Good news, miniature lovers! Dollhouse Beautiful is back for Season 2. This time, House Beautiful gave six California designers the same midcentury modern dollhouse and $500 to decorate it any way they wanted. A whole lot of Krazy Glue, DIY accents, and miniature accessories later, we present Dollhouse Beautiful. Tune in every Tuesday for a new episode and to see how each designer created their miniature masterpiece.
Take a scroll through designer Joyce Downing Pickens’s Instagram feed, and her love of modern lines and neutral colors paired with rich textures is strikingly apparent. So, it’s no surprise that Pickens brought this same concept—on a much smaller scale—to her design for Dollhouse Beautiful. “I pulled in textures like furs and wovens and raw woods, like I try and incorporate in my real life designs,” she explains.
Plus, she says, her own comfortable, modern style was a perfect pairing with the dollhouse’s style: “The house itself was definitely my number one inspiration,” says the designer. “It felt more Scandinavian modern, so that’s the way I went.” That meant sourcing miniature furniture all the way from Italy and Denmark, and painstakingly crafting details like gauzy curtains, stone floors, and cedar shingles that would give the Scandinavian-inspired design some of Pickens’s signature warmth.
“That’s what makes a room feel rich and warm and all those yummy things and really brings in a lot of depth,” she says. See all those yummy things below!
Pickens went simple with a classic, white sofa, then set abstract art against the walls, which she left intentionally bare.” I initially thought I wanted to panel all of the walls, but when I picked the color for the paneling, it was essentially the exact same color as the interior of the dollhouse as it came,” she says. “And I loved that raw feeling of the plywood and it felt very conducive to that Scandinavian modern design and what they already do with the pine, so I left it.” Her stone fireplace was inspired by Axel Vervoordt.
In the kitchen, Pickens used stone to create a textural floor covering and opted for an old-fashioned stove.
This Italian dining set was the result of hours of online scouring for the perfect piece. It’s set atop a tiny fur carpet which adds warmth. “I didn’t want it to feel super super modern—I wanted it to be organic,” says Pickens.
A tiny antique chest as a vanity gives the bathroom a bit of antique charm. Pickens was set on sourcing unique items that brought patina. “I looked on Amazon and didn’t find a whole lot there,” she says, which resulted on quite a hunt: “I drove to Long Beach to a local dollhouse store and met the most wonderful older lady who had been doing this for years and years and years. I drove out to Hobby Lobby and Glendale. I went all over the place and there was multiple times I had to shop or order something and it came and it wasn’t quite right and I had to send it back and find something different.”
Pickens’s favorite room is the lofted bedroom, which she connected with a tiny wood ladder. “It was simple, but that ladder just gives that detail and that chair from Italy that I found off Etsy is just my favorite thing I found,” she says.
On the terrace, Pickens created a miniature rock garden rimmed in faux evergreen trees. The light color provides visual contrast to the house’s dark stained exterior.
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