Designer Linzi Macdonald has created the ultimate dollhouse, kitted out with her mini versions of local pieces.
You’ve been renovating your two-year-old daughter Maddie’s dollhouse – and it looks amazing! In fact, people have been following your progress on Instagram via the #maddiesdollhousereno hashtag. How did this all start?
We realised that Maddie didn’t have anything that was really hers
– everything came from hand-me-downs from her three-year-old brother, Will. So, my hubby James found her a dollhouse on eBay. My Instagram friend was currently renovating one for her boy, so I thought it’d be a fun experience, too.
What inspired you to treat this like a real-life reno?
I love a challenge, so I thought it’d be funny to create miniature items that we have in our home. Then it spiralled out of control – in a good way of course!
How do you go about making mini versions of real-life objects
by Armadillo&Co. and other brands?
I was sitting at my desk one day staring at a ball of twine, when I got the idea for making the Armadillo&Co. ‘Daisy’ rug in miniature. Not thinking it was going to actually work, I gave it a whirl. I glued the back of the twine, while I wove it around and around to create the rug’s pattern. It took a whole morning, but I was so happy with the result! My fingers hated me for it, though. All of the wooden furniture was made with the help of my husband. He did all the cutting, and I finished them off. I think he thought I was a little bonkers when I told him I wanted to replicate a Mark Tuckey table.
It must be tough working on such a small scale – have you run into any difficulties?
The trickiest part was painting the exterior. It was such a horrid and tedious job. So don’t look too closely at those window frames! And putting up the Quercus & Co. wallpaper against the staircase. No matter how much I wiggled, those stairs weren’t moving. So I had to cut each step out of the wallpaper one at a time.
What’s in your toolkit for making these items?
Fabric glue – it bonds so fast without making a terrible mess like a hot-glue gun! White spray paint – there was no way I was hand-painting that staircase! Plus, my trusty fine-point Sharpie pen and a few test pots.
What’s been your favourite item to work on?
The Mark-Tuckey-inspired table and the old spanner my dad gave me, hanging above the table. We rummaged through his collection to find that perfect one!
Have you had responses from any brands that have inspired your work?
Both Mark Tuckey and Armadillo&Co. have left lovely comments on Instagram. Casey from Uashmama in Bondi sent pieces of their gorgeous paper, so all of the bags in the house are actually real Uashmama bags. I ended up going into the store to meet her, because she was just so lovely!
Can you talk about the other people who have contributed to the dollhouse?
I’ve had so many lovely people on Instagram send me items or offcuts: Felt Foxes made me the tiny garlands. G. Nancy and Oli Holmes sent me fabric and the small bear print. DyeNumber2 crocheted the incredibly tiny and amazing blanket for the lounge. Zilvi made the numbers on the front of the house. Tellkiddo sent me the cute paper bags in the boy’s room – and Cassie Loizeaux sent me a bunch of illustrations she created for it.
How big is the actual dollhouse – and what do visitors think when they see it?
The house is huge! It sits at 80cm high by 80cm long by 40cm deep. It takes two people to carry it, so it won’t be moved around a lot! When anyone comes over, the first thing that comes out of their mouth is “now, where’s that dollhouse?”, followed by “ooohhhh” and “how?!” The kids’ room is such a big playful space, so the house just fits in perfectly.
What does Maddie think of the dollhouse?
She loves it, especially pushing all her animals through the side door! I think the kitchen is loved the most by both kids, though. With the opening and closing of the fridge, making Mummy cups of coffee – it gets a real thrashing, that room. I usually sit back and watch them play, and pray they don’t destroy it all in one go!
What do you get up to, when not working on this project?
My husband works on the ferries in Sydney Harbour and I work from home, making toddler teepees (littlelinzi.bigcartel.com).
What other plans do you have for the renovation?
Will it ever be finished? I think it’s done – unless I come across another amazing designer, then I may just have to sneak in another piece. It has been such a fun journey, so who knows, maybe I’ll create another?!
For more info, follow Linzi on Instagram at @little.linzi.