The mailbox with the earth roof house in the background

Lewis & Marilyn are an Australian couple that worked in the film industry for many years making props and miniatures. They became interested in Japanese pop culture in the mid 80s, consuming any VHS tapes they could get their hands on, which they supplemented with printed sheets of fan-translated dialogue. They soon discovered Hayao Miyazaki and were engulfed into his world of characters. But it was Totoro that would go on to become the couple’s all-time favorite, and the inspiration behind their “dream studio” built amidst the bush trees of the Blue Mountains.

front door with Totoro-style viewing window

When they moved out of the bustling city of Sydney, Australia in the 90’s, Lewis & Marilyn decided to build their “dream studio” amidst the bush trees of the Blue Mountains NSW. Having worked hard in their jobs as miniature and prop makers for the film industry, they had just enough to design and build an earth roofed house. “The low curved roof, bristling with fur-like grasses and flowers reminded us of a sleeping Totoro, so that is what we called our new home in the clean country air,” they told Spoon & Tamago.

And over the years they added Totoro-inspired details such as the letterbox, the entryway with a Totoro-shaped viewing door and vinyl figures on the guard rail. But their biggest addition was a Totoro-styled Tea House in the garden. “Inspired by the 1930’s Depression era style artificial caves that still dot the local Mountains landscape, it is a bit rough around the edges, but is the perfect place to share morning coffee while we contemplate our garden of edible plants,” they said. Indeed, it’s such a magical home and fun to imagine that such a place exists in the mountains of Australia.

You can learn more about the prop and miniature work of Lewis & Marilyn on their website, or Lewis’ Instagram account.

entryway vinyl toys on the guardrail

tea house in the garden