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All it took was one fixer-upper dollhouse to launch Kwandaa Roberts’s passion for miniatures and interior design. Take a look at her small but stylish process, here.

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Transcript

- So I think for me the dollhouses really is the ability to be creative. I was actually feeling stifled, almost like a painter that can't paint because I don't do interior design, I have all these design ideas. I found the Fixer Upper dollhouse in Target from the Joanna Gaines Hearth & Hand line and I totally tricked it out. I did Fixer Upper like on steroids, but on a tiny scale. I posted it online and the dollhouse went viral. Joanna Gaines saw it, she put it in her Instagram Stories and I got 20,000 followers in 24 hours from that. It kickstarted an interior design career that's always been my dream, has always been my passion. I have like a thousand jobs right now. I am a full-time OBGYN, I am a full-time single mama of two precious babies, and my hobby that I spend late at night working on are tiny dollhouses with high-end design. Immediately I got phone calls from people when they saw the Fixer Upper dollhouse and they were like, "If you can do that to the dollhouse "what can you do for my house?" I have a waiting list of interior design clients just literally from the dollhouses. So each of my dollhouses has an imaginary family or person who resides in it and I design around what I think they may like or need. It's the same way that I do design when I'm working with actual live clients. What are the client's needs? What are they looking for? I'd seen a bunk, bed that Chip had done on Fixer Upper that I was obsessed with. It looks like a tiny house. It was something I would have loved as a kid and I decided to try my hand at building it. So when I'm trying to rebuild something in miniature that I've seen and in life scale, I look at a lot of pictures of it trying to figure out how'd they make that? I got an idea of essentially how I could make the bed using just some craft wood. I cut them out on the table saw to equal five-inch lengths and then I cut the side rails to the same things, front and back sides, five inches, three inches. So once I have all the pieces cut then I can start assembling the bed. Essentially I used wood glue to put the rails on the bed first and then I attached the posts. That serves as the foundation so that I can put the front and the back of the bed on. Front and back of the bed are made out of the same shiplap siding I used inside of the house. I notch out where it needs to go for the posts and then once I have the posts marked then I can figure out where my roof angle is gonna be. Then I used the mockup of the little doors that I'm gonna have. I sort of semi attach those so I know where to cut out the center for my opening for the bed. So once I know which angles I wanna cut with the dollhouse then I just use a hand saw to cut out the pieces that I need. Power saw was not gonna work on that. You're gonna break that into shreds if you use a power table saw to cut a tiny piece of shiplap. Then I used my simple wood glue to glue it onto the posts that I had made earlier. So once I have all of the pieces attached then I take it and spray paint the whole thing white. It usually takes me about three coats of a semi gloss to get full coverage on it. Then I take my shiplap siding essentially that I used for shingles, I stain it. Usually it just takes about two coats of stain to get the color I want and once it's all stained I'm ready for the gluing. The doors are the same bit of wood that I used for the base, I just cut out smaller pieces and then I used coffee stirrers to make the trim. So once the structure's done I take my stained doors and I glue them on, I paint a little rail black that acts as the sliding door and then I'm ready for my mattresses and to trick it all out. I made the mattresses for the bunk bed out of foam. I cut it out to the size of the base of the bed. I wrapped T shirt fabric around as my sheeting fabric and then I had some buffalo check fabric that I used to make the comforter. I added some pillows to my bunk bed just to give it a little pop of color and I put my little ladder on there and my light just to give it the finishing touch. I love that little bed. It's like my favorite thing in the house. People see it and they think it's the real bunk bed. I've had pictures of it side by side and people are like, "Wait, is that that dollhouse or is that the bed?" Like, it's awesome. That's the goal of any miniaturist is to be able to fool the eye for you to think that what you're doing is actually full scale. Being able to do the dollhouses really lets me be creative and really be who I am and have my voice heard. I have all of these ideas, I have all of this passion for this life. How to make people's lives better, right? What does Oprah say? You want your home to rise up and greet you, and so this has allowed me to do that even if it's just on a tiny scale.