The Christopher Guy Dollshouse
In a work of extraordinary craftsmanship and unparalleled intricacy, Christopher Guy, in partnership with some of the design world’s most prestigious interiors brands, has created a doll’s house in a window display on the First Floor, Centre Dome, at unveiled as part of the 2021 London Design Week and completed with the collaboration of Fromental, Samuel & Sons, Gingerlily, Drummonds and Lalique, this stunning house is a mini masterpiece.
Project designer, Julia Burdet, worked with the Christopher Guy team on the doll’s house frame, and has furnished the house with designs from the extensive CG collections using the Christopher Guy Styletools Floorplan. The frame was built in the form of a classic London townhouse, with a curved and cantilevered staircase lead- ing upstairs from the grand entrance, ceiling roses, built-in lighting and opening doors. To design and make the house frame took 11 craftspeople a whole month.
In the Christopher Guy workshops, the CG artisans replicated the complex structures of the full sized pieces, carving by hand signature features including the Chris-cross chair legs, complex wooden knots, ridging and extended cabriole legs. Gold, silver, wood, marble and lacquered finishes were applied using the same processes as the originals, and upholstery was painstakingly built in. Mirrors panes were cut and inset into the tiniest of frames. Creating the 130 furniture pieces took 16 craftspeople over 2 months.
On the ground floor of the house is a grand entrance hall with standout pieces the ‘Portobello’ gossip seat in deep red velvet, a ‘Camilla’ mirror with its famous swirls hand carved in minute format, and a scale model of a Steinway piano with piano stool. The connected dining room features a grand ‘Fontaine’ dining table with fluted wood ‘La Croisette’ chairs.
The sweeping staircase is flanked with ‘Dior’ mirrors and leads to a drawing room on the next floor with a curved ‘Lafite’ sofa, and to a study with the ‘Chez Harrods’ bar cabinet complete with opening doors, mirrors and internal lacquering. In the master bedroom on the second floor, the exceptional ‘Cosmopolitan’ headboard is finished in gold leaf, and paired with the signature classic ‘Le Meurice’ chaise, while in the bathroom a screen divides the bath from the white lacquer ‘Constellation’ dressing table and shell-backed ‘Venus’ chair in silver.
The top floor houses the guest bedroom, with a ‘Dita’ upholstered bed and ‘Gisele’ dressing table, and the child’s bedroom, which features the ‘Hawthorn’ chairs in gold. These beautiful chairs are shown in full size in the window display, in an echo of the doll’s house room. Throughout the house are exquisitely carved wall art pieces and miniature decorative accessories adorning the furniture.
The walls are decorated with hand painted, hand embellished papers by wall covering atelier Fromental, featuring classic and new designs, some in bespoke colours created specifically for the doll’s house. Among them, the ‘Hirondelles’ collaboration of Fromental and French crystal house Lalique is replicated on the staircase and landing walls, with tiny sparkling crystal swallows embellishing the delicate Chinoiserie design. The dining room features the extraordinary ‘Hanakoto’ design in the rich gold Oniyuri colourway.
The study walls are in the dramatic ‘Rockface’ design, balanced in the drawing room by the calm ‘Untitled I’, inspired by Modernist art and shown in a bespoke neutrals colourway. In the guest bedroom on the top floor is ‘Water Music’, named after the collection of orchestral movements by George Frideric Handel. An elegant fountain scene with fluttering parakeets, it is painted so that the water droplets and birds appear to be carved from crystal. Opposite, the child’s bedroom is decorated in the scaled down brand new Peter Rabbit design, which is shown in full size in the window display.
In the drawing room, between the delicately carved CG ‘Sohne’ wall lights, hangs an intricate tapestry embroidered by Lizzie Deshayes, design director of Fromental. Using fringes, braids, tassels and borders from across their collections, Samuel & Sons has created a range of miniature items for the doll’s house, including cushions, rugs, chandeliers, curtains and even toys. Every item has been made by hand, perfectly illustrating the versatility, craft and quality of Samuel and Sons trimmings.
Braided fringes have been layered into shimmering chandeliers, with glass beaded trims. Borders have been sewn together to form rugs for the dining room, drawing room, study and bedrooms. In the dining room the ‘Clermont Strie’ border in Sienna mirrors the red velvet curtains, the gold Fromental walls and the sparkling red CG ‘Taittinger’ mosaic. Velvet curtains have been designed with pelmets for the dining room, drawing room, office, study and bathroom, all finished with miniature borders and tiebacks. Delicate sheers for the bedrooms and the hallway windows hang on the tiniest of curtain poles. Cushions with mini corner tassels and pompoms accessorise many of the chairs and sofas. Silk bedding specialists Gingerlily have created by hand scale miniatures of some of their classic and their newest designs. In the master bedroom the duvet cover in Sand is crowned with the Sand bolster cushion. The bedding colourway in the guest bedroom is Antique Pink, while in the child’s bedroom the Rose Pink duvet cover and bolster are topped with the ‘Coral Fern’ silk eiderdown and frilled round cushion in pink, from the collection created with interior designer, illustrator and colour consultant Vanessa Konig. All the bedding encloses mini replicas of the Gingerlily duvets, pillows and cushions.
In charming additions to the dressing room and the child’s bedroom, Gingerlily dressing gowns have been hand sewn in the scale of 1:10, complete with belts. There’s even a minuscule silk eye mask, a replica of the popular Gingerlily accessory. Bath specialists Drummonds cast a miniature of their classic ‘Torridge’ bath for the project, forged, just like the full sized version, in cast iron and fully lined in enamel. A scale model of the Drummonds classic Double Lowther Vanity unit was also recreated, complete with taps.
Julia Burdet says: “Making authentic scale models has been a mark of master craftsmanship for centuries, with many renowned furniture makers always first building scale model prototypes of their new pieces. We have brought this traditional skill into a modern miniature dream home, and combined it with the diverse knowledge and talents of our design partners. Creating the Doll’s House with Christopher Guy, and partnering with such prestigious and inventive brands, has been a real eye-opener to just how much skill it takes to produce their high quality interiors furnishings and accessories. It has also been a fabulous adventure into the child that’s in all of us, and I hope its magical charm will enchant everyone who sees it.”
The Doll’s House is on show at the Christopher Guy Window Display, First Floor, Centre Dome, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, from Thursday 29th April.
Founded over 25 years ago by the late furniture great Christopher Guy Harrison, Christopher Guy creates extensive collections of hand crafted furnishings designed to transcend modern, traditional and cultural boundaries. An uncompromising sense of style and a seam of elegance have ensured that CG redefines the aesthetics of design.
I was thrilled to be able to chat with Julia Burdet, the editor of Designed Magazine and the visionary behind the Christopher Guy dollshouse in an Instagram Live event with the replay posted here:
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