The committee for the Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA Designer Dollhouse Showcase has brought together the League of Extraordinary Designers to create ten masterpiece dollhouses for their charity auction (more details on the event in next post). I had the pleasure of speaking with Mark Cutler of Mark Cutler Design, named one of the Top 40 Design Firms in the Country by the Robb Report. "Known for interiors that are traditional in their basis but modern in their execution, as well as the ability to make his clients a mean martini and tell them a great joke." Mark was very cordial, funny and excited to fill us in on what they are up to.
Each of the ten houses have two design teams working on them. Mark partnered with designer Cari Berg, one of the designers he didn't know but quickly connected with as they both shared the vision of creating a spectacular dollhouse for a child to play with. Here is a sneak peak of the Italianate style house they are working on. All of the houses were designed by architects Richard Manion and Robert Meiklejohn of Richard Manion Architecture Inc. There are a few builders constructing the ten houses for the Designer Dollhouse Showcase; this Italianate house is being built by Matt Barnes of Finish Rite Construction.
Mark and Cari are tackling the project by dividing the floors. Mark is working on the entry, family/living room and library on the first floor, while Cari is creating a fun, girly craft studio and girls room on the second floor. Mark and his assistant Danielle Chivers kindly shared their project description, concept boards and photos of their run through while the house is being finished.
"Inspired by the great fantasy houses in Palm Beach and the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel, the dollhouse is the ultimate girls dream house.
As you enter into the 1st floor of the dollhouse you are welcomed by a sophisticated neutral color palette of the two story entry that showcases a custom miniature “Ramona” chandelier by Fuse Lighting, and the striking “Martinique” banana leaf wallpaper.
Transitioning into the glamorous living room and library, both spaces are brightened with vivid pops of pinks, reds, purples, and feature handmade Japanese wallpaper, custom made upholstery, and a creative blend of classic and contemporary dollhouse pieces and repurposed items that make for a luxurious fantasy land any girl would love."
I chuckled when I saw the family room concept board, as that is the PRD Miniatures Sydney Entertainment Unit Paris made for my Antrim. As the house is 5 feet long, Mark asked Paris if he could build one 1 foot by 1 foot, and of course Paris obliged with this incredible wall to wall 4 screen entertainment unit. Besides PRD Miniatures, you may recognize the minisx2 wood tripod lamp and Peter Tucker lamps. Doron from Bespoke Furniture Inc. helped with the interior finishes.
Mark had a difficult time finding exactly what he was looking for (sound familiar?). Mark commissioned Janet Harvie from Maggie Melinda Miniatures to build and upholster all of the furniture. I think she did a fantastic job creating pieces based off the designs and pictures Mark sent. Her furniture looks like it was pulled off the pages of Mark's concept boards; I adore those scallop backed pink chairs. Working in miniature has involved a lot of improvisation and Mark has found himself looking at the world differently. He is finding ways to repurpose items to work in miniature: beads for lamp bases, napkin rings for table bases, handmade Japanese paper for wallpaper (we'll make a miniaturist out of him yet). Mark also reached out to vendors he works with in his full scale design business to help him create miniatures of their work. Fuse Lighting is creating a miniature replica of one of their popular chandeliers for the house.
Mark and Cari have been able to completely design the exterior with the help of Patricia from Patricia Benner Landscape Design. Their house will have a fantasy garden with hedges and a reflecting pool in front.
The wiring goes in this week, hardwood floors get installed, then wallpaper, baseboards, crown molding and finishing trim. The deadline for completion is March 30th when there will be a photo shoot of all of the houses. Just a few more weeks and we'll see these works of art in their full glory!
When asked how designing in miniature compares, Mark replied "it really is as much work as designing in full scale."
Special thanks to Mark and Danielle from Mark Cutler Design for providing all of the information, event details and photographs of their work in progress. I can't wait to see the finished house!
For more information on Mark please visit his website: Mark Cutler Design markcutlerdesign.com.
For more information on the MCHUCLA event, make sure you read all of Modern MC's posts on minimodern.blogspot.com and I'll be posting more information I unearth as well. For many of us, this really is the biggest thing since miniature sliced bread. ;)