Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Paper Houses

After a somewhat leisurely week last week (boss out on vacation and my matters ground to a halt), work is back with a vengence. I'm getting slammed and late nights and early morning calls mean that I have little time for more than a wistful glance at the houses before I rush to work.

The tatami room from last week got me thinking about a paper model house I spied a while ago. Luckily, I didn't need to retrace my google steps, as I had sent the link to myself. I think you might have to be pretty handy with scissors and a glue stick, but they also look like good fun.

I also really dig the fish store, and the little bins of different fish and assorted seafood. It reminds me of Chinatown.

There are actually a fair number of paper model rooms and settings to download:

There's also a butcher shop, bakery, and cafe. The lot are available here. Caution, the instructions are all in Japanese. I haven't done a google translate on it yet, but I bet a thicker weight paper/cardstock would be preferable.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kaleidoscope Living Room in the House

So after months of stalking on ebay (and some judicious saving), I finally scored the Kaleidoscope House Jasper Morrison living room on ebay. I've been longing for a cushy white sectional sofa for a long while. How appropriate that my Kaleidoscope sofa arrived at the same time as my new real life sofa. I was terribly excited and wanted to make sure the first room setting I placed the couch into would be worthy.

What could possibly be more worthy than . . .

. . . a Kaleidoscope House?

Ok, I confess. That was attempting to be a bit of a fake out. The living room is great, but obviously the house itself is bigger news. Many many thanks to the incredible Modern MC for posting the sales listing on her blog.

So, after unpacking the pieces, I realized that there would be no dismantling of the Voila House, since the base of the Kaleidoscope is far too big for the table the Voila House is on. All three dollhouses stay, and our living room has turned into Dollhouse Central.

I don't have any pictures of the exterior as assembled yet, since, well, y'all know what it looks like and frankly, I was too exhausted after setting up the house that I could barely throw any furniture in there much less take pictures. Plus, yesterday evening, the house was directly on the floor (the other choice being our dining room table) and I was working myself into yoga contortions just to get furniture inside.

Putting together the house was a bit of a herculean task, as it was missing the instruction booklet. My parents didn't send me to college for nothing though, and after about two hours, I managed to piece the house together with only intermittent cursing (when I installed the middle vertical panel backwards) and minor injuries (the house suffered a couple of dings in transit and sent a wickedly sharp blue plexi splinter into my index finger - more cursing). I've got a cracked corner panel, which is sad, but maybe one of these days I'll find a replacement on ebay from a beat up house.

After Husband and I were done admiring, I threw a quick living room together in the Kaleidoscope House "great room." Honestly, I put four pieces of furniture in there and then collapsed into bed. I didn't get around to completing the room until this morning. It was inspired by one of the mockups of the Jericho House interiors.

Living room and kitchen sets are Bozart.
Eames lounge chair, ottoman and tulip chairs are Reac Japan.
Burl wood coffee table is Paris Renfroe Design Miniatures.
Vases are Bertie's Dollhouse Miniatures.
Side tables are good ole blocks from the art store.
Sideboards are Theo Klein. The shelving is from ebay.
The lucite dining table and console are By Barb.
Chair and art on the balcony are Lundby.
Accessories are Re-ment, Megahouse, Mighty World, DHE, Bertie's Miniatures, Wanju and ebay finds.
The art is "International Maritime" by Bob Knox.
And the Arco lamp is by Altera. heh.

As an added bonus, Moe finally has a place to park her Messerschmitt. It was previously double-parked on our windowsill.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Kawaii desu ne?

After my adventures in lamp crafting, I decided to take a mini-break. I'm liking the current set up of most of my rooms at the moment, and want to enjoy them for a little while longer. Perhaps more importantly, Lost was on last night, and I don't walk around distracted during that show. Also, I may be taking down the Voila House temporarily since the arrival of the new sofa necessitated a furniture rearrangement. Be sure, it (or something in its place) will be back soon.

On a semi-tangent, I'm on a work embargo today and am going to look for a replacement dollhouse table. The Voila House currently resides on a floor model side table that my father randomly bought for me at Home Depot. It doesn't really fit with the rest of our furinture - it has scroll work along the edges and legs, not to mention that the legs are a bit wobbly. Ideally, I'd like something with storage underneath, and on rolling casters . . . all the better to turn for the best light exposure, yes? What do you guys display your dollhouses on?

Back to the topic at hand, I decided to memorialize one of the first rooms I set up in the Voila House before it gets disassembled. It's not in any modern aesthetic, but I loved the furniture set (and it took such a supreme effort to locate it) that I've kept the room installed the whole time I've had the house up.

What swank home wouldn't be complete without a retreat for some meditation and relaxation? The Pinky girls have their tatami room. My first encounter with a Japanese tatami room was while visiting a Navy friend of Husband's in Japan. His one bedroom apartment in Yokosuka included an entire separate room, spread with tatami mats. He had an inflatable mattress for us set up in the living room, but both Husband and I preferred to sleep right on the super clean floor in the tatami room.

The kotatsu table is a table that has a heater underneath (in real life). The blanket traps the heat inside and warms your feet and legs in the winter as you are seated. This set, which includes the table, cushions, table settings, tatami mats and blankets, and two cabinets (Reina is sitting on one of them in pic below), is from Sylvanian Families. It was a special release in Japan to commemorate the 20th anniversary of SF. Re-ment also recently released a miniature kotatsu table set:

Looks pretty similar, right down to the bowl of tangerines. I purchased it, of course, but haven't opened it yet. I suspect, like the other Re-ment miniatures, that it may be scaled much too large for a 1:18 or 1:12 room setting. Like most other Sylvanian Families/Calico Critters furniture, the SF Japanese room set is closer to 1:18 scale. The SF set also comes with more table accessories, like cups, a teapot, a can of tea and even a bowl of little adorable rice crackers.
Japanese room set, including cabinets, tatami mat, blankets, kotatsu table, cushions, table settings, mini-bonsai and wall decor, is Sylvanian Families.
Shelving is from ebay (a search for Japanese dollhouse furniture will usually get you this and similar furniture, like here).
Other accessories are Petit Princess, Re-ment or Megahouse.

Reina and Moe, wearing their yukatas, caught in mid-gossip.

Hm. I could really go for some grilled squid on a stick right now.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

DIY - Castiglioni Arco Lamp

Another ebay auction I've kicked myself for missing is a miniature lamp reminiscent of Castiglioni's Arco lamp. I guess . . . I didn't know how much I wanted it until it was gone? Ha!

I realize that I'm actually now taking design cues from my parents. The house that we lived in from when I was 2 until 9 years old was the model home for the neighborhood, complete with full on 70's decor. In the living room, there was an upholstered wall panel, brown with yellow and white daisies - and a matching couch! When we moved, we left the wall panel (it was built in) and the couch (who could separate the set?). What did make the move to the new home was a repro Arco lamp. When I was young, I would even shimmy up the post and dangle from the overhanging arc.

Anyway, trip down memory lane completed, after some futile internet and ebay searches, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I had to get a bit creative with sourcing components. The hardest part was to find something that would work as the globe light portion. I looked for dollouse bowls, bead caps . . . and then one day while I was measuring some spices, it hit me: measuring spoons. Turns out, it is quite hard to find an online review for cheap measuring spoons that reads: "These measuring spoons suck and snapped right off the handle after I had them for two weeks" instead of "These measuring spoons are super sturdy and are a great purchase for the price!" On a recent trip to Target, I looked at cheap measuring spoons and ended up, in fact, with a melon baller.

Melon baller and memo clips, in their prior lives. Bonus: the melon baller had a hole pre-punched in the top, and I don't end up with multiple extra 1/4 and 1/2 teaspoon measures in my kitchen.

For the arc portion, after fussing around for way too long online trying to figure out wire gauges, I eyeballed a metal frame purse handle on my most recent trip to Lee's Art Shop and purchased it on a hunch.

The result:

Total cost, roughly $6 (the ebay auction went for over $15, plus shipping, I believe). Not too bad. I would have preferred a marble base like the original, and mine has a tendency to tip over on a whim unless affixed with sticky tac. I might have to work a little more on the weighting. Overall, though, I'm pretty pleased.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I can't figure out this HTML!

I spotted this white sofa on ebay long before I realized it was from AG Minis. The seller had it listed without the reversible cushions and for a terrific price (no mention of the AG Mini brand). And . . . I just plain dropped the ball and forgot about it when the auction was ending. Fast forward a month, and I scored the sofa, complete with cushions, as part of a larger AG Minis lot. Alas, when I got it in hand, it was larger than I expected and takes up half an entire room in the Voila House. Instead, I've been meaning to use it as a daybed and finally had a chance in the upstairs room of the Stockholm House.

I put this bedroom/study together last night while watching 24. I'm sure Husband gets annoyed when I can't sit still to watch a tv show, but rather dart back and forth through his field of view, ferrying furniture and Re-ment to the Stockholm House. To top it off, two of my friends rang for a girl-chat conference call midway through, and Husband gave up on finishing 24, retreating to the bedroom to watch Anthony Bourdain instead.


Sofa/Daybed is AG Minis.
Leather chaise lounger is Paris Renfroe Design Miniatures. The interlocking table is part of a trio of tables from ebay (which I've mentioned before here).
Desk is from a children's wooden furniture set that my in-laws sent me from Shanghai, sans box. I'm pretty sure it's Wanju.
Accessories are DHE, Lundby, Re-ment, Plan Toys, Voila and ebay finds.
Art is Warhol.

Reina's got the right idea - I wish I was still lounging at home today.

Peeking in at Sacchin telecommuting. I bet she's ebaying - that's what I would do if I telecommuted . . .

"I can't figure out this HTML!" she pouts.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pinky Pink Party

In honor of Valentine's Day, Arc had three of her singleton friends over for a Pink themed party, even though she herself forgot to wear pink (red - it's close enough!) On the menu, curried butternut squash soup, Fabio's winning roast chicken from Top Chef and a white chocolate raspberry gateau.

Table settings are from Mighty World, Re-ment and ebay.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Dinner

For one reason or another, Husband and I have no plans for Valentine's Day. We spent the day going to Target and Trader Joe's but otherwise contemplate nothing more romantic. I'm celebrating Valentine's Day by setting up a new dining room in the Voila House to match the new Cuisine de Léon (and planning to follow that up with a round of Rock Band drumming). Perhaps later I'll set up a dinner for the Pinky girls - although the Paris Renfroe table is a touch too tall for Maki. She looks like a wee toddler next to the table.

Dining table by Paris Renfroe.
Sideboard is Selecta.
Chairs are Reac Japan.
Lighting fixtures from Doll House Emporium.
Accessories are Re-ment, Bertie Pittman or other e-bay purchases.
The art is "Home for a Drifting Sailor" by Bob Knox. I first came across Knox's work on our fourth floor conference center at work, of all places, and love his paintings of mid-century architecture and interiors.

Cuisine de Léon (Professional Kitchen)

When I was setting it up, I didn't know this was going to be a kitchen fit for an assassin. But as I was rifling through my art clippings, I didn't feel like booting up the computer to look for pictures of food for the wall (Husband's suggestion). Instead, I ended up using this great Andrea Offermann print that was inspired by one of my favorite movies, The Professional (released as Léon in France).

Some detail shots:

This counter actually took the longest. After my cleaning up/organizing last weekend, it took about 10 minutes to find the three separate Re-ment sets for this cutting board in my box-o-Re-ment.

A bit off-scale, but I love these oil/vinegar (or soy sauce/rice wine vinegar in my home) containers.

Counter, sink, washing machine and microwave are Theo Klein.
The good-looking oven unit is from ELF Miniatures.
Shelf unit is Selecta.
Accessories are from Mighty World, Re-Ment, Lil Bratz and ebay.
"Léon" print by Andrea Offermann available for purchase in real life size at specler.

As I mentioned earlier, the Pinky girls are a bit on the small side for 1:12 scale. Arc is never going to reach that top shelf without a step stool. Um. Just like me in my own home.

Speaking of assassins: the other day when I was re-doing the bedroom in the Stockholm house, I glanced up at the roof terrace and was startled to find an intruder.

It seems Husband has been getting in on the dollhouse action as well. But is this masked man a mere party-crasher or a stealth asssailant?