Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Here's the insane amount of effort that went into making Sharp Objects’ "six-figure" dollhouse

Illustration for article titled Here's the insane amount of effort that went into making Sharp Objects’ "six-figure" dollhouse
Screenshot: Sharp Objects (HBO)

[Note: This story contains plot details of Sharp Objects.]

Sharp Objects delivered a doozy of a finale last night—and a helluva post-credits sequence for those that stuck around—but, while the revelation of just who was the Wind Gap killer continues to sting, it’s the intricacy of the show’s storytelling, music, and set design that will likely cement its place on no shortage of year-end lists. Take that elegant, painstakingly detailed dollhouse, for example—an eerie presence throughout the season, it served an essential role in the show’s final twist, revealing that the answer was right before Camille’s eyes the entire time. It also, according to this piece from Vulture, cost around six figures to make.


Multiple bodies were hired specifically to recreate the Crellins’ Southern gothic home piece by piece, as literally everything in it was made from scratch. Much of that responsibility fell on the shoulders of production designer John Paino, who sounds like the most patient man on Earth.

“The shell of the house was contracted out to a model shop, while all fabrics were hand-sewn, and a few painters were hired to match the same colors inside Adora’s mansion. Three or four prop makers built all of the furniture, cutting every stick of wood by hand,” reads the piece.

Paino adds, “The shingles on the roof, we got those measured. They have to be made by hand. You can’t get those at the dollhouse store. There were maybe 1,000 shingles that have to be made, weathered, and painted. It was very time-consuming.”

And those teeth? “Plastic baby teeth,” which are apparently a thing that exists. “We shaved them down on the backs and a little bit on the top, so it would seem like she had made an attempt to make them resemble the tusk process, because the floor looks like if there’s walrus tusks or whale tusks or elephant tusks,” Paino said of the prop teeth. “She made this fabulous dollhouse, so she would have probably gone to great lengths to sand them down and make them almost unnoticeable.” Shudder.

If you’re skin’s not crawling quite enough, HBO dropped a video detailing a bit more about the dollhouse’s thematic resonance in the series. Check it out below.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.