Friday, August 27, 2010

Magazine: A Frame DreamHouse Makes Magazine Cover

This is a 1958 Alexander built Swiss Miss in the Los Palmas neighborhood of Palm Springs, CA. The downstairs windows on the left side look like the eight rear windows on the Mattel version. See how southern California landscaping (palms and golden barrel cactus) suit the house very well.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Furniture: Foreign Issue: Record Values

Who would have thought foreign issue color variations would fetch so much mulah. The sale of one of these pieces would completely pay for at least TWO houses. What a great line of work this could be.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ebay: How to Pack N' Ship This Mamoth Structure

Easily store the house in a 44 gallon christmas tree tote box, its roughly the same dimension as the factory box, and keeps out humidity and bugs. 

(top 3 photos-how I get them. bottom phot0- how I send it out)

Unless you have a UPS business account and get a hefty discount, I have found USPS parcel post with added size surcharge (boxes over 84" net size), insurance and tracking to be the most cost effective. The final weight of the box will be a hair under 30 pounds, so round up to 30 so it doesn't get sent back for 50 cents worth of underpaid postage. I live in California and shipped one to Indiana recently and it was $33 plus $2 for insurance. Though one just went to a town 1.5 hours away for $15 since it didn't have to get on a plane. Its the plane ticket that runs it up to $63 per shipment. Thats another reason why you want to use a large moving box and extra bubble wrap you have laying around rather than buy it all so it wont cut into your profit. This is actually an important topic since damage can occur if done improperly, not ot mention negative feedback on ebay seller accounts. What I receive is in stark contrast to what I send out. I get garbagey boxes re-used and taped together, with newspaper (if they used any packing material at all) and parts falling out of it as the postman hands it to me. All you can do is dump it all on the floor and seperate the garbage from the product. When I am done my hands are black from the newspaper or walmart bag ink. Usually the post covers are shattered from the sellers negligence. You also have to pick through all the crumpled up newspaper and bags since one tiny screw or flower may have gotten in there. I still cant believe sellers actually do this, its so offensive. I always use a nice, new large moving box (approximately the size of the orginal toy box) and do my best to re-create how Mattel packed them in '78. The main difference is that I use bubble wrap instead of cardboard partitions. I wrap all the smaller items in plastic baggies and tape them to secure it all, finally adding a thank you note and small bonus item they were not expecting like clothes hangers (since my buyer pays top dollar) before sealing all the sides with high quality string paper tape that you have to wet to adhere. The paypal shipping label adds that professional touch as well. Overall, out of 5 houses I bought in 16 months, only two were properly packed.

Another junky, partially open box packed with dirty newspaper used to ship my doll house! 

Renovation: How it all Happens...

Some of you may be curious as to my exact process from begining to end of resoration. Though I have posted before about the buying and re-painting of homes, here is some things I did not cover in detail. At the top you can see the shoddy, falling apart box as it arrives with parts/screws litteraly falling out as the postman hands it to me. Because its a big, garbagey mess, all you can do is dump it all out on the floor. Most of the post covers are smashed to smitherines during its long journey, and after I seperate the garbage packing material from the actual house parts, my hands are black with newspaper ink. I soak it all in a hot soapy tub for a few hours and use very hot water for the windows because its the only way to really deep clean off 25 years of crust, rust, crude and bug carcasses.Case in point, see the black ring around my tub in the photo. Merely wiping it all down does nothing besides schmeer it around. Its especially necessary to soak if you are going to repaint the white walls. The clock is to show that time is important to let the water penetrate the hardened dirt in all the nooks and cranies. You cannot rush a masterpiece! I really think thats where I earn my profit since all this takes the better part of an afternoon, including the windex and q tip treatment on the glass doors and windows after its thoroughly dried. It also takes over an hour to pack this property properly once you are shipping it to another person or buyer. The things that take the longest is the multiple coats of white when covering cheesecake colored walls and bleaching stained floors back to clean, bright yellow as detailed in earlier posts. Its physically demanding, but if I didnt enjoy it, I wouldnt do it. From what I remember 2 houses have arrived packed nicely with bubble wrap, a good sturdy box, confirmation and was a good experience. 2 didnt have any packing material at all, taking a few weeks to arrive, and one came in icky newspaper pictured above with smashed post covers.