Friday, April 9, 2010

Modern (and Not So Modern) Dollhouses

I don't think I've ever been so pleased by a New York Times article in the whole of my life as I was by one that ran in yesterday's home section titled Modern Design, In Miniature, Is Growing. Two words: Modern dollhouses.

I attribute my interest in interiors to my own dollhouse that I meticulously arranged and rearranged while growing up. Mine was a multistory house with faux shag carpeting, a photo mural of a woods-in-fall scene covering the entire back wall of the master bedroom, and working lights that plugged into tiny sockets in the wall.

To Tony's unspoken yet palpable horror, it's still in my parents' attic just waiting to be cleaned out and brought back into use, and I just might do that after seeing Annina Gunter and her handcrafted miniatures profiled in the article. She is truly a master at her craft, so ooh and ahh with me over the realistic details in some of Annina's photos, will you?:

Above three photos are from the NYTimes slideshow

Below photos from Annina Gunter's Flickr stream

Amazing, right?! And while we're on the topic of dollhouses (unless I can convince Tony I need mine back, it might be awhile 'til we're on it again), I want to share pictures of the favorite dollhouse of my childhood and beyond, Queen Mary's:

Built from 1921 to 1924, the dollhouse is on a 1:12 scale and an incredible miniature replica of a working, post-WWI royal residence. It was built and outfitted by hundreds of craftspeople with every imaginable detail considered, including a plumbing system with running water, electric wiring and a working elevator, among myriad other things.

I visited the dollhouse often with my mom when we lived in England, and I still pore over my well-worn copy of the book Queen Mary's Doll's House by Mary Stewart-Wilson (from which these images by David Cripps are taken). You can also Google the dollhouse to find more photos.

Did you have a dollhouse? What was it like? What would you have in your dollhouse now?


Mallory said...

It's so funny that you posted this, because it's very topical as far as my life goes. Just yesterday I was visiting one of my friends who recently decided to get her old dollhouse out of storage & plop it down in her living room. She doesn't have children of her own, or really even know anyone with children. Anyway - her husband's reaction is much like what Tony's may be if you get yours out! hahaha. I fully support your getting it though - especially if you make miniature Chroma Lab furniture to put in it.

(& in regards to your email - I went to Windsor last time I was lucky enough to be in England, & I completely adored my day spent there)

Design Girl said...

My mom made me a GORGEOUS barbie house when I was little. There was even a separate set of guest towels for when Barbie had house guests! I just wish my cousins hadn't come and wrecked it :(

Chroma Lab said...

I'm so glad I'm not alone in my enjoyment of dollhouses.

Mallory, maybe mini Chroma furniture is just what I need to convince Tony! It's great to hear that you enjoyed Windsor when you went. I look forward to hearing about a new place you visited when you get back!

India, guest towels?! So awesome! But shoot, there was always some cousin or neighborhood kid without a sense of order and propriety who wrecked my stuff, too. Here's to being careful children.