Over-the-Top Modern Dollhouses
Dollhouses Are All Grown Up! Play with Design in These Fab Miniatures
Why is everything cuter when it's miniature? It's true of kids, animals, food, and yes, even houses. Dollhouses aren't just for kids anymore, and they have come a long, long way from the dollhouses of my youth (although nothing compares to the dollhouses my mother made by hand for me and my sister). Dollhouses today come with solar panels, LED lighting, stainless steel kitchens, glass railings, rooftop pools, and furniture that costs more than my coffee table. Even the truly kid-friendly modern dollhouses are architectural concoctions constructed with eco-friendly materials. Sound ridiculous? Yes, $10 for a doll-sized cheese board might be a little much, but after browsing these products, it's easy to see how this little miniature world can quickly become an obsession.
This little dollhouse is probably put together better than my ancient apartment. Newly listed, the Emerson House is described as the perfect home for the modern family … of dolls. This mini-mansion has six rooms, including a living room, kitchen, library/office, master bedroom, bathroom, and additional bedroom. It also includes mitered-glass corners, two fireplaces, sliding glass doors, solar panels for the lighting, recessed LED lights, and only non-toxic and lead-free wood stains and paints. Whew! Was I right? How many of those things can you say about your home?
At this level of craftsmanship (and for the price!) this is hardly a child's toy. This gorgeous dollhouse is a true copy (1:16 ratio) of Arne Jacobsen's own villa in Charlottenlund, Denmark, which was built in 1929. Place this beauty in a spot where it can be admired and discussed, and fill it with miniature versions of Jacobsen's classic furniture designs.
The Sirch Sibis Villa Doll house is an exercise in simplicity. Made of waxed plywood birch and plexiglass doors, it's a dollhouse you'd be proud to have lying around the living room. I love how it's meant to be a villa — couldn't you imagine your little doll friends living in this villa on the beach and sunning themselves on the front steps?
Designed by dollhouse visionary (believe me, you won't laugh at this term after you see his site) Paris Renfroe, the M112 Pod series is a 1:12 scale model of an actual shipping container, that now stands as a single "pod" to be filled with fantastic dollhouse furniture. You can buy a single unit or several to stack together for a multi-room and multi-floor home.
The ultimate Barbie and Ken Modern Malibu beach house, the Ocean Drive Dollhouse is a multi-storied retro styled marvel. Complete with a roof deck, patio, and several rooms to outfit, this model will keep you and your little one occupied for quite some time.
I'm a big fan of toys that allow room for imagination. This sturdy (and collapsible for storage) birch plywood dollhouse is built to last. It has plenty of space and rooms for children to go crazy with their dolls, and a fantastic secret chamber hidden in the roof. Other than that, there's not much else to it. Why should there be? Encourage the kids to let their imagination roam free.
When TDO Architecture was asked to redesign the concept of a dollhouse for Wallpaper magazine, the result was the Clementine House. A design that truly takes into consideration what a functional dollhouse could be, this translucent plaything becomes a slim and über-modern piece of furniture when closed.
This fun and colorful Chalet Dollhouse is the perfect kid-friendly dollhouse — cute and meant to be played with. The model includes two to three units that can be rearranged in several different ways. It's definitely a gender neutral toy too, which makes it great for a family with brothers and sisters. The dollhouse comes with five sets of furniture, is made from a natural, chemical-free rubber wood, and is finished in non-toxic paints.
This re-imagined townhouse for dolls its something of a mini-architectural feat. Its use of space and ability to open up invites the owner in to play. This swanky toy has a two-story living room, elevator and rooftop pool. LED lighting is solar powered, and the entire construction is made out of CARB-certified woods and non-toxic, lead-free paints and stains. It won't be available until the holiday season, 2011, so you'll have to wait and ask Santa.
The Bamboo Sunshine House is a colorful and eco-friendly dollhouse made for child's play. A far cry from the Polly Pocket and Barbie Dreamhouses of my childhood, this dollhouse combines a fun and contemporary design with eco-friendly birch plywood and bamboo. As if that wasn't enough, the house has a fully functional solar panel to recharge the batteries that operate the LED lights.
See some products to outfit a mini modern home next:
It's easy to see how people can get addicted to collecting these miniature chairs. The Vitra Design Museum has an impressive online collection of mid-century modern furniture — at a smaller size. The La Chaise, by Charles and Ray Eames, is built just like its larger counterpart. The plastic seat is left un-treated, and the base is made of five angled metal rods inserted into a cross-shaped wooden structure.
While you can't enjoy it quite as much as an original, the beauty of these miniature chairs is you can actually own one (or more than one). This mini model of the Johnson Wax Chair reflect the lines of a famous building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. That is, the S.C. Johnson & Son Company Administration Building in Racine, Wisconsin.
No, this is not a hotel room. Or a chic bathroom in some swanky modern apartment. Take a closer look ... this dual vanity set is only 7 inches high. That's right. It's built for a dollhouse. It doesn't skimp on style or quality, though. The back wall of this unit is finished in a gray plaster and includes dual Kohler-style white sinks made of enameled wood, stainless faucets, mirrors, Cocobolo wood vanity, towel bars, lower aluminum shelf, and privacy panels. When can I move in?
These mini cheese and cutting boards are honestly better made than anything I currently have in my kitchen. (Okay, they're not just mini. They're doll-size. This is an important distinction — don't buy these for your kitchen.) Hand-crafted by designer Aaron Taylor of solid maple and walnut woods, this set is shockingly beautiful for something so small. Just the thing for your little dolls to cut and serve their brie on.
Not only is this little orange lamp adorable, it's necessary if your doll is going to get any work done in the evening. In all seriousness, this is an impeccable, handmade model of a design classic. The arm is moveable, and it can be connected to any 12-volt lighting system to become fully functional!
Ideabook updated on June 16, 2011.
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