Wednesday, February 14, 2018

1978 Mattel A Frame DreamHouse 40th Anniversary!!!

It's difficult to believe this iconic toy is 4 decades old this year. But, here we are. At 40 years into this house's existence, we have now seen the gradual rescue, collection, restoration, and even reinvention of it through various means. Here's to another 40 years of loving this house!

This is the perfect post to showcase this great new book I got about A Frame houses. The intro I have included here because it is about how A Frames were very popular from the 50's to the 70's and then fell out of favor, and now that they are trendy again the current generation's take on them. Put simply they represent optimism, coziness and sense of play.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Replacing the Font Doors and Faded Window Frames: Winter 2017

Comes in gold, too! 
I have posted before about freshening up faded yellow window frames using yellow electricians tape, and thats a fine solution, but here is an alternative, one that may prove better due to the thinness of pin striping be be less detectable to the discerning eye than thicker plastic tape. 
At Lowes or Home Depot you can buy these great pattern cut sheet metal panels in large or small, as you can see quite affordably. Having never dealt with thin, smooth metal before, I am guessing you would cut to size, prime and paint the correct color. They are rather thin and flexible, so if I were to fashion some new front doors I would plan on creating a sturdy frame on which to place the cut panels, or cut thin hobby wood panels to size, sand, prime and paint them to match, These would be a higher quality alternative to the plastic factory doors, and being solid and not see through would be kind of cool. would love to see some photos from blog fans.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Another Affordable Patio Piece Solution - $7.50 Each!

While perusing the Walmart auto section, I saw these $15 for the pair) and thought what a perfect and inexpensive solution to adding more patio space to either the big Dream Home or the 1982 Country Cottage:

They are very well made (to withstand thousands of pounds of pressure) and are a great color match as well. I didn't buy them since I already have patio triangles as well as 3 extra patio pieces for different configurations, but if I didn't I would have. The only consideration is the carrying handles, which could be cut off with a dremmel tool cutting attachment , or better yet covered with a small rug, yellow paper or mini plants.  =-)

Target: lid from an $11 storage box. Would make a great custom patio centered off the tall narrow glass doors, or a free standing one in the back yard for the BBQ grill and furniture set, perhaps even a parking pad for the '78 'Vette? 

Monday, January 29, 2018

First Post of 2018: A Frame on Netflix!

This is a GREAT documentary series about the history of some fo the best selling toys in history. I am glad to see the makers included the classic 1970's doll house, the 1978 DreamHouse. While it is on fire (along with Barbie), at least it is on TV for the first time in many, many years. I think it was in reference to Barbie being outsold by Bratz dolls?

And this week on 'Dallas', the Krebs' house, hmmm, strangely familiar! 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Old Dreams and New Ones: Comparing the Classic A Frame with the New Dream House

So, just why do we love this house so much? There are many reasons we could describe. For me, the most obvious answer is the open, moveable lay out of the 1978 house. It is large, open, beautiful, easy to change around what room is where. Thus, every person's house will be a little different. To contrast, the new house is bright and eye catching for sure, yet it the rooms are small, cramped, forced, static, and uncustomizable. While the original house has separate lanterns, the new one has stickers, the older one has 360 degrees of play, the new one is one faced. So, I could go on, but I think the winner here is crystal clear. Another thing I noticed is the price. While I think the 1970's house is a great value for the $110 it was back then, this new house is comparable priced, but in 40 years will grown up children who played with this one collect it and adore it as we do the A Frame? I'm guessing not as much. While the vintage home can be completely disassembled, cleaned, repainted, reimagined, and be restored to factory mint again, will the 2016 house have that same ability? How will the stickers, cardboard, electronics and myriad of small pieces withstand the test of time? Hmmm, that remains to be seen, but I suspect I will still have my pristine 1978 Dream house in my collection. =-) 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Buying Experience: Winter 2016 - Black Friday Sale!

I must say, this experience could not have gone any better. As an ebay shopper for 14 years now, I know that the holidays can be an excellent time to pick up some excellent deals on merch. Thus, I went on this Thanksgiving holiday week (Wednesday, I think) and found this lovely:

It originally was an auction style listing, sold for $33 and was relisted (not sure why), then it was on for buy it now for $39.99 with $20.35 for shipping. 
I watched it for a few days and agonized over wether or not I should buy it, if I did, would the seller go to USPS/UPS and realize shipping was $85 and cancel the order, am I misreading this and its not the whole house? Whats the deal, yo?! I read and reread the listing, emailed it to a fellow collector hoping at least they would take advantage of this RARE deal (they passed), had my Thanksgiving holiday and decided that if it was still around that evening, then it was meant to be mine so I would buy it. Sure enough, it was still waiting for me, so I purchased it.

Shipped in a box measuring 32x31x18 (small furniture chest), using string tape and plastic straps (handles), it worked great. Usually furniture cardboard boxes can be a softer type of cardboard, so I prefer new Uhaul/moving boxes with nice crisp corners, but this far exceeds the usual boxes ebay sellers use. 

Not sure where they got these, but they are great for moving this mammoth box around until unpacking. I actually ended up cutting into the box side so I did not have to cut the straps. I am storing the house in this box for now until I can restore the house later and will ship it in this box most likely. 

Excellent packing: lots of styrofoam strips and rectangles, lots of clean, large scale bubble wrap, sections of the house were shrink wrapped in plastic to keep all the parts together. 1 door threshold broke, but I am not upset because it could have been cracked already, admittedly, is a very weak spot and I can superglue it and it will never show once the house is set up. 

A little super glue will fix that. 

Even the post covers (broken, brown and incomplete as they were), were bubble wrapped in a separate box to avoid further damage. 
I emailed the seller to let them know I got the house ok, and how much I appreciated the great communication, fast shipping and professional packing. I do all of this and more and have still yet to have one positive feedback for my ebay account when selling these houses, not sure why, but oh well.

I will post pictures of the after, I don't have the time now for a reno, but looking forward to this one. Its a near complete 1979 house, missing just the closet, one small window, flowers and some post covers. So, I don't want to spend too much money on replacement stuff. Everything needs to be cleaned and painted. The walls are VERY yellowed, so I will be painting those flat white. The roofs and floors are likely the most faded I have ever personally purchased, so will go a different color. The doors and window frames are also bleached almost to white, so will be recolored using auto tape (see hardware aisle, pick any color).

Idea one is to reinvent this house with different 70's colors: cream/tan walls, orange roof, medium brown floors, orange or brown doors/windows. While I generally insist on white walls, I would try cream since I am having to paint the walls anyway.

Idea two is to paint the walls crisp white, the roof light grey and the floors light tan. I would paint the doors light grey, and maybe not put in the windows. The planters would be empty or simple. The idea is to emulate a prototype, or "collector's edition" of the house. I was inspired by the high end Lego line of "architect/designer" line. They are all white, without the distraction of colors. It is meant to highlight the architectural lines. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Post Covers: Where to Find BRAND NEW, Gleaming White, Minty Replacements

I have found an Ebay seller who has FRESHLY MANUFACTURED, identical post covers (or rail sleeves) for the 1978 A Frame Dream House (and 1982 Cottage) for Barbie. Here is their Ebay page:

Contact the seller via their Ebay account. They are wonderful to work with. You will be glad you did! 

Never have to clean, repair, paint, polish (or make from scratch) post covers again!!

Tell them the Blog host from 1978 A Frame DreamHouse blog sent you.  =-)

This is what you receive, the color is off in this photo because it was kind of dark in the room, however, I can tell you that the shade of white is perfect for your A Frame, Maybe we can persuade the seller to have new doors and windows made. =-) 

Affordable Patio Pieces: A Solution-Based Approach

I scored a total of three floor pieces for a total of $21 (including shipping). These are great, and arguably better than the triangle pieces, for staging patio vignettes. But wait, there's more. The seller was GREAT. Shipped them immediately, and used excellent packing. This could not have gone better!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Baribie's 1980's Totally Pink House - Fall 2016 Edition

It has taken time, but I am coming around to liking the house re-issued in pink. I look forward to picking one up when time and space allows. Here are some well cared for pink houses. I think they look great, I am unsure of why so many people today feel compelled to spray paint them differently.

translucent windows
hot pink windows

dark pink window frames

hot pink windows

translucent windows

light pink window frames

light pink window frames

translucent windows

Displayed for Your Perusal

Here is a great example of the 1982 Cottage with period dog, dolls and decor. 

NICE, mod, groovy pad! The pink pillows and other accessories look amazing. 

Wouldn't it be awesome to come to a garage sale and see this? And then they are asking $10 each. =-) 

Everyone is always asking me where to find the furniture. As I did not still have any original DreamHouse furniture from my childhood, I had to go to the usual place, Ebay, for replacements. I bought, and bought and bought, at one time having at least 5 green desks and 5 ovens. I did this because it is difficult to see exact detail online, so this way I was able to upgrade parts to get really minty complete pieces (like the fridge) with my choice of which color ice cube trays, and which color pots/pans. Then, I sold the rest and it usually paid for what I kept. =-) 

Another Cottage with period figures and furniture. Lookin' good! 

1980 DreamPool with period pretties. 

Perfectly staged center piece. 

This probably takes p a quarter of this guest bedroom, without even the Star Traveler or Cottage! 

Beautiful inner courtyard with chandelier, topiaries and raised patio (could be painted yellow!). 

Vintage Photos: Fall 2016 Edition

Let's play Barbie! 

Is that a custom, double sided house with an extended elevator to the roof top party deck? 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Boxed Barbie DreamHouse : Fall 2016

As many of you may already know, the very first blog post here is by far the most popular. So, given that, I decided to make a follow-up post with new pictures and commentary. Here it is! 

All three structures together! This would make a wonderful Christmas morning indeed! 

I am not sure of the exact year, but I am supposing this is about 1981-1983. 

One thing I really love about the box is the comic strip panels showing all the different rooms, features and play possibilities. 

The lesser known Finishing Touches accessory packs. I was never into these, but it was cool that they made the attempt to add things to fill out this admittedly sparse house. 

This shipping carton is in GREAT shape. My original A Frame memory at ToysRUs is that they strung these up high in the ceiling far above the shelf, with no boxed houses on the lower shelves amongst the Barbie items. Maybe there was one of those ticket stub dispensers, so once paid for, a stocker would retrieve one (in a carton) from the back. Sadly, many ebay sellers ship the house in the original shipping carton, requiring the carton to be written on/tape/shipping label applied, and then go through shipping getting dirty and banged up. Mwa, mwa, mwaaaaaaa....