See that superbly-styled kitchen above? Incredibly, it’s not lifted from the pages of a home design magazine, that’s actually a room in a dollhouse. In a thoroughly modern take on a childhood pastime, there’s a dollhouse revival underway. Much like the reinvention of colouring in for adults, comes this rather pleasant miniature renovation pastime for grown-ups. This article comes with a warning, however. You may find yourself unwittingly sucked into the teeny tiny vortex that is the modern dollhouse obsession – I certainly have been!
There’s nothing all that calming and serene about renovation on a large scale. But take it down to miniature size, and it become somewhat therapeutic, almost obsessive. Welcome to the world of dollhouse renovations. You’re about to be hooked!
Taking inspiration from modern-day design heroes like Mark Tuckey and Armadillo & Co, mums are hunting down vintage dollhouses and breathing new life into tired little rooms. They’re recreating some of the most iconic decorator pieces with incredible patience and attention to detail, in a bid to transform these little abodes into mini masterpieces. While the premise is that these dollhouses are for their children, there’s more than a little truth in these miniature masterpieces being more for mums than their kids.
When I stumbled upon this little world while scrolling Instagram, I soon found myself utterly immersed (and somewhat obsessed) with these scaled-down abodes. So much so that I hunted down my own secondhand dollhouse, and this gorgeous crafty obsession has taken over a corner of my home. But more about my little house later.
Most in the modern miniature world credit one lady with pioneering this dollhouse revival – Linzi Macdonald, of Little Linzi fame. This amazing Sydney mum stunningly renovated a dollhouse with a modern twist, and then auctioned it off – donating the proceeds to a New Zealand family in need.
Of course the obsession with dollhouses has never really waned, but this new wave is much less about stately Victorian-style mansions, and more about relaxed modern, boho and Australian farmhouse style. And there’s a great community of ladies who have begun small businesses creating miniature treasures to decorate these wow-worthy diminutive dwellings.
There’s the delightful Mostly Miniature, creating incredibly detailed tiny plants and decor items (above), Whimsy Woods crafts sublime soft furnishings (directly below) and That Little Nook somehow has the dexterity of a pixie and is able to make mini shelf decor with aplomb.
As I mentioned earlier, it is hard not to get hooked on these little homes, and so in the interests of research (that’s my excuse) I found myself hunting down a secondhand dollhouse, and spent weeks sanding, painting, laying tiny floorboards, gluing my fingers together, getting hot glue gun injuries – and below is the result. My boys have loved watching our dollhouse come together, and it’s become one of their favourite playthings.
I made mini versions of things I love, like the Pop & Scott Dreamer couch and pots, artwork from the likes of Jessie Breakwell, teeny books from favourite authors like Oliver Jeffers and Alison Lester, wooden wonders from Babee and Me and crockery from Robert Gordon. You might even spy a couple of nods to Roxy Marj.
If you’re keen to get swept into this very therapeutic little world, check out these amazing Instagram accounts:
- Julia Valka
- My Dollhouse Reno
- Nalles House
- Little Linzi
- Rubys Little House
- Semi Gloss Design
- Lindsays Dollhouse
And don’t say I didn’t warn you!