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.

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

Once Upon a Theater: The Davis Theater, Part 1

The roots of our miniature theater project are so old and intertwined it’s hard to know where to begin, so I’ll start with Once Upon a Time. Once upon a time—some 200 years ago, before the distractions of TV and … Continue reading

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

The Breeze, Pt. IV: The Nitty-Gritty of Utility Sinks

Once again it is my aim to come to the aid of metallically challenged miniaturists—those who want the look of metal, without the heartache of soldering gun or anvil. Whether you pine for a period stove, ice cream freezer, Monel-metal … Continue reading

Posted in Appliances, Miniatures | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Cooking Up the Breeze: Interior, Pt. 1

In 1996, two years after we began work on miniaturizing The Breeze fried clam stand in Castine, Maine, a friend wrote in a Christmas card that it had sold. When Noel and I began the design, the then current owner invited us … Continue reading

Posted in Appliances, Miniatures | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

The Breeze, Pt. II: The Question of Awnings

In Sunday’s funnies, a man encircled by boisterous children confesses to his wife, “I thought I knew all the answers, but they keep thinking up new questions,” which reminded me of one of our workshop students. “Why doesn’t my work … Continue reading

Posted in Miniatures, Teaching | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

The Breeze and I—Putting a Roof on It

I was born under a lucky star. Not only did I grow up in a picturesque New England town, but for part of many summers my family explored coastal towns from Mass. to Maine by boat. I have in memory … Continue reading

Posted in Houses | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments