This Craftsman style house was built entirely from scratch, including all the Stickley furnishings, light fixtures, and paintings. Even the wall decorations were meticulously hand crafted. In fact, the miniature house was built with such care that it won the People’s Choice award in the woodworking category at the Del Mar Fair.

The builder, Sharon Cariola, recalled the frowns on the faces of the gentlemen in charge of the exhibition hall at the time, who didn’t seem to appreciate a dollhouse entry into what they considered to be a more professional display. Sharon enjoyed simply hanging out around the exhibit, listening to people’s comments, and generally being a fly on the wall. One little boy, having read the information, asked his father curiously, “A lady made this?”

Gradually, the men in charge became a bit more friendly and told Sharon that she was doing well in the voting. As it turned out, she was thrilled to learn that she had in fact won the People’s Choice award.

The miniature house is quite large at 33″-high, 31″-wide, and 44″-long. It can be viewed from all sides, is fully electrified, and comes apart in sections. The roof turned out to be a real challenge. Sharon used paper clay but wasn’t satisfied with the result, so she tried something new. The roof tiles are made of clear plastic tubing which was sanded to give the right texture, then split using heavy shears, and eventually cut to length. Sharon then nailed the tiles to some scrap for painting using a few different colors for realism.

The rock perimeter at the foundation uses a paper clay base with individual stones tinted with acrylic paint, grouted, and sealed. Sharon used book illustrations she found to craft the Stickley furniture. Some of the miniature pieces have actual thru joinery. The recliner in the living room even adjusts much like a real one. The model Craftsman style house was donated courtesy of the San Diego Miniature Crafters Association.

Exhibit added: April 23, 2022 - Last modified: April 20, 2023

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship