I sometimes feel as though I live in miniature rooms.  At 1,600 square feet and what seems like 16,000 square feet of Legos and trucks, there are times when I do feel like the walls are closing in on me.

But I’m actually not talking about “small” rooms today.  I’m talking about dollhouse-size rooms — decorated to absolute perfection, if you can imagine that.

I was in Chicago a month ago for a friend’s wedding, and I arrived early enough in the day that I was able to steal a few hours away at one of my most favorite spots in the world.  The Art Institute of Chicago.  I used to go there as a little girl – it would be an annual trip to wander the halls of the gorgeous building and absorb the French Impressionists (which were my favorite) and the Thorne Rooms.  The Thorne Rooms are a series of 68 miniature rooms that were commissioned in 1930’s by Mrs. James Ward Thorne.  She had master craftsmen reference historical documents, homes, and antique furnishings to recreate these miniature rooms to represent European and early American design.

I used to love looking at the rooms because I would imagine myself in them – sitting in tiny chairs, living that exquisite, miniature life.  But this time around, I was more interested in the actual design elements.  I was thrilled to see so many “trends” that are popular today depicted in these period rooms.

Kristen at Thorne Rooms

Here’s my big head next to one of the rooms.  Can you tell I’m totally excited?

Thorne Rooms

I stuck my finger in this photo so you can get an idea of scale.  And so you can see that amazing mini Lucite chair!

My cellphone photos of the rooms do not do justice to their amazing beauty.  I searched around the internet and have compiled some better photos for you to enjoy the decor (photos from The Art Institute and Chicago Post Card Museum).

As you can see, dollhouses are not just for little girls!


5 replies
  1. Karena
    Karena says:

    Kristen what a fun and interesting excursion!!
    That entry and the miniature artworks! Amazing!!
    Hope you are having a great week!
    The Arts by Karena

    • Kristen
      Kristen says:

      Yes, they truly are amazing! The craftsmanship is incredible – things I didn’t appreciate as much when I was younger, but can look at in a whole new light now!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. KMR
    KMR says:

    I love this Kristen! I think the chandeliers and light fixtures are my favorite. And the style of the arms on the sofas/chairs. Very cool! My girls love looking at the American History Museum dollhouse–I’m definitely checking out the interior design next time.

    • Kristen
      Kristen says:

      It was fun to check out other things in the museum and focus on today’s interior design. Even the antique porcelain exhibits and furniture exhibits were fun — things I had previously not appreciated! Our Nat’l Gallery has a furniture exhibit that I didn’t get to spend much time in – maybe we can go together!

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