Friday, April 30, 2010

Katina Beales' Art Deco Dollhouse

Alice Bell wrote a great article on Katina Beales' Art Deco Dollhouse in (Custom Dolls, Houses, & Miniatures) February 2010 Newsletter. Katina Beales spotted a 1:24 scale Art Deco style house at the Kensington Doll's House Festival in 2006. She commissioned Chris Rouch of Toptoise Design, to build this 1:12 scale version that is 36" wide by 27" long, 21" high on two stories and 10" high one story.

If anyone has any information on the builder please share. All I could fine was a 1993 directory listing on "Chris & Joan Rouch, Toptoise Design, Selkirk, Scottish Borders". I would love to see more of their work. The listing says they make collector houses and furniture specializing in the designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Art deco, Victorian and Scottish vernacular buildings. Chris & Joan Rouch are also endorsed by Glasgow School of Art to reproduce their furniture collection. Considering they have been around since at least 1993 and have work showing in US exhibitions and museums (not sure which ones) you would think there are photos of their work on this interweb thing.

The house is full of beautiful custom pieces, but I laughed when I read the one thing the builder said when he delivered the house was "Do not over-furnish the house!" Really good advice. The article didn't have credits for the pieces in the study, but the living area has several artists filling this room.

I love the custom fireplace screen by Barbara Sabia (based in Melbourne, Florida, she specializes in miniature stained glass. The fireplace screen is the 15th image on this slide show of her work followed by images of the sconces that are also used in the bathroom photo below). The Dragon Screen is a one of kind made by Terence Stringer (Norfolk, England). The white leather chairs are by Arlette's Miniatures (Sutton Coldfield, England). All the other furniture in the living area was been made by Kim Selwood Miniature Furniture (UK). I would love to know where she got that fabulous silver cylinder mesh lamp next to the fireplace. Anyone?

Katina really did her homework on this house. For many of the custom pieces, she gave photos to the builders who recreated authentic Art Deco pieces. The bath room set was made by Lenham Pottery Models (Norfolk, UK) from pictures she found in magazines. The tiles in the bathroom are hand painted real ceramic by Tiny Ceramics (Germany). The furniture in the bedroom is again made by Kim Selwood Miniature Furniture (UK). The kitchen cabinetry was also custom built from photos by, yep you guessed it, ELF Miniatures (London, UK) - I LOVE LOVE LOVE the work of Elizabeth LePla, and love seeing how much her selection has grown over the years. One day I will own a house completely furnished by ELF Miniatures.

The article is really a fabulous read, but the best part is that her husband bought her a large 16 room Georgian house that she plans to give a luxurious Georgian background with highly decorative features, but with MODERN FURNITURE. I CANNOT wait to see what she comes up with next. I really hope that Katina can find away to start a blog or share her photos. She truly has the start of an amazing collection.

(all information from Alice Bell's article, all images from Katina Beales on and

So you want a modern dollhouse

THIS POST IS OLD... I created a NEW PAGE with MORE HOUSES that I update here: Where to Buy Modern Dollhouses.
I also have a new page of Modern Miniatures Directory to find modern items for your mini homes.

My biggest piece of advice is to obtain a house first and then buy furnishings and accessories that best fit the house. I started collecting modern minis before I had a specific place to put them, and now that I'm filling my houses, I'm realizing 80% isn't what I want and just sits in boxes.

Step 1: Do your homework. :D There are more and more great mini mod blogs out there but I recommend reading MiniModern and The Shopping Sherpa to start. Most modern mini bloggers would credit one of them for inspiring them to create their own blog. The more you see, the more you'll be able to pinpoint what you want. There is also an extensive list of modern and contemporary dollhouses that Modern MC has collected over the years in the lower right column of her blog MiniModern.

Step 2: Find a house that best fits your personality, skills, time, budget and space. Do you have the patience, skills, time and tools to build a kit from scratch, renovate a house or build your own? Do you want a finished, but blank canvas to paint and wallpaper? Do you want a shiny, new, already assembled house ready to drop furnishings and accessories in? What kind of space do you have for mini storage and to display your house(s)?

Below are readily available modern dollhouses on the market and hard to find ones as well, enjoy.

» Out of the box and ready to go

20" M112 Pod - Series 1 1:12 scale ($225) by Paris Renfroe Design PRD Miniatures also sells furnishings and accessories. (shutterfly photos)

20" M112 Pod - Series 2 1:12 scale ($225) by Paris Renfroe Design (shutterfly photos)

40" M112 Pod - Series 2 1:12 scale ($385) by Paris Renfroe Design (shutterfly photos)

The Arne Jacobsen Minimii Dollhouse 1:16 scale (1,340 EUR) by Minimii Minimii also sells furniture (more photos). Some minor assembly required. Rumor has it a 1:12 scale kit is in the works. I'll keep you posted when I know more.

MH1 1:12 scale ($299 - wait list) and MH2 (contact Wes for details, you have to REALLY want this house as it is a beast to ship) by Wes Christensen (MH1 and MH2 photos on flicker)

Villa Sibi 1:12 scale? ($750-$850) by Wolfgang Sirch and Christoph Bitzer Search online for best price and dealer in your country. Callsmall says it's slightly smaller than 1:12 but accommodates 1:10 furniture.

The Maison de Plastique 1:12 scale ($850) by Studio SWS, Dalmeny, NSW, Australia The house can be made in any color or clear acrylic. Studio SWS also sells furniture.

Pacific Coast Beach House 1:6 scale ($500) by Schumetta McLendon, Malibu, CA She also does custom houses.

Eco Modern Townhouse 1:12 scale ($300) by Schumetta McLendon, Malibu, CA

Stockholm 1:18 scale ($200) by Lundby based in Sweden. US distributor Minor assembly required (mostly installing the railings). Furniture and accessories are available but sold separately.

Gotland 1:18 scale ($128) by Lundby US distributor Minor assembly required. Furniture and accessories are available but sold separately.

Småland 1:18 scale ($170) by Lundby US distributor Some minor assembly required. Småland Dollhouse ($170), Småland Extension Floor ($90) and Småland Garden ($50). Furniture and accessories are available but sold separately.

» Kits: Modern and Contemporary

Emerson House 3/4 scale finished kit ($299) by brinca dada Brinca Dada also sells furnishings and accessories.

Bennett House 3/4 scale finished kit (TBD. Planned for Dec 2010) by brinca dada (Facebook pictures)
Clearview 1:12 scale unfinished kit (£395) by MIAIM based in London Miaim also sells furnishings and accessories.

Citadel 1:12 scale (???) by Lolly's Dollhouse and Miniatures LollysHomepage.htm. Lolly's is near Chicago, IL. She found someone to build the shell of the house and is now taking orders, I'm checking on the price. (Callsmall is a proud owner of a Citadel, check out her Citadel posts here)

Ocean Drive 1:12 scale (kits start at $100.00) by The Dolls House Emporium based in London DHE also sells furnishings and accessories.

Malibu Beach House 1:12 scale (kits start at $416) by Dolls House Emporium DHE also sells furnishings and accessories.

The Apartment Building 1:12 scale (finished kit AU $1300 painted with windows and doors or raw kit AU $550 no windows doors) made by Dave Slater sold by Modern Miniatures by Nue Based in Adelaide, South Australia. Modern Minatures by Nue also sells furnishings and accessories.

1, 2 & 3 Waterside Way 1:12 scale (kits start at $250.24) by The Dolls House Emporium

Lake View 1:12 scale (kits start at $179.52) by The Dolls House Emporium DHE also sells furnishings and accessories.

Contemporary Ranch Dollhouse 1:12 scale unfinished kit ($162.95) by Real Good Toys

Brookwood 1:12 scale unfinished kit ($102 and up) by Greenleaf Dollhouses

Merrimack 1:12 scale unfinished kit ($238) by Earth and Tree Dollhouses and Miniatures

Celerity Summer House 1:12 scale unfinished kit ($121) by Aztec Imports and Town Square Miniatures. For sale at

» Custom, Commissioned, OOAK

Go to your local dollhouse shop/hobby shop/toy store, they might know someone who could assemble a kit for you, or someone who could design and build a OOAK (One Of A Kind) for you. Put an ad on craigslist for a custom modern dollhouse. You might be able to find a local architect/wood crafter/design student interested in building a modern house for you.

Custom Modern Dollhouse Builders
Please send me websites of other builders, but here are a few that do custom modern houses and roomboxes.

FR8 House 1:12 scale by Paris Renfroe Design, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, PRD Miniatures also sells furnishings, accessories, pool and deck (shutterfly photos).

Mark Turpin, custom architectural replicas & roomboxes since 2000 (at least).

Peter Tucker, Vancouver B.C. Canada. Custom Roomboxes, furniture and lighting since 1998. and

Henry Colbert, UK. He doesn't have a website, and last I heard he has a 2 year plus wait list. Since 1997, Henry is most known for his three Art Deco style houses The Amyas Petite, Grande and Deluxe in 1:12, and his modern 1:24 scale Sun House.

Gidon Bing Australian sculpture Scroll to the bottom of his gallery to see these houses.

Tom O'Dea, The Doll House Shop of Richmond, VA. Custom houses and furniture since 2001.

» Budget Friendly Finds

Here are a few easy ideas for getting started without breaking the bank.

Fish Condo/Hotel 1:16 or 1:18 scale ($28) designed by Terry Leong available at Pictured photos are from and

Lekman Box 1:10 or 1:12 scale ($10) by IKEA Pictured photos are from Oese of She has done amazing things with the Lekman Box, check out more photos on her flickr page.

Custom Foam Core House 1:12 scale by Mini Pig Get creative with supplies from your local art or craft store and see what you can build on your own. Check out Mini Pig's blog to see this house being built.

» Auction sites, ebay, craigslist, garage sales, etc.

Look for an older dollhouse you can refurbish. Check out Craigslist, as many people don't want to deal with shipping so you might be able to pick up a gem.

Search auction sites for discontinued houses
Kaleidoscope House 1:12 scale (discontinued) by Bozart Toys - Laurie Simmons and Peter Wheelwright The Pool Pavilion was never released, if you find more photos of the prototype please send them my way.

The Antrim 1:12 scale (discontinued) by Earth Tree and Miniatures Only 12 kits were made. You can see pictures of my Antrim here.

Highland 1:12 scale (discontinued) by Artply

Mackintosh House 1:12 scale (discontinued) by Dolls House Emporium DHE also sells furnishings and accessories.

Step 3: When you get a dollhouse, PLEASE share your photos. Start a blog or add pictures to the Modern Miniatures Flickr group. We just can't get enough!

Step 4: After you buy the perfect house, inevitably something better will turn up shortly after. It's easy to end up covering every flat surface of your house with this hobby/obsession. With enough money and space, we could all be so lucky to end up with a basement like Mary's Dollhouse Nook.

This is a work in progress, please send suggestions of houses to add to modernminifan (at)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The winner is... Boogie Beans

Congratulations Boogie Beans, you won the MoMA Modern Play House! Please go to my profile and send me an email with your mailing address. Thanks for playing everyone!

Petite Nouveau got hers yesterday and posted a great review with awesome photos, check it out and sign up for her give away ending Friday.

Thanks to everyone who has recently found and enjoyed my blog, and thanks to everyone who have been there along the way. I hope to have more giveaways in the future.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

KidKraft Designer Dollhouse

I have to send a HUGE Thank You to KidKraft for building a truly modern kids dollhouse. The KidKraft Designer Dollhouse is 33.54" x 13.58" x 45.66" and 39 lbs, 1:6 scale and perfect for Barbie. Darn it! If only it came in 1:12 then I'd really be jumping for joy, but at least I know what my daughter's first dollhouse will be.

I love the couch and Flos Arco Floor lamp, and the faux orange Arne Jacobsen "Egg" chairs. The kitchen furniture is clean lined but dull compared to the modern Hoppy style bar stools and Eero Saarinen Tulip Table & Chairs in the dining room. Besides the great modern bed and nightstand, the bedroom boasts a faux Eero Aarnio Bubble Chair. Too cool!

I love the spiral staircase and the ultra modern bathtub. The Designer Dollhouse scores 5 stars from reviews on Amazon. It takes about 1-2 hours to assemble, but people are surprised by the quality and think the pictures don't do it justice. I own a KidKraft garage, kitchen, train table and train set for my son, and I'd agree that KidKraft makes durable and quality products, and has great customer service. This will definitely be in my, er um, I mean my daughter's dollhouse collection. Price ranges from $102.54-$170 depending on where you shop.

(all images from