time at all, and any down time has been spent catching up on many different things for home, family, and work!

Please don't let the silence fool you, though. I have not closed my mini eyes to some new small acquisitions and finds. I'm definitely due for a clean up and organization of my collection and accessories, but until that happens, I decided to create a new structure out of a west elm product: an herb planter!

Photo courtesy of west elm
I was completely smitten upon seeing it at the new west elm store at MarketFair Mall, and it was also on clearance for less than $6! I bought two and started considering how I might use them. The whole process of putting this structure together reminded me of my repurposing experiments with tissue box covers from Crate & Barrel, where I created a mod house and a more traditional house. The latter actually ended up in an exhibit at Grounds for Sculpture, which was a lot of fun.

The first iteration for my west elm pieces is the Planter House. I laid the pieces on their side and then joined them together to form doors, keeping the back open. The porthole windows didn't scare me off...I have always admired the Maritime Hotel building in New York City, which was originally constructed in the 1960s for the National Maritime Union.

It's pretty cool, right? The hotel interior is gorgeous...check out this guest suite.

Courtesy of the Maritime Hotel
I decided to decorate my little abode as a media room, and used a range of repurposed materials: the window coverings on one side are cut up placemats by Chilewich, and the other windows have paper coasters; the wood TV wall is a clearance item from IKEA that I covered in washi tape for an accent wall; the green outdoor lights are drawer pulls from IKEA; the "sconces" by the front door are magnets; the silver box accents by the TV are place card holders; and the green carpet is a coaster.

Did you notice those great moss planters and square dividers? Those are from the new Constructures set from brinca dada. It is awesome. I first saw this new product at the Toy Fair back in February and I was eager to get my hands on a set. Designed by founder Doug Rollins, the blocks are addictive fun: you can nest and balance them, building new worlds. And of course, they are incredibly adaptable for mini use. Doug and crew are currently offering 25% off the $39 retail price, but this deal expires on August 2, so hustle! Enter code FB25CONSTRUCTURES at checkout.

By the way, I did stop at IKEA and picked up some great odds and ends for this post, and also bought two sets of the Huset doll house furniture.
Courtesy of Design Taxi
There have been some very helpful blogger reviews--check out Snowfern's and Dragondee's--and I was curious to check out the set first hand. I share disappointment over the 1:8 scale, but the pieces are generally well-made. I love the rug in particular and the Expedit shelving will come in handy. I hope to use them soon. Let me know if you have bought the set!

Credits: Chairs are vintage German; globe light is minimodernistas; Noguchi table is PRD; front door table is by Pepper (one of her first pieces!); Eames elephant is Reac; outdoor table and chairs are vintage Lundby; bench is a eBay find; rug is a doll house show find; planters are Constructures by brinca dada; outdoor "tile" is scrapbook paper and door inserts are cut-up origami paper. Accessories are Re-ment, Manor House Miniatures, The Shopping Sherpa, Barbie, Nancy Tobin, AG Minis, and My Mini Mod Pod.

The time it took me: I labored over the layout and design over a period of a few weeks--I lost track!


I had every intention of creating a "modern nautical" scene, inspired by some lovely marine blue chevron paper from the Paper Source, but not sure I succeeded. The vision was different in my head and I don't think I quite articulated it. I had bought some cool ocean life pushpins on clearance (white modern sand dollars, starfish, and seashells) and was convinced I would use them here somehow, but it just didn't work, and things fell off into a different direction. Does this ever happen to you? Please tell me it does!

In any case, it was lots of fun to put together!

By the way...if you like following this blog and do it via Google Reader, you now need to follow me using a different reader such as Bloglovin' or Feedly since Google Reader is kaput as of today, July 1. If you use Blogger like I do, your dashboard will still work as a reader for the blogs you follow, but you still might look into an alternate reader. I signed up for Bloglovin' and it was a quick click of a button to move all of the blogs I follow over to the new reader. See you there!!

Credits: Couch is vintage Brio; side table is Re-ment; office chair is Petite Princess; desk is brinca dada; plant is Playmobil; rug is a coaster from Crate & Barrel; circle wall art are also coasters that I picked up in Palm Springs; light is a pull chain from Lowes; wall covering is from the Paper Source, as is the flooring. Accessories are AG Minis, CB2, Re-ment, Barbie by Jonathan Adler, ELF Miniatures, Michaels, Manor House Miniatures, and Nodameggakki.

The time it took me: 57 minutes

Adhesive Washi Paper

I would definitely file myself under "obsessed" when it comes to washi tape. I've used it many times over the years, in a bath scene, for swaps, in an office, and in many other cases. I collect it like crazy. So, of course I picked up a stack of the new adhesive 6 x 6" sheets when I saw them in the Paper Source this weekend. (I had seen 12 x 12" sheets at the NYIGF in January, so I have been waiting for them to show up in the stores.)

At $12.95 for 20 sheets, it's not cheap, but I'd say it is worth it to get all inspired by the patterns and possibilities. I also picked up some chevron burlap and a scene was born. In addition to covering the back of a couch and the dining table, I used some tape as a rug border. I easily gravitated to the red as a complement to the chevron burlap.

The paper is very easy to manage and cut, although a word of advice: do not pull it off the sheet too quickly, as it can curl and stick back onto itself. It comes off quite cleanly from objects, so you can remove it, as long as it is not adhered too long, i.e., months. Of course, please choose smooth surfaces, and no paper.

Here are a few more shots from my washi workout!


Credits: Dining table and red chairs are vintage German; dining chairs are eBay finds; shelving unit is a dollhouse show find; long planters are TOMY; standing plant is AG Minis; TV credenza is by Cyd of My Mini Mod Pod; coffee table is PRD; red balloon dog is from Toy Tokyo; chevron burlap is from the Paper Source; dining rug is textured paper from JoAnn Fabrics. Accessories are Manor House Miniatures, Barbie, Re-ment, Michael's, vintage German finds, Hallmark, The Shopping Sherpa, Lilu Shop on Etsy, Crate & Barrel, and minimodernistas.

The time it took me: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Villa Sibi, Twice

I really hope that I am not the only one out there who decides that she cannot fully harmonize a room setting, and then creates two different scenes in one.

It's frustrating on the one hand, because I feel like I failed at a unified interior, but then kind of challenging and fun on the other hand, because I end up with a creative solution that I am generally happy with...at least temporarily!

Question: Could the same person/people live here???


I'll let you decide :)

Credits: Couch is minimodernistas; wall covering is Paper Source; Noguchi table is PRD; fixture is vintage German, as is the table on the deck; gold chairs are CB2 ornaments, spray painted; shelving unit is Minisx2 on Etsy; chairs are an eBay find; side table and long farm table are doll house show finds; house wall art is from JoAnn Fabrics. Accessories are Re-ment, AG Minis, dollhouse show and eBay finds, toHold on Etsy, Megan of Modern Mini Houses, Jazams, Bodo Hennig, Dragondee, and Cyd of Mini Mod Pod.

The time it took me: 57 minutes, mostly due to extreme indecisiveness!!!

Artply Highland Update

I love when I am able to share a renovation update on one of my houses. Makes me feel like a less neglectful parent! :)

My Artply Highland patiently sits in my work room and I have been tinkering with it since I got it over a year ago when I bought it on Craigslist for a cool $20. I have renovated one room so far, but it does need lots of TLC. I really cannot tolerate the muddy brown color of the exterior and hope to paint it soon (any color ideas? send them my way!). I took off one of the roof pieces to gain better access to the top room with the lovely rounded wall. I had been looking for wallpaper for quite some time; I knew I wanted a bold pattern, like the room I renovated next door, and was leaning toward a green or creme. I then found this Lokta design from the Paper Source, and was confident it would do the trick.

First, a view into the space, which I dubbed the "Mickey Mouse room" for obvious reasons:


Once I put the Lokta paper on one wall, I realized that I needed to break up the pattern with the curved wall. I liked the dark shade of the existing wood wall and decided to experiment with a 12 x 12" birch sheet, also from the Paper Source. I had a walnut colored paint marker and tried out the hue.

I liked the combination and painted the whole sheet. I also cut out long holes for the windows. I did not permanently adhere this piece since I might be able to completely scrape off the Mickey Mouse papers and show the original wall.

The remaining Lokta paper fit nicely on the other side, and the room was done!

I do not like the carpeting, but I did not have a good "cover up," so I left it for now.

It was fun to try different pieces of furniture in the room, but I couldn't decide on the couch: orange vintage Bodo Hennig or green "tootsie roll" by Minimodernistas. Do you have a preference?

As I was finishing this work tonight, I finally got around to opening today's mail and was surprised by a lovely little envelope. Inside was a gorgeous handmade metal firescreen by the amazing Fran of Fran Made Minis. She thought the fireplace in my most recent scene was lacking proper flowery coverage and remedied it with this!

I love it -- thank you so much for your thoughtful gesture, Fran!

Credits: Round table, Panton chairs, and orange couch are all Bodo Hennig; green "tootsie roll" couch and both globe lamps are Minimodernistas; shelf is by PRD Miniatures; coffee table is comprised of a napkin holder from Crate & Barrel and an acrylic block; cowhide rug is by Oese; flower pot is Playmobil with an aquarium plant. Accessories are Re-ment, JoAnn Fabrics, AG Minis, Michaels, The Shopping Sherpa, Minimodernistas, and Crate & Barrel.

The time it took me: 42 minutes, not including the wallpapering!

A Mess of Flowers

Flowers have been on my mind lately. First, I received some lovely ones for my birthday earlier this month from three different people, all different versions! They are currently brightening up my office, and I hope I can keep them alive.

My other flower musings have been related to Amy Merrick, a New York City-based florist and stylist who does gorgeous work. I love looking at her Instagram feed, reading her blog, and hearing about her latest projects, like doing the flowers for the recent celebrity-studded dinner for the Punk fashion exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum! She is truly an artist and I find her photos very calming and inspiring.

(Photos from Amy Merrick's Flickr stream)

All this flower exposure prompted me to use some beautiful heavy-weight "Flurry Sunshine" paper from the Paper Source in  my Lundby Stockholm. This also gave me the opportunity to use my new minimodernistas ball clock, given to me by a dear friend (another birthday gift!), as well as a cowhide-print Eames chair, a blind box purchase on Mother's Day at Toy Tokyo. The black-and-white artwork by the chair is a miniature photograph from my work colleague K., who knew I'd find a use for it :)

Here's to flowers!

Credits: Desk is by Dragondee; chairs are Reac; plant and wastebasket are AG Minis; vase is a dollhouse show find; arc lamp is an eBay find; grey rug and magazines are by The Shopping Sherpa; dog is Schleich; desk rug is a coaster; ball clock is minimodernistas. Accessories are Michaels, Re-ment, Toy Tokyo, and AG Minis.

The time it took me: 34 minutes

A Detour Down Pinky Street

I am guessing that some of you out there are familiar with Pinky Street dolls, made by Baby Sue and Vance Project of Japan since 2003. Pinky Street dolls have a huge, enthusiastic following. At four inches high, they are best suited for 1:18 or 1:12 environments, and have interchangeable parts that you can mix and match to make hip figures with street cred. I first saw them in modern doll house scenes on Altera's blog a few years ago (I miss your posts, Altera!), and I thought they were adorable. You can see them in action on her blog here, here, and here.

To learn all about Pinky Street gals, pinky-street.com is a great resource.

Now, I am generally not a doll person...my scenes are usually uninhabited. But, when I saw two Pinky Street dolls in the Kinokuniya book store in Los Angeles in March, I bought two! They were $10 each, and had some charm. I finally got around to taking them out of their packages for their maiden voyage to the Kaleidoscope House.



I set up a few different scenes with 1:12 and 1:18 scale pieces to see what might work best. I think 1:18 is a better scale...these are petite gals!

The Pinky girls split!
Hope you enjoyed my little detour down Pinky Street!

Credits: Diner benches and clear side table cube are by AG Minis; kidney shaped table is Ryan's Room; green chairs are Creative Playthings; rabbit head is a Christmas ornament from Anthropologie; planter is Manor House Miniatures; plant is Playmobil; flooring is origami paper; pillow is by Megan of Modern Mini Houses; coffee table is made of two kitchen stools by brinca dada, turned on their sides; guitar is Nodamegakki. Accessories are AG Minis and Lilu Shop on Etsy.

The time it took me: 32 minutes for all the set ups

VERO Seeblick: Sea View

Another VERO dollhouse has captured my heart! It's hard not to be charmed by a VERO. I already have two: a 1966 beauty and a mod, two-story early 1970s one. I've had my eye on the lovely one-story "Seeblick" or "sea view" for quite some time, and when Annina put hers up for sale, and I could not resist. It's a bit beaten up, but still has wonderful life and karma (Annina is such a talented miniaturist, stylist, and photographer).

It's an insane purchase, since I literally have no room for it. I managed to clear off some space adjacent to my Bodensee in order to put it together. As Rebecca noted in her post from a few years ago, you need to be an octopus to get it all screwed together! I struggled and dropped the tiny screws more times than I can count, but it finally came together. I took some quick first shots after setting up a living room and bedroom. One day, I will bring it upstairs into natural light for some better images and backdrop.

Until then...


Credits: Chairs, couch, bed, footstool, and sideboards are vintage German; coffee table is vintage Brio; outdoor chair and Arc lamp are eBay finds; green rug is a felt coaster; bedroom chair is Reac; globe light is minimodernistas; bedding is by The Shopping Sherpa. Accessories are Re-ment, dollhouse show buys, made by Dragondee, and TOMY.

The time it took me: 52 minutes (not including assembling the house!)

Sneak Preview: Custom Designer Dollhouses

There has been a ton of happy, excited buzz in the dollhouse/miniature community (especially among us modern fans) about the forthcoming Kaleidoscope Ball auction to benefit the Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA, specifically its Children's Discovery and Innovation Institute. The reason?


That's right, TEN custom creations--spanning styles from modern to Italianate--as imagined by some of the country's leading interior designers, architects, and landscape designers. The houses are mammoth in scale, and measure roughly 6 x 3'. You can read more about the auction, designers, and other background on Mini Modern and Modern Mini Houses.

I traveled to Los Angeles on spring break with my family and *really* wanted to squeeze in some dollhouse time and get a sneak preview of the houses. By some miracle, it worked out! On Friday, I visited the warehouse of where all the houses are being fabricated. There were five houses on display, in varying states of completeness. Each of the houses was designed by Richard Manion and Robert Meiklejohn of Richard Manion Architecture.

The house that is farthest along is the "Contemporary Beach House Two," with interior design by Chris Barrett and the team of Ron Woodson and Jaime Rummerfield

She's a beauty, eh? The craftsmanship is amazing and the designers are putting some nice touches on the airy spaces. The furnishings were lovely, and came from a variety of sources. I immediately noticed gems by Paris Renfroe, minimodernistas, and ELF Miniatures, and then some pieces that were either made from scratch by the woodworking shop, or were re-imagined with new parts, like this dining table and this Arc lamp -- both were re-fitted with new pieces.

It was also cool to see pieces that were being painted, sewn, polished, and fitted for the houses.

While I was there, I met Chris Barrett and Jaime Rummerfield, and enjoyed seeing them work. It was interesting to observe the challenges that they were encountering (how to style that huge entertainment unit??), as well as see the obvious fun they were having designing these small spaces. They pointed out the custom modern artworks they created for the house, inspired by the work of Cy Twombly and Franz Kline, and they also accessorized the spaces with sculptures and other objects.

It was great to see such creativity and inventive use of materials, such as the glossed marble wallpaper and the steel door for the garage!

I also met Stephen Block, who was there working on the landscape design for the beach house. Here's his living "mood board":

He also spoke about the challenges of working so small, but deriving a lot of satisfaction as it continued to evolve. Here's a quick video of some behind-the-scenes work on the size of the property on the back of the house.

I cannot wait to see how it turns out!

There were four other houses in the warehouse that were getting ready for their closeup.

The Italianate House One (Lonni Paul and Adam Hunter)

Lovely stairwell! And that table...!

The Italianate House Two (Mark Cutler and Cari Berg)

The Georgian House Two (Tim Campbell)

The Contemporary Beach House One (Jeffrey Alan Marks and Elizabeth Dinkel)

There were five houses not on display: Modern House One and Two (sad not see those!); Georgian House One; Brownstone House; and Monique Lhuillier NY Flagship Boutique.

I am told that $20,000 is the expected price for each of the houses. Some of the houses will be available for bidding at the Kaleidoscope Ball auction on April 17, whereas others will be sold in a special charity sale on One Kings Lane. All proceeds for both sales will benefit the UCLA/Mattel Children's Hospital Children's Discovery and Innovation Institute.

Hope you enjoyed this little preview! I look forward to sharing more!


Texture's the thing here...it motivated me to use letterpress illustrations (cut from a 2011 desk calendar from the Paper Source), and a new sheet of DCWV scrapbook paper for a lemon yellow and gray backdrop. The flooring is adhesive cork, which has a nice but subtle texture. The "tub" is actually an olive wood "nibble" bowl from Crate & Barrel--textbook texture!

Credits: Tub, platform, and planter are all repurposed items from Crate & Barrel; console is PRD; chair is Reac; side table is miniatures.com; towels are Lundby; sink is a swap from Oese; fixture is Barbie by Jonathan Adler; artwork is Paper Source. Accessories are Re-ment, AG Minis, and dollhouse show finds.

The time it took me: 22 minutes

Vinyl 1970 Mod Playhouse by Ideal

It is sunny and feeling like spring, so I decided to take a new mini acquisition outdoors. This vintage vinyl playhouse, made by Ideal in 1970, made its way into my collection for $22, purchased on eBay.

I wasn't looking for this type of house, and I don't imagine I will use it that often, but it is a cool piece of history! In terms of scale, I'd say it is closest to 1:24. My Lundby furniture was too large (except I did leave the patio set), so I used my Paul MacAlister pieces.


The house was advertised in the 1970 Sears catalog as "Modern House with Fireplace" and sold for $5.99. It came with a set of molded plastic furniture (looking very much like Petite Princess), and a family was sold separately.

Courtesy of wishbookweb, p. 575 of Sears 1970 catalog
Ideal made a range of vinyl houses in the 1960s and 70s, such as the traditional "Colonial Mansion," made for the Petite Princess line of furnishings:
Photo by Gina2424
You can see more Petite Princess eye candy in this Flickr group pool. One contributor to the pool even made a 1:144 scale version of the vinyl house!

Photo by Vixie Vaporous
It looks like Ideal made other versions of the Modern house, like this one currently up for sale on Etsy:

I'd say it's more psychedelic than mine! Do share if you know anything more!

Credits: All the furnishings are by Paul MacAlister, with the exception of the TOMY planter and Lundby patio set. Accessories are Re-ment and dollhouse show finds.

The time it took me: 33 minutes

NYIGF and Toy Fair

Once again, I attended both the New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF) and Toy Fair at the Javits Center in New York City in January and February, respectively. I register as press (yes, because of this blog), which means I can access press releases and other information about new products in advance and then review other material on site in the press center. It also means I get emailed a lot by PR firms and companies themselves...sometimes it is relevant, other times not!

NYIGF, which will be known as "NY NOW, the Market for Home & Lifestyle" with the August market (August 17-21, 2013), includes home and housewares as well as the newest in design and handmade items. The Toy Fair is the showcase for the toy industry, so it features all the major companies as well as smaller, independent toy makers and innovators.

I first attended the shows back in 2011, with an eye toward modern dollhouses and anything that might be repurposed for modern miniature environments. The shows are high energy, usually crowded, and filled with a dizzying array of products. And giant product placements!

Each exhibitor has a booth -- some are quite small and open, whereas the larger companies have much more expansive spaces with walls on all sides and elaborate entrances. You can't really call them "booths" anymore...more like fortresses.


The shows include *hundreds and hundreds* of vendors across many categories, so it is a bit overwhelming. This time around, I decided to be systematic: I made appointments with a few companies in advance and mapped out my visit according to booth numbers (each show provides massive directories with company names and booth numbers) I only had a day to spend at each show, so I wanted to structure part of my visit and then be able to freely walk around for some "discovery" time.

As always, I like to share highlights of my visits, especially any news and products. I've combined both visits here in one post, so lots of photos ahead!

Shall we start with brinca dada? Why, yes!

It was great to see Doug (Rollins, CEO) and Erica (Turzak, COO) again. The "Zoe" house was on display (it's selling very well, Doug said), and while there is not a new dollhouse on the horizon, there is a new line of blocks, "Constructures," that are extremely cool and show lots of promise for adapting in the modern miniature realm.

Hi, Erica!

Nice, right? The set will include forty pieces and will retail for $39.95. Look out for them in April!

On  I went to the d-torso booth, which featured a line of 3D constructions made by a Japanese company, AKI. Many animals were on display, and are intriguing for 1:12 scale play.

The packing is neat as well...

While I didn't see it at the show, the company makes a mini deer head. Possibilities!

Next, I was drawn over to a small display showing Lichtbloem, a DIY light by Coens made of a ping pong ball, optic fibers, LED, and a clothespin!

Very cool Dutch design, no? Could be adapted for a mini space for sure. It will retail for approximately $25.

As always, UMBRA offers fun and functional eye candy. Ring holders are definitely transferable to a mini environment, as are magnets, and their plastic mats might also work well as flooring or dividers.

In addition to housewares, the NYIGF is a venue for card and stationary companies. I love seeing the range of creative designs...I could spend hours just looking through papers and other accessories. I saw a few neat things, such as...

Adhesive washi paper! Retails for $11.95/five sheets

Animal-shaped stick-it notes!

And paper bots!


I was running by the Vigo Cards booth and didn't have time to stop, but saw some gorgeous flat papers. Here's a few images from their blog.

Alexander Girard line

by Papier Peint

by Debbie Powell

Lovely, eh?

On to dollhouses!

At Schylling, I saw a kid's house called "Amanda & Family"

Photo courtesy of Schylling website
Shows some promise for mini play, and has a durable wooden construction. Retails for $49.95.

What do you think?

Hape was a highlight! I made an appointment to see the latest line of dolls, and also hear more about Hape's acquisition of the venerable doll maker Kathe Kruse. Both companies have such a long and distinguished history, and are uncompromising in their production of high-quality products. Seems like a powerhouse partnership! I am curious to see what will be next.

That's me chatting about the Kruse acquisition with Peter Handstein, Hape Founder and CEO 
The Hape booth had on display some adorable new wooden dolls, which represent a departure from their previous dollhouse people line, "Happy Family," which looked like this:

And now, they look like this:

The line is very cute, modern, and fun. The dolls will retail for $7.99. The babies, which will retail for $2.99 each, are totally adorable and could easily work in a modern mini environment.

Hape also let me know that plans are now in the works to update the phenomenal Sunshine dollhouse. I hear there may be a new layout and furnishings!
Cannot wait to hear more on that!!

Plan Toys always delights too. They have come out with a new Chalet Dollhouse and My First Dollhouse which look similar to the original, but are made of replenishable rubberwood material.

Here are the originals:
Photo courtesy of Wayfair.com
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

And the new!

Love the colors and textures! Definitely tempting to get one.

Moving from sustainable wood to...cardboard! I was delighted to come upon Urban Canvas, which makes a neat modular cardboard dollhouse called Mod House. The designer and owner, Maria Chee, wanted to create a fun and different structure that also had a strong element of reuse and creativity. The walls are a blank canvas for designs, and can be easily written-upon and erased. You can also explore different configurations for the house.

Neat, huh? The house set retails for $55 and includes the furniture too. Would you buy one?

WHEW! I hope you enjoyed my report on both fairs. I go back to the summer market of NYIGF in August, so more to come then!