21 November 2012
Sit back and relax as Jane Kubiesa does the hard work for you, in our guide to choosing the best miniature sofas... ...
1…for Rococo splendour
When it’s time to lounge, few chaise longues are more ornate or extravagant than those of the Rococo period. The reclining sofas of early Romans and Greeks have nothing on these gilded, carved and richly upholstered seats used by French nobility. This style of seating was called a duchesse and it was famed for its extended seat made for lying upon and its curved ends. John J. Hodgson’s duchesse has a gilt finish and is upholstered in red Chantilly fabric, but does come in various hand-painted effects and fabrics. Matching chairs and stools are also available.
John J. Hodgson
2…for a trip to Provence
Whether you are creating a miniature château, a gite or a petite patisserie, this French settee is perfect for bringing a touch of Southern France into 1/12th scale. It is an upgraded version of the classic Provence style sofa, which would feature a slatted wooden back and rush seat. Here those are replaced with a padded seat and back for extra comfort, with the added advantage of upholstery to match your interior. The Marie-Antoinette Sofa is handmade in the studio at Blondie Créations of Belgium and can be finished in a choice of four wood colours and four fabrics. In true French tradition, it has floral carving to the centre of the back rail, curving arms and turned and fluted legs. This artisan specialises in French style furniture and accessories and the sofa also has a matching arm chair for your maison de poupée, or dolls house to you and I.
Price (approximately): £13
3…to add country cottage style
This miniature sofa would be at home in a number of settings, but it is perfect as the focal point in a country cottage design scheme, where interiors are made to mimic cottages in the countryside. Creating country cottage style is all about making an interior that is comfortable, homely, rustic and welcoming. This sofa’s pale floral tones are reminiscent of a countryside scene, whilst its small co-ordinated cushions add a flourish of colour. It is handmade by Jody Raines of Peach Blossom Hill, who specialises in making country cottage style sofas and chaises in a range of designs. Jodi also stocks an array of floral fabrics with a 1/12th scale print for DIY upholstery projects.
Peach Blossom Hill
Prices from: £28
4...for a larger scale home
Furnishing a 1/6th scale home and in need of a modern sofa? Look no further because help is at hand from scale specialists Smidge House. The largest in dolls house scales, 1/6th is rapidly increasing in popularity due to the modern and retro pieces of furniture on sale in this scale and the range of designer dolls of this size, which include Barbie, Blythe, Momoko and Fashion Royalty. In line with the contemporary trend in this scale, the Graffiti sofa is covered in eye catching news print fabric and has a compact box style design. This maker principally stocks sofas, arm chairs and scatter cushions, but also designs other scale pieces.
Price: See website
5…for a gentleman’s study
No Victorian gentleman could do without a Chesterfield sofa. Placed singly in the study or library of his own home or in multiples at his club in town, the Chesterfield was a real status symbol. The term broadly refers to a sofa with arms and back of the same height, with deep buttoning. It is most commonly found with leather upholstery, but some early models were covered in fabric and Victorian versions sat upon wooden legs, as we see in this example from Desirée Lefuente Miniatures. These sofas, which are still fashionable today, were so popular that the term Chesterfield is used in Canada to refer to generic sofas.
The Victorian Chester Sofa is made in wood with hand-buttoned leather upholstery and has tiny brass feet. There are four variations of the design available with fabric upholstery, removable cushions and buttoning to the seat or curved arms.
Desirée Lafuente Miniatures
Price (approximately): £900
6…to curl up in front of the TV
Every modern home has a media centre and where there’s a television, there’s a comfortable sofa to curl up on to catch those unmissable programmes. With its modern lines, dramatic plum colour and stylish wooden feet, this two-seater from The Dolls House Emporium would be the envy of any 1/12th scale neighbour. It comes with two large plum coloured cushions and extra throw pillows can be added for a contrast in colour, to fit in with a miniature design scheme or simply to make the sofa look more inviting. To complete the scene, why not add a coffee or side table to hold those vital remote controls and snacks?
The Dolls House Emporium
7…to recline in style
In countries in the Orient, a reception room in a palace or a council chamber was often called a divan and this room gave its name to the sofa used for lounging there. Often the only piece of furniture, a divan could range from a mattress on the floor to a bench with low arms. Divans were sumptuously decorated and scattered with cushions and would be used for eating, sleeping and reclining in style. They were backless, so were usually placed against a wall. In true Oriental style, this divan from Simply Silk Miniatures is backless and is piled high with twelve hand stitched silk cushions in contrasting fabrics, gold silk brocade and Chinese prints. The print is carried through to the seat of the divan, which is trimmed with gold.
Simply Silk Miniatures
Price (approximately): £85
8…for Minimalist chic
The Sevilla Daybed by architect and designer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is a furniture classic. Using cutting edge design and new industrial techniques, Mies created pieces of furniture to pass the test of time. This sleek daybed with its buttoned upholstery, strapping and streamlined base is perfectly at home in ultra-modern surroundings and its Minimalist design means it is both beautiful and functional.
This global classic, by a German-American designer, is crafted by a miniature artisan in Brazil. Designer Mari Speridião mainly produces miniatures in pewter alloy, steel and acrylic and her pieces range from mid-century modern designs, like the Sevilla Daybed, to contemporary furniture. This miniature upholstered couch comes in red velvet with a black base or black leather with a silver base.
Price (approximately): £30
9…to protect a lady’s modesty
When entertaining a suitor in a 19th century home, sitting in this courting couch was the closest contact young lovers would be allowed to have and then only under parental supervision. The courting couch, which was called a chaperone sofa in America, had a physical barrier between two seats to prevent the close contact of its inhabitants. The most common of these couches had a full length seat, but a back which featured two seat backs separated by a horizontal wooden bar. The idea was that one person sat next to each arm rest and the entirety of the wooden back of the couch had to be visible for modesty’s sake. This version from JBM Miniatures has the opposite arrangement; here a full length back is joined to two separated seats. The Chaperone Sofa has detailed carving to the shaped footboard, back rail and legs and is covered in a gold velour fabric with buttoning detail.
Price (approximately): £45
10…to furnish a stately home
The Knole sofa is thought to originate from the 17th century when one was commissioned for Knole House, in Kent. Knole is one of the grandest stately homes in the UK and its eponymous sofa is now made in miniature for your grand stately home. The sofa has a characteristic square shape and can sit upon wooden legs or have a lowered seat surrounded by fringing or box pleat upholstery. Probably the most famous and recognisable aspect of the sofa is its pegged drop down arms tied with decorative rope. There are several schools of thought about these movable arms; some people believe the sofa could also be used as a daybed, some think the arms were movable to accommodate large dresses fashionable in the period, and some believe the arms helped the lady of the house to hide suitors from the prying eyes of servants when the master of the house was away from home. This miniature sofa comes from the workshop of Kris Compas at 1 Inch Minis and has coordinated fringing and matching bolster cushions. Kris’ sofas and chairs are all one-of-a-kind designs; each piece is upholstered in different fabric so no two are alike.
1 Inch Minis
Price (approximately): £22
This feature was originally published in Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine. If you like making miniatures, why not buy yourself a copy of the magazine. Or better still take out a subscription so you never miss an issue. For fans of Facebook and Twitter, or to email, print or comment on the feature, please use the buttons above to share with your friends.