Dollhouses are having a bit of a moment. You may have recently seen them on your Instagram feed, in the New York Times, or as part of Cold Picnic’s latest “lookbook.” When you hear the term “miniatures,” you probably have visions of stuffy Victorian dollhouses found in your great-aunt’s basement. Well, not anymore. There is a growing community of international miniatures makers who are gaining traction on social media with their modern designs. Each maker has their own style and specialties. And the content is totally mesmerizing.
When I first stumbled upon the @tinyhousecalls account, it took me several moments of staring before I understood that I was looking at a miniature and not an actual living room. Once I figured it out, I couldn’t look away. Kwandaa Roberts, an ob-gyn by day, views her dollhouse creations as a way to express her interior design fantasies and inhabit different aesthetic personalities. Her first dollhouse, which went viral in 2018, was a Fixer Upper–style farmhouse. Her next projects included an eclectic Brooklynesque townhouse, a Hamptons-inspired beach house, a boho barn renovation, and a Spanish-style hacienda. Kwandaa has a colorful eye and a knack for budget hacks.
A mutual agreement with Hygge & West allows her access to shrunken-down wallpaper PDFs (at 1/12 scale). And she utilizes foam board and contact papers to create tiny range hoods, marbleized countertops, and stucco-finished sidings. Kwandaa’s “Type A” personality comes in handy for executing eye-tricking precision. “Remember,” she laughs, “I’m a surgeon. I’m almost cheating because I’ve been using a scalpel for 20 years.”
Jessica and Robb Coffee, of @jessicacloeminis, reap the benefits of being a spousal team. Robb handles the demolitions and structural renovations, while Jess tackles the interiors and furniture. Their homes skew towards the modern farmhouse variety, though they’re interested in exploring more industrial-inspired projects in the future. Robb uses 3D modeling and printing skills to create many of Jess’s dream accessories.
Together, they’ve made items ranging from string lights, crib mobiles, and fireplaces to soap dispensers, surfboards, rain boots, and custom drawer pulls. For the pieces they can’t make themselves, they source from other members of the miniatures community or give modern updates to Victorian furniture sets. The duo spends up to six months per project and is keen to include tiny details like light switches, outlets, dishes in the sink, and overflowing laundry baskets. In miniature form, “it’s the small rituals of daily life that end up being the most magical,” says Jess.
Vonelle, of @lavenderbelle_miniatures, sets herself apart with her rustic French countryside style and ambitiously small spaces (she often works in 1/24 scale!). She favors white walls, exposed beams, wood furniture, and crystal chandeliers. The majority of her pieces are handcrafted (also with the help of a 3D-printing husband), and instead of upholstering and tiling, she often hand-paints leather or patina textures and stain washes for aged finishes. She completes each build with her own intricate tiny paintings.
While these makers focus on contemporary interiors, other members of the miniatures community take different approaches. Chris Toledo of @ibuildsmallthings is known for his flawless replications of early-20th-century architectural feats, while @joshua_smith_street_artist re-creates real urban exteriors decked out with grime and graffiti at a 1/20 scale.
With each miniature more mind-bogglingly impressive than the last, this is the kind of Instagram rabbit hole we don’t mind spiraling down.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest