Hits and misses on the road to design

Everyday objects repurposed

I’ve created a little staging area on the dining room table (My husband really appreciates stuff like that) since my mini house is thoroughly under construction. It’s filling up with the little maybes and probably-nots I’ve been creating.

Whenever a person embarks on any creative project there are hits and misses. My dollhouse project is no exception. This (non-functional) lamp made from a Keurig individual coffee serving and some wooden doodads, for instance, looks a little bit more like its components than a lamp. A little chain hanging down might help, but maybe not enough. I’m still debating its ultimate destination, be it in my mini house, or in the trashcan.
Lamp made from a Keurig coffee serving. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.I’m up in the air about whether I am going to keep the modern plastic chair I made from a Klarbrunn bottle. I’m not sure if it reads more as a modern chair, or more as the bottom of a bottle.
Hit or miss? Klarbrunn bottle turned modern chair. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Since people seem to like to decorate with bowls of balls orbs, I decided this would be a realistic addition to my mini house. Inspired by this design element in my own home as seen below…

… I used the shiny lid of an Anthropologie candle as a tray, and filled it with wooden beads, and these shiny brass buttons I recently picked up at a garage sale.

A card of shiny, old buttons. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

The result is a little tray of decorative orbs, much like you’d see in a real living room:

Photos by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Photos by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

I think this works pretty well and will probably end up in the finished product.

The coffee table I showed you here now has a matte black top, like much of my other furniture. I might repaint it all glossy. I thought the flatness would be a nice juxtaposition to the shininess of the brass that will be in the room, but I’m not sure I’m loving the look.
The bookshelf and rug you see here are Ikea Huset miniatures, as seen here. The shelf is definitely going to be in my finished dollhouse. I’m still debating about the rug.

I had the highest of hopes for my end table with a geode slice top. At $5 for the geode slice, it was a big splurge, and I thought would make a really amazing table. However, I am not loving its look or tippiness. I think I need to remove the wooden ball base and glue four little legs on. More about that later. I still know it’s going to be great.

Big splurge! Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

The little staging area helps me see if the varying, imperfect scales are working together. I knew early on that I was not going to be a stickler about precise scale, in part because my dollhouse itself has scale issues, with some doors being one scale, others being another, but also because I think embracing this quirkiness makes it look more fun in the end, and more fun to work on during the creative process.

When you see the finished house, however long from now that is, I think several of these elements will have been altered or edited out completely. Taking a step back to evaluate, and not getting too committed to bad ideas makes for a better finished product. This is true or writing, design, and unfortunately, I’m afraid, that lamp.

Make your own modern white chandelier

Handmade decor for my mini house

I came across the awesome website How About Orange yesterday. It’s filled with all kinds of 3-D papercrafts, complete with clear instructions, photos, and templates. By shrinking down the smallest template and printing it at 75% of its normal size, I was able to create this mini (non-functional) paper chandelier, inspired by modern chandeliers like this one, this one, and this one.

Tiny, easy to make light. Photos by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Tiny, easy to make light. Photos by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

This will go in the dining area, hanging over the table.

Thanks to the clear instructions on How About Orange’s website, I was able to make two of these in a short amount of time (the first just to see how it went, and to discover that it was a little too large; the second one being the one you see here that will actually go in my dollhouse). No glue or tape is required to form the ball. You could probably tweak the template to make the petals spiky instead of round, or use something like sheets of thin plastic or felt to create decorations or ornaments (the original intention from How About Orange’s blog).

Exterior painting in progress!

Flipping my mini house

A decision has been made. After much hemming and hawing, I’ve chosen this shade of deep teal and given my house its first coat of paint. To get the perfect shade, I mixed it myself using a variety of tubes and bottles of art and craft paint. Here is a little peek at the secret formula:

The magic ingredients. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

The magic ingredients. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.


Final product. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Final product. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

I tried to make a lot since matching that color is going to be really tricky. Still, I didn’t end up with nearly enough. I’ll mix another batch soon on a bright, sunny day so I can have the best chance of getting a close enough match.

Here is a look at my house now. It’s splotchy and definitely needs another good coat, but you can see how cute it’s going to be. I’m still debating on trim colors. I’m considering leaving the front door alone and just adding a cute doorknob, and maybe some mid century miniature doodad like this backplate.

New exterior color. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

New exterior color. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

To remind you, here is the ‘before’ version of my house:

Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Here is a view of just the front panel of the house now:

Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

When I’d gotten to the point where I barely had enough paint left to continue, and I was losing my enthusiasm (especially on the side with the carport), I got reinspired by this artwork on HGTV:

Frozen HGTV art inspiration. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Frozen HGTV art inspiration. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

I realized that the wall inside what will be the office needs a little art, so I made this mural using a Sharpie marker and some of my leftover paint:

Mini mural, step one. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Mini mural, step one. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.


Future office. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Future office. Needs some art. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.


Mini mural, painted. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Mini mural, painted. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Having accent colors inside the house that match the exterior will make the finished project look much more cohesive.

While I still had my paint and paint brush out, I painted the seats of these clearance chairs to match. I’m not even sure if I’m going to use them in the house since they aren’t much of a style match, but they might work someplace.

Mini chairs before. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Mini chairs before. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Mini chairs and mini mural. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Mini chairs and mini mural. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

The mural will get cut down to fit on the wall of the office. The chairs will get sanded a little and… who knows.

Coming up soon: Another coat of paint, trim to be painted, shingles to be applied, and chimney to possibly get a facelift. It’s exciting times in Flip This Mini House land!