Fresh Ideas for Collectible Dollhouses | Mirror Your Home’s Style
By Brian Simkins
Many dollhouse collectors are devoted to mimicking a particular style or time period. Others, however, prefer to present their collections as unique representations of their own imaginations. Fresh and new ideas for these types of collectors can be hard to come by. Finding the inspiration to demonstrate unique ideas in your dollhouse collection can become frustrating. One idea that will ensure your collection is unique is to use your own home, or parts of it, to fuel your imagination.
The most easily imitated features that you can replicate are colors. Everything from wall colors to flooring can be selected or altered. Fabric patterns and textiles can also be incorporated into your miniature furniture in ways that introduce the ambiance of your home right into the four walls of your collection. Some hobbyists are content to reproduce these features directly into their collections, while others choose to use the dollhouse as a palette for creating contrast with the surrounding décor. Others try to imitate a particular feeling or atmosphere, rather than trying to create an exact replication of space and design. A modern kitchen in a dollhouse will stand in stark contrast to a classic Victorian design, but the collection will be uniquely yours.
Furniture can be a big challenge if you have an ad hoc decorating scheme in your own home. While some period piece styles of furniture can be easy to find, there may be aspects of your house that are difficult to place. Keep your eyes open at fairs, shops, and online to find pieces that may compliment, or be the perfect fit within your collection. This may also prove to be the opportunity that you’ve been looking for to create your own pieces. A great way to enhance your own skills as an artisan is to try to reproduce common items that surround you and are readily available for reference. Why not start with your own furniture? Get online and find a workshop in your area. Take a class at your local fair. Research the tools that you’ll need in order to begin creating your own pieces and begin to build up your tool kit. If you are going to get serious about dollhouse collecting then this kit will quickly become one of your most prized possessions.
If color schemes, fabric, and furniture seem too obvious, but you’d still like to incorporate some of the character of your home into your collection, focus on some of the nuances that make your home unique. Are there special pieces of art that you’d like to display? Maybe a custom shelving display that you feel brings warmth or depth to your home could create the same feeling in the spaces that you are creating in your dollhouse collection. Pets are another way to include a touch of your home into your collection. Do you have a tabby cat that always curls up in front of the fireplace? Make this addition to your collection and you’ll find that your friends all make the connection immediately. This is a simple way to instill a little bit of personal character in your display, without creating an exact replica of every room in your house.
Don’t make the mistake of only looking around the inside of your house for inspiration. There are many exterior features of your home or even your property and landscaping that can be used to develop ideas or to make your dollhouse presentation different from anything else that you’ve seen displayed. Garden paths, trellised fences and even water features can be utilized as you dream, design and ultimately create the world that will encompass your dollhouse collection. Of course, the obvious things like exterior color patterns, contrasting trim pieces, and shutters can also be used.
Some collectors, who may live on an old homestead or estate, choose to use their dollhouse collection as a medium to show what the property may have looked like at another point in history. If you are interested in the historical character of your property, then draw on what you know about the time period when the place may have been thriving. An old mill, guest quarters, or any number of other features can allow you to show your collection in contrast to your current home in a "then and now" format.
Regardless of what portion of your home or property that you choose to draw on for inspiration, it is important to remember that you have the creative capacity already inside you to spin a miniature world into existence. The dollhouse itself is only the starting point for your collection. The first time you walked into your home, before any furniture had arrived or any carpet had been laid, you began to dream, to plan, and envision what your living space would ultimately look like. Tap into this same source of creative energy as you begin to plan your dollhouse display. Take the time to look at the blank canvas and to dream about what you want your collection to be. If you already have a collection in place, then take a few steps back, and examine what you have, and ponder some ways to make it uniquely yours. Let your personality come shining through in your display.
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