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teeny and terrific

From habitat magazine - issue 35, teeny houses

Take one cardboard box, add a little creativity and lots of Resene paint colours, and you get the habitat by Resene Teeny House Competition.

Play with colour and let your big decorating ideas come to life with a cardboard-box teeny house, a blank canvas for decoration. Ahead of the opening date for entries for the Teeny House Competition, we challenged some clever creatives to embrace their inner child and decorate a teeny-weeny dream house.

Japandi chic by Annick Larkin

There were squeals of excitement when interior designer Annick Larkin and her daughters first saw their teeny house. “There was a blank canvas for me, a lovely little miniature size house where I could unleash my interior design creativity,” she says.

Japandi chic teeny house room

It was not only a chance for unbridled artistry but also scope to play with colours she might want to use in her own home. “I am looking to do up my living room, so I used Resene Botticelli and Resene Cut Glass to see how that might look.” Annick used Resene Coast, her “all-time favourite colour”, in the kitchen and the attic, which she transformed into a cosy bedroom.

“I desperately want a navy-blue kitchen, so again I lived out my dream.”

Annick used several designs from the Japanese-inspired Resene Hanami Wallpaper Collection, including Resene Wallpaper Collection HAN100361121 and Resene Wallpaper Collection HAN100333900, in the master bedroom and nursery. She utilised wallpaper further by using Resene Wallpaper Collection HAN100349911 on the bedhead and Resene Wallpaper Collection HAN100339818 on the bench seat.

Annick used creative materials, including an egg carton to build the fireplace, beads for lights in the bedroom and a milk bottle for the bathtub. To create wainscotting and Jacobian panelling, Annick repurposed the teeny house's cardboard envelope. “This has been the most fabulous project to do. It has kept me and my daughters busy during the school holidays and made me think outside the box.”

Japandi chic teeny house

Japandi chic doll house - key

Annick used Resene Botticelli and Resene Cut Glass in the lounge and made panelling from pieces of cardboard. The fireplace is built from an egg carton and the couch was made from leftover pieces from a dog bed.

It's the small things by Fleur Thorpe

You could stare at Fleur Thorpe’s teeny house for hours. The intricacies of her work unveil themselves over time: tables made from cotton reels, cabinets fashioned from perfume boxes and pendants repurposed from Christmas lightshades. “My kids and I visited our local junk shop and filled a bag with bits and pieces for $10. My children were pointing out suggestions for me, saying things like, ‘Mum, you could use this for a light or a seat.’ We were all thinking creatively as a family.”

Fleur Thorpe - teeny house room

Fleur reconfigured her house to create mid-century modern architectural features such as exposed ‘oak’ beams and full-height ceilings in the master bedroom. She supported these architectural features with bold mid-century inspired blues and greens, such as Resene Discover in the master bedroom, Resene Matisse in the children’s bedroom and Resene Seaweed in the kitchen. She added gold, yellow and orange accents and furniture throughout painted in bold colours, including Resene FX Metallic Gold Dust, Resene FX Metallic Magma, Resene Rusty Nail and Resene Karma.

Fleur’s tip: "I found it easier to work with my house flattened out for as long as possible. I first constructed it and then used a pencil to draw around each wall, ceiling and floor.”

Fleur Thorpe - teeny house model

It's the small things dollhouse - key

Fleur used small boxes for the fridge and kitchen cabinetry and made the kitchen table from an old wooden handle and the base of a wooden trinket box. The kitchen stools are cylinder blocks from a toy block set. The table base is Resene Alert Tan and the stools are Resene Billabong and Resene Blumine.

Trendy and tonal by Vanessa Nouwens

Interior designer Vanessa Nouwens is known as the queen of tone-on-tone interior style. So it’s not surprising she put her colour skills to good use creating a cohesive teeny home using Resene colour and pint-sized furniture bought from Kmart. Vanessa chose a warm neutral colour palette of hues she thought were “easy to live with”. She paired neutral walls in Resene Rice Cake and Resene Blank Canvas with furniture and accents in Resene Black White, Resene Blank Canvas, Resene Triple Rice Cake, Resene Rice Cake, Resene Canterbury Clay, Resene Gold Coast, Resene Brown Sugar, Resene Sand, Resene Teak, Resene Calico and Resene Bullwhip.

Teeny house furnishings

“To create a tonal scheme, I normally start with a couple of hero colours. In this case, it was Resene Brown Sugar and Resene Gold Coast. I then selected other colours within the same colour palette and still very warm, but much lighter.” Other ontrend features in Vanessa’s teeny house include a checkerboard floor in the bathroom with squares in Resene Canterbury Clay and tropical wallpaper – Resene Wallpaper Collection E384510 – which she transformed into a mural at teeny house scale. The timber feature wall in the lounge carries on the natural scheme and is made from dowel protected in Resene Aquaclear.

Did you know?  You can order samples of many Resene wallpapers from your Resene ColorShop. Like a Resene testpot, they are a budget-friendly way to check your favourite wallpaper at home, and once you have chosen your wallpaper for your real-life home you can use the sample for your teeny house too. Or paint your own wallpaper design onto your teeny house using Resene testpots.

A trendy and tonal teeny house

Trendy and tonal teeny house - key

The scale of this house is 1:12. To work out the size your furniture needs to be, simply measure an item in your own home. For example, if a bed is 195cm long, divide it by 12, which gives 16.25cm.

Colour by design by Kate Alexander

Kate Alexander of Places and Graces used her teeny house as an opportunity to play out her interior design fantasies. This included creating colourful furniture pieces from international designers, such as a replica of the limited-edition Dims Cleo chair x Dusen Dusen (in the kitchen), which she painted in Resene Smokescreen, Resene London Hue, Resene Red Hot, Resene Blackjack and Resene Half Turbo.

Colourful teeny house furnishings

“This was so much fun. I can have all these things that you probably wouldn’t actually be able to put in your own house,” says Kate, whose husband Matt made a replica of a bathtub from In Residence using a 3D printer, which Kate then painted in Resene Blackjack.

She painted most of the teeny house walls in neutral greys, including Resene Triple Concrete, Resene Half Concrete and Resene Smokescreen. But she also added accents in Resene Half Resolution Blue and Resene Spring Fever in the kitchen and a bold headboard in Resene Cashmere and Resene Smashing in the bedroom.

To create more light sources, Kate cut archways between rooms and windows in the sides and accented the architraves in bold colours such as Resene Cab Sav and Resene Red Hot. “Painting architraves and windowsills is a fun way to add a pop of colour and something I’d love to see more people do in real life.”

Colour by design dollhouse

Colour by design dollhouse -  key

Order your teeny house at The models come in an easy-to-construct flat pack and are modular in design, meaning they can be configured with either three rooms on the second level or three rooms on the bottom. Each teeny house is packed in a sizeable recyclable cardboard envelope, which you can use to make furniture or additional structures such as a garage.

Images: Bryce Carleton, Kate Claridge


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Printed copies of habitat highlights are available from late March 2024 at Resene ColorShops and resellers, while stocks last. You can view back issues of habitat magazine online.

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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.

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