A sneaky peek into November's colourful issue!

Christiane Berridge

Christiane Berridge

30 September 2013

November’s issue is about to go on sale and just in the nick of time with its welcome injection of colour as the drab autumn weather sets in. The issue is all about using colour successfully in the doll’s house, and luckily we’ve got plenty of advice from the experts.

I know that you'll love it but I’m also looking forward to finding out what my colleagues here at GMC think about the issue. Despite working on our other magazine titles many of them are avid readers of The Dolls’ House magazine because there is ‘so much to read’ which is music to my ears! As much as I love our projects for all you hands-on miniaturists, I do indeed want the magazine to be the one title that you look forward to reading as you snuggle down in that armchair with a cup of tea to hand, and maybe a cat on your lap (do not disturb!).

I know that November’s issue won’t disappoint, so here’s a sneak preview.

Find out how to make that comfy chair for your dolls’ house! Beate Klotz explains how in 1:12 and 1:24 scale. Pick a fabric to suit your own interior scheme (we just love the funky patchwork ones).

Beate's sofas

Janet Harmsworth has the prettiest of outfits for the little girl and her doll. Such cuties the pair of them.

Janet's doll & her doll

You’ll want to move in to Brae Oktober’s fabulous mini apartment, if only one could shrink like Alice! The perfect artist's retreat I think.

Brae's house

Find out how to use veneer to make amazing patterns on your floor. These have an  amazing finish on them, really super smooth!

John's flooring (2)

A stunning use of red in Emma Waddell’s dolls' house, find out how what other colours get a look in.

Emma's red room

The inventive Anna-Maria Sviatko uses one yellow table in three very different schemes. We’re delighted to show off her creative eye.

Yellow table

And if you want a little piece of colour for your dolls’ house, you’ll love our buyer’s guide which includes this update on a classic armchair.

 Leather chair

Plus, alongside our regular editorial you can catch up with the latest going-on with Daisy and Maud, our letter-writing maids, find out how to fill your dolls' house for free, make use of our colour wheel to guide your decorating decisions. We've four dolls' houses to inspire your own...and a special kitchen supplement! It's all so lovely!

Issue on sale this thursday, 3 October.


A talented aunty

Christiane Berridge

Christiane Berridge

23 September 2013

My nine-year old niece, Miriam is studying the Victorian period at her school and as part of that, her class are putting together a dolls' house. The children have been divided into groups, with each one given a roombox to dictate a particular room. The boxes will be joined together to make a complete house. Given 'the hallway' - and initially uninspired - a phone call was put through to me....the family dolls' house expert!

Hence on saturday afternoon Miriam and her friend Amelie (plus younger brother and parents) came over to see my own Victorian dolls' house for inspiration. With the front opening panels (three of them) completely removable it was easy to give the children access to 'play', and I suspect that they were given strict instructions to do this carefully because the dolls' house was unscathed after their visit. It had infact acquired two new items...a couple of 'Moshi Monsters' (small plastic characters,  no doubt a playground swappable commodity)!

When the girls discovered a remote control unit next to my other dolls' house (an Edwardian supply store) that I keep upstairs (no room is private when you have a team of excited children around), they rushed down to ask me about it. I think that they were hoping that by pressing a button the three figures standing outside the shop might come to life. Sadly not (if only!), but they might find that my CD player turns on!

Luckily for Miriam I was able to give her something to take back into school; a copy of my book Victorian Dolls' House Projects, to show her teacher. Well, you have to take advantage of the family contacts sometimes don't you? Let's hope there's a gold star in this for one of us!

13, lucky for me!

Christiane Berridge

Christiane Berridge

18 September 2013

Today marks my thirteenth birthday as Editor of The Dolls' House magazine, and yes, I have bought some cake in to the office to celebrate. In my time at the helm I have seen changes to the Dolls' House team; working with three different Publishers, seven editorial assistants, five different designers, and six advertising executives. And I can't begin to count the number of contributors to the magazine itself! There have been three office moves; from the top floor with its view of the castle, down to the ground floor overlooking our garden, and back to the top floor again; each time involving a good clear out of accumulated material. And there have been three different photographic studios to work in too.

The biggest changes to the actual production of the magazine have been in the use of digital material. We no longer use transparencies when it comes to images; we'd take lots, get them procesed, check each on a lightbox under a loop, select the right ones for each piece of editorial and send those to the designer. The magazine used to go to Singapore to be processed, which meant a strict deadline that had to be adhered to, couldn't miss that flight! (we still use the term 'flight-checked'). Any typos had to be carefully listed so that the Singapore team could understand and correct them.

Digital photography has revolutionised the way we design up the magazine. Today we simply pop across the road to our studio in the main office, take a picture. Back in the Dolls' House office, we download the picture and put it in place in the layout. It's all done within minutes. It is just as easy to be sent images via email, on CDs, or file sharing mediums like Dropbox. Likewise text can be sent just as easily. I no longer have to transcribe handwritten documents!

As for the subject matter itself...I'm still amazed and delighted by the dolls' houses and miniatures that I see, and having edited 155 issues of The Dolls' House magazine that's a lot of minis! I find a lot of material on websites and blogs these days as miniaturists and makers take full advantage of the Internet. And of course I now maintain our Facebook page and on-line info here on on the Crafts Institute website, www.craftsinstitute.com. It's great to see what a global hobby we have!

The internet can never replace seeing miniatures for real - and meeting miniaturists of course! You are as enthusiatic as ever and I love that. Keep telling me about your dolls' houses and projects and I'll keep showing them off. If there's anything that you would like to see in the Dolls' House magazine do get in touch.

So a huge thanks to my current dream team, my Assistant Editor Karen Bamford, and Designer and photographer, Norman Rowlinson, here's to the start of year fourteen!




A prize winning design?

Christiane Berridge

Christiane Berridge

16 September 2013

I've been reading this morning about the buildings on the RIBA (Royal Institute British Architects) Stirling prize shortlist. My favourite is Astley Castle in Nuneaton, a medieval ruin that now contains a modern two-storey dwelling. The history of Astley Castle is all bound up with the Grey family who were the castle's principal owners from 1420 - 1600. If you watched the recent TV series The White Queen, you will know about Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV, who owned the castle with her first husband, Sir John Grey. And fans of the Tudor dynasty will know of tragic Lady Jane Grey, 'queen for nine days' having been ousted by Mary I.

The modern design at Astely Castle clevery retains the ruins of the castle and the new modern house nestles within, which is run by the heritage organsiation, the Landmark Trust. Looking at the pictures on the BBC News website, made me wonder if it would be possible to make a dolls' house like this? Combining a ruin from a previous historical period with modern living would be a fascinating idea in miniature. I suspect it would have to be a one off commissioned piece but what a challenge and what a talking point! If someone out there wants to give it a go, I'd be delighted to see the results!

Full story on Astley Castle available here


Foiled again!

Karen Bamford

Karen Bamford

10 September 2013

Every time I arrive at Dolls' House HQ in Lewes, I glance at the floor-standing glass display cabinet in the entrance hall. Here staff from the various magazines that share this building can display the current projects under consideration for publication. It's a kind of show-and-tell station for colleagues who wouldn't necessarily know what's coming up in the other titles under this roof.

Our editor, Christiane, is particularly well known for showing off the miniatures she's got in store. (Possibly because they're easier to put in the display cabinet than the items under review for GMC's woodwork magazines!) Anyway, I like to steal a glance as I enter the building to see what's changed. Has that project from Beate arrived yet, for example, and how did John's drawers turn out?

The other morning I did a double take when I spotted a little family of foil people had taken over our glass shelf. I checked with Christiane, but she knew nothing about why a tin man was trying to drive away a 1:12 scale car. She'd heard nothing about (or from) a tiny grand piano either.

Foil Lady And Dog BLOG

A foil woman pets a tin dog.

A little investigation led me to Russell Higgins. Who knew that this rugby playing account executive had such nibble fingers? Not me. Apparently Russell had been amusing his colleagues in the sales department for some weeks by turning the foil lids from cans of San Pelligrino fizzy drinks into inch-high figures. Someone else thought it would be fun to surprise us by placing a few of Russell's creations in the cabinet.

It certainly cheered me up!

Man And Piano BLOG

A foil man removed from our car! Another foil person plays the grand piano.

Dolls' house in a house of art

Christiane Berridge

Christiane Berridge

9 September 2013

Many towns have their own arts festivals, except now artists are tending to show off their artwork in their homes and studios rather than in just the local village hall or art gallery. Lewes has just seen the end of its annual Artwave, and I took the opportunity at the weekend to have a look around at some of the art on display.

I had long heard of Jessica Zoob and her dreamy, atmospheric, modern impressionist paintings. For the last few weeks one of her large canvases has been on display in the window of the tearoom/florist next to The Dolls' House magazine's office. I wanted to see more of her work so her house was a definate point of call.

Walking into Jessica's exhibition space though my eyes were immediately drawn to a dolls' house up on a shelf. Her partner Karl Smith kindly took it down for me so that I could have a closer look.

Jessica Zoob dolls' house

Jessica and her daughter were hugely enthusiastic about the subject of dolls' houses. It turns out that Karl had made this one especially for Jessica. It has all the hallmarks of the popular shabby chic style, but also hails back to antique dolls' houses in its design. Because this was a special dolls' house, the interior includes miniature versions of Jessica's paintings, forming its own miniature Artwave venue.

Jessica Zoob3

Karl has also applied decoration to both sides of the dolls' house including a little bit of Banksy!I absolutely love this dolls' house (especially with its neat little drawer beneath) and hope that it will have inspired other visitors on the art trail to look again at the subject of dolls' houses. Karl did say that he hoped to produce more dolls' houses, but they would be for sale on a commisioned basis only. Such a dolls' house is not going to be cheap but it is going to be unique..and it is going to be art!

Jessica & Karl

To see more of Jessica's lovely artwork visit www.jessicazoobdesire.com

To see more of Karls' work visit www.carvedoak.co.uk and www.carvedsilver.com


House haunting

Christiane Berridge

Christiane Berridge

2 September 2013

My attention was caught this morning by a dolls' house created by the intruigingly named Jan Spectacular. The three storey Victorian style building was inspired by the ruins around her home town of Detroit. You won't find roses around the door, instead the ivy-clad mansion would be more at home in a zombie movie. But don't let that put you off! It still has that shabby chic style so beloved of many miniaturists, just with added peeling wallpaper and cranky old furniture. But it's home to a mini family and their pets, so somebody loves it! 

Jan  took two and half years to come up with her atmospheric home, but with 13 other dolls' houses, she has plenty of experience to help achieve that desired look. This is what I so love about the dolls' house hobby, the sheer variety of little properties, with no two ever the same. 

Read the full story here: