Friday, 30 September 2011

Hello Dollies Documentary

A few years ago I remember watching a documentary on Channel 4 called Hello Dollies about people who were dollshouse enthusiasts. They had an amateur dollshouse builder, who had just purchased a house, and they followed as she, and more reluctantly, her partner built the house from a kit, Mulvany and Rogers were on it too and the lovely Caroline Hamilton too! Last night I found in on You Tube via Channel 4OD. I haven't worked out how to add videos to my blog yet, but I think that the link attached should work, if not just search you tube for Hollo Dollies (this might not work outside UK, sorry guys!)

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Furniture Kits

As you may have noticed  from my bedroom picture below, and from pictures of other rooms in my house, I am a big fan of wooden furniture kits for my dollshouse. I would love to be able to purchase more of the beautiful craftsman made pieces I see at Kensington and Birmingham, and have stretched myself to buy some of them too, but my budget is restricted, and I find furniture kits are a great way of getting good pieces of furniture into my dollshouse at a price I can more easily afford. The first kits I tried were white wood models from Hobby's. they have some unusual styles, and many of 18th century design. I found them fairly easy to put together, but have never been entirely happy with the wood stain that you have to use, and have learnt that it pays to stain the pieces BEFORE doing any gluing, or any residue glue will not allow the wood stain to penetrate into the wood. On the plus side, they don't require much in the way of woodworking skill, just a little sanding (not too much though!) and patience. Mini Mundus also make white wood kits, and the pictures below are of their pieces (not ones I have done!)

Robert Longstaff produces miniature furniture kits. These are made from real mahogany so save having to do any wood staining and look more authentic when completed. The only drawback to Robert's kits is that , as he uses a laser cutter, the wood is often covered in thick soot, that has to be sanded off before you can assemble the pieces, and that can be quite a task, especially on each leg of six dining chairs! Some examples of this kits are pictured below, for more information visit

Another maker of fine wooden furniture kits is McQueenie Miniatures. Again made from real mahogany, and with some nicely turned or carved details on many pieces, these are the easiest to finish and look great. They come complete with all the handles, hinges, finials, glass, mirrors etc required too! they require a minimum of sanding and fit together very well. some examples are pictured below. for more info see

And so to bed!

This is the main bedroom in my house. I didn't really have a complete plan of what I wanted to do with this room when I started, I just liked the wallpaper when I saw it. It has a slightly chinoiserie meets chintz feeling to it! I am pleased with how this room is progressing. Most of the furniture is made from wooden kits by McQueenie miniatures (four poster, half-tester bed, dressing table and dressing table mirror, stool and side table) the chest of drawers is by Dovetail miniatures. The Chippendale style birdcage mirror above the fireplace is by Lucy Askew, and I think works really well in this room. The exotic birds on the mirror led me to purchase the birds of paradise figurines (by Veronique Cornish) on the mantle shelf, and I think that the room is now coming together. You may notice the lack of bed covers/curtains etc, I have purchased some nice silk dupion from John Lewis, in a buttermilk shade, but just haven't been brave enough to get the needle and thread out again yet! I keep hoping some little elves might pop in one night and do them for me!! lol!

For more details about the furniture kits see:

More Information about Georgian Libraries

The library above is in the Georgian House in Bristol. The 18th century was the 'Age of Enlightenment' and  any gentleman would be keen to show how well educated and 'enlightened' he was. The library was the perfect place for this to happen. The library as a room in its own right began in the 18th century country houses of the wealthy. Books were still quite expensive at that time, and would usually be beautifully bound in leather with gold embossing. Furniture builders began to design new pieces of furniture to house a gentleman's growing number of books - the book case was born! glass doors kept the books clean, and would often have locks to keep them safe too. But the library wasn't just for housing books, a gentleman would also keep maps (also expensive) and at least one globe, if not a pair, along with telescopes and microscopes. A gentleman was also expected to know about architecture (classical orders etc in keeping with the tastes of the age!) and copies of works by Vitruvius and Palladio would almost certainly have been amongst the books on the shelves, along with a copy of Vitruvius Britannicus by Colen Campbell. They my well have kept architectural plans and drawings on display in the library too. Other paintings and drawings would have been stored or displayed in the library. Display cases may have been used to show off curios or natural wonders collected on the gentleman's travels too. The library might also have housed games and other pastimes, chess boards for example and in the very grandest houses a billiard table, which was growing in popularity in the mid 18th century, but a billiard table would have been purchased at an astronomical price, like having a Ferrari parked in your house!! (it wasn't until later in the 19th century that the billiard table got a room of its own!).

This is a picture of the English Library in the Thorne Room collection

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Library

The library is in the basement of the Georgian house, and is actually one of the largest rooms in the house. I chose a warm earthy red for this room from Farrow and Ball. The library table was made by Dovetail miniatures. The fireplace and mirror above are both by Lucy Askew. As you can see I have started to fill the book shelves, but have long way to go! Some of the books are beautifully bound reproductions with hand stitched pages from Ellie De Lacy and I would really encourage you to take a look at her work at the next big dolls house exhibition, or take a look at her website.

For further details see:

the Georgian Parlour

This is the parlour of my Georgian house. Parlours were for general every day use, and were usually found on the ground floor of Georgian houses. Parlours were usually furnished in a less extravagant way to the drawing rooms, as they would rarely have been used to entertain important visitors. I have set the parlour up as if a game of cards is being played; or perhaps has just finished! I made the drapes around the windows myself, and as a first attempt at sewing anything other than a shirt button, I think they look OK.

More from the Thorne Room Collection

More great pictures from the Thorne Collection. I would love to own just a few pieces of furniture from any of these rooms! The quality and attention to detail really shows!

The Thorne Room Collection

The following pictures are of room boxes, in 1-12th scale, created by master craftsmen for Mrs James Ward Thorne of Chicago USA. The detail and workmanship is exquisite in all the room sets, and I would love to be able to achieve even just a little of the quality of these room sets in my own work! The room boxes are, I believe, available to view at the Art Institute of Chicago. They represent interiors from Europe and America dating between the late 13th century to 1930's. Please enjoy looking at these pictures as much as I have!