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Life in miniature

Hobbyist creates and displays masterful miniatures

Created date

July 23rd, 2013

When Max Silverman bought his wife Sis a dollhouse in 1980, he launched her on an odyssey of architecture, construction, and interior design. Whatever abodes Sis imagines, she can turn into miniature realities. Some of her miniatures are as tiny as ' inch to 1 foot in scale, but her collection is large and growing. So when the Silvermans moved from Cherry Hill, N.J., to Ann s Choice, Erickson Living s community in Bucks County, Pa., they sought a floor plan spacious enough to accommodate Sis s hobby.

A perfect fit

They found it in a well-appointed, two-bedroom Hastings apartment home that also had the bath and a half they wanted and the super-size kitchen Max preferred. Its crowning touch was the great room s floor-to-ceiling bay window, an ideal exhibit space that now showcases 12 of Sis s architecturally imaginative structures. She s arranged the open living/dining area as one big great room. With four different campus restaurants, she didn t need her dining room suite. Instead, miniature houses and retail businesses inject delightful whimsy throughout the room. Shelves below the Silvermans master bedroom window hold additional habitats. And the couple s kitchen table displays a culinary flight of Sis s fancy a well-stocked diminutive kitchen staffed by a canine chef.

Dream world

This hobby gives me the ability to build whatever I would dream but maybe not want in real life, Sis says. And her creativity need never stop because she can always add to or change things. Chock-full of supplies and dozens of completed and in-process projects, the Hastings second bedroom is her cheerful studio. She also frequents the campus woodshop. My table saw is 1/25th the size of theirs, Sis says. I hook it up to their vacuuming system and cut my wood there. She often builds from scratch and crafts many of her furnishings herself, including needlepoint rugs as small as 64 stitches to the inch. This spring, a campus exhibit showcased her miniature masterpieces. She s currently building a three-story windmill house that will stand just 12 inches tall and have a working windmill. A mah-jongg player and member of the campus scrapbooking club, Sis is the artistic creative partner in the Silvermans marriage. Max s pursuits follow different drummers. His nightly pastime, which he rediscovered at Ann s Choice, is billiards. He also plays cards, stays fit at the on-site fitness center, and reads book after book from the campus libraries.

Scaling down in real life

The Silvermans Cherry Hill house had nine rooms, a full basement, and a walk-in attic. I could store anything I wanted, says Sis. Yet, when the couple s three children left for college, her hobby also claimed their rooms. Advice from Ann s Choice Personal Moving Consultant Colleen Rosica helped Sis rightsize to the Silvermans smaller-scale, apartment-home abode. Sis doesn t consider Ann s Choice to be apartment living, however. I can walk out and be in so many areas of the campus, she says. I meet people, and I know my neighbors. I don t feel confined at all.