Into all things tiny and beautiful? House Beautiful gave 11 designers the same Victorian dollhouse and $500 to decorate it any way they wanted. A whole lot of crazy glue, DIY-ed accents, and miniature accessories later, we present Dollhouse Beautiful. Tune in every Tuesday at 12 for a new episode and to see how each designer created their miniature masterpiece.
Anyone who thinks interior design is a purely aesthetic practice has never been on site during Install Day—and that's true even when the site is two feet tall. Just a few hours into installing her Dollhouse Beautiful furniture and accents, Alyssa Kapito—the New York designer renowned for quietly elegant interiors informed by classic design—is laughing: "I glued my fingers together!"
But, as any designer worth her trade discount knows, install day hurdles are an expected (and surmountable) part of the job. Soon enough, Kapito has unstuck herself in enough time to continue laying out the pieces of her house.
For her fans, Kapito's dollhouse will likely be instantly recognizable. The designer translated her trademark neutral palette and historically-informed decor in small scale, even adding miniature versions of pieces she uses often in her designs: a tiny marble bust, Jean Prouvé sconces, and a chandelier by Stephen Antonson.
Here Kapito went minimal, sticking to neutral tones save for a statement-making red chair. Brass framed mirrors add a touch of elegance. "We decided to paint all the floors white, because we love the look of whitewashed floors," the designer explains.
The living room bears Kapito's signature focus on texture and craftsmanship. The pièce de résistance just may be that tiny plaster chandelier—which lighting designer Stephen Antonson personally made for the space. A fabric scrap acts as a plush rug, and miniature artworks adorns the white walls—much like in this real-life, Parisian-inspired living room Kapito completed a few years ago.
On the other side of the room, the designer set up a modern desk in front of a classically-minded bust on a miniature pedestal. Since the late design legend Jean Prouvé was, unfortunately, not available to produce miniatures of his sconce designs, Kapito and her team took matters into their own hands, fashioning replicas with red paper clips. "We love using these sconces in our projects, so we knew we had to have them in there somehow," says the designer.
For the kitchen, Kapito went with an English country vibe, selecting navy blue cabinetry with a white countertop and brass hardware—topped off with a custom white hood, which Kapito crafted from cardboard. An ash wood dining set keeps the room feeling bright and airy.
In the attic bedroom, an armchair seems meant for curling up with a good book (brass reading lamp included!). Kapito's team fashioned the bed out of several pieces of fabric samples, and then hung miniature brass sconces—that actually turn on!
The bathroom is a minimalist's dream, with a modern white tub, abstract art (Kapito painted this one herself), and a wooden stool for an organic and functional touch. We're ready for the world's tiniest soak.
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