It All Starts Here

Sometimes our ideas flow from an existing kit to bash, a house style to scratch (aka custom) build, or from an interesting doll who needs a place to live. Our settings are always modern-day (ca. 2001 when we started this hobby). We try to create things that will make people smile and feel good.

We think that if we had to build the same house twice, we literally could not do it! Fortunately, we have very unique little people who have definite opinions and so far, no one has wanted a house “like so-and-so” has.

We work as a family unit: my wonderful husband, my beautiful sister, and I. We don't always agree as to the direction of the build, but I think that we end up with a better dollhouse because of all our grumblings -- and we do have a lot of fun!

The Purpose of this Blog

We needed a place for all we wanted to say about the background of the build and the nuts and bolts of the design and build process. Thus this blog.

All our dolls' homes have families living in them and a story is built around their personalities and lifestyles. This story is an integral part of our building process. We would like to share these stories -- actually, the little people insist upon it!

Many of our houses are located in Fredericksburg, Virginia because that is my sister's favorite place.

Also, we have started a Rouges' Gallery with photos of our little people and information about the dolls.

If you would like to start with the dollhouse that "started it all", it is the Original Rowbottom Manse; if you would like to see the scratch-built Georgian that our first build gave us the confidence (or fool-hardiness) to do, it is Sunnybrook Farm.

Let the stories begin!

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Importance of Being Eclectic

When I start to think about a house to build, I go to my reference guide: McAlister’s Field Guide to American Houses. This book is invaluable for style types, details, and nuances. The examples are given in drawings, pictures, and discussions. There I learned that there was a style qualifier: eclectic. Now, they use as a stricter guideline than I do for La Malcontenta; I use it as way to add other interesting, but harmonious, “things” to the style when the style must allow the use of things that I can get, or things I simply want to use. It allows me, for one reason or another, not to be a purist.

I noticed recently that when I started La Malcontenta, I referred to the style as “Spanish-Eclectic Art Deco” but before I was finished it became “Art Deco Spanish Eclectic”. I started with many “purist” ideas for the house. Unfortunately, as I looked to buy items—many were not available, were very expensive, or I simply didn’t like them; as I thought about making items—I realized that I didn’t have the ability and, or the wherewithal to find or buy the basic materials. I did find some Bespaq Art Deco furniture, some of which I liked and some of which I didn’t.

As I was pondering all of this, a miniaturist friend of mine said: “Art Deco … Spanish ... go for 1930’s Hollywood glitz, and make it whatever you want”. This was the turning point since I could not get all the Art Deco nor Spanish that I wanted—I could not be a purist. So the family and I decided to build and have a good time with it. Anything we liked that wasn’t “pure” became “eclectic”, et voila, we had “style”.

I guess that without actually thinking about it, I always preferred to work this way. It didn’t take me long to start bashing dollhouse kits and to do my own designs and scratch building. I love factual representations and admire and respect all the attention to detail and work that goes into them. I read The Pistner House and anything by Mulvany & Rogers (amongst others) over and over and drool over every authentic detail.

Being eclectic is fun—to me it is great freedom and lots of fresh air. So I no longer worry if, as I build, my design changes, I buy different furniture, change the colors—heck I just add Eclectic to the style name and keep going! And, besides, I build for the little people of 2001, and their homes, like mine (and as in many homes in the past) are a blend of things past and present.

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