I’ve always wanted a dollhouse. When I was a kid, I loved the Morris Museum gift shop’s dollhouse-furniture collection – I would pore over the amazing, miniscule reproductions of vintage washing machines, typewriters, divans, and Oriental rugs. Somehow, smaller = better – maybe because in a small space, you can change your mind more easily, move things around, try things out with no real commitment (or sweat).
I haven’t gotten my own yet – my former mother-in-law had the sweet idea to get one we could decorate together, but we never managed before my marriage to her son ended. At some point, I’ll do it with my daughters, when they are out of the “put everything in my mouth” phase. But in the meantime, I can dream of doing something along the lines of this amazing, living work of art created by textile designer and Esty seller Phoebe Stout as a gift for her niece.
Prepare to be dazzled. This is out of this world.
Stout is a big fan of the Impressionist painter Henri Matisse, whose richly-hued paintings are full of amazing fabrics. She had always dreamed of creating a dollhouse with rooms inspired by his paintings, with amazing wallpaper and rugs and bedspreads like the ones he created. Her niece’s third birthday was her big chance, and she took it!
Many of these rooms are nearly-perfect recreations of Matisse’s paintings. Like, this bedroom takes the wall and the floor of Pianist and Chess Players. (You can see several side-by-side images on her blog.) I can’t stop looking at it!
Another wall from that painting is here, in the kitchen:
This bathroom drives me up a freakin’ wall. As I look at it, I feel like I’m actually inside a painting – like I’ve really stepped inside, the way I tried to do over and over when I was a kid! (I was a weird kid.) (Well, I’m a weird adult.)
Stout says that Matisse was known for “creating pictures within pictures,” which is why his paintings can hold my attention for so long. And so can this living room. Just when I think I’ve had enough of the walls, I notice the couch, and wonder if Stout upholstered it to match, and if so, how on Earth she did such a thing, and if not, how she managed to unify it all. And then I look at the rug. And then I look out the window. And then I’m back to the wallpaper. Jeez, what kind of tiny paintbrushes did she use?
Stout told me she also imagined living inside this dollhouse as she painted it. Her niece “flipped over it,” which I would imagine she would, and they play with it together all the time. Can you imagine having such a perfect plaything? Wouldn’t it make the real world look so dreary? I want a Matisse house! I want it now!
Did you have a dollhouse? Would you move into this one if you could?
Images via UntoldImprint/Phoebe Stout