He was renowned for his facades - his soaring minarets, and demitasse scrolling - his gingerbread trim - so detailed and delicately colored, a delicacy of frosted-wood glory.
His attention to detail was flawless - each feature carefully researched and represented in its full glory - but with an artist’s flair for design - the most well-considered placement of flourishes - the creator’s subtle fingerprint. A Cape Cod’s hand-carved cedar shingles, for example - each smaller than the pinky nail of a tiny child named Violet, for whom it was crafted in honor of her mother’s favorite childhood vacation spot. He had weathered these on his own humble kitchen counter - using a mixture of sea salt and substances he would not reveal, though he insisted they were all as natural as time's progression.
Nothing creates the look of nature like nature herself, he would say - and he was the kind of man you were sure to believe, when he spoke like this - confident and firm, wholly dedicated to this craft. It was his passion - his life’s pursuit.
He won award after award, commission after commission, until he began to turn most away. His time was limited, though he filled the days. He did not raise his prices or form a factory to fulfill these new requests - simply continued to accept the ones he could; those concepts which struck his fancy. Those which pushed him to learn a new aspect of the trade, or hone a particular skill to perfection.
That is what he crafted - perfection. The most exacting, minuscule replica of some doting parent’s dream - a diminutive Edinburgh castle, a minute Edelweiss chalet, a petite pagoda, an infinitesimal ivy-covered brownstone, a Lilliputian island. Still, he merely maintained his own simple standard of living, despite spending his days crafting the microscopic mansions attainable only in other’s dreams.
The Craftsman grew old. His sight failed, his hair faded, and his lean, sturdy frame became stooped with age. He remained alone, always - and though his hands slowed, he continued to carve out a steady existence. He chose away from wealth, and fortune, and fame - and maintained his quiet existence. Eventually, he took on an apprentice, in preparation for the inevitable.
The young man, one day, grew bold, and asked his master why he continued to live such a meager existence. A bachelor, still, in his spare, tiny flat - he spent all of his waning days in the workshop, dawn to dark, crafting one impeccable, bijou masterpiece after the next - these immaculate models of the superb. The Craftsman said, simply, I design perfection, it’s true... but inside of this perfection, these flawless rooms, there is space only for the imagination - the semblance of family. The idea of life. The essence of happiness. The dream of love.