Christmas Swiss Miss Putz House

I surprised myself this Christmas season by building, at the suggestion of my wife, a series of decorative Midcentury Modern “Putz” houses posted on the Retro Renovation Instagram site this year. They are patterns for personal use only. I even made a pattern of my own for a Swiss Miss-style house picture in this blog.

The surprise was how I’ve geeked out in building them.  It really shouldn’t since I built models as a kid. Cars mostly because that’s what I loved. And wasn’t ever content without adding details of my own.

As I got older And honed my skills, I helped out my father on some model railroad layouts he was building for a local toy store back in the late 60’s. I put together the building kits by a German manufacturer he used for the layouts. They were high quality and well detailed, easy (for me anyway) to build, and fun. Since I built a lot of the same buildings, I got to the point of not needing the directions and set up an assembly line.

This occurred mostly during the holiday season, building them in my room, listening to FM radio stations and their playlist of rock & roll Christmas songs – when’s the last time you heard Cheech and Chong’s “Santa Claude and His Old Lady”? Okay, it was another time, but this year had all the familiar warm fuzzies.

My current crop are pretty simple and I’m just using mat board for the walls. It’s fun, relatively easy, and therapeutic. 

Of course I’m not just building them “as-is”…the Pisceian perfectionist in me wants more detail. So I’m adding details like window and door frames, board and batten patterns, patterned paper, mini Christmas lights…the list goes on. And while not to scale exactly, they’re better than a slapped together gingerbread house. No disrespect to gingerbread houses and their builders, I just want them to look more like an MCM house, desert-style.

This little project has been really popular with my followers on Instagram too. So much so that a couple of local friends have asked for a workshop on how to build their very own. It’s also given me a few ideas on an artistic venture for me to produce marketable art.

Just goes to show, you never know where inspiration will come from. Or where it may lead you. I think this coming year will be a good one. Stay tuned!