Hello and happy Thursday! I started a new series, The Style File a few weeks back (click here if you missed the first) where I will feature a host of assorted taste makers of all different varieties. Today’s post is all about the person behind most exquisite dollhouses I have honestly ever seen. Amy of Maison Decor is the brains and talent behind them. I have had the pleasure of meeting Amy and she is as sweet and down to earth as she is talented. I was immediately smitten when I saw when she first started delving into the world of dollhouses. But then she went “next level” with her French maisonette version. And there has been no stopping her since! ____________________________ Forewarning- looking at these pictures will make you want to move right in, admittedly my mind started racing and I found myself daydreaming about living in one of these incredible creations. Her attention to detail is nothing less than perfection and this is clearly a labor of love. I was so happy I had the chance to ask Amy a few questions about just what goes into the world of dollhouse making, since I know nothing about it (except that I want to move into one)! I think you will really enjoy this and will most certainly be able to appreciate the tremendous about of tedious work and attention to detail that goes into making such an extraordinary work of art. Here is Amy below working on one of her amazing detailed elements, it all starts from scratch believe it or not! Let’s get started- So, Amazing Amy how did you get started building the ultimate dream doll house? Let me begin by saying I was never a dollhouse person. Miniatures never came into my mind until last year when I noticed Rachel Ashwell ( famed Shabby Chic entrepreneur) was having her antiques recreated into miniatures for dollhouse enthusiasts. These enchanting little copies caught my attention. Months later while in a home furnishings consignment shop, I noticed a big green dollhouse sitting on a shelf, but I left it behind. The next time I visited, it was still there and I thought again of Rachel’s unique miniatures and said to myself, why not create a French dollhouse? That was the beginning of my miniature journey. I would imagine this is very much a niche market, and would love to know how one gets the word out about what you are doing? Since I had zero experience or “friends” in the miniature hobby world, I was unaware that so many people actually make and decorate dollhouses. It is like a secret club out there! They have conventions all over the world! I was truly shocked as I uncovered an entire world of miniature fanatics with skills from simple to expert. People are passionate about this hobby, and many have multiple dollhouses. I started sharing pics of my progress on Instagram and using hashtags #frenchdollhouse #dollhousedecor etc., so people found me and I them. There are many talented miniaturists who have blogs, so now there is a Miniature blog roll on my blog, Maison Decor, to highlight these miniaturists. Most people don’t see this level on detail in their “real house” How long does it take to from conception to the finishing touches, create an average dollhouse? Creating a dollhouse from scratch, means you would be building the structure first, either from a kit or from raw materials. Then the decorating comes after the build. I felt lucky to find a well made dollhouse that someone had built from scratch, but the interior had never been touched. It was just waiting to be decorated, which is the best part! From my experience, it will take about a year to finish my dollhouse. Lots of things need to be done with the lighting, flooring, wall coverings, furniture and accessories. In the beginning when I became so excited I would spend one entire day on the weekend working on the house and a few hours here and there during the week. Now my pace is less furious as it is coming towards completion. Apparently someone else likes the idea of moving in as well:) Not all doll houses are created equally (clearly the case with yours) so what makes yours different than others? Most people have a preconceived notion, like I did, about what a regular dollhouse looks like. When I began, my impression was that dollhouses were kind of junky, when I pictured the houses that parents might make for their kids. You have seen them! Stuffed with too much furniture, walls and floors covered in different patterns, they were busy and unappealing. My initial thought after impulsively buying this dollhouse was to create a house that would be less cluttered with items and patterns, and that would have a defined, realistic and beautiful French decor style. One thing that personally drives me crazy is the overuse of wallpaper and different types of flooring side by side! I have tried to be judicial in what is added, but also to add enough to make it look lived in.This is why I think I am getting a good response from “regular” people, as they haven’t seen dollhouse decorating like this. (“Regular” people defined as those not being exposed to the miniature universe, lol! I was formerly a “regular” person.) I mean hello look at those wood floors, the door casings, the rug and that kitchen tile floor, feels like I am entering a beautiful old Provencal country home! I could see myself cooking in this kitchen! Can you believe the details right down to the cooking utensils:) Please tell me you are never too old for a doll house:) What is the average age for a doll house connoisseur? Many people think that dollhouses are made for children, but this is actually a luxury niche hobby, mostly enjoyed by older women. Last month, the Sunday NY Times ran a great article dispelling the notion that dollhouses are toys. This hobby has roots from the 17th century aristocratic society, where brides would receive beautiful empty dollhouses as wedding gifts from their husbands. Next, they would hire miniature craftsmen to build furniture and things to fill the dollhouse, very much a status symbol displaying their wealth. This was depicted last year on PBS’s show The Miniaturist. Nowadays, most of my fellow miniaturists are generally closing in on the retirement and empty nest age. They have more time to devote to this hobby, and money to spend. It can get pretty expensive outfitting a dollhouse! I had spent a lot of time hunting down French style miniatures online in Etsy shops and eBay to find things priced in my budget. Remembering that I only get to have one master bed or one dining room table, so I would wait to buy what I would make me happy. The stuff dreams are made of! I want that dressing table and vanity and those scrumptious pink chinoiserie walls have me dreaming:) What would your dream doll house look like? A French country house with painted furniture from armoires to pianos and chandeliers. A little bit of a rustic and luxe mix with pieces recreated in miniature from my real life home. A big part of the fun of dollhouse decorating is dreaming up what you want to create. What you would love to live in and adding things you know you could never afford in real life. It makes this journey a lot of fun and quite satisfying as it slowly comes together. For example in my French dollhouse kitchen, I recreated a miniature bakers rack that I bought at a Martha Stewart auction and filled with copper in my real house. What I never had (and always wanted for my kitchen) was a fancy European cooker and hood. I made it from paper and wood scraps and jewelry parts and its my favorite thing in my tiny kitchen. Building miniatures has been so much fun! Incredible attention to detail! A kitchen any cook would be proud to cook in! What gave you the idea besides the fact that you are obviously gifted creatively? I was inspired by the miniature furniture I saw Rachel Ashwell doing, based on her real pieces. That made me realize that I could do a dollhouse and not have to fill it with “regular” dollhouse stuff. I use a lot of my real life skills with decorative painting to reimagine pieces on this diminutive scale. The creative part of this hobby is what is so appealing! That chair- simply incredible! The details right down to the fabulous “marble” countertops do not cease to amaze Is there such a thing as doll house competitions? If so, without even seeing the others, you would win hands down. But seriously, are there and would you enter? This was an interesting question, and I had no idea if there were competitions. It turns out that yes, there are competitions, from the Iowa State Fair to contests sponsored by miniature supply companies. However this wouldn’t be for me. I can’t see how something so unique can be judged against something else, also unique. A French Chateau vs a Wilderness Lodge? It would be a subjective judgement. I probably wouldn’t be happy if I thought people didn’t “get” my style or appreciate my efforts. I get lots of encouragement when I share bits of it on my Instagram page and blog, and that is enough for me! _________________________________________ Have you ever! Aren’t these simply amazing (hence my name Amazing Amy). I am not sure if you are like me, but when I look at these, I find myself daydreaming about moving in and never leaving! I remember when I would go and see big Christmas Village displays at a local shop, I would stand gaze WAY longer than the average person as I found myself lost in a fairy tale imagining living in “those times”. These dollhouses affect me the same exact way but with a bit more frou frou and sophistication! The attention to detail is awe inspiring and makes me want to go spruce up my own house:) Amy, thank you for letting us come into your incredible world of dollhouse making and showing us all what it looks like to take it to the “next level”. Completely wowed by these works of art. If anyone wants to reach out to Amy to talk about dollhouses or possibly creating a custom one of their very own, you can reach her via her Instagram or blog. Click here for her Instagram Click and here for her blog Thanks as always for stopping, hope you enjoyed this as much as I did putting it together and thank you Amy! Until next time………..