My 1:4 Scale Parisian Apartment, Part 3

This post is the third and final in a series about My 1:4 Scale Parisian Apartment diorama. Be sure to also check out part 1 and part 2 for the complete story.

The Windows

study3Since their beautiful double door windows are what make Parisian apartments so special, I decided to make the window seat the main focal point of the study area of my diorama. I’ve actually had this wonderful set of windows for a while now, but they were a long time coming! I designed them many years ago using actual French casement windows as a guide, simplifying and making modifications as needed to make them more practical for use in dioramas. It took a while but I finally managed to get a friend to construct them for me and I’ve been occasionally using them in photo shoots for some time now. They are made from painted wood and have double doors with plastic panes. The doors open and secure shut by a turn of a handle. For this project, I wanted drapery that would highlight the windows as much as possible. I sewed simple, lightweight curtains from 100% sheer Indian cotton that glows as it captures the light coming through the windows.

sunOutside the windows, you can see what looks like a building across the street. Those buildings are straight-on photos of actual buildings that my husband took in Paris  (at my insistence) a few years ago. Using the magic of Photoshop, they were blown up to two feet tall and then the resulting large format, high-quality images were ordered online via Costco’s Photo Center. The photos are mounted temporarily onto foamcore for photo shoots and then can be rolled up and stored away when not in use.

Under the window in the study is a seat made from a shabby old wooden chest that has marvelous brass band and handle details. A simple white cotton cushion (by Charlene McDougale of Four the Girls) sits on the chest to provide added comfort. The patchwork throw pillows were borrowed from a beautifully made bedroom set purchased from Bashette Ironworks years ago. More of Bashette’s throw pillows were used on the sofa in the living room (see part 1.)

All in the Details

study5In the corner to the right of the window seat is a wonderfully detailed birdcage purchased from a Chinese vendor on eBay. Inside are a pair of needle felted lovebirds commissioned by artist, Hannah Stiles on Etsy. Hannah’s needle felted animals are so jaw-dropping amazing that she typically has a 3-month waiting list for orders. One would hope that such a long wait for something would be worth it — let me assure you that a masterpiece by Hannah definitely is! Next to the birdcage is a secretary by Bespaq. This is truly a fantastic piece–all the drawers of the chest are functional and the door above them flips down to create a desktop and reveal more little drawers and cubby holes to explore inside! Atop the desk sits a retro articulated lamp (actually a book light by Mustard) in eye-popping red. To the left of the lamp, a small collection of French “folio” pocket novels I handmade await neatly in line. On the wall, a vintage Absinthe poster, cut from a postcard and mounted in a fancy gold frame, decorates the wall alongside framed snapshots of JAMIEshow dolls (by yours truly.)

study1Adjacent to this wall is the aforementioned (in part 2) modern room divider screen made from a sink mat suspended in mid-air by jewelry cable hooked into the ceiling. In addition to separating the study from the dining area, the translucent “screen” gives the space a modern touch all the while allowing light to penetrate through to the back of the room. Directly in front of the screen is another little seating area featuring a dining chair by Horsman and a round rustic coffee table topped with a stack of “antique” books (handmade by me), a small statuette of a nude torso, and a ceramic bowl I picked up in Roatan. The round green woven floor covering is a placemat from Bed, Bath and Beyond. It adds a fresh splash of color that breaks up the monotony of the chevron parquet floor and further defines the study area.

That concludes the tour of the study! Before you leave, though, I’d like to show you one more magical place in my little apartment…

The Hallway

hallway1My diorama is ultimately a giant box. When working in this scale, this simplified design is necessary for practical reasons. I wanted to add some kind of architectural interest–something simple, but special. My solution was inspired by a diorama created by Maryann Roy that I remember seeing way back when she first started her Welcome Home site and occasionally offered up furniture pieces for Gene. It was a living room set with a doorway cut out of one of the walls. Behind that wall was another wall which created a hallway that suggested the diorama continued beyond what was visible in the photo. The trick was so simple but it added such depth and intrigue to the design. It prompted the mind to imagine the other mini rooms that might be down the hallway: bedrooms, a bathroom, perhaps even a kitchen! Would they be in the same color scheme as the living room? What kind of art would be on the walls? How many more of Maryann’s wonderful furniture creations would lurk in those rooms?

hallway2I made my hallway following Maryann’s example. I was frankly surprised at how much additional work was required to add an extra wall to create the effect. However, if it inspires you to explore the rooms beyond my diorama in your dreams, the extra effort was well worth it! The doorway beautifully frames the Bespaq console table located in the hall. This is appropriate since its marble top and gilt legs makes the console stand out as the most luxurious piece of furniture in the entire diorama. The vintage suitcases and simple desk lamp (another book light by Mustard) help to tone down the bling a bit while the Fleur de lis mirror by Horsman and the sculpture of New York’s Chrysler building turn up a more modern vibe. A pair of glass giraffes and a floor vase filled with birch branches complete the look.

This concludes the expose of my FDQ award-winning diorama!
I hope it has inspired you to create your own space for 1:4 scaled fashion dolls!


Happy Earth Day!
My 1:4 Scale Parisian Apartment, Part 2


  1. Sylvia in Fl wrote:

    Vicky, this is awesome and inspiring. Thank you for sharing. Your attention to detail is just amazing.

  2. Angel wrote:

    Everything is wonderful! Details are great, I love your Roatan bowl. It’s the little things that make it for me. Do I understand correctly from Part 1 that this was only a temporary set up? It seems such a shame to have it all taken apart and stored away again, I would want to enjoy this all the time!

    • Tori wrote:

      Hi, Angel!

      Yes, it is a temporary set up as it is much too big to leave displayed in my apartment, hence all the photos!

      Thank you for posting your comments!