Thursday, July 22, 2010

Custom Configuration: Outdoor Kitchen Addition

Everyone may not like this customisation, but I think its a good use of an otherwise obsolete playset, the 1982 McDonalds restaurant. Mixed in with a 1984 Arco barbeque set and World Cost Market drink stirers with the stems removed. (If you do this, I used a dremel tool to file off the bottoms to make them level). Check out my earlier post, 'Compare & Contrast the '78 A Frame & the '82 M Frame'.

Parts: Inventory

Here is what 3.5 houses look like piled up together. All these pieces ave been cleaned, repaired and are ready to be marked up.

Renovation: New & Improved Planters/Flowerboxes and Fence

I'm happy with the embeleshed greenery. Some are from the dollar store, and some are pet store brand so should be available and affordable to everyone. There is monstera, other green plants, yellow and red flowers (not shown) that round out the factory assortment. I hope this gives you some ideas for your '78 California Contemporary. I am not a 'factory purist'. I think there is some room for improvement, plus it shows creativity. In the upstairs photo you can see the bedroom dresser I have thats faded to a really unique shade of salmon with pale orange drawers. The fence I am guessing goes to either a 1960's Barbie house or some kind of Arco backyard set. I dont know what the cardboard plants and stone planter are from but its a perfect match.

Blogger's Own: House and Configuration

So how good can I get one of these toys to look? Well, if you don't know already I am quite the scrooge when it comes to purchasing houses and materials. The last three homes I bought were $9.99, $9.99 and $13.51, all plus shipping of course. They usually come dirty, broken and discolored, though sometimes I have gotten great, minty parts for bottom dollar because someone was just wanting to clear space in their basement and it was a slow week on ebay. The house in this post is non painted, all posts are chip free, all windows hold position, all doors have all pegs. Thats the benefit of buying 4 houses, you get to constantly upgrade parts. Since I make a profit of about $100 per flipped house, my complete and minty house was more than free. In the corner of my spare room (and bathroom) is where everything is cleaned, super glued, painted, polished and parts are matched. I bought a metal shelving unit at target for $42 (not pictured) to store all the loose pieces and furniture and it works well. Anyway, here are the photos of how bright the colors are on a house that was matched with the best parts of 3 1/2 houses, and furnished with vintage Mattel and repainted Gloria furniture. The jukebox was a late '80s pink, I spray painted brown, added wood grain shelf contact paper, silver contact paper and it came out well. The newer looking kitchen is an old barbie set I did the same treatment to. To get the 'marble' contact paper to shrink wrap around the counters hold it over a lighter (carefully) then wipe off any black smudges with a rag. The flat screen is a glass frame from target for $6, the bed is a cereal box covered in fabric. The rocking chair was a cheap white Gloria bedroom set chair I painted to look 'seventies'. The bathroom, dining room and piano is also Gloria, alot of work, but well worth it. You will also notice some Barbie Talking House furniture. The green shag carpet is a dollar store bi-fold picture frame turned upside down. Clear vases and wastebaskets are Tiki shot glasses from the dollar store. You can see I used the 1982 McDonald's as an outdoor kitchen. The patio furniture is a 1984 Arco set. The bottom photo is where my minty A Frame/California Contemporary lives. Its on a discarded closet door, so is sturdier than it looks. Enjoy, and ask any questions you have.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Frame Helipad: The Playset That Never Was

Of course this set never existed, but this 1971 GI Joe Adventure Team Helicopter is big, yellow and from the 1970's- a perfect match for the red, white and yellow house we love so much. The dark green outdoor carpet pops the yellow nicely and Sun Lovin' Ken fits perfectly in the cockpit. I guess I would call this set, 'Rendevous at VIP barbeque'. =-)

Other Houses: Cool Mod Dwellings Slightly Predating the '78 House

Here is the obscure Suntan Tuesday Tayler's 1977 Summer-Winter Vacation House. Sub titled, "It's a sunny, summer beach house!, Its a super two story ski chalet!" I cam across it a few months back and like it for several reasons. Its a well designed, realistic playset totally interchangable with the Mattel line. Its roughly the same shape and dimension as a left or right side of the clasic 1978 'A Frame/California Contemporary'. Notice the window backdrop is a snowy mountain top above and crashing ocean waves on the bottom. I am not too familiar with Tuesday Taylor, but saw the high rise apartment go on evilbay for mucho dinero this week. On the true A frame photo here, notice that the structure is interchangable as in the 1978 Dream House, has a similar diagonal wall (more realistic on this house) and a cool white corner fireplace piece. This is a very rare playset and I am not opposed to owning one.

1960's ranch with take away roof open floor plan and mod colors. 

Real Life Examples: Part Quatro

Palm Springs continues to be a treasure trove of California Contemporary homes, harvest gold appliances, and Star Travelers. In this installment (theres earlier ones with different photos), you can see real life flower boxes (actually pony walls to hide dual air conditioning units, but they look just like the planters), diagonal walls, RV and other various architectural details. I had to be careful while taking photos as 75 year olds who have lived in these neighboroods for 40 years dont like random pedestrians taking a picture of their house, even though these are well preserved neo-historic homes. The dates of these homes go from about 1965 to approx 1978.

I'm genuinely surprised to know that the weird hard bean bag like chairs that were a part of the Dream Furniture line was a real thing. It actually does check out. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Renovation: The Trick is.....

As I was sorting out my 3 and a half 1978 California Contemporary Dream Houses, it occured to me that I have left a big issue largely unaddresed. How do you pick out/grade parts when you have a choice? Its different for each different kind of part, and thats where it gets 'tricky'. For me, I had two painted, and one non painted wall assortments to choose from. As the unpainted walls were fairly bright white I chose those as my number one best walls. For the roof, floors and windows, and 'glass' doors you want the darkest colors possible as the sun fades these colors and LIGHTENS them. It is the exact opposite for doors. You will want to pick out the lightest color doors as the sun fades them to a DARKER shade eventually brown. One thing to keep in mind is the condition of the hinges/pegs. For example, I chose the set of front doors that was slightly darker than the palest set because both doors had both hinge pegs and that meant they would swing in and out without scotch tape. I chose the sceond best set of rear windows since all of the hinges were damage free making for a tight fit. Incidentally, all the best windows fit snugly and held position since they hadnt been removed too much over the years. Out of all three and half floor assortments, some sets were dark, some pale, but the peculiar thing to me was that not only was there a 1978 and 1979 dated pieces, there was one set that was not dated. That led me to the issue of once I had sorted out the best minty pieces, I had a 1979 roof, 1978 patio triangles and 1978 floor pieces. So, in constucting the most minty house out of 3.5 houses one will be confronted with wether or not to match the numbers. In the end I decided not to. It was mainly because having the best, minty parts is more visually important than maintaining the illusion that the house in question has never been parted out. I wanted it to all be a 1978, but the roof was so very dark red and non scratched. Incidentally, I do have a rare orange roof panel set I am setting aside. I am not sure what I will do with it, but its highly unusual.

Another issue is the flower boxes. I had a big bag of flowers and plants for the planters so had to decide the best way to ration out the pegs and 'good' flowers. I have always embeleshed the planters with small scaled silk florals. You can see this in my earlier post featuring my first refurbished house. So, in making a 'best' house out of three, I used a good asortment of the bag of plants plus a prudent smattering of non-mattel plants. I like the overall effect, I think it fills it in and makes it more lush and vibrant than just the stock flora, it left more original material for the other two houses, and its a one of a kind customization. Now that I have my first place house, I display it on my green out door carpet square. It really pops the yellow floor pieces, as seen in the post, 'Custom Add on, Great Idea'. I stage the house with minimal furniture and some '73 townhouse pieces since they are smaller scalled and yellow & orange.

Though this is an unrenovated A Frame, you can get your repainted one to look this good with some elbow grease.  Occasionally you will find a minty one like this, it will cost more but its always better to have original unfaded, unpainted pieces.