This Dollhouse Was Inspired by a Venetian Palazzo—See Inside

Mary Elizabeth Andriotis
·3 min read
Photo credit: Jenna Bascom for the Museum of Arts & Design
Photo credit: Jenna Bascom for the Museum of Arts & Design

As the world slowly inches back towards normalcy amidst the pandemic, many museums are getting ready to display new exhibits, making up for the extended period of time in which many of us had to go without visiting such places, due to temporary closings and limited capacity protocols. One of these sites is the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, which will soon be home to a new exhibit titled The Fisher Dollhouse: A Venetian Palazzo in Miniature. Beginning Saturday, May 8th, art collector Joanna Fisher’s extravagant dollhouse—which was inspired by the Gritti Palace, a luxury hotel in the heart of Venice—will be the star of this exhibition, for design lovers of all ages to enjoy.

Photo credit: Jenna Bascom for the Museum of Arts & Design
Photo credit: Jenna Bascom for the Museum of Arts & Design

Like many others who took up new projects amidst the pandemic, Fisher found the inspiration to create this intricate abode during quarantine. As such, this project inadvertently became a sort of safe haven and escape from COVID-19-related fears and concerns—and in just a few short weeks, this passion project will be on public display for the world to see, beyond the four walls of Fisher's own home.

“‘The House Within’ is how I think about this project. A place people can go to in their minds,” says Fisher in a release. “This was born in the pandemic; [it was] an emotional home I found within myself, a safe place created in my imagination. That is how this came to be.”

Through Sunday, September 26th, this four-story dollhouse—which encompasses 10 rooms in total—will take center stage at the Museum of Arts and Design, along with the many scaled-down (yet still impressive) pieces of artwork designed by upwards of 10 talented artists, many of whom have never ventured into creating miniature decor—until now.

Related: How Dollhouses Became a Favorite Hobby During Lockdown

Working on such an extensive project provided a sense of community as well, because of the vast number of people who were involved in this dwelling’s creation. But don't let the size of this abode and its furnishings fool you—this project was far from an easy feat. If you thought designing in general takes time, consider what goes into creating decor that's small enough to fit in the palm of one’s hand. American artist Peter Gerakaris can speak to this firsthand, given that he crafted a neo-Byzantine icon using a paint brush that boasts no more than three hairs in total.

Photo credit: Jenna Bascom for the Museum of Arts & Design
Photo credit: Jenna Bascom for the Museum of Arts & Design
Photo credit: Jenna Bascom for the Museum of Arts & Design
Photo credit: Jenna Bascom for the Museum of Arts & Design

And yes, that is a portrait of Fisher herself hanging on a bedroom wall—in a gilded frame, but of course—which was a personalized touch done by Italian architect and designer Antonio Pio Saracino. The presence of lifelike artwork doesn't end there: In the dining room, you'll find a miniature version of Hunt Slonem’s famed bunny artwork (a scaled-down project the artist also took on for Marie Flanigan's Dollhouse Beautiful house!).

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Best of all, there are numerous pieces of blue-and-white china—in the form of miniature plates and vases—dispersed throughout this expansive dollhouse, hanging on the walls and gracing opulent tables, all of which are certainly museum-worthy. If only we could supersize these pieces for our own homes!

If you’d like to make your Instagram friends believe you ventured off to Venice and escaped to a 15th-century palazzo, you can purchase tickets to this wonderfully pint-sized exhibit here.

Follow House Beautiful on Instagram.

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