The World’s Smallest Haunted House

A funny thing happened the other day on Instagram. I posted an old, rotted dollhouse and asked,

“Alright, fellow miniature gardeners, please help me decide! This is from an old display from a big garden show a few years ago. Should I just trash this dollhouse that’s already deteriorated – or make it into a Halloween House project??”

But I already knew what my friends, fellow MGs and followers would say despite the house being very rotted, missing a lot of pieces and fragile to the touch. It took 92 comments and one, “Why is this even a question?” and it was decided: make it into a Halloween house. (Just for the record there was only one, “Let it go and move on.” which I was partial to, I might add.)

Miniature Garden Halloween House Janit Calvo
I swear if I blew on it, it would crumble in pieces. But Instagram won and out came the whisk and the broom! I did have to re-home several spiders…

The Origins

I found the house at the Fremont Sunday Market many moons ago when I was vending every Sunday in Seattle, spreading the joy of gardening in miniature. The dollhouse was made from one of those plywood kits but the owner literally gave up the ghost and aborted all intentions with it and thus – it came into my hands for a mere $20. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it but, being a fixture at the market in those days, we were the “go-to” guys for anyone that had anything miniature to sell. And sell to us they did –  my husband and I are suckers for any realistic miniature apparently.

The First Reincarnation

Several years ago I did get a chance to use it in a display for the big Sorticulture Garden Festival for a fairy garden theme. I painted it the blue, white and orange colors to go with the whimsical fairies and mixed in a bunch fairy gardens to go with it. It appears that the photo has been crunched and renamed because it’s been so long, but you can still see it here.

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The Second Reincarnation

And it’s been living in the back garden bed after coming home from the show, rotting slowly. However, I do believe we have brought it back from the dead:

Miniature Garden Halloween House Janit Calvo
She held up nicely, I dare say! I left it in the garden for a couple of days but pulled it out before the “big storm” – but alas the storm never came so the kids didn’t see it! Such is the weather in the PNW, it changes every hour this time of year! 
Miniature Garden Halloween House Janit Calvo
Our renovation-in-progress in our in-ground miniature garden was the perfect spot to set it up. That’s a Japanese Andromeda on the left and a Graham Blandy Boxwood on the right. New Zealand Brass Buttons is planted on either side of the impromptu pathway.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Miniature Garden Halloween House Janit Calvo
Here it is in the rain. Lol! Doh! But the refections of the lights in the water made it bit spookier! 
Miniature Garden Halloween House Janit Calvo
Halloween is the perfect theme for your broken miniatures and weathered furniture. You can really squeeze the life out of your miniatures with this great hobby – heh, heh, heh… :o)
Miniature Garden Halloween House Janit Calvo
I had to stop myself from going “full-tilt-boogey” on this room. I was going to do wallpaper, flooring, drapes… but Steve stopped me and talked me out of trying to make a purse out of a sow’s ear, as they say. 

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Miniature Garden Halloween House Janit Calvo
Confession: I put this photo through a photo filter on my iPhone to make this photo even creepier. The app is called “Distressed FX” and it’s awesome for this kind of look. 
Miniature Garden Halloween House Janit Calvo
The art gallery… okay, I didn’t make that tiny skeleton riding the beetle but I sure wish I had! It’s from another miniaturist friend, Ruth, here in the PNW.
Miniature Garden Halloween House Janit Calvo
The brass chair is from a miniaturist and friend, Laura, that passed away a couple of years ago. The leg and hand are from one of those skeleton garlands and those skulls are from Steve’s collection – I don’t know where he got them but they sure look scary! 
Miniature Garden Halloween House Janit Calvo
Whenever you see a good miniature tombstone, grab it, you can never have enough for a good  miniature cemetery! 
Miniature Garden Halloween House Janit Calvo
Shooting miniatures at night is a bit of a challenge. The low-light isn’t conducive to capturing the details. I think I took a hundred shots and maybe 10 are useful. And I think I need more practice photographing in the dark. Lol!
Miniature Garden Halloween House Janit Calvo
Okay you must be scared by now. Just a little?? :o)

Like these unusual ideas and insight into gardening in miniature? We have many more…

I will be dissecting this project and discussing the plants and garden too, in our Miniature Garden Society! It’s now FULL of all kinds of miniature gardeners from the US and all over the world. We’re growing along with this great hobby! To find out more, click in here. 

We will be closing the doors for new members TONIGHT at this current low-price! (If you miss this deadline, you’ll have a chance to join us in a few weeks after we get settled with our newest members and post our latest ideas, courses, videos and more. Click in to get on the wait-list!)

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4 thoughts on “The World’s Smallest Haunted House

  1. I really enjoyed your transformation of this house. I like studying some of the areas of miniature garden displays. You made it easy for me to enjoy by addressing some of your details. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you, Donna! I really appreciate the feedback! ❤

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  2. Your Halloween House project is absolutely amazing!!! I have looked at it several times and each time I find something new that I hadn’t noticed before. What a perfect house to start with…..in all its falling apart glory. Nothing else would have worked as well. Congrats on a fantastic project!

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  3. Laura L Bollard 02/11/2018 — 11:37 pm

    This house & its environs were wonderful…and wonderfully spooky. I wish I had your talent (and your stash of miniatures) for my mini-garden. I didn’t get to miss out on the storm here in the Greenlake area- my miniature garden was washed out but nothing was irreparably harmed (at least so far) and the wind over the last couple of days knocked over anything that was still standing. Oh well, I’ll just start over in the spring. Thanks for the ongoing inspiration and education.

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