We're not sure why everything is just plain cuter in miniature, but one thing is for certain: a complete scale model of your own home, both interior and exterior, made entirely out of LEGO, just might be the sweetest thing ever.
Inspired by her twins and a lifetime love affair with building miniature homes, Shari Austrian recently launched Little Brick Lane — an Etsy shop that will turn photos and plans of your house into scale models built from LEGO. Including all the interior features that truly make a house a home.
We chatted over email with Shari recently to find out more about her inspiration and passion, and how we can get our hands on a Little Brick Lane home of our very own.
How did you get started building Lego homes?
My now 7 year old twins, Emilia and Julian, reintroduced me to the world of LEGO just as we were having our new home built in 2015. I was fascinated by the design and construction of our home. My husband, Jonathan, our twins, and I were all so excited to move and I thought building a LEGO model of our home would be a special present for our family and a celebration of our new life.
What was the first miniature home that you ever built?
I built my first miniature home around the age of 6 and it was constructed entirely out of Play-Doh. It was a classical white home with symmetrical windows and roof lines and it had a rainbow pebble path that led to a duck pond adjacent to a couple of trees. I spent a few months perfecting that scene of my 6 year old dream home. I have always been enthralled by miniatures. Since I was a little girl, I have enjoyed crafting these tiny creations out of many different mediums.
I am amazed by how Legos have expanded their product line over the years and how versatile they have become since I played with them as a little girl. I am a perfectionist just as much as I am an artist and I value the clean lines, precision, and interlocking strength of the standard Lego bricks. I use the less conventional Lego parts to incorporate greater detail and personalize the models.
How many LEGO homes have you built so far?
To date, I have built four LEGO home models. My creations thus far have been primarily recreational. It was only after an overwhelming enthusiastic response from people who saw my creations that I launched Little Brick Lane at the end of 2017. My hope is to bring the enjoyment of this whimsical art form into other peoples' lives.
How long does it take you to build each one?
My projects thus far have taken between 8 to 10 weeks to complete. This includes time for conceptual design, ordering materials, and building the model.
Where does the name "Little Brick Lane" come from?
Legos are referred to as Bricks and Bricks are often the foundation for full scale architectural development projects as well as for my Little custom home models. I have an affinity for road names that contain the word "Lane" — there is just something quaint and endearing about it. Little Brick Lane is a charming little shop for customized Lego creations of the home.
Are architectural plans are a must-have? Or can customers who want a miniature of their childhood home, or first home, place an order with only photos?
A complete set of architectural plans would allow me to create the most accurate scale model of your home, as I can match the measurements specified on your plans. However, if you have detailed photos of the exteriors and interiors of your home, I would be happy to work with these as well.
What's your favorite style of home to build?
I appreciate the balance and simplicity often found in neoclassical and colonial home styles but I am partial to the farmhouse/country styles for their wrap around porches. I love the serenity of real life wrap around porches and I enjoy creating them in my models.
What's the trickiest interior or exterior feature to build with LEGO?
Roof lines and, more specifically, intersecting roof lines. While the LEGO collection is expansive, it still has its limits. LEGO has not yet created some of the slopes or roof pitches often used by architects and builders.
What is your creative/architectural background?
Up until one year ago, I worked in the healthcare field. It had been a dream of mine to explore my creative side and last year I finally took that leap (thank goodness for my incredibly supportive husband and children). I am now working for the architect who designed our home and I just launched Little Brick Lane.
Is Little Brick Lane your "side hustle" or your full-time job?
At this point, Little Brick Lane is my passion on the side while I delve into the field of architecture. As Little Brick Lane grows, I plan on devoting more of my energy to it.
What else should readers know about you and your creative process?
My greatest satisfaction will come from my customers loving the models I build for them. I am excited to meet new people through this process and bring smiles to their faces.
More information over on Little Brick Lane's Etsy shop.