Modernist Life in Miniature

Mid-century modern gets minimized.

Before going any further, a disclaimer: we are not on the verge of writing about dollhouses. These are mini modernist manses and mid-century inspired miniatures we’re blogging about here, a tribute to those of us who cannot afford and/or agree with our spouses on acquiring the full-size Saarinen we love so dear.

Thanks to the internet, we’ve been able to tap into the minds, closets and, okay, “dollhouses” of a different sort of design devotee to bring you 20 examples of mini-modernism at its most minimal (in stature), divided into two sections: architecture and furnishings. But remember, these are not dollhouses in the traditional sense. The mini-modernists that build and most probably obsess over them favor clean lines over opulent Victorian and streamlined interiors to stately Tudor. They strive to bring the Vitra back, put some Le Corbusier into it and infuse a little Eames into the drab of everyday.

For that we say, play on.


The Kaleidoscope House (also pictured above)

For mini-modernists, this out-of-issue toy house from the now-defunct Bozart Toys is, like, Graceland. Designed by architect Peter Wheelwright and artist Laurie Simmons in 2001, the collector’s item now sells for up to thousands of dollars.

The Edward House

Also covetable, the Edward House from brinca dada inspired by Neutra’s Kaufmann House and Gary Cooper’s home designed by A. Quincy Jones. Features glass corners, minimalist cut stone fireplace, hardwood floors, open floor plan and floor-to-ceiling windows. It bears mentioning that the mini-modernist abode is crafted with eco-friendly woods and non-toxic, lead-free paints.

The Bennett House

A truly tricked out miniature dream house that was influenced by the De Stijl movement of the early 20th century. The Bennett House is also a tribute to the Rietveld’s Schröder House. Referencing the iconic dutch structure, Architect Tim Boyle, who designed the mini-house, explains: “Townhouses are typically a stack of floors with a few windows on each floor, and no inside/outside relationship. I prefer architecture that reveals structure and engineering, hence windows extend past floors to show the weight and thickness of the structure.”

The Dylan House

Another from brinca dada, this one “inspired by the minimalist masterpieces of Paul Rudolph and Tadao Ando…featur[ing] a concrete-and-glass feel, but with the breezy openness of a beachfront home.”

The Villa Sibi House

For just $960, the Villa Sibi House, Garden and Pool can be yours. While the sole product reviewer deems the house “unattractive” and “lonely looking,” we can think of at least one little girl who would love to play with it.

Furnishings & Interiors

Miniature Eames

For over twenty years, the Vitra Design Museum’s Miniatures Collection has been creating mini replicas of milestones in furniture design, so it is only appropriate that we kick off our itty bitty interiors with the most iconic piece of furniture of all time: the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman in 1:6 scale. Yours for just $630, a fraction of the grown up cost.

The Zig Zag Stoel

Also from the Vitra Design Museum, the Zig zag stoel by Gerrit T. Rietveld. We’ll let the museum explain: “Rietveld takes up Mart Stam’s idea for a cantilevered chair (1926) and makes formal references to the Sitzgeiststuhl of the brothers Heinz and Bodo Rasch (1927).” Admired as a synthesis of form, function and construction, the Zig zag stoel is a mini-must for the serious collector.

The Mies van der Rohe Tubular Chair

In the 1920s, tubular steel become the preferred material for avant-garde designers representing “a rejection of the conventional, overladen bourgeois interior of the time, filled with massive furniture and decorative trinkets.” So, too, has it found a place in the contemporary mini-house.

Aarnio’s Ball Chair

Called a symbol of the optimistic, consumer-driven popular culture of the 60s, the ball chair also echoes the enthusiasm of the space age. Another Vitra Design Museum mini.

Le Corbusier’s Chaise Longue à Réglage Continu

In miniature for just over $400; full size, if you can find it, priceless.

Gehry’s Wiggle Side Chair

Back in 1970, Frank O. Gehry discovered a process enabling functional, sculptural cardboard furniture. The result, the side chair.


From PRD Miniatures, the S chair in what looks like felt.

Vitra-Inspired Ball Clock

We’ve seen that clock before, and now you can own it in miniature for just $28, from minimodernistas.

Mad Den

From brinca dada, a living room set reminiscent of a certain mad man’s den.

The Aero Chaise

From PRD Miniatures in 1:12 scale.


A meticulously hand-sewn Pop Art scene from miniaturist Shopping Sherpa.

Tiny Swede

Swedish simplicity by Stephanie Kilgast, aka PetitPlat. Tiny room furnished by Elf Miniatures and REAC.

Mod, Silver & Minimalist

From Call of the Small, a blog about all things modern and small, ornamental CB2 chairs (out of stock) in motif.

Cozier Than a Terrarium 

From the most evocative woman in small blogging and photo staging, Annina Gunter’s miniaturized version of summer.

Slower Than Fast

Another mini-world by Annina, there are many familiar pieces in this staging of what for many of us is a typically decorated modern room. But while many of the pieces we sit, lounge, cook, read and write upon on were built fast and probably not to last, miniaturists slow life down into the tiny intricacies that make up the bigger picture. They are another example of our latter-day artisans.

Image: Museum of the Child

K. Emily Bond

K. Emily Bond is the Shelter Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in southern Spain, reporting on trends in art, design, sustainable living and lifestyle.