A Different Kind of Tiny House Comes to DC

  • May 20th 2016

by Nena Perry-Brown

A new type of tiny home will make its debut in DC on Saturday.

The National Building Museum is opening an exhibition of dollhouses on loan from the Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood in London — the first time these homes have crossed the pond. The dollhouses, constructed between 1760-2001, offer a glimpse of how home life has changed through the years.

A Different Kind of Tiny House Comes to DC: Figure 1
Whiteladies House, circa 1935

One of the most interesting aspects of the exhibit is how various interior design trends and architectural principles have come back in vogue recently. For example, 19th-century homes like the Killer Cabinet and Betty Pinney’s House have custom features and wall decor that would make a hipster envious.

The Whiteladies dollhouse, constructed in 1935, was an example of modern ideals at that time, a model of “rational living” based on ergonomic efficiency, open spaces and extending the living space outdoors. Features such as floor-to-ceiling windows, large terraces and roof decks give this particular dollhouse an air of modernity that would make it desirable even now.

A Different Kind of Tiny House Comes to DC: Figure 2
Jenny’s Home, circa 1960

Meanwhile, Jenny’s Home is a more-democratized mid-century doll house that, when it debuted, could be purchased and arranged room by room. While the miniature furniture inside gives a Mad Men vibe, its bright colors and boxy exterior foreshadow the colorful lucite-skinned modernity of the 2001 Kaleidoscope House.

A Different Kind of Tiny House Comes to DC: Figure 3
Kaleidoscope House, circa 2001

In addition to the 12 dollhouses, the Building Museum commissioned 24 artists to create “dream rooms” that range from the abstract to the literal. A couple of the works are must-see imaginative takes on the micro-unit, featuring everything from loft ladders to wall-beds.

These works of art will be auctioned off after the exhibit closes next January, with all proceeds going to the Building Museum’s educational programs. To learn more about the exhibit and for details on how to visit, visit the Building Museum’s website here.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/a_small_glimpse_of_over_two_centuries_of_home_life/11260.

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