Thursday, February 25, 2010

Miscellaneous: Distance Travelled: On the Road Again...

So how far does an A Frame travel in its lifespan? Well, in 1978 it traveled from the Mattel factory (not sure if in the 1970's it was America or Indonesia) to retail locations throughout North America, and presumably europe and australia. After being kept for a few years by original owners, were most likely donated to charity or sold at garage sales. At this point pieces were lost, post covers were cracked and windows were scratched. 90% of boxes would be in landfills by now. I think there must have been a point where houses generally ended up in the hands of poor people buying them at thrift stores, or rescueing them from the curb. Of course alot would be in attics and garages for twenty years giving them that familiar brown patina. Then, perhaps in the nineties new adoration would be garnered with the fact that by then they were 'vintage' and children wo played with them would now be starting their own families and having feelings of nostalgia. This with the invention of the internet and online selling increased the interest and value in the A Frames. So, I am willing to bet that they went from $20 in the 1990's to $120 in the 2000's. My prediction is that they will continue to increase in value as more collectors hang on to one indefinately (like me) and sellers who gut houses and pitch the rest (see 'scary story' post), plus with a growing population, more will discover and want to own one, too. So, the average A Frame has most likely traveled thousands of miles from factory to store, and perhaps hundreds or thousands of miles wherever the owners moved, to finally across the country again when it sells on ebay each time. The 1978 Dreamhouse probably travels more in distance than the average world citizen.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ebay: And now for a scary story.....

I learned a sad truth this week. You see, I forgot to bid on a set of solid yellow doors on Ebay. The listing expired and when I emailed them to see if I could still buy them ($10) they told me they were 'tossed'. And then another seller told me they routinely 'pitch' walls, roofs and floors after the windows, doors and other smaller parts are sold off on ebay. In fact they have 'pitched' at least 8 or so in the last few years. So, this week I got my feelings hurt to know that just because a garage sale rumager cant make any more money on an A frame house, means it is garbage and is thrown right in the trash can. I honestly dont know what to say. I used this clip art because it sums up how I feel about the people that do this sort of thing. They are gutting and discarding these 30 odd year old toys that arent being made anymore. Its cold, heartless and unintelligent. On another occasion, I saw an online seller state that the MIB house also comes with the originial shipping carton which would be used as the box to ship to the potential buyer, meaning she shipping carton with all the original 1978 graphics and labeling would be defaced with a buyers mailing address and postage. Its disapointing to know that these things are rare to begin with and uncaring sellers are literally reducing the number of houses and boxes that do exist.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Real Life Versions: Part 2

Sorry for the bad placement on the pix, the manuevarability is not so great on here, and i try not to have redundant posts, but when i added these to the original 'real a frames' post it deleted (without telling me) the earlier shots. so here are more from my new home in the desert. the A frame house is more california contemporary than actual a frame is what i learned from these real life exapmples.

Compare and Contrast the '78 A Frame with the '82 M Frame

Here is the much anticipated post about the commonality of the orange & yellow house and the 1982 Mcdonalds playset. The pictures clearly depict the similarities in construction, in fact the post covers are from the same mold. I dont have a rectangle cottage floor yet to photograph, but the floor panels were clearly designed in the same way. Much work went into removing the gooey mess that becomes of 32 year old couch padding in order to reveal that vibrant green color. The roof panels are nearly identical in color, the tile is a bit different, but similar. I had this idea to remove the stickers from the mcdonalds structure and use this as a kitchen wall of sorts since it already has a built in counter surface never offered in the dream kitchen line. The 'out door' side of the counter could be a pass through to the pool area. Other manufacturers had kitchen walls complete with mounted cabinets, opening doors, and a built in sink, but Mattel didnt offer it until later on.

1978 Mattel A Frame Barbie Dream Doll House Red roof yellow floors mod groovy 1970s 1980s custom OOAK 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

History: What Exactly is an A Frame?

A-Frame House Plan Details

Dating back to the dawn of time, teepee-shaped A-Frame house plans were revolutionized by architect, Andrew Geller on Long Island in 1957 became popular in the 1960s and 1970s. The steep two-sided slope of its namesake roofline extends almost to the foundation and is designed to help heavy snow slide to the ground. Typically one and a half to two and a half stories, A-Frame home plans feature a cozy half floor loft or storage area at the peak of the home providing spectacular but limited living space with few vertical walls. Exteriors are made of wood and offer a deck for outdoor entertaining. Dramatic and dynamic.
Search ourcollection of A-FrameHouse Plans
A-Frame House Plan Features

Sharp-Sloped Roof
The steeply sloping roof not only lends itself as a stunning stylistic element but a functionally sound design allowing heavy snow to slide to the ground in the cold winter months.
Large Oversized Windows
The A-Frame design features large oversized windows providing dramatic appeal while allowing light in the home from the front and rear. Additionally the strategically placed windows provide breath taking views of the mountains, lake or beach.

So after reading this post and seeing the real ife examples posts 1-4 I think I have proved that calling the 1978 DreamHouse an 'A Frame' is a misnomer and California Contemporary way more fits the bill. A Frame homes almost always have the roofline to the ground, Barbie and Ken's roof does not. Plus A Frames are usually not more then a cabin or 2nd home. The DreamHouse is much fancier than that.