Many of us think about our dream home.

When designer Chris Toledo dreams about his, he lets his imagination run wild. He wants a Spanish-style house with hand-painted floor tiles, circling staircases and at least 12 bedrooms.

That is his dream.

For now, Toledo lives in a small, two-bedroom apartment. But that has not stopped him from building his dream home. It is just a lot…smaller. A lot.

Toledo was born and raised in southern California. He has been working on his miniature Spanish-style dream home for the past two years.

The beauty of these mansions is there for anyone to see -- on the outside. But it is not easy to get a look at the inside of these homes. Homeowners protect their mansions with security gates, walls and in some cases armed guards.

But Toledo found a way to get around all that security. He went online and looked at houses for sale on real estate websites.

"I would go on real estate websites and look at houses there for sale that are the same style, the same age period. I would just look for all the original details. And most of the houses that I used for inspiration…they were probably about $2 to $10 million dollars.”

Inspired by the Mediterranean style, he researched this style thoroughly. He filled his Spanish-style mini-mansion with objects true to that style – many he made by hand.

His miniature version is as real as he can make it. His small house is made of real wood. He covered the wood with a material that would have been part of a real Spanish-style of building. He hand-painted over 6,000 small tiles for the floors.

The house even has electricity; Toledo made all the lights by hand. He also made many other household objects, like tables and pillows. Other objects he bought and then painted them to fit the house. He even included a copy of a very old oil painting that he found in a book on Spanish design.

Toledo’s final creation is extremely true-to-life. The bathroom sinks have water markings. The lighting fixtures have extremely small spider webs. Other pieces have dust on them.

The only thing his miniature mansion does not have is running water; Toledo was afraid it would ruin the building.


Exercise 1


Read the following vocabulary with your teacher.


tile (n.) - a usually flat piece of hard clay, stone, or other material that is used for covering walls, floors, etc.


miniature – adj. being or represented on a small scale


mansion (n.) - a large and impressive house : the large house of a wealthy person


real estate (n.) - property in buildings and land


original (adj.) - happening or existing first or at the beginning : made or produced first : not a copy, translation, etc.


sink (n.) - a wide bowl that has a faucet for water and a drain at the bottom and is usually positioned in a counter or on a pedestal


inspiration (n.) - something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create : a force or influence that inspires someone


down payment (n.) - a part of the full price paid at the time of purchase or delivery with the balance to be paid later



Exercise 2


Answer these questions about the article.


  1. What look like Chris Toledo´s dream home?
  2. Where is he living right now?
  3. Where would he like to live?
  4. Can you describe the details of his miniature home?



Exercise 3

Make a sentence.

Make sentences using these words.


miniature, real estate, original, inspiration



Exercise 4


Have a discussion on following questions.


  1. Is toledo going to get his dream home?
  2. What do you think about his model?
  3. Did you use to make models when you were little?
  4. What is your dream hous?



This lesson is based on a news article originally published by learningenglish.voanews.