ORLANDO – At first glance, some of the photos seen on Tania Melendez’s Instagram page seem like interior shots straight out of a Zillow home listing but, in fact, the rooms are not life-sized. They are actually dollhouses.
Melendez was active in her line of work of commercial construction, church and other activities, and, just like it was for many others, things slowed down when the coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020. To help combat anxiety and unsureness, she turned nostalgia into her hobby. Since she wasn’t doing projects outside of her Orlando home, miniature houses became her project.
“Dollhouses were just something that I really enjoyed when I was younger,,” said Melendez. “When I got older, the pandemic happened, and I’m so glad that there is a whole community of women out there that are doing dollhouse decorating. I think we’re all little girls inside and we enjoy it.”
When it’s an online community, the sharing and inspiration is ongoing. Melendez posts all her projects on her Instragram page. The social media site is what first led her to dollhouse decorating, along with home decor magazines and her dreams.
For Melendez, a project starts on Facebook Marketplace, where she does her dollhouse buying. From furniture to food, Melendez restores every piece in every room, which features high-end aesthetics, real-like decor with attention to detail.
So far, Melendez has flipped 12 dollhouses from Facebook Marketplace and her collection is growing. Her hobby has also become a business, as she sells them to customers. Houses can range between $1,500-$3,000, and they usually take a few months to make. Part of that time, is getting to know the customer’s style.
“Usually, it’s been friends. We’ll walk through a trip, or an experience we’ve had together,” said Melendez. “We’ll go through all the steps, like you do with designing a house, and I’ll ask them their color palette (and) where they’d love to live.”
Melendez is located in the Conway-area of Orlando and the best way to reach her is through her Instragram page.