Welcome to the dollhouse in Tiffany Gholar's Fine Arts Building studio | Space | Chicago Reader

Welcome to the dollhouse in Tiffany Gholar's Fine Arts Building studio 

The interior designer is busy planning and building mini spaces within a colorful workshop.

Tiffany's studio

Tiffany's studio

Andrea Bauer

Tiffany Gholar's studio in the Fine Arts Building is a riot of color—magentas, oranges, yellows, and greens detail cabinets, surfaces, and windowpanes. Even her outfit complements the room's palette.

The Chicago native discovered her knack for color concept in an unexpected way: "I was working at Nordstrom in the accessories department, helping people match different accessories to outfits," she says. "I decided to go back to school for interior design."

Gholar doesn't just use her studio for a single discipline, though. "I paint here, I draw here, I do computer stuff here; right now I'm working on ornaments for the holidays," she says. "I really enjoy working in different media. If you're getting stuck or hitting a wall, you can switch gears and try something else."

This room is also home to several miniature spaces. Spaces within space, if you will. Gholar creates intricate interiors in dollhouses for an ongoing digital-photography series called "The Doll Project." "I use fashion dolls, primarily Barbies, to embody the negative message the media gives women about the way they should look." She incorporates vintage toys and design aesthetic to present a historical perspective that spans the late 60s, late 80s, and present day. "What I like about collecting miniatures is that it takes up less space and it's a fraction of the cost of the real thing—you can have that Herman Miller, that Knoll, that Vitra look in the palm of your hand as opposed to spending thousands of dollars on a really cool chair," Gholar explains.

In fact, Gholar's childhood dollhouse sparked her interest in interior design. "I had these little catalogs. I remember picking out furniture and being, 'I don't really like Victorian, I like Queen Anne. I don't really like country, I like contemporary.' I was learning about the different styles, and I was still a kid."

Gholar opens her studio every month during the Fine Arts Building's Second Fridays Open Studios.

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