Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Loss and Damage: The Worst Offender

Good ol' fashioned just being thrown away by empty nesters. 

So which is the worst offender when it comes to the 1978 Mattel A Frame DreamHouse? Being stored away in a hot, humid attice for 25 years where temperatures can reach 150 degrees or more not to mention racoons, rats and squirels munching away ranks pretty high. Bratty kids rough housing with it, scraping it along cement driveways, scratching and pulling the windows amd doors out damaging the hinges and pegs, coloring on it with markers? The sun, with its cruel scorching rays bleaching the color right out of the red roof, browning the yellow doors and white walls. How about the heartless ebay sellers who routinely gut the homes for parts, throw out what doesnt sell or is damaged, not use packing material (or use newspapers with staining ink), and use orignal shipping cartons for mailing boxes to buyers? My personal favorite is bored housewives with cans of spray paint and the illusion they have artistic ability. Or is it simply the ravages of time that also fade everything and discolor the clear windows and doors, and rot the boxes? Its hard to say, I guess its a combination of all depending on which house is in question. Thankfully, most things can be fixed, by cleaning, painting, glueing, taping, buying spare parts and storing properly rescued homes.

I guess if I lived in this environment for 30+ years I wouldnt look so hot either! =-( 

So, if you don't know already, the screws are not galvanized so they will rust when wet, never ever expose them to water, ie hosing off 40 years of dust from improper storage instead of taking the time to clean it properly as outlined in other posts, you must completely disassemble the house and set aside the screws in a ziplock baggie (screw renovation post is live so search term it for details).


  1. Hello,

    I came across your A-Frame blog and love it. I posted on one of your entries asking about the Pink A Frame from the late 80's. I see now that you aren't much of a fan, but thats the one I grew up with, so I suppose I am biased.

    I came across a furnished, new Pink Dream House in it's original box on Ebay. However, its already up to $660 and there are still four days to go.

    I am writing for your opinion since you have been looking at listings probably much longer than I. Is this a HUGE rip off? Again, I know you don't so much care for the Pink one, but I am contemplating putting in a bid...

    Unless you think another may come along for less? How rare are the "unopened boxes?"

    Also, how high have you seen them go? Wondering what the threshhold may be here...

    One months rent for my happiness... hmmmm...

    Thanks for your help!


  2. Nina,
    I am sorry to be so late getting back to you. As the auction has ended, I can only offer my after the fact opinion. I do constantly track these things (even the pink ones, especially when they get over $200 in auction price, and have seen inexperienced sellers post a buy it now price of $1200). In short, if you look long enough, and with a bit of luck, you can score a boxed pink one for around $150/175 plus $50-75 for shipping. Occasionally the seller will mail it to you in its original shipping carton, which I disagree with since it defaces a vintage shipper. At any rate, if you are selling a boxed a frame (pink or red/yellow) and can get $660 plus for it, then its a good investment to purachse one for less, however, I would not recomend paying that much for one. If you still dont have an a frame yet, get into the habit of checking evilbay several times a week. I have my morning routine of checking watched listings while sipping coffee. Of course the hard work comes in when you have to enter the search words 'barbie dream house' or 'barbie doll house' or 1970's or vintage. The idea behind that is that the more obscure (not putting in specifics such as '1978 1985 a frame' etc a listing is, less people will come across it/be too lazy to look through the 1500 or so listings that come up under such broad terms, therefore scoring you an affordable deal. Anyway, I hope this helped.