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.

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

The Road to Ruins: Walking Rome, Florence, Venice, Siena…

Noel and I spent our month in Italy combing side streets for out-of-the-way monuments. On foot we hoped to acquire a sense of that country’s architectural flavorings. In Rome’s alleys we ferreted out lesser hunks of ancient ruins, in Venice … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Miniatures | Tagged , | 8 Comments

The Care and Feeding of Dollhouse Makers…

or, Fueling the Muse Part I: Get a Job The Mini Muse started a hunger strike about ten years into our stint as miniaturists. For most of those years we lived, mind and body, immersed in work (even though work was … Continue reading

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

The Last of the Bungalows: A Labor of Love

1994 Bungalow teaching project, currently residing at the National Museum of Toys & Miniatures in Kansas City Our obsession with Charles & Henry Greene, and the Arts and Crafts Bungalow style, reached its finale in late 1994 when we started the … Continue reading

Posted in Houses, Miniatures, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Inner Workings: Faces of the Moon, Pt. V

A reader recently asked how Noel and I divvied up the jobs on a project. It’s a good question because I’ve spent a lot of time writing about what I did, and sort of waving to Noel who was slogging along on … Continue reading

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