Saturday, February 23, 2013

Ooo Lala House

A few years ago I blogged about BillyBoy*'s Mallet-Stevens dollhouse (yup, the famous architect Robert Mallet-Stevens widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in French architecture along with Le Corbusier.) BillyBoy* contacted me with another house in his and his husband Lala's collection, and I was floored at the presentation. Now, an authentic 19th-century family doll's house is not usually what I search for, but this is hands down the best dollhouse presentation I've ever seen. It is quite the labor of love as Lala has spent 9 years working on the text and photography to publish this tour.

Here is The Lala House in BillyBoy* and Lala's home in 2010, before they moved to build a museum in Delémont, Switzerland. "The museum will be dedicated to the interaction between the history of high fashion and fashion dolls with decorative, modern and contemporary arts." The museum will also include some of BillyBoy*'s extensive colletion of modernist toys made from 1900 until now. Read more about their museum on the Fondation Tanagra website here »

Now back to this tour. The amount of time photographing and detailing the history of this house and it's restoration is truly impressive. It really is a fabulous read and I don't want to spoil anything, so get a cup of hot tea and enjoy reading about the house in it's entirety here It's like getting a personal guided tour at a museum from the comfort of your own home.

One of my favorite things this tour does, is not only showcase the rooms, but the incredible pieces that are hard to appreciate fully in the roomsettings. How amazing is that china and glassware?

The Boudoir is one of my favorite rooms in the Lala House. I love seeing the architectural details of the rooms as well. I love the wallpaper and molding and this Chinese lantern is a show stopper. I could design a house around that lantern. While you are touring The Lala House, make sure you click on (or mouse over) each of the pictures as there are details on the larger versions of each image. Wow, sooo much time to curate this masterpiece. Enjoy the tour!

For more information on BillyBoy* and Lala and the fascinating work they are doing, visit the Fondation Tanagra website here »

Free Modern Planter Tutorial

• hobby rocks
• matching containers
• scissors
• reeds, dried grass, bamboo placemat, thin plastic grass, etc.
• glue

I need to start with a warning, these modern planters knock over easily and the little rocks spill all over the place. Not fun. I'm looking for suggestions on clear drying glue that won't gack up the clear plastic. Any suggestions? Neomi won my give away for these, and she used a German product "UHU Twist and Glue" to keep the rocks in place. I'll link to her blog when she posts pictures.

This tutorial does not use glue, but please let me know if you have a glue you recommend and I'll try it and update this.

The hobby rocks cost $3.99 at my local hobby shop, search online for similar price, or check out your local hobby shop for terrain and landscape materials. These are Talus ground cover rocks by Woodland Scenics; they charge $4.99 online. They have a few color options. I bought the Grey, but I really like the Natural color which is more white. They come in four sizes: Fine, Medium, Coarse, Extra Course. I think the Fine would be more true to scale but I like the look of the Medium, as used here.

Your matching containers should be about 1 1/2" to 2" in height and around an 1" in diameter. These Clear Styrene Plastic Vials are from Tap Plastics. I used the .44 oz: 15/16" Dia x 1 9/16"H size that runs $0.25 each, but you have to buy a box of 10 online. I tried the smallest size too, which works in smaller spaces but I prefer the .44 oz. I've also used their small clear plastic boxes but those are over $1 each.

I bought a bundle of tall dried grass from the floral department at my local arts and crafts shop, about 3 feet long and 3 different colors. I took two pieces and put the thickest ends in one vase. I cut the first pieces to be the tallest. I like the height to be slightly over 3 times the height of the vase, around 5". Then move one of the cut pieces to the other vase. Next, I put the cut ends back in the first vase, cut them shorter than the first cut, then separate one to the other vase. I separate them to keep both vases visually balanced. They won't end up identical but they will look like a matching set.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. As the grass gets thinner towards the end, the cuts should get shorter making them look more authentic. Then start over with two new pieces of grass, putting the thick ends in one vase again and cut another tall piece, then cut shorter and shorter. I put 25 - 30 pieces in each depending on how full I want the plant to look.

Once full, I place on a tray or plate so I can clean up the spilled rocks easily. Drop the rocks in while you rotate the vase. If it looks lopsided pull some of the grass apart and slide rocks in between the blades to help spread them out. As you fill up the vase you will want to add glue to the top to keep everything in place.

I'm still nervous about which glue to use that won't ruin the clear plastic, but I'll update when I test out your suggestions. When you're done, it should look something like this. On the right is a sample using the bamboo reeds from a table placemat and a smaller vase I started with thinner grass. Have fun.

Monday, February 18, 2013

HBS/ Creatin' Contest 2012

HBS/ posted all of the entrants to the 19th Annual Creatin' Contest here. The MiniTown Loft Shell Kit lent itself to more modern designs. I bought a few kits, but sadly they are still in the boxes. Here are the top winners and below are some of my favorites.

Grand Prize Winner Kerry Norell "E 'Sea' Living Houseboat"

First Place Winner Lyssa Bowen "Mt. Ollopa Lodge" (I love the architecture, and wow that landscaping!!)

Second Place Winner Brandean Jones "Storyville" (Anyone wanna go to New Orleans?)
Third Place Winner Michelle Miller "Locks Landing"

These are my favorites from the "First-Time Entrant Winners" category

Julie Bailey "Mirror, Mirror" (check out those mirrored stairs. LOVE! I want to see more pictures of this house)

Nancy Enge "Loft No. 1961" (I love the built-ins under the stairs and on the walls. What a great space to decorate. Love the color palette too.)

Angela Granlund "Her First House" (love the wallpaper)

Emerald Sandi Hinds "Photography Studio Loft" (I love the kitchen wallpaper)

Gloria Meeter "Sally Finally Got Her Real Loft Condo" (great floor plan and use of space)

These are my favorites from the "Honorable Mention" category

Hands down this is my absolute favorite and I really thought Cyd would have been in the top 5. Looking at the winners, I think landscape and background are the only areas to improve (both my weak points); quality of construction, craftsmanship, attention to detail and everything in this house is spot on. Totally #1 in my book.
Cyd Raduchel "The Butteryfly House" (

Jean Potter "Contemporary Condo"

Jeannine Schrader "End of the Wine Bar" (Rock bands + wine bar = whodathunk)

My faves from Repeat and First-Time Entrants

I really appreciate the number of modern and contemporary designs. Once you go modern you never go back. :P Join the revolution people!

Karin Myers "Loft"

Brenda Jasinski "Girly Glamour Loft"

Debra Davenport "Dollhouse on Another Planet"

Jeane Stilp "Contemporary Chic"

Jan Feldhouse "Black Jack's Bar & Billiards"

Jeanine Greelee "Solohaus Salon Spa"

Joann Conaway "Untitled"

Leah Sexton "Simplicity Southwest Gallery"

Jennifer Rivera "No Sleep 'til Brooklyn"

Kathy Strobos "The Fat Cat Red Hook Bar" (Love the PRD Miniatures dual sink vanity!)
Leslie Donley "Zebra Piano Bar Supperclub"

Mitchell Sahagian "Vacation Beach House" (cool design, I'd love to see more pictures)

Vivienne Willis "My Dream Closet" (mine too, I love those shoes!!!)

Check our all of the HBS/ 19th Annual Creatin' Contest entrants here: