above: Art Deco City room (look at the Corbusier Chairs and lucite table!)
Before you simply glance at the pictures below and think you are simply viewing yet another series of beautifully designed modern interiors… STOP and realize these are miniature models.
Peter Tucker Roomboxes
That’s right, tiny handcrafted replicas of rooms and interiors by craftsman Peter Tucker, who calls them “Roomboxes”. He creates everything down to the replicas of famous classically modern furniture like that of Corbusier and Reitveld as well as working light fixtures of all sorts.
Below is an interview with the artist, reprinted with his permission:
Peter Tucker’s contemporary miniatures spring from a 180-degree turn in life about 10 years ago. He had been a school psychologist and then he had owned and operated a systems database design-consulting firm. Peter is thrilled with the change.
“Around that time, two curves crossed. One was that I was getting less and less enjoyment in systems and the second was that I wanted to do something creative. In computer database design, the things you do disappear before you finish.
Sometimes I worked on a project for years, got very well paid, then the project was scrapped and I felt I had nothing to show for the work.”
That career also involved a major amount of travel. The final epiphany for Peter came when he was sitting alone in a hotel room far from his home in British Columbia, when a good friend died, and a day later, his mother-in-law died. “I realized that it wasn’t much of a life if you can’t be there for your friends and family.
Above: Beautifully accurate modern room, down to the objets d’art
Above: another view of the above modern intimate interior
“The kids were no longer really a responsibility and Jeremie (Peter’s wife) was tremendously supportive, even though we both knew that it would never be the financial equivalent of database design. On the other hand, I would not be spending 250 days a year away from home.”
Above: A perfect little replica of the bedroom from the beloved children’s story “Goodnight Moon”.
Known for his modern doll house furnishings and lighting, Peter’s only previous experience with miniatures was a doll house he helped build for his little sister when he was about 10, and another doll house he started building for his daughters, Heather and Michelle, many years ago.
Above: A painstakingly perfect working art deco light sculpture of tiny proportions.
Above: a modern two-story loft
“I was still traveling a lot when I started it and I finished it years later, after they were grown. and had left home. I really enjoyed building it. I found it very satisfying. Miniatures were all new to me, but Jeremie’s parents were antique dealers in Connecticut and she had lots of contact with miniatures and dolls. ”
Above: Peter’s roombox of the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Zimmerman House, his “Usonian” period
Peter’s first show was in Seattle, Washington, where he met Marilyn and Andy Benedict of Maison des Maisons. The Benedicts invited him to be their featured guest at the Chicago International show in 1999. Since then, Peter has been a Chicago International regular. A boost in the direction of modernism came from a client Peter met at the Seattle show “Her father was an engineer with Frank Lloyd Wright and she was only interested in modern miniatures,” Peter said. Looking for someone to build her room structures, Annie Herzfeld approached Peter, who was pleased to take the task. “Over the course of that year, I got hooked on modern,” he said.
Above: A detailed miniature of a Greene & Greene dining room
Peter had been doing Arts and Crafts, Art Deco, and Greene and Greene structures.
“Once I got involved with Annie, I became more involved modern. “I really like to make things that are as accurate as possible, or more importantly, convey the accurate feel of what I am trying to reproduce.
Above: Another arts & crafts interior roombox (complete with dog!)
Sometimes I have to go away from total accuracy because it doesn’t always work in scale.”
When making the back of a fireplace, Peter uses bricks half the size of the ones in front because he feels that one should have the impression of being 15 to 20 feet away when looking into a roombox. “I try to create precision with an optical illusion,” he stated.
Peter’s accuracy has had its disadvantages. “At least a dozen times people have placed an order on my Web site thinking they are buying a full size item.”
Above: Just look at the wood and brick detailing in this unfurnished Greene & Greene replica. A roombox like this sells for almost $6,000 USD.
Because Peter’s academics started with engineering, with a reasonable amount of accuracy he can convert a picture to a scale drawing. “I haunt local book stores for interior design books and reference books and I’ve wandered all over the neighborhood looking for appealing architecture. Then I look to see what finishes and woods were used. I try to come as close as I can and I make changes that need to be done to make it look right.”
Above: A Modern art deco interior complete with Corbusier’s pony hair lounge chair
Originally, Peter thought of his modern boxes as a stage, letting the client do the “dressing. ” But he found that there were very few modern furnishings and even fewer things in the way of lighting.
Above: Peter’s Modern “apartment” roombox.
“Now I have come to the point that I design and make the furnishings that would work in the room. Some things are just a visual treat and I have to make them, like the red and blue chair by G. Rietveld (seen below both in a roombox and alone) . It is a study in geometry, angles and planes in primary colors. “I also took pleasure in making the piano from a picture a client sent me of a full-size piano entered in a competition. My knowledge of grand pianos was limited, but by the time I was finished I knew about the soundboard, the cast iron frame and the height of the keys from the floor. I like the detective work that goes with design. ”
Above: Peter’s replica chair of Reitveld’s original as seen in the above room
Because Peter works in a contemporary style, he developed fluorescent lights, tracks with modern canister lights, and other accessories not found in older homes. “When I make lighting I use LED’s so you don’t have to change bulbs.”
Above: another interior-just look at the sophisticated lighting in it!
Although Peter knows that contemporary and modern styles appeal to only about 10 percent
of audiences at shows, he would like to continue in the genre. “I would like to be able to produce some things that are totally unique.”
Above: Peter’s handcrafted tiny maple X table
I would love to do the living room of Falling Waters, a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Pennsylvania. This, though, is a two-year project and I can’ t do it unless someone commissions it.”
Peter enjoys the fact that that his work appeals to the next generation of miniaturists . “I like when a kid points to something on my table and says, ‘Mom, that’s cool’
Above: A roombox of a local bar
Victorian is not what kids understand. Grandma’s house is as far back as they go and it usually is not Victorian. It’s probably the fifties at the latest. “I feel really good about the career change-although it is still a scramble at times-but ‘ I enjoy what I’m doing and other people enjoy what I’m doing.”
Peter Tucker also has amazing victorian and classically designed roomboxes as well.
Visit his site by clicking here for a complete inventory of his admirable work.
Want to buy one of these stunning roomboxes?
They don’t come cheap- nor should they.
Click here for a price list.
3675 West 29 Ave
Vancouver B.C. Canada
(604)224-3928 Pacific time zone