Best known for her intricate style and much-loved hand-painted dolls houses, Amy Balfour is an artist who is passionate about creating heirlooms to fit any home or interior space. Inspired by folk art and antique textiles, Amy’s pieces are both beautiful and timeless, finished with an immaculate attention to detail. Hand-painting an entire dolls house from start to finish takes several months to complete, but the results make it more than worth it. We love the beautiful mixes of floral prints Amy combines effortlessly, making her dolls houses an inspiration for any home interior as well as lovely standalone pieces. With a degree in illustration and several years experience working as an interior designer, she now combines both her passions in her work.
Thank you so much! My main influences are the Bloomsbury Group, Swedish folk art and nature. My Pinterest page is full of antique painted Swedish furniture, Dutch master paintings of flowers, antique wallpaper samples and brightly coloured examples of Roses and Castles canal boat art. I grew up in a creative household and most weekends were spent in antique shops, or jumble sales hunting for beautiful things we loved. My parent’s house was full of interesting antique textiles, handmade quilts, and embroideries – my mother is very creative and has inspired my love of all these things.
I started painting dolls houses two years ago. I was inspired to start as I wanted to fill my daughter’s dolls house with miniature painted furniture but struggled to source it. I did a few pieces and shared them online. I soon had a commission to do a whole house and its contents painted in a decorative style. Since then, I went on a do another house which is even more intricate (and less child friendly), but I am hoping will appeal to collectors. The doll’s house world is enormous and very enticing!
Both dolls’ houses have taken me many months to complete, however this is not helped by the fact that I am fitting them around family life and have not had many child free days to get fully stuck in! Part of the attraction for me though is that each item of furniture is a tiny project that can be completed in a relatively short time.
Before becoming a decorative painter, I worked at Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler as a design assistant for three years. It was a wonderful time and so influential for me. I was taught how to manage design projects from concept to completion. I was shown how to put colours together, how to play with scale and mix patterns successfully. All these things play a part in my artwork. When taking on commissions for client’s I quite often must paint something to work within a design scheme and knowing how to play with colour is very helpful in this instance.
When turning painting into a full-time career I would advise dedicating as much time as possible to it. If you can remain inspired and able to produce a constant stream of work not only will you improve your painting skills but you will be able to grow your social media and therefore outreach. Be open to different commissions and keep developing your style with practice and commitment.
I have had many highlights of my career so far. I was particularly thrilled to be asked by Louise Roe to paint her wardrobes in her beautiful London home. She also went on to kindly write an article about our house in The Telegraph which was a great honour.
Finding a good work/life balance is not easy for anyone and as a Mother I struggle with feeling guilty about both aspects of my life. What has helped me to do both is setting up my projects in the kitchen, so I am able to do bits and pieces of painting here and there as and when is appropriate. I also enjoy going to the gym now my children are not babies and socialising with friends and family as much as I can.
I am completely obsessed with the beautiful, embroidered blouse I am photographed in. The folk inspired design is gorgeous, and I shall be living in it tucked into a maxi skirt all year round!