Friday, 16 December 2016

Kirstie's Handmade Christmas: Noele House

Her name is Noele, she rings my bell, etc.etc. (Apologies if you too now have that stuck in your head for hours and hours!)




So, you may have by now spotted this not so little house on Channel 4.

Ordinarily, Dad and I would have worled on this for a few months around work, life, sleep etc.
However we love a challenge so when we found out we had the chance to be on the show and that, around Dad's schedule (which involved driving about the UK a little bit!) we'd have a good 3-4 weeks to turn this around before the deadline.
As you can see we pulled it off but OMG, we worked our socks off for this one!
For a sense of the chaos and paint-stained, sleep deprivation that took over Mum and Dad's house for a few weeks, I started and finished the entire first season of Game of Thrones between dinner and bedtime one Saturday whilst painting doors and stair spindles. (Bedtime was a little later than usual that night!!)


Any way, with out further ado, let's take a tour around the place. 



'Noele', as mentioned in my previous post, the house is named after my Aunty, who was maybe the most excited person in England on Wednesday night, and then the most emotional when she spotted the little name plaque. 

We went for a traditional, Georgian exterior, built from gorgeous Birch plywood, big windows, a stylish, black front door and topped off with a snowy rooftop.
The doorstep was a late addition, courtesy of Dad, a solid, and rather beautiful Oak step, perfect to pop the tiny milk bottles out on. 

Moving on to the interiors, I wanted big rooms, then we ended up opting for a massive hallway too because, well, drama!
I'd always wanted to build a house with a central staircase and Dad worked tirelessly to create one that worked. 

The rooms are finished with real wood floors, skirting and cornice, whilst the hallway is a mix of glossy tile effect on the ground floor and a more sumptuous looking cream carpet upstairs. 

The doors were fitted with real brass door-knobs and the ceilings boast tiny, plaster ceiling roses. 

I used a range of Farrow & Ball colours to create the interiors (and exterior) though perhaps my favourite room is the bathroom with it's painstakingly created Stamp wall.
Dad actually created this using stamps from our Granddad's collection, I almost decided against it but am so pleased we kept it!

Side stepping any potential wiring dramas, we used LED lights throughout the house. 
(Honestly, unless you are lucky enough to have the time, money and patience to invest in wiring and wired lights I would strongly recommend going for LED's!)




As a Bespoke built house with over 200 hours put into it, this is considerably more expensive than any of our other houses and is only available to customers in the UK.
(If you are seriously considering the house and live overseas please factor in that shipping will be hundreds of £ due to the house being very large and heavy. If that's something you're prepared for then please do drop me a line! )

If you are interested in the house, or a custom build of your very own, contact me, Kat, at : fourlittlewalls@gmail.com
and I'd be delighted to discuss further with you. 




Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Kirstie's Handmade Christmas: FLW's Big Day Out!

About 6 weeks ago we were thrilled to have the opportunity to take part in the Best Handmade Toy competition as part of Kirstie's Handmade Christmas series.
(If you any of you are reading from outside the UK and are not familiar we are of course referring to the champion of the handmade, craft and property boss lady that is Kirstie Allsopp.)
Her Christmas shows are a firm favourite in the FLW household and so the excitement at being involved outweighed the the sheer terror of having to appear on camera, just.



To start, we had a lovely director visit at the house to film some behind the scenes.
Dad was in his workshop sawing and sanding things, (the house itself was still a skeleton at this stage!) while I pottered about in the attic, dip-dyeing tiny Xmas trees and covering an armchair.
(Spoiler alert: The glue I was using was horribly gone off which I hadn't realised until we started filming so absolutely stank whilst also looking horrendous! Thankfully we can't smell through the TV screen yet!)



With the first scary bit over, Dad (Simon to those that are not his offspring) and I got to work, planning, drawing, sawing, painting, sanding,painting, sanding, and so on, and on, and on, in order to create our biggest Bespoke Doll's House yet.

I wanted something that was timeless, festive and a little bit magic and, though I do say so myself, I think we pretty much pulled it off.
I named the house Noele, festive and fitting for the show, but also named after my lovely Aunty, who is one of FLW's biggest cheerleaders, a huge Kirstie Allsopp fan and has no idea that the house was named after her! (Hopefully she's watched the show and knows now! )



For 4 weeks Dad and I both worked solidly on the house around our day jobs.
I was commuting back to Kent from London on Friday nights to paint walls, upholster chairs and apply gold leaf to tiny furniture, oh and apply the snow, because we HAD to have snow!

Dad surpassed himself, spending 20 hours building the central staircase alone.
The roof pictured was not the original, that's right, a second roof because the first just wasn't quite working, and then of course there was the ultimate sacrifice of the stamp collection, used to create the feature wall in the bathroom. (I'm sure Granddad wouldn't have minded!)

Dad even had a spin on the sewing machine up at the workshop, hemming the stair carpet made from an off-cut of red velvet. Honestly, he's pretty good my Dad.

After a frantic sprint to the finish we promptly loaded the house into the car like it was a giant, awkward baby and hit the road to Buckinghamshire.
(Actually we sat in traffic for a good hour but we made it to the hotel in time for Dad to seek out a pint before closing.)

With an early wake up call the next day we drove down the road to the magnificent Waddesdon Manor. 
This place does Christmas very, very well.
There's a Christmas market outdoors, many beautifully decorated trees, each one with a different theme and outdoor cafes made snugly with fire pits, blankets and sheepskin throws.



While we waited to set up we got to meet and get to know our fellow contestants, there were 4 entrants in total, all utterly gorgeous and then all of a sudden, boom, camera's on, Kirstie glides in, we chat about doll's houses (I mumbled and did weird things with my face) and then on to the next contestant!

While Kirstie and the judge made their decision we all sat downstairs having another chat before going back up to film the announcing of the winner where I did more weird things with my face and mumbled some more.

Spoiler alert: The ever-so handsome Winston the bear was crowned King of the Christmas toys thanks to the incredible talents and skill of Natalie, aka Fossil Moss Bears.

I stole a little cuddle with Winston after we'd finished and can confirm that he is one special, gorgeously huggable bear. 



After a speedy packing up we all popped down to the Stable building as we'd heard about the rather special Gingerbread version of Waddeson Manor, made by the Biscuiteers, so essentially a gingerbread doll's house, you can imagine my delight. 





Snaps, chats and some well deserved coffee's later and just like that, we were all done and driving back to Kent.

Oh, and then the hardest part, just had to casually keep this a secret until the show aired!!


It was such an exciting, scary, bloody lovely experience and I'm feeling very, very lucky to have such great friends, family (and a very understanding boss!) that encouraged Dad and I to go ahead and do this!

I'll do another post on the finished house, Noele, as there's a lot to say about her but for now please do give lots of love to the fellow Handmade Toy entries,  Natalie: Fossil Moss Bears and Alex: Rota skateboards .
(We don't have a link for Derek the rocking horse maker unfortunately but we're sending lots of festive wishes his way too!)

xx

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Shopping: Advent Calendars




Not long until the count down begins, (I guess you could call this a count down to the count down, but that would be annoying).

Before we got old enough to realise that there was such a thing as chocolate filled Advent calendars my sisters and I would share a cardboard, illustrated one, take it turns, with lots of arguing, to open a window and be various shades of delighted/ disappointed depending on what we revealed.
Animals and pretty trees were a crowd pleaser, three wise men, meh.

We later graduated to the chocolate filled ones, perhaps Mum got sick of the squabbles every morning for a month, but there's something about a gorgeous, illustrated Advent calendar that will always signal the kick off of pre-Xmas excitement for me.

Here's my fave London based finds, ranging from simple and stylish to just plain outrageous.
(Christmas in London is the best, it does show off ever so well in December!)


1. Fortnum & Mason Wooden Advent Calendar



This appeals to my doll's house loving side, my wooden things loving side and my chocolate loving side. That's all my sides. All of them.
It really could be Christmas every day with one of these. There's the option to buy empty or pre-filled with Fortnum's confectionary...how do you even make a choice like that?


2. Buckingham Palace Advent Calendar




Now, my sisters and I would have fought like cat and dog, specifically Corgi, to open the little windows on this one.
No chocolates, no treats, just charming illustrations and the Queen. One is delighted. I'm sure her Royal Madge has this very calendar stuck on her fridge.


3. The Liberty Advent Calendar 2016





I probably shouldn't even bother showing you this one.
It's beautiful. It's stunning. It's become a beauty cult, classic. And it's totally and utterly, hopelessly sold out.
You can of course get your grubby mitts on one over on eBay. Last I checked they were changing hands for nearly £300. (Might I suggest you put that £300 towards a lovely doll's house instead and just slum it with her Majesty's calendar back there at number 2?!)


4. Harrods Envelope Advent Calendar




Well, here we have a pack of Kraft envelopes on string, a very simple, affordable idea and one that struck me as very non-Harrods, which is probably why I liked it so much.
I particularly love that you can get so many mini things stuffed into those envelopes !

Sunday, 27 November 2016

DIY: Faux Snow Globe



Ti's the season, very nearly, so I've been chucking sparkles and sprinkles about in a bid to whip up some festive cheer with a DIY Snow globe.

Now, strictly speaking, it's not a snow globe as there's no water in it, hence the faux, but it's a cute little addition to the decoration collection.

It was super quick and easy,  if you have a crack at your own don't forget to show off with #yourlittlewalls .



What I used:
- Glass orb (mine was from Tiger Store)
- Mini Bottle brush trees (or whatever you want to encapsulate in your dinky glass bubble!)
- Sequins
- Snow Sprinkles
- Craft Glue

What I did: 






  • I covered the inside of the base with craft glue and filled in with snow sprinkles.
    (In hindsight it would have been nice to have added some extra height for a bit more visibility so if you have small pieces of balsa wood or something to fix in first that could be good!)



  • Fix the trees in place and leave to dry. 
  • Fill the globe with sequins/ glitter/ sparkles of your choosing.

  • Carefully glue around the ridge of the globe (not too much in case it drips into the globe and leaves you with streaky glass.) and fix the base in place.

  • Stand back, admire, enjoy a mince pie or two. 



Supplies: Glass globe: Tiger Stores, Mini Trees: fourlittlewalls.com, Sequins and Christmas Tree: Paperchase






Sunday, 23 October 2016

Dumbo: 75th Anniversary





October 23rd marks 75 years since Walt Disney's Dumbo premiered.

Can you even imagine a world with out this little elephant?!



As a child I actually found the movie to be quite traumatising, being separated from his Mum, that scene, you know the one, when Mrs Jumbo has been locked up and she's rocking him through the bars of her elephant jail? Oh. My. God. 
Even just typing it is a bit much for a Sunday afternoon. 

As an adult the trauma has evolved into something more resembling guilt/sadness as it's only when you grow up you realise that actually circus animals all had miserable and very un-Disney lives.
If you can get past that, then Dumbo can still be cherished and enjoyed as little time capsule, and ode to his classic, Disney era. 75 years is a long time after all!


We did see a travelling circus once when we were very little.
Fuelled largely by our deep love for Dumbo, the excitement levels of we three little girls, were, I imagine, ear-piercingly high. 
They had elephants, a bear (the bear was the saddest creature even then), and the act I can look back on without conflicted feelings is the Parrot and Yorkshire terrier duo.
The Yorkie pulled a tiny Roman chariot, the Parrot rode it squawking it's bossy little orders at his noble steed. 
They'd be a big hit on Britain's Got Talent don't you think?!

Rightly so,  those animal circuses are not allowed in the UK now but, aged 5, getting to see 3 elephants in the circus was everything we'd ever dreamt it would be and more;  the clearest memory I hold of that day is that one of the elephant's was named Brigid, my little sisters name, and Brigid the elephant decided to have the BIGGEST wee in the middle of the act, which of course we were delighted by. 
Kids are disgusting.

Anyway, complicated feelings aside, a huge Happy Birthday to the world's favourite, tiny misfit Elephant!
We love you Dumbo and all the little circus elephant's you stand for!


Wednesday, 6 July 2016

New Arrivals: Framed Prints


Not long now until our birthday celebrations begin!

In the mean time, I've just listed some mini's over on the shop, including these contemporary framed prints, produced by and exclusive to Four Little Walls.com. 




Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Plant Power : New Arrivals




All hail the power of the plant!

It had been a while since I made anything for FLW from Fimo and OMG. These little beauts were addictive!

We're due to be out and about with a stand at Dolly's Day Dreams in Ashford in the 26th June so provisionally the little plants will be exclusively for the fair. (If you're in the area come and say hello!)



Providing the sculpting has not destroyed my eyeballs, hands and posture by then, I'll be working on another batch for the shop!

Plants aside, how fab does the multi shelf look styled with those wooden crates?!
Who knew they fit so perfectly!


Shelves and non-plant accessories available now at fourlittlewalls.com.

xx

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Dollhouse Therapy Project: Update



Well, it's fair to say I've been slacking on this one slightly but I'm pretty happy with how the build is coming along!

For those of you just tuning in, #dollhousetherapy was launched in March by a group of very cool home and lifestyle bloggers keen to spread the gospel of good looking doll's houses to the masses.

The last Tuesday of each month sees those taking part reveal the rooms they have been diligently working on over the past 4 weeks.

Ever one to make life complicated for myself I decided that no, I would not renovate one of the 5 dilapidated doll's house currently gathering dust in the studio, instead I would build an apartment from scratch inside a retro TV surround. As you do.



The hardest part has been committing to floor plan (hence why there's not been much to see so far!), I finally settled on a sunken lounge area with elevated walkway and floating mezzanine level.
Stairs are to be decided, still torn between a spiral or floating staircase.
I need to stare at it some more. (It's a process OK!)

I played around with veneers and carpets but decided actually I love the wood grain and foil lining from its previous life as a TV so will leave it intact. The interior walls have had a base coat of white, I went with the old faithful exposed brick paper along the back panel.
Keeping it neutral for as long as possible before having to decide on an era/ style for the interiors.

At the moment it's set to be MadMen meets Shoreditch hipster with just a dash of bling.



To see more from the #dollhousetherapy challenge click here 

Friday, 13 May 2016

Second Life Toys : Japan


Prepare yourselves because this one will hit you right in the feels!

Organ donation is a hugely emotive, and often divisive subject.
There is a global shortage of organ donors with only 2%* of patients on waiting lists finding a match each year. (*Stats from SLT's video) 

Japan particularly struggles with this shortage and so has launched a new initiative in a bid to raise awareness and engagement around organ donation and transplant waiting lists through the wonderfully imaginative Second Life Toys campaign and short film. 

People are encouraged to send a toy that is injured and no longer played with.
The toy will then be given a new lease of life via a transplant from another donated toy before being returned, renewed, to its owner. 
Recipients are then encouraged to write a letter of thanks on behalf of their toy.
Simultaneously promoting engagement, understanding and gratitude and perhaps most importantly, starting the conversation about organ donation in peoples homes in a way that is appropriate and approachable. 





You can learn more about Second Life Toys here
(images via stills from the movie)

If you're interested in learning more about Organ Donation here in the UK visit here

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Mini Makers Australia : Mint Rhapsody

Attic House, Summer 14 - Neon Green


Today in our 3rd instalment of Mini Makers: Australia, we're saying hello to the super-stylish, dream team that is Mint Rhapsody.


Husband and wife team, Sam & Laura, are the creative duo behind the bold, bright designs.
An exciting, contemporary twist, these doll's houses blur the lines between play thing and home decor, designed for, and appreciated by the adults just as much as the littles.
Oh, and they have a big love for gorgeous, colourful acrylic, (who doesn't?!).


Clearly it was the doll's houses that initially lured me in here but the Mint Rhapsody range also boasts highly covetable home decor products such as the Shelfie and gorgeous,  design-led, shadow boxes.

My personal fave, the fabulous Invisible PlayPen, a design solution born after searching for a aesthetically pleasing form of containment for their own little.

Invisible PlayPen Image property of Mint Rhapsody

Not satisfied with the "primary coloured jails" on offer, the Invisible PlayPen blends in perfectly to its surroundings whilst giving you maximum visibility of the tiny human safely contained within. Hooray!

But back to the doll's houses real quick, some insight on the design process from Sam & Laura ;

Noticing a need for a version of "doll house" that is very gender neutral We wanted to also design a piece of art for the nursery. It had to be very bright and we love neons, not to mention see through acrylic neon! We took inspiration from Danish architecture. We wanted a simplistic design with clean lines. Thats how the attic house grew!


I hope that's got a lot of you excited, now excuse me while I go raid my piggy bank!

For more info, full range of products and to purchase, visit mintrhapsody.com.au

Instagram: @mintrhapsody 

Friday, 6 May 2016

Shopping: Architectural Storage



It's a shopping post with a difference today as , you can probably all ready tell, these items are not for your doll's house , but I'm sure you'll appreciate why they caught my eye!

I'm having strong feelings over this display range by Design Ideas.
Attractive storage with an architectural twist. Heart eyes x 1billion.



Let's start with the Iron Bridge Shelf.
Simple. Iconic.
Mount on the wall to display your treasures and pot plants, or simply leave bare to adore in all its glory.

(I'd go for a few little cacti and a couple of brightly coloured vintage toy cars!)

No wall space? No problem. This little beaut also works on a table top thanks to its teeny padded feet.


Fire Escape Shelving Unit



I always think of an episode of Friends whenever I see one of these, but maybe that's just me?
(You know the one where they get stuck and have to climb down each other? No?..)

At the risk of taking my doll's house weirdo-ness too far, also thought about attaching one of these to the side of a NYC style house, bit of graffiti on the walls, some bins scattered around...


Last but by no means least, if you're getting the shelves it'd be rude not to go the whole hog and treat your abode to a pair of Stairway book ends too.
Just look at them!




To be displayed only with the most aesthetically pleasing of books of course.

Few things please me as much as playful design and this little trio have my whole heart!

All three available at redcandy.com 

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Mini Makers Australia : Tiny Bungalow

Hello,

We're back with our 2nd instalment of Mini Makers : Australia and today's a real treat for the eyes, (and I hope, you're doll's houses too!).



Just some of the Tiny Bungalow's cushion collection


I stumbled across Tiny Bungalow's Instagram account during the Christmas break and was instantly drawn in by the cool, coastal vibes radiating out from the teeny house that was taking shape. 



Born from a love of interiors, home styling and the desire to create something beautiful and enduring for her daughter, Tara has launched Tiny Bungalow, fast becoming the go-to for doll's house owners seeking to channel some of that effortless, coastal chic into their small scale projects. 




The collection has been carefully curated with Tiny Bungalow's style ethos and emphasis on imaginative play at the forefront, with just a dash of luxe and the crazy, cute SonnyAngel doll's helping to showcase the mini wares. 



Cushions. We'll take one of everything!

In case the miniatures weren't enough for those seeking that laid back, coastal vibe , Tara is also the founder of real-life scale boutique, Tara Sea

I can literally hear the waves from my desk and invariably will leave the mini domain with a wish list as long as my arm + renewed desire to hop on a plane!

Tara was kind enough to share a little with us on her inspiration and motivation behind the launch of Tiny Bungalow;


" For me I have always been creating and decorating so it felt like an amazing 'uh huh' moment when I decided I would love to dive into the world of miniature and dolls houses. 


Now that I am a mother, nothing is more important to me than making something for my daughter that she can play with, bringing her hours of happiness and joy with imaginative play. I am super passionate about creating a brand that supports Australian made as much as I can, creating a lot of the pieces in the collection myself.

I wanted to create something that was different to what I had seen out there, as I felt there was a real gap in the market for something that brought about a coastal, grown up feel for mini interiors. I love the idea of styling and doing mini interior decorating that could be mistaken for life-size. Something that not only looked amazing when displayed in our homes but also something that children can play with and hopefully cherish for a lifetime.


I look forward to growing the brand and one day hopefully becoming a beloved name in imaginative play."





What a lucky little girl that get's to play with and treasure this doll's house, (and of course test those products for her Mama!) we're super excited to follow along with Tiny Bungalow's adventures. 

Head on over for your vicarious fix of Sun, Sea and Surf and an injection of tropi-cool style! 

x





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