Apr 13, 2010

So you want a modern dollhouse

I have gotten several emails requests, so I thought this might be helpful for people interested in joining the mini world. Please send me links to other houses on the market, this is just a start. Here are some houses you may want to own (note, I haven't touched on Lundby, Brio & vintage options yet, more to come).

How to Get Started

My biggest piece of advice is to obtain a house first and then get the accessories that best fit the house. I started collecting accessories before I had a specific house to put them in, and now that I’m filling my Kaleidoscope House I’m realizing 80% isn’t what I want and is taking up space in boxes in the garage.

Step 1: Do some research. :D There are more and more great mini mod blogs out there but I recommend reading The Shopping Sherpa and MiniModern first. Most modern mini bloggers would credit one of them for inspiring them to start their own blog. The more you see, the more you’ll be able to pinpoint what you want to own.

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 or renovate a house? Do you want a built, but blank canvas to paint and wallpaper? Do you want shiny, new, already assembled house ready to drop furniture and accessories in? What kind of space do you have for mini storage and to display your house(s)?

Out of the box and ready to play

M112 Pods 1:12 scale ($225 - $485) by Paris Renfroe Design www.parisrenfroedesign.com

Villa Sibi 1:10 scale? ($750-$850) by Wolfgang Sirch and Christoph Bitzer

Emerson House 3/4 scale (pre-order $299) by brinca dada www.brincadada.com

MH1 1:12 scale (wait list $299) and MH2 (check website for details, you have to REALLY want this big boy as it is a beast to ship) by Wes Christensen mymodernmini.blogspot.com

Kits (not many modern, but there are a few contemporary)

Clearview 1:12 scale (kit £395) by MIAIM based in London www.miaim.co.uk
Ocean Drive 1:12 scale (kits start at $99 but not available in US) by Dolls House Emporium based in London
www.dolls house.com

Lake View 1:12 scale (kits start at $179.52) by Dolls House Emporium www.dollshouse.com

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

1:12 scale ($102 and up) by Greenleaf Dollhouses www.greenleafdollhouses.com

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

Summer House 1:12 scale ($121) by Celerity Miniature Homes www.celerityminiaturehomes.com

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

Malibu Beach House 1:12 scale (discontinued) by Dolls House Emporium www.dollshouse.com

Mackintosh House 1:12 scale (discontinued) by Dolls House Emporium www.dollshouse.com


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 an original for you.

Put an ad on craigslist for a custom modern dollhouse. You might be able to find an interested architect/woodcrafter/design student that could build you a one of kind within your budget.

Please send me websites of other builders, but here are a few that do custom one of a kind modern houses and roomboxes.

Mark Turpin www.markturpin.com

Peter Tucker www.roomboxes.com

Tom O'Dea www.virginiadollhouses.com

Gidon Bing Australian sculpture www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/yourgallery/artist_profile//81041. Scroll to the bottom of his gallery to see the dollhouses, you can email him through this site.

Henry Colbert He doesn’t have a website, and last I heard he has a 2 year plus wait list.

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.

Thanks to everyone who has checked out my blog after the mention in The New York Times, and thanks to all of my readers who have inspired me to keep blogging.

Coming soon, where to buy modern miniatures...


Petra said...

a big thank you and kudos for this informative, clearly arranged and good looking post!
I'm sure we just now witness a "miniature-movement" beginning!!!!
thanks again to you and callsmall and shopping-sherpa and modern mc and all the people I forgot, who structured the informations(because I am not so good in this).

Ana Anselmo said...

I don´t know if you can name me , I made contemporary furniture, hand-made design, unique pieces from scrath, and also all the necessary things to decorate a 12th scale contemporary dollhouse, including lights, paperwalls, fabrics (designed and printed by myself), decorative items,etc
My peices were feature in the UK DHW magazine (see in my blog miniaturesforever.blogspot.com)
Hugd from Portugal

My Realitty said...

Hi Great blog. I looked at all the dollhouses carefully and chose the MH1 and it is the best! It is easy to cart around the house wherever I want to play as it is made in pieces and is so modern it instantly makes any scene look hot.
It came quickly and seemed easy to ship... as an architect Wes is probably a perfectionist!I am wild about it. It seemed to me it had more flexiblilty than the Villa Sibi. It is also in 1:12 scale which some of the others like the (Brinca Dada) are not and that is better for American collectors). PS it's the right home for Minimodernistas gems! Thanks CM

My Realitty said...

Oh... PS if you are a beginner... maybe beware of kits as your first attempt... the best houses are ones you can play with right away, maybe a kit for AFTER you get your toes wet...mini land is littered with unfinished kits... I'm just saying... xoxo CM ;)

callsmall said...

THANK YOU for this. I get the question all the time and feel I don't answer consistently or completely. Now I can refer people directly to this great post. This is truly a gift of information!

AMCSviatko said...

Fabulous post. Thank you for an updated all rounder!

Mini Dork said...

Oese, CM, Callsmall & TSS - a huge Your Welcome all around. Many have blogged on specific houses on the market, but then I can never remember where I read ad saw what, so I wanted to try to put it all together in one post. I still have more to add, but am trying to find the time. :D

Ana Anselmo, thanks for your link. I will definitely include you on the modern furniture link. I just started printing fabrics as well (for pillows/rugs/bedspreads), but that's another post.

Ana Anselmo said...

Thank you, by the way i love your blog!
mini hugs from Portugal

Modern MC said...

This is a great post. Very informative. I get this question all the time and now I can just link them to here. Cool beans, baby!

Mini Dork said...

Thanks Ana!

Oh MC THANKS! I know I'm still missing the Arne Jacobsen and other non 1:12 scale houses, but I plan to keep updating this when I can. Its a start. :D

Barbara C said...

Thanks for sharing this great information. I found a beat up dollhouse (sort of a midcentury two-story house, probably built from a kit) at a rummage sale and spent last summer fixing it up. I really like the look of modern doll houses, so even though my house is currently fully decorated, I'm planning to re-do some of the rooms. I'm very happy with my 50s kitchen and bath, but my living room and bedrooms don't have a distinctive style. Your information will help me to do some redecorating.