Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Dollhouse Report: Shabby chic bathroom, purple transfer ware, and a grand piano.

Dollhouse miniatures are a world unto their own, and one can find many others
who are obsessed with creating miniature interiors.  From traditional to victorian to 
antique and farmhouse, there is someone recreating a miniature world in every decor style.
My own dollhouse is going to be a fusion of styles, much like how I decorate my own home.
So the overall influence will be French, with some cottage and shabby chic style mixed in, 
then sprinkled with the vintage faded grandeur look I find so attractive.
This bathroom started with a kit of a tub, pedestal sink and a toilet at a reasonable price.
The cost of some of these miniatures are pretty expensive, so I have been trying to either 
customize ready to buy pieces that are unfinished wood or stay in a lower price bracket.
The customization of the pieces are the most fun for me.  I took an unfinished hall table 
and turned it into the shabby chic cottage dressing table in my bathroom.
After I painted it pink and white and added flowers to the drawers,
 I aged it with clear and dark wax and buffed it up.  At the last minute I was I inspired to add
a little skirt in pink gingham, which was the ruffled edge of a vintage Ralph Lauren pillowcase I 
had in my linens pile.  It added just the right amount of charm. I created a gilded cornice
to go over the long sheer linen drapery panel, a Stroheim and Romann remnant from my
curtain making decorating days as a designer. The rest is pretty much unfinished, as the moldings and the electrical and wall finishes need to be added.  So remember, this is a progress report!
I started off by painting the entire interior of the dollhouse in Ben Moore
Natural Elements (#1515),  the same color I have in my real life dining room.
It made it much more fun to set up the furniture pieces as they arrived, having
a painted backdrop instead of unfinished wood.
Here you can see I started placing various items in the rooms to get the feel
of how the rooms should be furnished.  On the top floor you can see the basic
bathroom kit. On the second floor I plan to have a bedroom on the left, the hall
in the center and the potting room that leads to the roof deck on the right.
On the first floor I will have the living room, foyer, dining room and then the 
big country kitchen ( cut off from view).
But then I got to thinking that the foyer was built too small and narrow. So I got the 
great idea of cutting open the wall.  And while I was at it, I wanted French doors to
go out onto the roof deck.  As it turned out there wasn't enough wall space to add
the doors to the roof deck because the stairs were right there (remember this was built
by someone from scratch, not a dollhouse kit, which I think has better floor plans).
So the French doors will go in between the kitchen and the dining room, just because it seems
to be the best place in this layout. 
I snapped this pic for Instagram, showing hubs at work cutting the walls.
He started using a Dremel with some kind of router but it didn't work very neatly
so he switched his tool choice to a coping saw (shaped like a giant U).
 This house is already a Fixer Upper lol.  
But look how much nicer it will be!!
The dining room will have a pair of columns along the new openings.
Oh yes, I have such grand ideas don't I??
I tried adding some wide pine floors by using a printed paper pattern I found
at a craft store, but I don't really care for the effect. 
 I will have to do real wood floors.
Oh well...but you may have noticed my dining room pieces that have 
purple transferware in the cupboard and on the table!
I almost died when I found a set of 52 pieces of purple transferware in 1/12 scale.
You can also see I started to build a railing on the staircase and have since added the banister.
I used instant wood glue and I almost glued my fingertips together.  
This tiny glueing is not easy.
Last but not least, my grand piano.
 This was the first group of miniature items I bought for my dollhouse.
You can see the black baby grand piano with the bench.  I planned to 
customize it to match the piano I had painted for my own home.
 I painted it in Old White chalk paint first. 

 Then to add the toile effect in blue paint, I decided to use colored pencils so I could get the fine
detail I needed to copy my own real life piano.
My real life toile piano...
The tiny bench seat was reupholstered in a velvet scrap I had from 
doing the gilded ballroom chairs. I even painted a tiny scene inside the 
lid of the piano.  It really looks adorable doesn't it?
I am having so much fun creating the interiors of the dollhouse,
and will be back soon to show off my next installment of progress.
Like wallpapering and finding an Aubusson rug....haha!!
I told you, this is so much fun!

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  1. Amy, your little home is adorable!! I can tell you are having so much fun! When you have time, on YouTube there is a wonderful site called Merveilles Enpaper, it is from a darling French artist Laetitia Meirel . Everything is papier mache including the furniture. It is a beautiful magical site to see. And she offers wonderful classes online as well. I would love to hear what you think.
    Mary Anne

    1. Thank you Mary Anne, I have not heard of her, but I will look her up. I found another French miniaturist and loved her amazing tiny gilded bird cages. I hope to be able to make furniture and accessories with some practice and watching for tips from those who have been doing this a long time!

  2. Have you heard of Colleen Moore's dollhouse? It is housed in the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and I have been in love with it since I was a child. It is unbelievable! I love what you are doing with yours too.

    1. Yes! I bought her book and have been reading it, she certainly created an amazing "dollhouse" didn't;t she? I think there are other dollhouses currently on display there too, and it may just bring me to the Windy City one day for a mini vacation with my husband.

  3. This is so amazing. I wouldn't be good working with little pieces. I had trouble folding my neices and nephew's clothes when they were babies. Tinier is not easy.

    I would lost my mind finding the purple transferware.

    I can't believe how awesome this is, you amaze me.

    This will be a wonderful thing to hand down to generations.

    Enjoy creating


    1. I know!! The tiny tinkering is tough for me as well, I am always thinking how do they do this?? I hadn't even thought of the house being handed down to future generations, but thats a nice thought isn't it?

  4. This is so amazing! I really admire your tenacity about this little gem!

  5. Adorable Amy ! And what luck finding the purple transferware !! Looks just yours does and the piano , to die for !!!

  6. The world of miniatures is an incredible one and the decorating changes you've made to this particular house has brought it much charm. Please let me recommend a blog that would be of interest to you on this topic. It is You will enjoy the gorgeous results Elizabeth has created in her miniature projects...I have three 1:12 scale houses on the go at the moment. It's a lovely way to spend a rainy or blustery afternoon...enjoy the creative process thoroughly. Cheers, Alayne

    1. Yes, thank you for the recommendation. I have been finding others that are into this tiny world of miniature making. It is a perfect hobby for long snowy winters and rainy days for sure!!

  7. I always fantasized about doing doll houses, but then I knew it would be an all encompassing hobby to do it right, so I'll enjoy following you!

    1. HI Linda! It is fun, and if you have a room you can leave it set up in, you can come and go. It is a lot of fun!!

  8. Is it weird that I wish I could get your dollhouse aestetics in my home?

  9. Everything is so darn sweet!! Looking forward to a regal debut!
    The Empty Nest

    1. Thanks Janet, it is so much fun, but there may never be a full regal debut, this will take years hopefully!!

  10. You are off to a great start with your dollhouse and I Love the changes you are making to the interior. Opening up the wall between the hall and the dining room has already made a great difference to the overall atmosphere.
    I also have to APPLAUD your painting and refinishing of your full-sized Piano-It looks Amazing!!!



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