Saturday, March 1, 2008

Irish Cottage

Miniature Irish CottageHave you ever had a project that became a true thorn in your side? That was certainly the case for our latest addition, our miniature Irish cottage pictured above. The problem? We could not achieve a thatched roof that worked with our tiny miniature structure.

In researching thatched roof solutions, albeit in miniature, I became fascinated with the history, tradition and technique of thatched roofs. There's quite a bit of work involved in becoming a professional thatcher, it was quite impressive. Stop by the omnipresent Wikkipedia for some interesting thatch information here.

We create our miniature cottages to be used outdoors so that provided additional considerations when searching for a suitable thatch roofing. We didn't want a uniform manufactured looking type roof. We want our cottages to maintain a rustic old fashioned quality that's suitable to aging outdoors. My first thought was to thatch the roof by hand but I quickly came to the realization that doing so would take ages. I probably could build a full scale house before I completed this miniature roof, definitely not good for production times. I also considered braiding and weaving a jute type material which turned out quite lovely but wasn't the look I needed. Finally we settled on a fiber solution that was painted, styled and sealed for outdoor use. I'm quite happy with the finished product, finally!!

As our miniature Irish cottage moved through production, I couldn't help imagine the trials of actually building and residing in such a rustic dwelling. This little cottage was difficult enough to create in miniature let alone full scale. It definitely makes you appreciate the modern comforts of home although I do miss the rustic picturesque charm of these ancient cottages when compared to our modern cookie cutter houses.

It would be such a dream to own a picturesque European cottage nestled in the rustic countryside. To enjoy these dreams from the comforts of our own home, we create these scenes in miniatures and I'm currently dreaming up a charming beach cottage.

You'll find our miniature cottage pictured with handcrafted Celtic stepping stones and miniature assembled cairns. We've always been attracted to the surreal magic of rock cairns and decided to create some in miniature for our gardens, it's an easy and fun project for anyone!

Do you have an escapist, dream, or fantasy miniature scene you've created? Share your story with us, we love being inspired by your feedback.

Caren at Enchanted Gardens


  1. Hi there!
    I'm an American now living in Ireland & have spent many an hour constructing minaitures in my life... My suggestion for your thatched cottage.... would to be to use fine dried grass & braid it together with brown thread. I know you can google close ups of it, but it really wouldn't be that hard to do. I DO however, suggest visiting Ireland & see just ONE up close And the light switch would come on! Good luck!

  2. Hi!
    I live in Minneapolis, MN and traveled to Ireland in 1999. I would love to return some day and visit in the West where, I have been told, one can find authentically-built Irish cottages.
    My people came from Balliferriter in County Kerry.
    Did you ever see the movie " The Secret of Roan Inish"? It shows the thatching process, when a young set of cousins decide to fix up the abandoned cottages where their families once lived.
    It is a fanciful story, but the work they did and tools they used were authentic.
    I love your miniatures! You are a real artist!
    (Therese M)

  3. Your little fairy cottage is adorable! You have a really sweet blog. I'm so glad I found your blog today! :-) Jennifer

  4. It can be difficult to remember when looking at these photographs that you are actually seeing a miniature.