Friday, April 30, 2010

So you want a modern dollhouse

THIS POST IS OLD... I created a NEW PAGE with MORE HOUSES that I update here: Where to Buy Modern Dollhouses.
I also have a new page of Modern Miniatures Directory to find modern items for your mini homes.

My biggest piece of advice is to obtain a house first and then buy furnishings and accessories that best fit the house. I started collecting modern minis before I had a specific place to put them, and now that I'm filling my houses, I'm realizing 80% isn't what I want and just sits in boxes.

Step 1: Do your homework. :D There are more and more great mini mod blogs out there but I recommend reading MiniModern and The Shopping Sherpa to start. Most modern mini bloggers would credit one of them for inspiring them to create their own blog. The more you see, the more you'll be able to pinpoint what you want. There is also an extensive list of modern and contemporary dollhouses that Modern MC has collected over the years in the lower right column of her blog MiniModern.

Step 2: Find a house that best fits your personality, skills, time, budget and space. Do you have the patience, skills, time and tools to build a kit from scratch, renovate a house or build your own? Do you want a finished, but blank canvas to paint and wallpaper? Do you want a shiny, new, already assembled house ready to drop furnishings and accessories in? What kind of space do you have for mini storage and to display your house(s)?

Below are readily available modern dollhouses on the market and hard to find ones as well, enjoy.

» Out of the box and ready to go

20" M112 Pod - Series 1 1:12 scale ($225) by Paris Renfroe Design PRD Miniatures also sells furnishings and accessories. (shutterfly photos)

20" M112 Pod - Series 2 1:12 scale ($225) by Paris Renfroe Design (shutterfly photos)

40" M112 Pod - Series 2 1:12 scale ($385) by Paris Renfroe Design (shutterfly photos)

The Arne Jacobsen Minimii Dollhouse 1:16 scale (1,340 EUR) by Minimii Minimii also sells furniture (more photos). Some minor assembly required. Rumor has it a 1:12 scale kit is in the works. I'll keep you posted when I know more.

MH1 1:12 scale ($299 - wait list) and MH2 (contact Wes for details, you have to REALLY want this house as it is a beast to ship) by Wes Christensen (MH1 and MH2 photos on flicker)

Villa Sibi 1:12 scale? ($750-$850) by Wolfgang Sirch and Christoph Bitzer Search online for best price and dealer in your country. Callsmall says it's slightly smaller than 1:12 but accommodates 1:10 furniture.

The Maison de Plastique 1:12 scale ($850) by Studio SWS, Dalmeny, NSW, Australia The house can be made in any color or clear acrylic. Studio SWS also sells furniture.

Pacific Coast Beach House 1:6 scale ($500) by Schumetta McLendon, Malibu, CA She also does custom houses.

Eco Modern Townhouse 1:12 scale ($300) by Schumetta McLendon, Malibu, CA

Stockholm 1:18 scale ($200) by Lundby based in Sweden. US distributor Minor assembly required (mostly installing the railings). Furniture and accessories are available but sold separately.

Gotland 1:18 scale ($128) by Lundby US distributor Minor assembly required. Furniture and accessories are available but sold separately.

Småland 1:18 scale ($170) by Lundby US distributor Some minor assembly required. Småland Dollhouse ($170), Småland Extension Floor ($90) and Småland Garden ($50). Furniture and accessories are available but sold separately.

» Kits: Modern and Contemporary

Emerson House 3/4 scale finished kit ($299) by brinca dada Brinca Dada also sells furnishings and accessories.

Bennett House 3/4 scale finished kit (TBD. Planned for Dec 2010) by brinca dada (Facebook pictures)
Clearview 1:12 scale unfinished kit (£395) by MIAIM based in London Miaim also sells furnishings and accessories.

Citadel 1:12 scale (???) by Lolly's Dollhouse and Miniatures LollysHomepage.htm. Lolly's is near Chicago, IL. She found someone to build the shell of the house and is now taking orders, I'm checking on the price. (Callsmall is a proud owner of a Citadel, check out her Citadel posts here)

Ocean Drive 1:12 scale (kits start at $100.00) by The Dolls House Emporium based in London DHE also sells furnishings and accessories.

Malibu Beach House 1:12 scale (kits start at $416) by Dolls House Emporium DHE also sells furnishings and accessories.

The Apartment Building 1:12 scale (finished kit AU $1300 painted with windows and doors or raw kit AU $550 no windows doors) made by Dave Slater sold by Modern Miniatures by Nue Based in Adelaide, South Australia. Modern Minatures by Nue also sells furnishings and accessories.

1, 2 & 3 Waterside Way 1:12 scale (kits start at $250.24) by The Dolls House Emporium

Lake View 1:12 scale (kits start at $179.52) by The Dolls House Emporium DHE also sells furnishings and accessories.

Contemporary Ranch Dollhouse 1:12 scale unfinished kit ($162.95) by Real Good Toys

Brookwood 1:12 scale unfinished kit ($102 and up) by Greenleaf Dollhouses

Merrimack 1:12 scale unfinished kit ($238) by Earth and Tree Dollhouses and Miniatures

Celerity Summer House 1:12 scale unfinished kit ($121) by Aztec Imports and Town Square Miniatures. For sale at

» Custom, Commissioned, OOAK

Go to your local dollhouse shop/hobby shop/toy store, they might know someone who could assemble a kit for you, or someone who could design and build a OOAK (One Of A Kind) for you. Put an ad on craigslist for a custom modern dollhouse. You might be able to find a local architect/wood crafter/design student interested in building a modern house for you.

Custom Modern Dollhouse Builders
Please send me websites of other builders, but here are a few that do custom modern houses and roomboxes.

FR8 House 1:12 scale by Paris Renfroe Design, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, PRD Miniatures also sells furnishings, accessories, pool and deck (shutterfly photos).

Mark Turpin, custom architectural replicas & roomboxes since 2000 (at least).

Peter Tucker, Vancouver B.C. Canada. Custom Roomboxes, furniture and lighting since 1998. and

Henry Colbert, UK. He doesn't have a website, and last I heard he has a 2 year plus wait list. Since 1997, Henry is most known for his three Art Deco style houses The Amyas Petite, Grande and Deluxe in 1:12, and his modern 1:24 scale Sun House.

Gidon Bing Australian sculpture Scroll to the bottom of his gallery to see these houses.

Tom O'Dea, The Doll House Shop of Richmond, VA. Custom houses and furniture since 2001.

» Budget Friendly Finds

Here are a few easy ideas for getting started without breaking the bank.

Fish Condo/Hotel 1:16 or 1:18 scale ($28) designed by Terry Leong available at Pictured photos are from and

Lekman Box 1:10 or 1:12 scale ($10) by IKEA Pictured photos are from Oese of She has done amazing things with the Lekman Box, check out more photos on her flickr page.

Custom Foam Core House 1:12 scale by Mini Pig Get creative with supplies from your local art or craft store and see what you can build on your own. Check out Mini Pig's blog to see this house being built.

» Auction sites, ebay, craigslist, garage sales, etc.

Look for an older dollhouse you can refurbish. Check out Craigslist, as many people don't want to deal with shipping so you might be able to pick up a gem.

Search auction sites for discontinued houses
Kaleidoscope House 1:12 scale (discontinued) by Bozart Toys - Laurie Simmons and Peter Wheelwright The Pool Pavilion was never released, if you find more photos of the prototype please send them my way.

The Antrim 1:12 scale (discontinued) by Earth Tree and Miniatures Only 12 kits were made. You can see pictures of my Antrim here.

Highland 1:12 scale (discontinued) by Artply

Mackintosh House 1:12 scale (discontinued) by Dolls House Emporium DHE also sells furnishings and accessories.

Step 3: When you get a dollhouse, PLEASE share your photos. Start a blog or add pictures to the Modern Miniatures Flickr group. We just can't get enough!

Step 4: After you buy the perfect house, inevitably something better will turn up shortly after. It's easy to end up covering every flat surface of your house with this hobby/obsession. With enough money and space, we could all be so lucky to end up with a basement like Mary's Dollhouse Nook.

This is a work in progress, please send suggestions of houses to add to modernminifan (at)


  1. a big thank you and kudos for this informative, clearly arranged and good looking post!
    I'm sure we just now witness a "miniature-movement" beginning!!!!
    thanks again to you and callsmall and shopping-sherpa and modern mc and all the people I forgot, who structured the informations(because I am not so good in this).

  2. I don´t know if you can name me , I made contemporary furniture, hand-made design, unique pieces from scrath, and also all the necessary things to decorate a 12th scale contemporary dollhouse, including lights, paperwalls, fabrics (designed and printed by myself), decorative items,etc
    My peices were feature in the UK DHW magazine (see in my blog
    Hugd from Portugal

  3. Hi Great blog. I looked at all the dollhouses carefully and chose the MH1 and it is the best! It is easy to cart around the house wherever I want to play as it is made in pieces and is so modern it instantly makes any scene look hot.
    It came quickly and seemed easy to ship... as an architect Wes is probably a perfectionist!I am wild about it. It seemed to me it had more flexiblilty than the Villa Sibi. It is also in 1:12 scale which some of the others like the (Brinca Dada) are not and that is better for American collectors). PS it's the right home for Minimodernistas gems! Thanks CM

  4. Oh... PS if you are a beginner... maybe beware of kits as your first attempt... the best houses are ones you can play with right away, maybe a kit for AFTER you get your toes land is littered with unfinished kits... I'm just saying... xoxo CM ;)

  5. THANK YOU for this. I get the question all the time and feel I don't answer consistently or completely. Now I can refer people directly to this great post. This is truly a gift of information!

  6. Fabulous post. Thank you for an updated all rounder!

  7. Oese, CM, Callsmall & TSS - a huge Your Welcome all around. Many have blogged on specific houses on the market, but then I can never remember where I read ad saw what, so I wanted to try to put it all together in one post. I still have more to add, but am trying to find the time. :D

    Ana Anselmo, thanks for your link. I will definitely include you on the modern furniture link. I just started printing fabrics as well (for pillows/rugs/bedspreads), but that's another post.

  8. Thank you, by the way i love your blog!
    mini hugs from Portugal

  9. This is a great post. Very informative. I get this question all the time and now I can just link them to here. Cool beans, baby!

  10. Thanks Ana!

    Oh MC THANKS! I know I'm still missing the Arne Jacobsen and other non 1:12 scale houses, but I plan to keep updating this when I can. Its a start. :D

  11. Thanks for sharing this great information. I found a beat up dollhouse (sort of a midcentury two-story house, probably built from a kit) at a rummage sale and spent last summer fixing it up. I really like the look of modern doll houses, so even though my house is currently fully decorated, I'm planning to re-do some of the rooms. I'm very happy with my 50s kitchen and bath, but my living room and bedrooms don't have a distinctive style. Your information will help me to do some redecorating.

  12. Is your Atrium house in this list? Did I miss it? Do you know if anyone has received theEmerson house yet? Thanks CM

  13. Barbara C Wow, what a labor of love. I just found your dollhouse pictures on your blog. I love the kitchen wallpaper. Good luck with the redecorating.


    Hey CM D'oh, I forgot to add the Antrim. I keep finding more and more to add, Citadel, Artplay, Summer House. I'm digging through my files to find pictures. More updates to come. I think this is going to be the never ending post :D

  14. Thank you so much for taking on this daunting task and providing all the fantastic information. The details on the sizing is particular helpful since it can make a big difference for furniture and other purchases. This will help me avoid making mistakes in my purchases. I find the Villa Sibi is easy to decorate because of the accessibility to the space but wish it had more rooms (will determine how to add them without permanently attaching anything to the house).

  15. Hey mini2b! You have a Villa Sibi? I want to see pictures!!! It is daunting, I'm not sure I'll ever be finished with this post. :)

  16. Thank you so much for this guide. I've been looking to get started in modern minis, but its difficult to even know where to begin. Not to mention modern minis is so hard to find. I'm going to attempt to build something out of foam core because I'm too poor to be able to afford the ones I want. Anyways, thanks again!

  17. Thanks for this great post! I'm increasingly attracted to modern minis, especially for playing...there are a lot of great minimodernist blogs out there, and yours is one of my favorites...

  18. HepzibethClare
    Thank you so much! It is fun passion/hobby/addiction and I really enjoy sharing what I can to help spread the love for modern minis. Thanks for the great compliment. :D
    Mini smiles,

  19. WOW! What a great post! Thank you for taking the time to bring all of these great houses together in one place!
    I'm planning a remodel of a Craigslist house I found. Love your blog! So inspiring!

  20. Kathi
    You are most welcome!! I look forward to seeing your progress on your Hurricane House project. I have a remodel that has been on permanent hold, maybe your project will inspire me to get back to fixing it.

    Mini smiles,

  21. I'm glad that I've found this website. I'd like to drop you a quick note to express my thanks. I have been following this blog for a week or so and have searched out a variety of good information as well as enjoyed the way you’ve designed your site.

  22. Well, this is just interesting indeed. Would love to read a little more of this. Good post. Thanks for the heads-up.

  23. I loved ur Interior Decorating of ur house for all room are simply nice and good to see........

    House Australia

  24. Hi Megan,

    I really love your blog. I like modern miniatures way more than vintage ones. I mean, we need more 'future antiques', more people leaving for future generations the present style, right?
    On modern dollhouses topics, I'd like to suggest this one too:

  25. Thanks Evelyne. The "CASA MODERNA" is a customized Clearview dollhouse kit by Miaim listed above.

    The finished dollhouse has some modifications by the builder Milton Tavares; the roof top level is removed and there is a circular room divider between the bottom floor rooms. I really like the dropped ceiling LED lighting. Contacting builders like this is a great to have a kit built and customized for you if you don't have the time or skills to build a kit from scratch. The Clearview by Miaim is one of the most modern kits out there. Mr. Tavares did a great job finishing this kit.

  26. I'm selling my first addition brinca dada if your interested email me Sorry don't mean to spam. Just hoping to find it a good home.


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