A Doll's House

From 11th November 2013, 20 of the world's best architects and designers are presenting their version of a dolls' house in an exhibition and auction at Bonhams in aid of KIDS. Inspired by the dolls' house that Edwin Lutyens designed for The British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1922 – using a very traditional children's toy to display the very best of modern British architecture, craftsmanship, art and interior design – Cathedral Group has asked 20 contemporary architects and designers, in collaboration with artists and other creatives, to design and build a dolls' house for the 21st Century.

Each dolls' house will be designed to include at least one feature that makes life easier for a child with a disability. The dolls' houses will be exhibited publicly at Bonhams in November 2013 and auctioned at a high profile evening event in support of KIDS. The Architects' Journal is media sponsor for the project and both Quatro and ING Media will be publicising the project.

KIDS is a UK charity supporting disabled children, young people and their families. They run home learning programmes, specialist nurseries and crèches, short-break programmes for disabled children and a series of inclusive adventure playgrounds. They offer a wide variety of services to parents of children with disabilities and programmes for siblings of disabled children and young carers. You can read more about them here. 

Cathedral Group have pledged to raise £100,000 for KIDS to support their valuable work. Their staff have all agreed to personal fundraising targets and are working together as a team to raise the balance. Members of their team have run marathons, Tough Mudders, quiz nights, bake sales and cycled from John O'Groats to Lands End. They are already half way there.

The Architects + Designers participating are in alphabetical order:

Design Barbie's dream home competition

For more than 50 years, Barbie has empowered girls to dream big and explore a world without limits. This year, Barbie unveils I Can Be … Architect, encouraging a new generation of girls to pursue a career in architecture.

Along with introduction of the newest Barbie, the American Institute of Architects and Mattel announce the Architect Barbie Dream House Design Competition. It’s an opportunity for architects to design a home for Barbie that meets her guidelines, which include sustainable design principles, room for an office, open living and dining areas and plenty of room for her five pets, including her giraffe.

Competition outline

• Any AIA member is eligible to compete.

• The contest is open for submission on May 16, 2011 at the web address you’re on right now.

• You can fill out this form to register now for your submission.

• The deadline for submissions ends on June 27, 2011.

• The AIA and Mattel will announce five finalists on July 12, 2011 and the public will be able to vote for their favorites between July 12 and August 1, 2011.

• The winner will be announced by the AIA on August 2, 2011.

• You should read and understand the requirements for submission available by clicking here (PDF).

Of course, the Dream House will be home to Architect Barbie (PDF). Designed to ensure she captured the spirit and style of young architects, Barbie designers consulted with two members of the AIA (PDF) - Despina Stratigakos, Professor of Architectural History at the University at Buffalo and Kelly Hayes McAlonie, Associate Director of the Capital Planning Group at the University at Buffalo and the 2011 President Elect for AIA New York State.

''For more than a century, women have chosen to become architects to express and give form to new ways of living. Yet some still consider architecture an unusual profession for a woman. Architect Barbie salutes the many generations of women architects and encourages young girls to imagine a better world they can design and build,'' says Stratigakos.

Despina Stratigakos, (left) Assoc. AIA, and Kelly Hayes McAlonie, AIA, LEED AP.

There was also another initiative from AIA. The American Institute of Architects partnered with Mattel to launch the “Barbie I Can Be...Architect” during AIA’s national convention, May 12−14, in New Orleans, Louisiana. They invited local organizations to sign up groups of 25-30 girls, ages 7 – 9 years, to have the opportunity to interact with an architect during the AIA/Barbie Workshops. 

Girls had the unique opportunity to learn from a real architect about what it takes to become one in a fun and educational environment on location at the AIA 2011 National Convention (May 12-14). Girls also learned about the first female architect recognized by the AIA over 125 years ago and got to ‘create’ their very own Dream House. All participants in the workshop left with a gift bag including their own Architect Barbie and a special poster.

All images courtesy of Mattel

Tatiana's Doll House: Club diorama

The latest diorama talented Tatiana has created is a place for her dolls to relax and hang out - The Fashion Royalty Club. This display was inspired by a pink plastic piano that she repainted  black last summer. That project was very long and challenging for her as she aimed for a thick glossy finish. One month and two cans of paint later she finally felt happy of how it turned out. She used a high gloss black lacquer by Rust-Oleum and applied it in multiple layers.

The round tables are from a Gloria play set, their bases painted silver. Tablecloths are made from polyester table napkins and curtains are faux silk dupioni napkins  attached with double sided tape. The buffet table is a wooden shadow-box frame that was cut with a miter saw. Cake, pastries, trays and cutlery are re-ment, small white plates came with a no-name play set.

Tatiana made the wall scone lights by splitting a Mattel purple chandelier in quarters and gluing them to wooden pendants from a dollar store. After that she spray-painted everything with black acryllic paint and attached them to the wall using double sided tape.

The chandelier is an accessory from a Barbie playset that she painted black and attached with a polyester thread to a mini square gel tile. Gel tiles come with a sticky back, so it is very easy to attach them without any damage to the surface.

The tabletop candle holders are Gloria minis that Tatiana painted with acrylic paint using a brush. The wonderful black chairs are from the Pivotal Jazz dolls by Mattel. She loves the scale, the style and the quality of them. I must say that they look great - I own some of them! The swan vase on the piano is a wedding favour from a craft store and in it are white roses from buttonier flowers.

Deconstruction Sight Eugenia is dressed in Guaranteed Chic outfit, restyled by Tatiana. Former Face Time Eugenia was re-rooted in raven by the very talented Susan K. She is wearing the Soir De Paris dress. All photos by Tatiana.

Tatiana's Doll House: Home Office

This office display is a permanent set-up inside one of the shelves of Tatiana's new bookcases that make up the structure of her black and white doll house (search this blog for more of the rooms). She loves the nice black finish on them and the fact that there are no predrilled holes. Each room is about 17Hx37Wx15D inches.

Tatiana used large wooden shadowbox frames with white coverstock inserted inside for the windows. The middle part is a piece of black on black foamcore that I cut to the size and wedged in between the frames. The fireplace is a wooden Christmas display miniature that Tatiana purchased from City Lights Collectibles online. She could not find it on their website to provide us with the link - looks like they do not carry it any more.Tatiana did not modify the fireplace, it came with nice metal candle holder in copper colour with white wooden candles. On top of the fireplace is a wooden 4x6 inch photo frame with real mirror inserted inside. 

The vase is a playline Barbie accessory that she repainted. The ashtrays are Re-ment, one of them was spray painted silver. The flowers are from the wedding isle of Michael's craft store. The desk is a smaller size shadowbox frame cut with a mitre saw and put together at a 90 degree angle. Computer, phone, I-pod, CDs and printer are Mattel minis. Tatiana repainted the desk lamp and vase. The office chair is from a Barbie playset and she spray painted it black.

The white sofa is a leatherette covered jewelry box that came with two matching pillows. The coffee table is black wooden drawer from Tatiana's jewelry box turned upside down and propped with two wooden mini photo frames. Notebook, portfolio, glasses and remote came with various playsets, coffee cup and saucer are Re-ment. The carpet is a sheet of black craft felt.


 Venus Eugenia is wearing her own outfit with random FR basic pumps, while Most Desired Eugenia is dressed in "Black as Night" blouse and Capri pants.

Modern miniature furniture in New York Times

For all of you who, like me, love to look at (or even aquire) modern furniture for their dolls, here is an article in the New York Times about them. I resent the implication that people who collect stuff like that are eccentric and weird - it is the only thing that marred this article for me. I would love to have some of that stufff to photograph my dolls with. They have a nice slideshow too.