By Karen Parr-Moody
The subculture of dollhouse design has experienced ebbs and flows in popularity and is now, once again, on the rise. The high-water mark for such design is the masterpiece made to a scale of 1:12 for Queen Mary, consort of George V. between 1921 and 1924. The largest dollhouse in the world, it features such luxuries as a silver dinner service for 18 and a minuscule replica of the Crown Jewels. It also enjoys electricity, running hot and cold water and a teeny tiny Rolls-Royce limo.
While not outfitting such ostentatious mini manses, a growing community of dollhouse hobbyists – mostly young women – are now decorating miniature houses. One search of Instagram with the hashtag #dollhouse reveals 1.6 million posts on the topic. Dollhouse fans share photos of well-accessorized rooms that feature miniature macarons, vintage furniture and tiny faux plants.
If you are among the dollhouse-obsessed, get to GasLamp Too to explore the enchantments of 1:12 scale décor items. Some of these exquisite antique and vintage dollhouse items date to the late 1800s and are not only adorable, but well-priced.
Fans of Danish toys are surely familiar with the brand Maileg, known for designing whimsical mice that dash about in vintage-style motor scooters. Booth B-277 at GasLamp Too always features an assortment of these charmers. We love this brother-and-sister duo who sit on an off-white vintage-style metal bed ($44 for bed; B-277).
What stylish doll doesn’t need a vintage Japanese dresser to store her cashmere sweaters and handkerchiefs? This red lacquer dresser features a real mirror, tasseled drawer pulls and painted flowers ($10; Showcase T-283).
If a dollhouse includes a nursery, it needs a diminutive fire truck for the children of the manor. This vintage version, made of cast iron, features four firemen and is drawn by two horses ($15; Showcase T-283).
This unusual raised flower bed is perfect for the shabby chic dollhouse. Made from wood, it features post-and-spindle construction and encloses a mossy garden topped with tiny paper flowers ($12; Showcase T-283).
This antique pewter tea service is ideal for a Victorian dollhouse. It includes the pewter tray, creamer, sugar bowl and teapot, complete with lids ($14; Showcase T-283).
This tiny serving set began its life as an Israeli souvenir called a “Lord’s Supper set.” It is made to a 1:12 scale, making it perfect for a dollhouse. Hand-carved from indigenous olive wood from Israel, it includes a bread tray, three pea-sized cups and a wine pitcher ($7.50; Showcase T-283).
This antique canister from China, the size of a grape, is one of the oldest dollhouse items at GasLamp Too. Estimated to have been made between 1891 and 1919, it is constructed from copper. It belongs in a stunning dollhouse to serve biscuits to the occupants ($15; Showcase T-283).
Any doll who wants to entertain needs a miniature grandfather clock in her parlor. This one, made of glazed porcelain, has been hand painted with gold trim and floral motifs ($8; T-283).
If, like Queen Mary and the many Instagram fans after her, you are a dollhouse aficionado, it’s time to spruce up your mini manse with finds from GasLamp Too, where dollhouse items are unique, antique and adorable.
Top photo courtesy of The Royal Collection Trust; all other photos by Karen Parr-Moody.