If you watch HGTV fairly regularly, then chances are, you’ve got a major girl crush on Joanna Gaines. That impeccable “modern farmhouse” aesthetic of hers. The way she can literally turn a flaming garbage heap of a house into something straight out of Architectural Digest, with just a little shiplap. The fact that she can stand outside in the sweltering Texas heat without her hair frizzing up during any house reveal.
I mean … what’s not to love?
Well folks, Kwandaa Roberts is right there with us. The Fixer Upper fan and interior design buff recently put her own skills to the test by redecorating a dollhouse from Chip and Joanna’s new line Hearth & Hand — and let me tell you, it would seriously make Joanna proud.
“One of my best friends and I LOVE Joanna and Fixer Upper,” Roberts tells Babble, “so when I saw the dollhouse in Target, I bought one for both of us. I thought we could have fun decorating them, even though I turned 45 on Wednesday (the day I posted the house) and she’s 40.”
Roberts, who works as an OB/GYN by day, tells Babble that she had previously bought and “renovated” a Melissa and Doug dollhouse for her 3-year-old daughter last year. She made it an open-front house, repainted it, added wallpaper, and even bought new doll furniture.
“I hid it in the basement, and I would go downstairs and ‘play’ with the house after my kids went to bed,” the Pennsylvania mom of two shares.
The resulting house Melissa and Doug house was pretty adorable, but redecorating the Hearth & Hand dollhouse was an even bigger undertaking. Roberts says she began shortly after Christmas 2017, and spent 80 hours working on it. It wasn’t cheap, either: The original dollhouse was $129, and she spent an additional $200 on furnishings, paints, and other decor for the house. (“At least, that’s what I hope I spent,” she jokes.)
And boy, did all that hard work pay off.
I mean, will you just look at those built-ins in the living room?
And that rustic antler chandelier? LOVE. IT.
This doll-sized kitchen is also the stuff of Magnolia-inspired dreams. I mean … HELLO, kitchen island of my fantasies:
(And don’t even get me started on that stainless-steel range oven with herringbone backsplash.)
Things get even better upstairs, too. Just look at this master bedroom:
And what I wouldn’t give for that standing shower in my bathroom …
“Interior design has been my passion since childhood,” Roberts says. “The dollhouse was a way for me to have a creative outlet for designing that didn’t involve me redecorating my house every six months.”
She’s also flexed her design muscles for friends, too, designing friends’ homes in the past and even surprising one with a total apartment makeover when she was still a medical resident.
“He cried at the ‘reveal’,” Roberts says, looking back. “It was one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced.”
(Um, hi — can we be friends, Kwandaa?!)
As for what she’ll do with her insanely gorgeous dollhouse? Roberts says she has no plans to sell it, though she keeps getting offers. Instead, she plans to just keep channeling her energy into creating more dollhouses, with equally fabulous interiors.
“Since Christmas I bought three more dollhouses, a colonial, a Victorian and a seaside mansion,” she explains. “I plan to redecorate them and put them on a ‘cul-de-sac’ in my craft room (converted from a walk-in-closet just for my dollhouses), away from my 3- and 5-year-old children.”
In case you’re wondering what exactly goes into a doll reno like this one, it sounds like a whole lotta hard work. Roberts explains that she she stained the wood and repainted the doors on the outside of the house, and made the door wreath and welcome mat herself. She even made the outside sconces and hardware.
Inside, she stained and installed the wood beams in the living room, painted unfinished exterior dollhouse clapboard panels to create the shiplap, painted them charcoal gray, and even installed them upside-down “for a more modern look.”
“I bought the fireplace on eBay, but I painted it and added the marble surround and twigs from my yard,” she continues. “I bought the books at Michael’s, but painted them white with gold detailing [using] a Sharpie.”
Roberts purchased many of her dollhouse finds on either Etsy or eBay, but added her own touch to each — like the Roman numeral clock, which she found on Etsy but added a mirror to, and the white sofa that she got on eBay but added feet. She reupholstered the chairs, made the magazine holder out of a tiny red toolbox, and printed images out on paper to make the floors. She even made that amazing antler chandelier hanging from the ceiling.
And that amazing stainless steal range in the kitchen? She made that, too.
“I made the range hood from craft wood,” Roberts explains, “[And] I made the range from a kit. Once I learned how the kit worked, I changed the refrigerator doors to match using bendable craft metal.”
She also made that backsplash out of an image printed on glossy photo paper, painted the cabinets and changed the hardware, and bought several other decor pieces on Etsy.
The bathroom is Roberts’ favorite (and quite possibly mine, too). She once again used photo paper on the walls and floor, but also remodeled the vanity (which you can check out on Instagram) and made the mirror from jump rings she spray painted.
“I made the shower door out of craft wood and Plexiglas from Home Depot,” she adds. “The shower head, faucet, and pan are from shapeways and I dip painted and stained a ladder from Michaels.”
In the master bedroom, Roberts spray painted the bed and removed the original linens it came with. Then she made all of the bedding herself, except for the throw, which she bought on Etsy.
“I put shiplap on the walls, I painted the deer head, and I made another Magnolia rug and painted the dresser,” she adds.
Believe it or not, that gorgeous hanging light is made from chicken coop found on eBay, and Roberts fashioned the barn door shutters out of craft wood herself.
She even took the time to make the little bed seen in the upstairs girls’ room from craft wood and clapboards — based on one Chip built on a Fixer Upper episode.
“I made all of the the bedding except for the pillows which came from Etsy with the teepee,” Roberts explains. She also made the PLAY sign and the lamp — “from candlesticks, the plastic containers the dollhouse lights come in, and scrapbook paper.” And all of the wallpaper you see in the house? Roberts says it’s all scrapbook paper she found at either Michaels or AC Moore.
And she even partook in her own mini “demo day,” removing the wall on the first floor, and flipping the floor over to create an open-concept first floor and a bathroom on the second floor.
“I had to router the top floor to make the wall fit (thanks to my Uncle Mel),” she says. “[And] I had to cut plywood to fill in the holes in the floor because I got rid of the steps, which didn’t work in my design.”
And even after all that … Roberts says she doesn’t consider herself to be “particularly crafty.” I BEG TO DIFFER.
Roberts shared her design on Facebook February 28, where it quickly went viral (for obvious reasons), but she’s also been sharing photos and insider design tips to Instagram, under her handle, @tinyhousecalls — which you should check out right now, because it’s truly fascinating.
I don’t know about you, but I’m kinda wishing this doll-sized home was the real thing … ’cause I would definitely blow all my savings to live inside it.