Loading... Please wait...

'It's a 1:12 World After All'

Posted by



Brenda Derr, owner of Dollhouse Dreams Miniatures and Toys in Fort Madison, shows one of her pieces of furniture to be used in a dollhouse. This pool table is kept in a case on the wall in her shop, waiting for the right game room to be finished.

‘It’s a 1:12 world after all’ 

Open house tomorrow at Dollhouse Dreams

October is National Dollhouse and Miniatures Month. This time is dedicated to bringing the miniatures hobby to the forefront and to draw new people into the fascinating world of tiny things.

Brenda Derr, owner of Dollhouse Dreams Miniatures & Toys, fell in love with the idea of miniatures the first time she saw them.

“When Debbie Perry opened the shop here in 2000 it sparked my interest,” Derr said. “It is something that I have always wanted to do, but there hadn’t been a store in the area to go and look.”

Derr said once the store opened it gave her a chance to look at the miniatures.

“I got all excited,” Derr said. “I bought the store in 2013. I loved it. Everybody likes miniatures.”

Just in time for Halloween, Brenda Derr, owner of Dollhouse Dreams Miniatures and Toys in Fort Madison, 
stands in front of a miniature haunted house.

Derr is now doing workshops in the back of her store.

“It’s working out really good,” Derr said. “I tried to start a club but the problem is everybody was so busy with their schedules that it was hard to tie down a night or time everybody could meet.”

Derr said the next best thing was workshops.

“People bring their houses in when they can and come and go as they please,” Derr said.

Derr said by working at her shop it keeps a person’s home from becoming messy.

Derr said the workshops started off one day a week, but now she has open workshops four days a week.

“We have several Mother and Daughter houses in the works, several adults, children, as well as a special needs little boy who is working on a log cabin,” Derr said.

Derr has worked with miniatures for over 14 years but remains modest.

“I don’t think I can ever consider myself an expert,” Derr said. “I am constantly learning. There are magazines and videos and the people who come here always have new ideas. I am constantly learning.”

MINATURES: Building the house is just the first part – 

then the decorating begins


Brenda Derr, owner of Dollhouse Dreams Miniatures and Toys in Fort Madison, stands in front of her latest house under construction.
She said it will take about two years to complete.

Derr said for someone looking for a real challenge, she would suggest building a large dollhouse.

“My current project is a Queen Anne, by Real Good Toys,” Derr said. “This is a dollhouse that I had seen as a child and always dreamed of building it. It is a Victorian home that is 50 inches wide by 24 inches deep and 49 inches high with 13 rooms.

I am currently posting a blog on the construction of this Victorian home on my Facebook page as well as on my website. It will probably take me a couple of years to finish.”

Building the house is just the first part of the hobby. The next thing the hobbyist must do is decorate the interior and exterior.

Derr carries a full line of 1:12 miniatures. She has finished and unfinished dollhouses and kits from several different manufactures, as well as animals and pets, appliances, building materials, décor, dolls, flooring, lighting, furniture for every room of the house as well as outdoor living, plants and flowers, seasonal decorations, and over 500 different wallpaper prints and Fairy Garden supplies.

“Our accessory wall has over 2,200 different items to make any room come to life,” Derr said.

Derr said dollhouses are much like actual homes in the aspect that once the structure is complete. The owner might want to remodel at a later time.

“It’s just like your own house,” Derr said. “You can look at a room and say, ‘It’s time to paint’ or ‘It’s time to buy new furniture.’ You do the same thing with the miniatures.”

Derr said she plans to do miniatures until she retires.

“Maybe even after that,” Derr said. “This isn’t really a job. This is more like I get the chance to play.”

Derr will be holding an open house at Dollhouse Dreams Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Contact Derr at brenda@dollhousdreams.com or call 319-372-0599 or toll free 877-875-6500. Dollhouse Dreams is located at 613 Ave G, Fort Madison.

Website is http://www.dollhousedreams.com

Facebook is https://ww.facebook.com/dollhousedreams.


chat iconSign up for our Newsletter:


Recent Updates