Last month we were approached by Porch.com and Wayfair.com to build and decorate a dollhouse for a charity of our choosing. A charity close to our hearts is Ronald McDonald House here in Portland, Oregon. Inspired by the need to support families far from home whose ill children are in Portland hospitals, the Oregon Medical Association Alliance (OMAA), Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation, regional McDonald’s restaurant owner/operators, and community representatives built a Ronald McDonald House in here almost 25 years ago. It’s two locations here in Portland do such great work for families who need support during a difficult time and so donating to them seemed like the perfect choice.
Everyone on our team pitched in with at least cheers and oohs and ahhhs, but our illustrator Krista took the lead in creating all of the adorable details with the assistance of Jessica our craft and styling assistant. We knew from the beginning that we wanted to build this house for a family of bunnies so we picked out the Hopster family of four. To start the house project, a friend of ours, Tom from Jenike Development, designed and built the main house frame, the plans for which you can download here if you want to make your own dollhouse. After he completed the construction, we painted the inside and out white, added tiny wooden shingles to the roof, a little white picket fence around the outside, then set about planning the details and decor for the inside.
To finish the walls and floors we mod podged wallpaper that Krista designed with each room in mind. The kid’s room has walls decorated with deer, hedgehogs and little bunnies smelling the red mushrooms. The parent’s bedroom walls has a green and plum motif of mushrooms and branches. The bathroom is a classic grey stripe. The kitchen is a pretty gold polka dot wallpaper and the living room is a coordinating birch tree print. To finish all of the floors we used a wood veneer from Barc Wood and made a tile floor for the bathroom from a hexagon print. All of the doors, windows and floors were then trimmed with a thin balsa wood. The facing edge of the wood was also completed with the wood veneer cut into thin strips to give a finished look.
Time to move in the furniture and add the final decorative touches. All of the furniture for this bunny house is wooden and made by Hape. We selected six sets; the kid’s room, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining room and living room furniture and painted some of the pieces in a neutral color to match our color palette. We made pillows, bedding, and rugs from wool felt and added tiny terry towels to the kitchen and bathroom. The colorful bathroom rug was made from gluing teal baker’s twine onto a felt circle.
To finish the kids room felt banners and pennants were made for the kits room with final touches of a red mushroom table top, felt mushroom rug and an “explore” painting on a small piece of wood mounted to the wall.
For the mom and dad bunny room their felt bedding and rug matches the wall paper perfectly and simple jumping bunny vinyl pieces were cut and placed on wood pieces to mount on the wall over the bed. A “Hello Sunshine” art piece is also mounted to the wall over the vanity and the tiny DIY cork and felt plant on the table gives this room its final touch.
The bathroom is just too adorable. With the DIY towel and rug in place the room is finished with two botanical prints over the bathroom tub. Another tiny felt plant in a cork pot graces the bathroom window.
The kitchen is a busy place. We found miniature crates, flour and sugar sacks and tiny carrots to fill the little jars. All are carefully glued into place to keep the kitchen tidy. The walls are finished with a botanical carrot print and the word EAT on a tiny wooden slab.
The dining room and living room are the hub of the home. The comfy sofa and chair hold little felt pillows to watch bunny TV and the fireplace is finished with tiny twigs and topped by another little DIY plant. The rooms art includes a family portrait, a grandma rabbit portrait and a birdhouse relief over the fireplace. Oh so cozy.
There were obvious restrictions to building and decorating the house to make it safe for children, but we embraced the challenge and had a lot of fun sourcing well made wooden furniture and making art works, textiles and accessories for our miniature world. Our color palette was inspired by the cool, dusky tones of early Spring and being lovers of Scandinavian design we kept our decor sleek and simple yet full of pattern and color. We used a variety of materials from mod podged paper, washi tape sheets, wood veneer, and a variety of felts and fabrics. Our tiniest of tiny accessories are all glued in place for safety when the the little kiddos get their hands on it. Our cute bunny family moved in today so all that remains is for us to take a trip up to our local Ronald McDonald branch and hand our dollhouse over. Check back in a couple of weeks to find out how we got on when we donated the home. Thanks to Porch.com and Wayfair for asking us to be involved in such a wonderful project! ~ Lia
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