When I started crafting houses out of paper, I had no idea that House Portraits were a THING. My family certainly never thought of commissioning one for the house I grew up in. I don’t think any of my grandparents had artwork of their various houses, either. I stumbled on creating house portraits sort of accidentally, and then realized that artists have been photographing, painting, sculpting, and otherwise replicating the places people live for a long time!
I’ve since learned that it’s pretty easy to get a painting or drawing of your house on paper. There are house portrait artists who will paint or draw your house in all sorts of different styles. You can even pay someone to run a filter that turns a photo of your house into a “painting”! Not all house portraits exist as images on paper, though. It seemed appropriate to create a roundup of other house portrait artists that are pushing the boundaries in material or format. Partly because I’m fascinated by the possibilities, and partly because I know my style isn’t always the best fit. I can only create a certain number of portraits each year, and that number isn’t large, so I also wanted to offer some options!
Mid-Century Modern Facades by Robert Webster
Robert uses thick mat board to create delightful “mid-mod” houses in a very specific style. The way he simplifies and emphasizes the midcentury-modern geometry is really lovely. His work is always meticulous. He has original work for sale and also accepts commissions for either home facades or full 3D house models. Robert’s style is especially well-suited to the long, low house profiles that don’t always work well in my style.
Watercolor & Wood by Sydney Musselman of East Grove Company
I first encountered East Grove Company when they were creating custom rubber stamps, but these wooden ornaments are a delightful addition! Sydney’s multi-media focus means you can commission a custom watercolor painting of your home and also have the painting turned into a wooden ornament and a return address rubber stamp, all in one go. That’s pretty awesome.
Antique Paper Portraits by Helen Ward
I originally came across Helen Ward’s work in the context of interior design (like a just-finished kitchen reno that turned out amazing). I was captivated by the various projects she’s undertaken in renovating the old house she lives in in the U.K. Somewhere along the way I discovered that she is also a house portrait artist?! The houses are an evolution of her antique marbled paper entomology work. Some of that antique paper stash makes its way into lovely, intricate, full-color paper house portraits. Though she also uses fun unexpected materials like sandpaper to imitate gravel driveways! Helen’s focus on texture and color, and use of creative materials, make her pieces really unique.
Colorful Clay House Portraits by Lindsay Black of Oddly & Co.
Fun fact: my very first self-employment adventure involved making (ugly) jewelry out of polymer clay and trying to sell it at my local farmer’s market when I was 13. Lindsay does things with polymer clay that 13-year-old me would not have been able to fathom. Polymer clay is a colored oven-bake clay that you can find at most crafty shops. It takes years of practice and a steady hand to be able to create these crazy-intricate houses with the stuff. The finished sculpture is essentially plastic, so it is unlikely to fade and a little (lot) sturdier than paper! Lindsay also creates adorable family portrait ornaments and can create your house portrait as an ornament, or attach it to a plate or other background if you want to hang it on the wall. So cool.
Painted Wooden Houses by Ana Marko
Ana Marko makes all sorts of lovely painted wooden things in her studio in Poland, but her custom house portraits are truly amazing. This is a detailed, photo-realistic painting of your house, but it’s also in the shape of your house! I love the playfulness of these pieces. I am also very impressed by the level of detail.
3D Paper House Lanterns by Emi Hazlett of Paper Emi
Emi Hazlett creates paper architecture as luminaries (battery-powered candles only!). The interior light makes the buildings feel alive. After focusing on window displays, advertisements, and other gorgeous paper art (I highly recommend a scroll through her Instagram feed), Emi has recently added custom pieces to her offerings, both 3D luminaries and framed portraits.
Embroidered House Portraits by Jessica Barta of Jess Stitched It
Unfortunately, it looks like Jessica isn’t taking orders as of this writing, but LOOK at this! Embroidered paintings on fabric? How cool is that?! I’m so impressed by the unique combination of mediums. The gumption it takes to tackle the depiction of something as rectangular as residential architecture with materials as fluid and squishy as paint and thread is impressive! I’ve loved following Jessica’s work on Instagram to see how she depicts the same tiny details that I struggle with, just with thread instead of paper. I’m looking at you front porch light fixtures.
DIY Embroidered House Portrait with a book by Theresa M. Lawson
I’m not sure if Theresa is accepting new commissions at this time, so I thought I’d mention her book! This is a slightly different style of embroidered house portrait than Jessica’s, above. Theresa’s work is created entirely with thread, and Jessica’s incorporates painted fabric. I’ve just picked up embroidery as a hobby in the last few months. As a beginner who is still working out the basics (is it okay if all my stitches are different lengths?!) the things Theresa can accomplish with a needle and thread are definitely “goals”, as the kids say. Maybe after I figure out the basics I’ll buy the book and learn how it’s done!
Custom 3D Paper House Portraits by Abigail McMurray of yeiou paper objects
May I be so bold as to include myself in this list? I love building tiny houses out of paper. I love figuring out how to turn a photograph into a framed paper sculpture. I’ve been refining my process since 2018, gradually adding more and more and smaller details, learning new techniques and processes, and crafting over 100 portraits of houses all around the world.