Friday, January 15, 2016

Le Petit Versailles ~ Aaron Bujak












The Petit Apartment of the Queen, situated behind the Grand Apartments, and open onto two interior courtyards, were the private domain of the Queens of France, Maria Theresa of Spain, Marie Leszczyńska, and Marie-Antoinette.

These rooms which were originally built in 1699 underwent several renovations and are shown as they appeared during the reign of Marie-Antoinette. Beginning in 1781 Marie-Antoinette with the help of her favourite architect, Richard Mique, increased the number of chambers, added mezzanines, and created a refuge where the Queen could retreat to a private life.

Unlike the grand apartments, the petit rooms were given far more specific roles, had more personal touches, and were more intimate in scale. Marie-Antoinette and her architects paid considerable attention to the countless details that went in making every interior, private room unique and useful to the Queen’s more intimate needs. The Grand rooms of her apartment were used for formal audiences, small plays, and dining in view of privileged nobles, while the smaller apartments were used by the Queen to read, choose her wardrobes, listen to music, and be with her children in private. The Queen, especially, placed a high level of importance in the separating of her public and private life, not only in time and activity, but also in places where such activity would and could occur.

        This handmade model includes 12 rooms, 4 hallways, 9 fireplaces, 54 pieces of furniture, and one hand painted area rug. This model began after visiting these rooms three years ago and has become a labor of love. The parquet floors, wood paneling, and furnishings are all done by hand and based upon a great deal of research to ensure authentic room recreations. The model is surrounded by a wood case which includes three drawers lined with velvet to store the furniture. These drawers are in place of what in the actual palace were attic spaces in which tanks were installed to catch rain water for the baths below. This section of the palace, wedged between two interior courtyards, was the private realm of Marie Antoinette at Versailles. The main room and largest within these apartments was the Cabinet Dore, given its name for its profusion of gilt work after its redecoration in 1783 by architect Richard Mique. This room was used as a private living room for the Queen in which she spent time with children and closest friends, took music lessons, sat for portraits by Vigee LeBrun, and housed a collection of Asian Lacquer pieces. The small adjoining room known as the Poets Salon was decorated with paneling brought from the first floor apartments and is one of the last examples of Martins Varnish within the Palace. The supplemental library, the name refereeing to the larger library that it opened onto, has a style very austere to that of many of the rooms within the Palace and shows s preference towards the cleaner more classic lines of Louis XVI period. Marie Antoinette appreciated the illusion of fully stocked book shelves which inspired the Trompe le’oil treatment on the rooms doors. Behind the library are the original bathing rooms which opened onto the interior courtyard of Monsignor. These rooms received very little natural light and were later scarcely used one the new, brighter bathroom was completed on the floor below in 1785.  The rooms located above the Cabinet Dore were even more intimate spaces in which very few even in the day of Marie Antoinette had any idea of there existence. These rooms are intimate in scale, even by today’s standards, with lower ceilings and a cohesive approach to design which is seldom seen in Palaces like Versailles. The largest of these rooms was used as a private dining room for intimate meals with family and friends. These small rooms used by Marie Antoinette and her ladies in waiting are decorated with cheerful wallpaper and portraits of Marie Antoinette’s Hapsburg relatives. Very little is known of the furnishings of these rooms so the furniture is based upon pieces that are known to have belonged to Marie Antoinette. The Petit Apartments model was recently featured at the San Francisco Design Center, http://sf.racked.com/archives/2013/06/18/visit-versailles-at-the-sf-design-center.php

Friday, November 08, 2013

"English Hunting Lodge" ~ Artist Bonnie Broel











This item has been on display in the world renowned House of Broel Dollhouse Museum that is a wonderland of intricate treasures that have to be seen to be believed. It is a very fine piece that is in excellent condition because after its creation it has only been on display and never handled. A description will follow from the designer and collector, Bonnie Broel.

From The House of Broel Collection

After building my first dollhouse from a kit I realized how much time, expense and effort went into finishing and furnishing it, so I decided that if I were going to do more they would have to be of a high quality. Since I was a newcomer to the dollhouse world I did some research – long before the internet and discovered that the highest quality dollhouses were built by The Lawbre Company. I decided that I wanted nothing but the best in my collection. That’s why I bought from the best and furnished with the best!!

In the 1980’s The Lawbre Company came out with a magnificent limited edition dollhouse – only 25 were to be built and I just had to have one to add to my growing collection. They called it “Old Westbury Hall” but as I worked on the interior and found the furnishings and occupants I decided that it would be my “English Hunting Lodge”. The house had an amazingly detailed exterior but was unfinished on the inside. I began adding appropriate wallpaper, furnishings and lighting but I felt the floors on the first floor needed to be finished finer than what I could do – so I contacted the Lawbre Company to make inlaid and parquet floors for each of the rooms and they are exquisite. Even though I added oriental carpets the intricate woodwork can still be seen and admired.

The front of the house has exquisite detail and in every respect characterizes the English Tudor style. The variety of colors and textures recreate a most picturesque period. Notice the bay window on the second floor above the front door and the colorful stained glass windows on the left. On the far right is the kitchen. To give a homey quality to the façade I added plants, trees, a sundial, a pond and a fountain. I also added a whimsical incredibly life like pony cart. The cart itself is signed Cheryl Abelson 5/84 and the pony is initialed JG 84. The animal even feels real and the accessories are all leather. The pony cart is just waiting for the boys of the house to come take a ride.

Also on the front there is a brass plaque that says:

“Old Westbury Hall”
Constructed for
House of Broel
During 8-83 number 7/25
Designed and Decorated by D.L. McNeil
The Lawbre Company
Mundelin Illinois

On the right hand side of the house I added a two-tiered pond with a waterfall filled with fish set in the middle of a rock garden with lilies of the valley in the front and stalks of hollyhocks and other tall English country garden flowers in the rear.

On the left hand side of the house I added a round brick edged garden with a fountain, a large tree, and a decorative brick wall flanked by smaller trees with a colorful hanging plant in the center  

The room on the left of the first floor is a dining room that has a whole pig and hand painted ceramic rust and ivory dishes on the table. On either side of the door going into the kitchen are two signed engravings. The table, chairs and sideboard are all Thorne Room reproductions made in Taiwan. The floor is inlaid walnut by The Lawbre Company. Next, in the entry way the Lord of the Lodge greats a visiting African King who presents the head of the house with a ceremonial sword. The middle room has colorful stained glass windows and interesting tri-cornered chairs and desk (more Thorne Room reproductions) accented by a gracious Edwardian lady. On the far right there is a handsome man standing in the library that is decorated with tapestries and signed hand painted English scenes.

On the left hand side of the second floor the hunting room features duck decoys, a large marble fireplace, riding boots, a display of knives, a mount of a deer, a bear rug and most importantly, the hunter with his grouse.  Next, the gaming room has a six sided pool table in the center that is complete with pretzels and beer.  To the rear of the room in the bay window a whale oil lamp sits on a table with jade bears on either side. There is also a drugstore Indian sitting on the left hand side of the space with a portly gambler looking on. The music room is next with a baby grand piano, and a George Becker harp and chair. The hallway features equestrian scenes and the blue and ivory bedroom on the far right boasts a version of King Henry VIII of England’s bed. A mother boxer sits in front of the fireplace with her puppies and Sherlock Holmes stands by the fireplace looking for clues. The oil painting is a miniature reproduction of a masterpiece.

The boy’s bedroom is on the far left of the third floor. It is complete with the two boys, their wooden train, desk and their bunk beds. Even the Teddy bear is dressed like Sherlock Holmes. The next room is the Fox Hunt Room with hunt scenes on the walls, a luxurious leather sofa, a fox hunter in his red and black riding habit and an English maid dusting. In the hall there is a desk, a grandfather clock, a lamp on a table and a Dalmatian on the floor. The room on the far right of the third floor has wonderful Throne Room reproductions in it but the most interesting piece is a linen press in the rear of the room that I bought from the artist and it is signed on the back.

The kitchen is located on the first floor and is on the far right of the front of the house. There are numerous copper pots and pans hanging from the rack and many delectable foods on the table. Sacks of foods are on the floor and the brick oven fireplace boasts even more foods and accessories including a rack of corn drying on the front.

This is an amazingly exquisite limited edition dollhouse that will be a magnificent addition to any collection.

Width – House only 61 in. with side yards 80 in.
Height – 37.5 in.
Depth – 29 in.
Weight – 175 lbs.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Gilbert Mansion: Have you seen this house?

Kathleen Gilbert, the creator of the Gilbert Mansion, has been trying to track down this dollhouse. If you have seen it anywhere, please contact her at kathleengilbe62@hotmail.com


This grand mansion by Kathleen Gilbert was last spotted on eBay in 2007. It is a mammoth of a dollhouse, four stories high and consisting of 33 rooms. The Gilbert Mansion is almost 7 ft. long, by over 6 ft. tall, and about 30 in. wide.


The music and billiard club room has amazing wood paneling up to within a foot of the ceiling, with plaster-formed "marble" relief at the uppermost foot. This room was designed around a baby grand piano. This rooms French doors and long windows look out to another wrap around porch. This room also features the beautiful sliding doors that are incredibly impressive!


The exterior design was taken from several European and Canadian manors and castles; the roof is "verdigris" "copper" standing seam metal, just like the parliament buildings in Ottawa. The exterior walls are weathered limestone, with some relief work.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thank You Tara & Kellie!


While I am sharing photos of the gifts I received, I thought I'd post some that are long overdue. These were gifts I received from Tara Ryan and Kellie Wachter last year, but I never got the chance to photograph them until this morning.

The screen and the pillows were made by Tara, especially for the Garfield Manor. She knew that this was to become a nabob's pleasure palace, and wanted to create something with a distinctly Indian flair.

Kellie Wachter created this crazy quilt with all the colors of the peacock, knowing full well how much I adored the bird. She even embroidered tiny peacock feathers, bees and butterflies throughout the quilt ... anywhere you look, you will find a tiny something or the other hidden in the patchwork.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thank You Anthoula!


Today I received a gift all the way from Greece! When I untied the red and white checkered ribbon and unwrapped the red paper wrapping, these tiny treasures awaited me. First came the lemon meringue pie ... then the fruit tart topped with cherry and a slice of starfruit ... followed by the waffle served with chocolate ice cream and banana slices atop a dollop of cream ... and finally the tiny meringue nest with slices of citrus fruits! I love how the meringue swirls so elegantly on all of them, and the details on the starfruit and banana slices are out of this world! Thank You Anthoula!

For more minis by Anthoula Zampeli, visit:


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thank You Teresa!


These are my cherished gifts from Teresa Martínez, all the way from Spain! Earlier this year, she mailed me a copy of the Miniaturas magazine where my doll, Sunehra, was featured. Along with the magazine, she sent me her wonderful creations of marmalade and the Christmas wreath. My photos don't do justice to the detail ... if you could only see the itsy bitsy slices of lemon and qiwi! From the bottom of my heart, Teresa, Thank You!

For more minis by Teresa Martínez, visit:
Blog: http://tinyterminiatures.blogspot.com
Website: http://www.tinyterminiatures.com

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!


In celebration of the new year, here are some fabulous photos by Linda Carswell of Une Petite Folie. The wine bottles are by Hanneke, French pastries by English Kitchen, flan and pizza by Sarah Maloney, macarons by Linda Cummings, citron tarts by Sandrine Chauvin, cupcakes by Christel Jensen, heart shaped cookies, cakes and scones by Kim Saulter. What better way to celebrate the new year?