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Miniature Collectibles: Miniature House and Furniture Collections

Updated on June 21, 2019
viryabo profile image

As a child, dollhouses fascinated me. There were more of them around in my days, built from scratch, made with fine workmanship.

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Miniature collectibles like miniature houses, furniture, and dolls are perhaps the most fascinating of all collector items that date back hundreds of years. Today, collectors of miniature homes filled with dolls and furniture who have invested in these collections, including those who craft them, can successfully sell these pieces for good sums of money.

Exhibitors of antique and vintage miniature homes in museums tell us how popular they are and how spellbound visitors are after viewing these beautiful works of art. There are dozens of miniature trade shows held throughout the year by miniature collectibles organizations and enthusiasts. There, crafts-persons and dealers display and sell miniatures.

From the Gothic to the Victorian, and cottage the contemporary, miniature house and furniture hobbyists are either purchasing them to add to their collections or crafting them as art pieces.

If you are a collector, you will agree that to make miniatures is no easy task. It is a painstaking work that requires patience, perseverance, a deft and nimble touch, and some creativity. You must also admire how anyone can craft such small and, in most cases, tiny parts.

Going beyond the house building process, because the craft involves making exact prototypes of humans, and ensuring the house looks realistic, the craftsman must be prepared to let his result be enchanting, captivating and delightful to admirers and collectors.

A miniature house filled with typical everyday furniture and furnishings.
A miniature house filled with typical everyday furniture and furnishings. | Source

Miniature House

A miniature house, popularly called a doll’s house, conforms with an architectural design which may be period architecture or contemporary house designs. They can be single, double, or a three-storey mini house. Some miniature collectible of homes also come as a single room set-up or a two-room design. Having an architectural style in mind is part of the essence of collecting miniature homes.

It is good to mention that a dollhouse may be a toy homemade in miniature that have, for last century, primarily been playthings for children, but their collection and crafting is a hobby for many adults.

Some collectors go only for the crafted miniature house. These types are usually closed, and you may not have a view of the interior. There are also some that come with just a few viewable rooms, each room designed with furnishings of different period styles.

Popular architectural designs of traditional miniature houses include:

  • Colonial designs
  • Victorian house designs
  • Art Deco
  • Colonial house styles
  • Edwardian styles
  • Mid-century designs
  • A-frame house designs

Some of the notable antique and vintage miniature houses are:

  • Stettheimer Dollhouse was constructed in New York City between 1916 and 1935
  • Queen Mary's Dolls' House designed for Queen Mary in 1924
  • Colleen Moore's Dollhouse called the Fairy Castle. It took seven years to construct
  • Thorne Rooms, consisting of numerous room boxes, each with a different theme
  • Astolat Dollhouse Castle was built between 1974 and 1987, appraised the most valuable dollhouse in the world
  • Titania's Palace is a miniature castle that was hand-built by Irish Cabinet Makers
  • Tara's Palace which contains twenty-two rooms and took ten years to build

A whole mini-house can take many years to build for obvious reasons and therefore are very expensive, but as it is easier to build a few rooms instead of a miniature house, less time is expended in building and they come less expensive depending on how well furnished it is.

There are miniature home kits you can purchase if you are not a collector but wish to build one of these miniatures, perhaps as a personal showpiece for your home, for a project, or even as a business venture.

Not many miniature fans like traditional style miniature houses though. More people who are becoming die-hard lovers of this craft will rather go for modern styles with their clean lines and sleek interiors. These mini-modernists are unlike many dollhouse hobbyists, who favour the more intricate and ornate Edwardian, Victorian, and Tudor styles.

An increasing number of miniatures manufacturers are producing tiny dolls houses, furniture, and furnishings for people who wish to create fantasy homes that would be too impractical or expensive to own as physical homes; a chance to recreate their dream house and display the piece of art in their home.

A miniature home display requires ample space, preferably an area set away from the walls to ensure a good view of the house from all its sides but for individual rooms like a miniature living or dining room, or a bedroom, a smaller display area will suffice. It can be displayed against a wall because it only needs to be viewed from the front. It can be displayed on a floating wall shelf that has been installed specifically for the craft display.

A collector's item - A Victorian style miniature house with details typical of the 19th century home of the wealthy.
A collector's item - A Victorian style miniature house with details typical of the 19th century home of the wealthy. | Source
A modern interior of a miniature dollhouse with well crafted furniture and furnishings
A modern interior of a miniature dollhouse with well crafted furniture and furnishings

Miniature Furniture

People’s impression of miniature furniture and furnishings is the rich and opulent traditional house styles with their Victorian and Edwardian era interior design and decoration comes to mind. They imagine interiors that roomy, ornate, and plush with high ceilings, wood panelling, and heavy elaborate furniture.

There are various types of miniature furniture for mini-houses and their purposes differ. There is small play furniture that is not as tiny as miniatures and serves as toys children can play with at home or at nursery schools. These types are basically little tables, chairs, and stools, about half size real furniture. Mini-furniture which are essentially tiny objects are made for miniature houses of adults and collectors.

Then there is furniture for different social stratum based on the type of mini-house design they collect. For example, a miniature farmhouse will have the barest essentials of furniture and furnishings while a sleek modern house can be fashioned after an abode for the rich and have streamlined sofas, Le Corbusier chairs, leather loungers, glass tables, rugs, and ’expensive’ wall art.

Some of the popular interiors loved by modern collectors are more eclectic by nature and have miniature furniture and decorations that look comfortable and lived-in look.

Every mini-house, its occupants, and its furniture should tell a story of its own.

A miniature Victorian style nursery interior,  Notice the furniture, little baby sitting on a high-chair, a crib, and a rocking horse.
A miniature Victorian style nursery interior, Notice the furniture, little baby sitting on a high-chair, a crib, and a rocking horse. | Source

Building a Miniature House? Here are Tips for Beginners

If you want to start collecting miniatures houses, you can have them custom made to your own requirements or purchase them from toy and miniatures stores at internet auction sites or from online toy sellers. As well as stores like Mini Modernista and Brinca Dada.

  1. If you want to build a furnished one, you can begin by building an individual room and furnish it to tell its story. If you like a traditional setting, go for the impressive classics like a Victorian parlour or a countryside home kitchen.
  2. To make your house lived-in, add household occupants (miniature dolls) that fit in perfectly with your theme. Dress them up appropriately and place them in the room, for example, add a parlour maid serving tea to the lady of the house.
  3. Your mini-home must be as detailed as is possible and everything within it must be the right scale and proportions.
  4. If you are unsure on how to start out, you can get a beginner‘s guide. If you are not a skilled craftsperson, trying to build a miniature house with furniture without a guide will become a trial and error approach.

It is good to know that crafting miniature dollhouses for the first time can test your patience so if you don’t wish to encumber yourself with the challenging task, start off simple and create your fantasy house.

A two-room miniature house with simple furniture and furnishings. A beginner can start off as simple as this then build up on it as he or she becomes more skillful.
A two-room miniature house with simple furniture and furnishings. A beginner can start off as simple as this then build up on it as he or she becomes more skillful.

CAN YOU BE INSPIRED TO CREATE AND BUILD MINIATURE COLLECTIBLES

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© 2010 viryabo

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    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR

      viryabo 

      7 years ago

      Hi Gary, to make a miniature house like that is simpler than it looks.

      There are books that can guide you on how to build both modern and traditional miniature homes. You will benefit much from reading such.

      Basically, it all boils down to the type of finishes you use, in this case white panels for the walls, predominantly white furniture and furnishings with modern pieces, which you can build or purchase.

      The monochromatic scheme also adds much to making it look very modern.

      This is a wonderful gift idea for a loved one, and a unique one too.

      Thanks for the visit Gary, best of luck, and best wishes for a great future for the both of you.

      GodBless

    • profile image

      Gary Yeung 

      7 years ago

      I'm planning to make a miniature house with miniature furniture for proposing to my girl friend. Can I know more details on how to make one like in the first photo?

    • profile image

      c seeds 

      7 years ago

      check out four generation miniature

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR

      viryabo 

      7 years ago

      Thank you for your very nice comments Alocsin. And thank you for the positive ratings.

      Blessings

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR

      viryabo 

      7 years ago

      Miniature building craft is a wonderful art and you are so lucky to have had the opportunity of being around your dad whilst be was crafting such beauty.

      It is so good that you are passing on the love and interest to your children, passing on a passion their grandfather had.

      Thank you for the visit L.I.P. and for finding time to leave such beautiful comments.

      GodBless

    • profile image

      Lady_in_Pants 

      7 years ago

      Wow, so beautiful and awe-inspiring!

      I've been interested in doll-houses and miniatures since I was about 5 and watched my dad make his furniture for millionaires first in 1/3 scale before he took on the final product. Unfortunately he never let me keep any of the 1/3 scales, and I never got to own a doll house, but I drew many many different designs of tiny houses, their insides and what should go where etc...

      Now I have kids of my own and am in the process of making my daughter her own doll-house with furniture etc... It is a challenging endeavor, but having some skill in furniture making myself, and in sewing and embroidery and art, I think I can do it.

      When I finish my daughter's doll house, I hope to make my own - hopefully before I'm 30.

      Cheers and thanks for this wonderful post!

      :)

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      7 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Some of these are beautiful. Unfortunately, I already have enough hobbies without getting into this one too. Voting this Up and Beautiful though.

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR

      viryabo 

      9 years ago

      So so good to see you G. How's it going?

      Thanks for visiting and your (always) nice comments.

      I know you will enjoy this craft and your daughter will find it awesome and very interesting building with you this unique form of craftworks.

      GodBless you richly.

    • GPAGE profile image

      GPAGE 

      9 years ago from California

      viryabo.....VERY cool!!!....all the different styles and ideas......thank you for this wonderful hub! I'm hoping to do something like this with my little girl one day as a hobby to do together.....it would be really fun! Best, G

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR

      viryabo 

      9 years ago

      Im glad you found a few useful tips here prasetio, and im glad you enjoyed this hub.

      Thank you so much for your visit and your nice comments AND for the UP rating.

      Cheers my friend.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 

      9 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I can't say anything. this hub is amazing. Thanks for showing me those miniature. Only talented person and have interesting with kind of miniature can make this beautiful things. You also give us useful tips here.

      PS: If you din't come to my hub and not telling me that you have collective hub about miniature. Maybe I don't know that you have beautiful hub about miniature.

      Good work Viryabo. I rate this UP! Thanks

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