Saturday, April 2, 2011

Japanese Rooms-in-Miniature

These babies need to be cradled!
I am thrilled to now own a lovely Japanese-made miniature furniture set, after what seemed like a long journey!

I first saw the couch and chair and other pieces on Mini Modern's blog back in 2008, when she used them in her Lundby Stockholm, and they were labeled as 1:18 scale Japanese-made "Pacifico." Then, I saw them again on Amy's blog in early 2010, after she found them for $4 in a thrift shop (Amy is a lucky duck!). Then, Susan showed even more of the pieces on her blog earlier this year, when she used them in her Built-Rite house. This time, Susan provided so much helpful information on the set, namely an ad from the 1964 Sears Christmas catalogue that showed the three rooms in miniature for sale ($3.99/room):

Page 71 of 1964 Sears Christmas catalogue - image courtesy of www.wishbookweb.com
This information was great to have, and it was also interesting to see that the pieces (and many accessories) were sold as rooms with interior decorating possibilities, with tracks/brackets, wall panels, and wall-to-wall carpeting. It is no surprise that the Irwin Decorator Set is in the same catalogue, five pages earlier (images courtesy www.wishbookweb.com as well).


My pieces arrived in the original box, but not in a room box as originally sold. I do wonder if anyone has ever seen these original room boxes or the accessories. The box for the furniture features a cool shadowed dot pattern that gives off an optical illusion of three dimensionality:


I noticed a manufacturer's sticker on the front bottom left corner, which says "Imperial Imports Japan":


There was also some writing on the side: "NY-33":


Perhaps this was some notation for Sears? Not sure. Google searches on Imperial Imports did not turn up anything of note.

The inside of the box showed the traces of elastic that held all the pieces in place:

As it states in the Sears ad, the set is closest to 1:24 scale, which is not normally the scale I use, but some of the pieces are transferable to a 1:16 or even a 1:12 environment. All of the pieces are so incredibly well-made and exceedingly delicate. I am glad I decided to unpack them all alone on a table, cleared of other things.

One of the first pieces I was excited to see was the dining room table -- with an adjustable leaf!



The smallest of the pieces are the turquoise-padded dining chairs, with their wispy chair backs and tapered legs -- gorgeous!


The dresser might be transferable to a 1:12 environment, but definitely can work in 1:16. Again, very delicate handiwork, with working drawers:



The wood just glows on these pieces, even after 40 + years!!!

The infamous chair and couch that first caught my eye back in 2008 did not disappoint, although one bottom strut piece on the couch was broken, the only flaw in the set. I paired them with the various white, shiny-topped tables, so modern:



Here's the front and back of the tables -- lovely!



By the way, the paper pictured here is a Japanese paper from the Paper Source, and the store is now donating 10% of all Japanese paper sales to Japan relief through April 30, 2011. Not that you needed an excuse to purchase some of these great papers, but it is certainly a great incentive!

Next, I played with the modular shelving units, which are so versatile and can definitely work in 1:12 and 1:16 scale, for a variety of purposes. There are open units, and a few with sliding white doors and sliding plexi doors.



The bed and chaise are definitely 1:24 scale. The bedding top comes off from the wooden platform, and both pieces have the same stiff pillows as the living room set, but in a lighter flower pattern (not so much to my liking, actually)



You may have noticed some very cool books in the pictures with the couch and chair -- this is a mini preview of my next post, which will feature the goodies in my swap package from The Shopping Sherpa. Here's a teaser:


She showed my treats here and here. Can't wait to share mine with you!

32 comments:

  1. Oh wow.. CONGRATS.. they are lovely.. the dining room table is just awesome. I can't believe they're as old as they are!

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  2. Oh wow - what gorgeous pieces!! So glad you finally got hold of them, they're so intricate and perfect! A little of the green eyed monster here ;-)

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  3. So beautiful! The turquoise-padded chairs and the dining room table with the leaf are perfect. But I'm confused - who sold these? How were you able to purchase these tiny gems?

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  4. Thanks, Ann! The dining room table might be my favorite ;)

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  5. It's great that you got a set, and I am glad I could help with the Identification. My sets came in plan white boxes - one per room - not the cute dotted box you have. I love this mid-century modern furniture! It has so many possibilities for scenes.
    Susan

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  6. Hi Mini Aussie! I'm glad I finally have a nice complete set too!

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  7. Thanks, Monica! I bought the set from eBay, and the seller was fantastic. She wrapped everything so incredibly well. The pieces are so fragile that they easily could have been damaged, but thankfully they arrived intact (except for one of the couch legs)!

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  8. A big thanks to you, Shale, for posting your pieces, and including the Sears ad. I like how all the puzzle pieces have come together! It's interesting that your set came in three separate boxes that were unlike mine. Are there any markings on your boxes? Do they have the same elastic ties?

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  9. How lovely! The dining room set, chair & couch are especially wonderful (the fabric covering the couch & chair is so pretty). They look very delicate! Can't wait to see the set ups you'll make using them. More & more (as I get sucked into the world of dolls houses & all things small) I wish I was good at carpentry.

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  10. I'm glad the parcel arrived. Are you opening the packages one per day or was there a paper-tearing frenzy?

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  11. Wow, lucky you!!!
    I'm very seldom envious on anybody, but I must admit I'm a little envy-green too :-)
    I had missed this on both Modern MC and Shale's blogs, but recognized the gorgeous couch and chair from Amy's blog, and even though I'm usually more into furniture without patterned fabrics, I love the colour and pattern.
    My favourite is the dining table and shelving units with sliding doors, but every piece of furniture is just stunning!
    And I have enjoyed watching the very nice swap treats you gave TSS on her blog, can't wait to see what you got from her!

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  12. Hi H. Bean! Yes, super delicate these are! I will have to wrap them up very carefully so that they will store well in their box. Carpentry would indeed be a useful skill in this realm.

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  13. Um, that would be the latter, TSS! It was a necessary frenzy...!

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  14. That's OK, Pubdoll, I've been green on your collection many times! I do love the blue color and pattern, too. Yes, the dining room table is one of my favorites in the set, and I can see so much use for the shelving units, although I am reluctant to tacky stick them to the walls! The Shopping Sherpa sent such fabulous things -- will share soon!

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  15. Wow! Such beautiful furniture! A dining table with a leaf? No way! Love the little chairs too.
    Thanks for the link to Paper Source. I like the one you've chosen here.
    Can't wait to see what is in all of those little packages! :D

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  16. Thanks, Kathi! I know, I was terrified to take the leaf out, so I just pulled the table at each end to show it! There were many, many other tempting papers at the Paper Source. :)

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  17. Breathtaking. To find this set in such condition, wow, well worth the wait. Congrats!!! can't wait to see where it will live. I love those dining chairs and the possibilities with that modular shelving unit are endless. Score!!

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  18. Wow!!! Looking very beautiful furniture........

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  19. Hey Callsmall,
    So glad you finally got this set. Yes, the seller you bought them from is awesome! No surprise that she sent them to you with great care. I'd love to steal some of the modular cabinets from you...Smiles

    Looking forward to more about TSS swap!

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  20. wow :O thanks for the introduction, these are really awesome! i think my fave are the chairs, so delicate!

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  21. Hey Mini Dork! Yes, I am still figuring out how I'll use the pieces. The dining table, couch, chair and shelving units will probably get the most play.

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  22. Hi MC! She really packed them amazingly well. I am going to try to replicate her technique without causing any damage. Will share my swap spoils soon! :)

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  23. Thanks for dropping in, Snowfern! Glad you like the set. The chairs are indeed beautiful. :)

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  24. I'm amazed to see this set. I have the same set in the plain boxes given to me when I was a child. I've never seen pictures anywhere else; this has made my day!! Thanks. Not anonymous but I don't have my own blog, Barbara

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  25. Hi, Barbara! So glad you found this post! I would LOVE to see pictures of your furniture and boxes if you care to share them with me...you can email me at call-small(at)call-small(dot)com. It's such a lovely set!

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  26. Hi, I attempted to email you and I don't think it got to you. I have this same set for sale right now on ebay (just posted it tonight). I have the living, dining and bedroom for anyone that is interested. Mine are not made in Japan though (made in USA) from Miner Industries. They were sold at Montgomery Ward.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120737149930&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT#ht_4756wt_1141
    Also, I think your blog is incredible! Amazing work!

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  27. Sorry, I posted the last comment with the link on the email auction. I am not anonymous either - Tiffany - but no blog (and feel like I am so new to the world of blogs!). So easy to get sucked into the vortex!

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  28. Thanks for writing Tiffany, and I appreciate the link! I did not receive any email, so I am very happy to see your listing! I had not seen the boxes before for the rooms, so it is so cool to have a peek at them! You have some real treasures there. I might be in touch with you to ask permission to use a few of the images on my blog. If you see this comment, please email me at call-small(at)call-small(dot)com. Otherwise, I'll contact you through eBay.:)

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  29. Hi again! I sent you a new email with some pics and a link to the auction. Please write back here so I will know if you received (or just email me back!) Thanks :)

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  30. Thanks, Tiffany!! I will write you back!

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  31. Hi Tiffany, I just came across one of these sets recently and loved seeing all of the history of it on your blog :-) Thanks so much for the info! Here's a link to my blog with some pics. It's hard to determine if all of the rooms are together as some of the set is yet to be built. I'll be listing this one for sale too (though I'll probably regret it later. Lol)
    Cheers ~ Lara
    http://nowsolavintage.blogspot.com/2012/11/thrift-share-stocking-up-for-holidays.html

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