Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Miniature homes

They are minuscule, incredibly cute and irresistible: yes, we are talking about dollhouses. They are like magnets for people of all ages; when on exhibit, you will always see people standing in front of them for several minutes just marveling at the details of the furniture, and decoration.

During the seventeenth century, dollhouses were superb creations and were commissioned by wealthy collectors. Two centuries later, once they went out of fashion is when they became available for children as a toy. In the beginning of the 20th century, dollhouses started to be popular again among adults and right now, they are mainly considered an adult hobby. They can be handmade or commercially made. Furniture can be bought. Some collectors make by hand the house’s furniture and decoration themselves. Some will portray a Victorian house but others will have a more modern d├ęcor. Their furniture is usually made to a scale of 2/3 inches or one inch, depending if the dollhouse is intended for children or adult collectors.

The idea of a dollhouse is to make you feel that there is somebody actually leaving in the house. If the interior of the house is too tidy, it would look like a showroom and not like an inhabited house.

Austin Public Library has a dollhouse in permanent exhibit: Wisteria Chateau a very elaborate house made by Marie Anne Osborne, who donated this house to the library for the community to enjoy.

If you are wondering how to build a dollhouse or its furniture, the Austin Public Library has a lot of different books that can help you on your journey. Here are some examples:

The beaded dollhouse : miniature furniture and accessories made with beads

Dolls' house : inspirations

Decorate a doll's house : authentic period styles from 1630 to the present day

Antique & collectible dollhouses and their furnishings

Thirties & forties in 1/12 scale

The dolls' house wedding book

Victorian dolls' house projects: a day in the life

Dollhouse decor: creating soft furnishings in 1/12 scale

Complete Doll’s House Book

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