Tuesday, July 27, 2010


When I got my VERO House from Germany last year, it was in pretty rough shape. Each room had its own affliction -- torn or damaged wallpaper, wood or window cracks, paint chipping -- likely courtesy of one or a few different owners. I have been trying to piece together its history, but as many of you know it can be so difficult to locate definitive information for vintage houses.

I do know the house was likely made by VERO in the late 1960s, perhaps early 70s. Since I bought my house on German eBay in fall 2009, I have seen a few others come to market that look very similar. One find helped me to see what the rooms originally looked like and how they were decorated. You can see more on that here.

One such room is on the lower left, and is most probably meant as a bath. Here is an example from a very similar house:

In my case, this room was the most damaged, covered in layers of thick, heavy blue paint and papers. It looked as if ancient frescoes had made their home there! Scraping to the original papers was not an option. This is what it looked like:

I scraped the papers and paint off as best as I could and then smoothed the craggy spots. After painting a molding piece along the back wall, I covered the ceiling in a remnant piece of grey-colored wood. I had painted the ceiling white, but that looked completely bizarre and out of place, given the creamy/aged pallor of the rest of the house.

I bought some papers and new paper paste at the Paper Source this weekend -- as part of a very fun mini meet-up with Dale of Dale's Dreams and Paula, who is getting back into minis and just got an amazing modern acquisition (thanks again for a great afternoon, ladies!) -- and tried them out. The results:

I was trying to be faithful to the 1960s/70s vibe of the house -- what do you think? I left the original blue papers on the floor and covered it in some of my favorite Chilewich placemat, hoping for a tile effect.

Next I might move to the main entrance/living area...

Credits: Sink is a UK eBay find; toilet is IKEA; rug is by Peppercorn Minis; planter is a craft store find and plant is an aquarium plant; wastebasket and light are AG Minis; Eames Hang-it-All is by minimodernistas; purse is handmade by Oese. Accessories are Re-ment and Barbie by Jonathan Adler.

Re-ment: The green soap and lotion bottle on the sink are from Cosmetics, Natural #4, and are good for 1:12.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Other Side of the Citadel

My mini life is a bit in disarray these days. I am still recovering from the Design Within Reach Event, and have not had any time to organize my houses or things. I'm in the middle of a wallpaper scraping in the large VERO (more to come on that), and have been working my way around the Citadel. I have been neglecting the bottom floor in my other VERO and have also been neglecting myself. For the past few weeks I have been on a roller coaster of sick -- three different variations of a cold virus. Yuck. I am hopefully on the mend.

On the Citadel, I migrated to the other side to test out another room, which has made me think more about the overall layout of the house. The previous owner had the kitchen on the ground floor, tucked in a corner:

Don't think this works...it's pretty compact, doesn't open up to any other rooms, and connects to the main entryway via a door. The owner had built-in cabinets in a traditional style that I plan to eventually pry from the wall.

I am considering moving the kitchen to the other side of the house, in the adjacent ground floor room, which is accessible via the main entryway and also has a sliding set of doors. As you can see, I have not yet started scraping here.

The two rooms above this one will likely end up as a bedroom and bathroom. I did a quick scene in the potential bedroom. Before:

After, with lots of different papers from the Paper Source:

I'd love to address the outdoor spaces next; there's a patio above the bedroom and a lovely curved terrace that got knocked off the side of the house when we drove it from Chicago to New Jersey. The front entrance of the house needs help, too. I took off the main plexi window panes in the hopes of re-fabricating it.

Little by little...

Credits: Couch by Annina; light is minimodernistas; coffee table is by Paris Renfroe; cabinet is vintage VERO; chair is Reac; wallpaper and flooring are all papers from the Paper Source. Accessories are by Re-ment, Gigi N Studio, and random doll store finds.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Vollmer and Preiser

I have long admired the wonderful, mod-looking HO and N-scale commercial buildings crafted by Vollmer in the 1950s and 1960s. Nothing gets me more than tiny for tiny! I finally got my hands on two such structures -- a department store and a toy store ("Spielwaren") -- which were originally intended for model train scenes. I wanted to try to capture their details and color, and challenged myself to see how closely I could zoom in on windows, doors, and the vibrant papers underneath.

I love the details of this long window pane.

Over the July 4th weekend, I visited Freda's Fancy, a doll house store in the Long Island town where my mother lives, and found a box of these great N scale figures, made by Preiser. They really reminded me of the very talented artist Slinkachu, who does amazing photography of these types of "people" adrift in the big real world as part of his "Little People" project. His street art installation work is so humorous and well-done. Have a look on his blog.

The set I have is here:

I had some fun setting them up in front of the buildings:

After reading through Slinkachu's bio, I saw reference made to the figures he uses, and they are indeed made by one in the same: Preiser. There's whole world of them on eBay, by the way. The details are amazingly fine and the possibilities great. Please let me know if you have similar Vollmer treasures! I'd love to see your photos.