The Dollhouse Project Finale, Finally.

Without obsession, life is nothing. — John Waters

I finally finished The Dollhouse Project (the origins of which I detailed in earlier posts here and here), but for some reason have not, until now, shared the photos of the completed project, which I exhibited in 2012 at the Tusinski Gallery in Rockport.

The Interiors

I furnished the dollhouse as though its interiors had seen several phases, just as interiors do in real life, devolving or evolving with our rising or falling fortunes, suffering from neglect, bad taste or even an excess of good taste. The decor of the dollhouse is part homage to the famous style of the 2oth-century decorator Dorothy Draper, and part homage to the television show Hoarders, in which generally decent, intelligent people show no restraint when it comes to their obsessions.

TRH dollhouse studio 5

TRH dollhouse living room 2


TRH dollhouse living room 3

The Story

The story behind the interiors is this: the last occupant of the house was an unemployed, middle-aged aspiring artist who lived alone, moving in to his parents’ house after they died. He left his mother’s Draper-inspired interiors largely intact, except for her sewing room, which he turned into his studio. He was obsessed with the human form as the focus of his painting, especially inanimate versions of the human form, returning for subject matter to the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius at Pompeii again and again.

TRH dollhouse studio 6

TRH dollhouse studio 1



TRH dollhouse studio 4

It Really is Done. I Think.

It’s kind of a sad, broken-down little place — my 6-year-old son is irritated by how depressing the interiors are (he’s constantly asking me, very diplomatically, if we can spruce it up). But to me, its imperfections make it seem more real. I find myself staring at it and thinking about the imaginary occupant as though he really did exist. That’s because somewhere, at some point, someone just like him lived a life just like the one depicted in this house. A frustrated artist, finding a sort of satisfaction in a life dedicated to a single pursuit.

TRH dollhouse bathroom

TRH dollhouse bedroom

TRH dollhouse bulletin board

TRH dollhouse kitchen sink

6 thoughts on “The Dollhouse Project Finale, Finally.

  1. Good morning Sara! I just went through the Doll House Project photos again – it is astounding. I was completely drawn in to an imagined story. Never thought about a doll house as a setting for a life or a place of characters. Thank you! The photos where sunlight comes through window panes and makes light and shadows on objects of daily life are especially evocative. Now that it is finished, you can begin writing the story…. Amazing! Janet Ware

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. What an extraordinary project and what a marvelous outcome! I find myself longing for you to begin a blog, “The Dollhouse Chronicles”, which of course begins with the artist’s inheritance of his mother’s house! How does he view each room? What are his recollections of his mother’s presence in the house? An altogether delightful post of a fabulous project!

  3. I agree with all of the above, with two additional comments: 1) I am so jealous. I pined my entire childhood away hoping for a dollhouse with real furnishings; and 2) I’m waiting for your novel as well as the dollhouse blog.

  4. Speaking of Dorothy Draper, I remember the “Dorotheum”, that served as the restaurant to the Metropolitan Museum for years, decked out in “dull” white and peachy pink with festive chandeliers.

    • I wish I could have seen that. And how amazing that the restaurant was actually named the Dorotheum. I’m so glad you commented, Lisa, as your SIL was just telling me about the amazing miniatures that you make!

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