Saturday, July 28, 2018

And Now, For the News...

I wouldn't normally post about something not directly related to the 1978 house, however, this was really good so I wanted all of the site followers to know about it. This new documentary is on Hulu (hopefully you are watching The Handmaid's Tale!) and is called, "Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie".

It is definitely a thought provoking watch, and we certainly all have our opinions about Barbie, what she stands for and what she means to children and the world. I think the dialogue is important because we still live in a world where women's rights, values and respect in the work place (especially in politics) are questioned. It seems to me that Barbie's image/purpose/message has traditionally been a two fold dichotomy. For one, (recounting the early years especially) she is the ultimate physical* ideal (tall, thin, young and blonde), on the other hand, she is also dons many career hats. Since in reality, people do not usually excel in physicality AND intellect, this presents an interesting cross roads for the perception of Barbie and consequently, dreams of being a grown up. Do I endeavor to be absolutely physically gorgeous/fashionable (at the risk of being shallow), or do I become a doctor, pilot or mathematician? Is there the pressure to be both gorgeous and successful? Is being tall, thin and blonde the only route to physical adoration? So many issues coming all at once! So, the documentary focuses on the new line of bodies that came out in recent years under the name, Project Dawn. I guess that means, dawn of a new era. I think that Mattel had an interesting challenge. In the world of the 50's it was socially acceptable to be a content house wife who was just beautiful and nice and thats about it (think Betty on Mad Men). Since probably the mid 60's that view dramatically shifted and especially now with shifting demographics, there are many, many many different versions of beautiful (color, height, width, etc). Mattel could either stay the course and keep her unrealistically thin and blond, or really, really change with the times (not just playing dress up with "teacher barbie" or "army barbie" and completely reinvent herself inside and out. Some would say (they did), "the PC police got her hands on barbie", or "why not have a healthy barbie who exercises rather than make a fat barbie", or "what child wants to be given fat barbie for a gift?", or even "fat barbie needs dad bod ken". All are valid questions, however, ultimately I am in the 'change with the times' camp, children are supposed to relate to their doll and dream through the doll about growing up. So few of us can relate to being tall, thin, blond and gorgeous. I do wonder once all the clothes have been played with and mixed up, how on earth will people know what size fits what in the future (when purchasing after market). A major feature of the toy line was always that the clothes are universal, as are the cars and accessories, so changing the size of the body can introduce some new challenges. Regardless, the world evolves and so did our glamour girl. Hope you enjoy the film. 

Monday, July 23, 2018

What is This?

Just came across it tonight, I guess it's a Moschino window store dressing. Nice reimagineering of the house. They thought of the furniture, too, and is a yellow/pink hybrid.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Revisiting the 1980 Commercial

I am not sure why it took 2 years for the commercial to come out (if the date on the video is accurate), but there it is, nearly identical to the 1982 commercial, just sans the grandparents. I have not yet found one that goes to the pink house.

 I don't remember if I got mine for Christmas or not, I was about 5 years old.

Showing the furnished rooms of the house. 

Gramma putting the bow and tag on before Tracy comes down. 

Gramma and Mom wishing they had this when she was a little girl. 

Here's the money shot, the home in all of it's glory. 

The windows are pretty neat! One of mine is loose, so I am planning to drip hot wax on the hinge and see how that tightens it. 

Notice how they always elevate the house to make it seem bigger? They could have just hired little people, too!  

CAD House

This was a fun watch:

The 1982 Dream House Commercial - "Best Christmas Wishes"

I just today found this commercial, I thought there was only the original 1970's one that included the grandparents, but here it is.

The commercial really shows off the beauty of the home. I noticed they always use little girls that are somewhat small in stature when advertising dollhouses so that the house looks bigger, and it does. Sometimes, on my knees I am that height so I can somewhat relive having the house when I was a wee tot. Admittedly, when I am done refurbishing these houses they look as good as the commercial making it all the more critical to retire them upon arrival rather than just immediately displaying.

Here they go again subtly elevating the house on a hidden platform to make it seem bigger. Its cheating, but then I like my house displayed at eye level to make it seem more impressive.

Friday, July 13, 2018

As Seen in Recent Pop Up Ad

Every once in awhile the spitting image of the house appears in pop culture or random advertising. Today I spotted this and wondered if it was inspired by the house or just random coincidence.

Unicorn Sightings

They could still happen, one day you just might walk into your local thrift store or antique mall and there it is...

One time I responded to a Craigslist ad for shelving. It was nice store quality shelves, in an old woman's garage, she had liquidated her doll booth someplace, she had an enormous collection packed into this old ratty garage, lots of 70's stuff, Mego Cher, Jem and the 1980 pool play set, but alas no A Frame ( I did ask).

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Welcome Home!

How/Where Do I Collect the 1970s Dream Furniture?

So, I see this question posted a lot, the best/quickest way is always Ebay, you do have to stalk it for awhile to get a complete, affordable set in nice condition. The way I did it was to check every few days for pieces, purchase them when they were reasonable prices, search random lots for small missing pieces. Eventually, I ended up with like 8 ovens and 6 green desks, so this enables one to pick out the mintiest pieces, sell the rest, mark up the shipping and hopefully net the pieces you keep for free. Sometimes there are tons of stuff on ebay, sometimes not. But, this week, here is what I found, the bulk of the 1978 Dream Furniture line in one set for $30, you would still need to do some collecting (and cleaning) but that's the fun in collecting vintage pieces.

If you scour long enough you should be able to amass the entire collection sooner or later, and then sell all the pieces you don't want to help pay for it. 

Vintage, First Hand Memory of the 1970s and 1980s Barbie Dream A Frame Doll House

Picture it, Georgia, 2001. In my mid 20's, I was with my elderly mom visiting her friend in the suburbs of Atlanta. We had gone out to lunch and on the way back to the friend's house, as I was riding in the back seat, I looked out the car window and saw in a parking lot one of those donation drop off metal containers/hoppers where people leave clothes and other household items. It had been awhile since they had done a pick up and it was overflowing with stuff, at the bottom of the pile, sitting next to the container was an A frame house, old and dirty. My heart raced, I was too embarrassed to speak up and ask her to pull over so I could have it, but the waste of just driving on and not picking up a free A frame house was too much. I directed her attention to it (as she had young grand daughters) and said, look a free doll house. She said, "Not interested, just another thing I'd have to clean". The light turned green and off we went. I am sure the charity that picks up that location eventually had a volunteer snag it for a close to nothing, or sold it at a store for $20.

I did recently watch a youtube video where somebody was driving and saw one beside a house and she knocked on the door, they sold it to her for $20, so you never know! I still scan the streets on garbage day just hoping beyond chance that I will luck out one day and snag one.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

More Musings and Observations on the Architect's Inspiration

Generally, how I describe the house is "long sloped roof line, often asymmetrical with a 'broken gable/shed roof design', front facing gable, 1970s suburban house with balcony, diagonal slats". Here are some design elements present in Barbie's 1970s and 1980s Dream Doll House.

This one just needs red trim and yellow front doors. 

 Great artist rendering here.

 This is how I imagine the house to be theoretically decorated.

here are the mysterious diagonal slats, so often featured in 70s granola houses, often, the living room accent wall was slats (I have seen them coming back into style now).

This one is right near my house, tons of 1970's Spanish contemporary single family homes in the area. Common are the dramatic cathedral ceilings, Spanish tile roofs, white or cream stucco and a front piazza.

I have never seen an egg shaped BBQ, but I have seen this before, an egg shaped TV, maybe this is what the 1980 BBQ designer saw for his or her inspiration.

Congratulations for scrolling all the way to the bottom, here is the popcorn picture for you, the real life green desk from the 1978 Dream Furniture line, featured on season 3 of Dynasty in Alexis' Denver condo. Luckily, we can just barely see it beyond her yuge shoulder pads.

This reminds me of the 1980 BBQ. Recent craigslist posting for a table.

This hotel was recently renovated, and as most renovations on vintage mod stuff go, white and bright garish colors transform to black, chrome and glass, a newer sleeker look. This circle within squares pattern is reminiscent of the flower box pattern and side wall of the 1980 pool set. 

I know Ive seen those windows before somewhere! Here, Elvis sits with his mother and a friend. Is he throwing shade on Gladys? 

Monday, July 9, 2018

1986 Sears Catalog Ad

I haven't seen this ad yet, usually just the old Toys R Us or Mattel annual ads are out there. What's interesting is the other contemporaneous ads featured along with it, the fact that there is another Barbie house AND the other house has a bigger picture! This must have ben the last year the yellow and red version of the house was advertised.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

So What's Up With Those See Through Front Doors?

When I was a kid playing with this house, I never pondered why there was not one solid door or wall (closet and its doors notwithstanding), I just knew this set was big, bright, airy and afforded countless hours of play. So, now that I am a grown up, after countless hours studying, renovating and loving this house, I wonder, just what is the real life inspiration behind those breezy front doors? While I have previously posted real life photos of wrought iron patio gates that lead to a home's front doors that look like our house's front doors, I found some new images that may help shed more light (no pun intended) on this subject. Here you can see the house is heavily influenced by mid century mod architectural cues. Luckily, this trend has returned to pop cultural awareness, and there are even companies making decorative breeze blocks again. =-)

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Affordable Housing

Even though I usually am not looking to buy yet another house, I occasionally peruse ebay for a good deal anyway. While most homes are 200-$450, this one expired at less than $100, it has the PATIO TRIANGLES and some furniture, and still no takers, Scratching my head, but you'll see in the title, they did not label it the correct way, maybe that's why no one bought it, titles should always say, " 1978 1979 Barbie A Frame Dream House 1970's" for best exposure. Evidently, they did not turn over the house and see the dates on the bottom of no less than 6 large pieces. Also note the wet patio around it, presumably from it being freshly hosed off after decades in storage, remember never to hose off as that will rust out the screws, and not to drag the house along concrete as that will scratch the bottom floor pieces.

I was going to buy this, but the only thing I can do with it is restore and sell it, and that takes a lot of work and bout a week of my time and probably $20 worth of material, I would want at least $100 for my time and trouble, and it would not sell for over $200, thus its only worth refurbishing these if its for you to enjoy, but there is no money in it. Currently, I have my 100% complete and restored one, a spare one that needs remodeling (in storage) and so thats plenty for me.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

A Small House for the Doll House - Other Houses Post Summer 2018

Some stagers prefer to put a tiny house into their tiny house, it's a cute finishing touch. The pictures in this post are from vintage foreign train set houses. These were so popular from the 50's through the 70's amongst hobby enthusiasts. I speculate if I was hobbying in that time, I would have been into these. They are about 2-3 inches in size, sometimes smaller, and often meant to go into larger diorama scenes like train sets. I built a few of these as a kid such as a Howard Johnson restaurant and I think a farmhouse. The main manufacturers are Bachmann and Faller.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Disassembly and Repainting Video Tutorial

Not by me, but it gives you a working idea of what to do:

It's an excellent example of refurbishing a pink 1980's Barbie A Frame Play House

Bring back an old garage sale find to it's original sparkle!

One of the things I love the most about these houses is the play of light upon it. It seems to glow in the afternoon sunlight.