Author Archives: smallhousepress

About smallhousepress

In 1974, my husband Noel and I began building aged miniature houses for collectors and museums. We were 70's dropouts. We quit our careers in advertising--art director and writer, respectively--and escaped Los Angeles in a VW camper and a Bug for a simpler life on the coast of Washington State. From a tiny studio in our home, we built 64 houses and buildings. Our specialty was aging--making a structure that reflected the scars and wrinkles of time, the elements, and human habitation. In the 80s we began teaching our techniques in workshops around the country, and I began to write our how-to's in Nutshell News and Miniature Collector. In 2000 we migrated across the Columbia to Astoria, OR, where , in 2011, we retired from miniatures. We are Fellows of the International Guild of Miniature Artisans and taught at their annual school in Castine, ME. By avocation I am a writer and poet. The blog is my way of working back into a writing routine, as well as recording what we did, and what we learned along the way.

Swan Song from Paris: La Fenêtre

  At 8:00 a.m., November 3, 2007, red-eyed and flight-addled, Noel and I were huddling with our roller bags around cafe cremes across rue Cler from our favorite Greek-French café from the previous trip—Ulysse en Gaulle—which had yet to open. … Continue reading

Posted in Miniatures, shops | Tagged , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Is it time to find new homes for your miniatures?

  Before I file my final entry on our miniatures, I wanted to open up a discussion about what to do with your miniatures when you can no longer keep them. Over the years, many of you, or your relatives, … Continue reading

Posted in Miniatures | Tagged | 2 Comments

Au Petit: aka Artisan’s Cottage/Golden Lane, or, how we managed to stay married all these years

Eons ago–in the early 1980’s–a miniatures columnist wrote that Noel and I looked “slim in our jeans,” a term which still makes us laugh. We, indeed, lived in jeans, in our studio, building mini houses as fast as we could … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Miniatures | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

The Aero II Travel Trailer–“You can go where you want with it”

Ever the car nut, and ever the headline writer, Noel came up with the line, “You can go where you want with it,” while conjuring the travel traveler. It would be, of all the buildings we made, his pet project. … Continue reading

Posted in Miniatures | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Rooftop Studio, Part II–A little more parsley, please?

The rooftop studio was #59 of our miniature buildings and houses, completed in 2001-2 almost thirty years after #1. If we stick with the minis-as-meal-prep metaphor, all that time we wished we had a sous-chef—someone to build the basic structures to our … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Miniatures | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Recipe for a Rooftop Artist’s Studio

To make an artist’s studio, start in 1960 when you are 14. Into a large bowl pour one trip to New York City to see your art student/coffee house waitress older sister. Sprinkle in one bitter espresso brewed in her … Continue reading

Posted in Miniatures | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

An Ode to the Odd: The Castine Gallery

On almost any day in June of 1994, at about 8:00 a.m., if you were to head to downtown Castine from the Maine Maritime Academy–home to the IGMA’s annual Guild School mini camp—you might cut across Deadman’s Alley, turn down … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Miniatures | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Wrap Party: Curtain Call for the Davis Theater

Most of the year 2000, while the world recovered from Y2K madness, we spent in the studio wrapping up the lagging miniature theater project. It became a matter of, finally, shelving everything else to finish in time for the client’s … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Miniatures | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Homecoming or, All the World’s a Stage…

 It’s late. Two dog-tired travelers are trailing roller bags. It takes a beat or two to register–their motel parking space is empty. The car is gone. That was us on October 30, 1995, just off the plane from Italy. The title quote–Sean O’Casey’s … Continue reading

Posted in Miniatures | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Madama Butterfly and the Toy Theaters of Siena: The Davis Theater, Pt. 2

The illustration is of unknown origin. I have borrowed it from The Museum of Everyday Things website, an adventure not unrelated to toy theaters, and worth exploring.                       museumofeverydaylife.org             The … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Miniatures, People | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments