Welcome to Isabelle’s Studio! Isabelle Palmer was Girl of the Year in 2014. She’s a lively girl living with her family in Washington, DC. Isabelle and her older sister Jade love to dance and are so talented that they are able to attend their dream school, Anna Hart School of the Arts. Even though Isabelle is a gifted dancer, she constantly compares herself to other students, especially her sister Jade. As Isabelle begins to focus on her mistakes, she feels she will never be as perfect as Jade and her anxiety grows. Once she discovers that Jade has insecurities too, the two girls help each other with their problems and Isabelle is able to let go of her fears.
I was very excited to create this room for two reasons, I am in love with Isabelle’s color palette and it’s not a bedroom! 😂 (The historical dolls give me a lot of bedrooms.) The white armoire was sold as Isabelle’s Studio and originally cost $275 as the big ticket item of her collection. It’s such a neat piece with an arm that raises and lowers to create work space and the outside has mirrors and barre for Isabelle to practice her dance. I purchased the set secondhand for $150 a couple of years ago and have chosen to design the room around it.
In the second book of the Isabelle series Designs by Isabelle, the armoire comes into the story and can be seen on the cover of the book. Isabelle’s mom is a textile artist and has a sewing studio in the family’s brownstone home. Isabelle loves designing dance costumes for herself and her sister almost as much as she loves dance. Her designs catch the eye of the director of The Nutcracker and Isabelle is asked to help with ideas for the design team. Isabelle’s mom cleans out the armoire in the sewing room for Isabelle to have her own work space. The book describes the sewing room as having the white armoire and “ceiling to floor metal shelves full of bolts of fabric and plastic bins full of scraps”. The book cover illustration shows a red brick wall behind Isabelle but the inside illustration show a painted, white brick wall behind her. With these details in mind, I began designing the room.
I use IKEA Pax closet frames as the base cabinets for all of my dollhouse rooms. I use different sizes, in different ways (some standing vertical, some laying horizontal). Last month I posted McKenna’s Bedroom and announced that I will be creating rooms for the Girl of the Year (GOTY) dolls. Since there are so many GOTYs (and always more coming), I need to keep many of their rooms smaller than my historical rooms to save space. Isabelle’s room is 24” wide, 28″ tall and 22.5″ deep.
The room began with Hubs laying peel and stick faux wood flooring from Lowes. I covered two of the three walls with Cricut Removable Vinyl in Peach Melba as the wallpaper. The color perfectly matches Isabelle’s collection. On the back wall I used Mod Podge to adhere 12×12 red brick printed scrapbook paper to mimic Isabelle’s brownstone home. (I decided to go with red vs white brick so the white armoire would stand out.) Next, Hubs cut base using pine trim that I painted white.
I wanted to be able to photograph the armoire open and closed but did not want the mirrors reflecting me and my camera so I placed the armoire at a slight angle in the room. I can’t completely shut the doors but they can close closer than if the armoire was flat against the back wall.
The back wall needed a tall shelf to hold “bolts of fabric and plastic bins full of scraps”. I used a desk organizer from Target and after painting it black, stood it on end as my fabric shelf. I chose several fabrics that fit my color palette and purchased the bare minimum. Hubs cut scraps of pine in different sizes for me to use as the bolts. I cut “scraps” off each fabric and placed them in tiny plastic bins from the dollar store. I also did this for the shelves on the side wall and the bins I put in the armoire. Isabelle’s dress form finishes off the corner nicely.
On the left wall I placed a cute white “table” I found at the craft store. (It’s actually a hanging wall shelf.😉) The size worked perfectly to hold Isabelle’s Makeup Set and a gold metal basket I already owned. (You may have also seen these baskets hanging on the wall in Ella’s Bedroom. When I find something I love, I buy several!) In the basket I placed a few of Isabelle’s Mix and Match clothing pieces and a pair of her ballet slippers. On the table top beside the Makeup Set, I placed a gold, heart-shaped ring dish to hold Isabelle’s hair accessories from her Dance Case. Above the table hangs a print of Monet’s Water Lilies that I sized and framed in a gold dollar store frame. In the book when Isabelle is anxious about messing up her performance, she visualizes herself as a lily pad gracefully flowing with the water movement. This memory comes from a trip to the botanical gardens where she describes the peaceful scene and compares it to Monet’s painting. I thought it would be the perfect wall art for the room.
On the opposite wall, I hung two shelves that Hubs made and I painted black. On the shelves are more bolts of fabric, a small framed print of pointe shoes, Isabelle’s gold purse and spools of thread. I placed two gold hooks under the shelves for Isabelle to hang her ballet shoes on and her Dance Case sits under the hanging shoes.
Inside Isabelle’s armoire are all of the accessories that came with the set along with a few things I added. I used more of the tiny dollar store bins with fabric scraps, but am also storing Isabelle’s tights and leggings in a couple. This gives me a place to store them and adds more fabric textures and colors to the bins. I placed spools of baker’s twine in a clear dip bowl to add more supplies to the craft room. Other pieces of Isabelle’s clothing are placed in the two pull-out drawers of the armoire.
I hope you have enjoyed Isabelle’s Studio! I really enjoyed making the room and am happy to have Isabelle’s collection displayed. I am currently working on several rooms, Historical and modern, so we’ll see which one gets finished next.😉Happy Collecting!