Every Barbie needs a place to live! So in 1962 — not long after the doll came into being — the concept of the Dreamhouse was born. This was Barbie’s pad, and it was designed to be every bit as beautiful as she was. There have been a lot more Dreamhouses since 1962, though. They all have their own flair and their own fun options for Barbie. Let’s take a look at how the world’s most famous dollhouse has evolved over the years.
You might be surprised to learn that the original Dreamhouse wasn’t pink. Nope, it was yellow! And it was made of cardboard rather than plastic. All you had to do was buy it, unfold it, and place your Barbie inside: no assembly required.
The Dreamhouse was carefully designed to promote Barbie as an independent, educated woman. The walls were covered in college pennants and the shelves were stacked with books. But in the real world back then, a woman would have been lucky to get approved for a mortgage if she wasn’t married!
1964 New Dreamhouse
Two years after the original one had debuted, a second Dreamhouse hit the shelves. This was marketed as a new-and-improved Dreamouse. It didn’t just have one room: it had four! There was a living room, a kitchen, a bedroom, and an “outdoor” space.
This 1964 Dreamhouse also came with many more accessories than the original. There was even a television set that let you change the cardboard “screen!” But perhaps the biggest attraction was the sliding door; for ’60s kids, that was the height of toy technology.
1965 Barbie and Skipper Deluxe Dreamhouse
In 1964 Mattel created Barbie’s little sister Skipper, and one year later Barbie and Skipper moved into their own house! This was the “Deluxe Dreamhouse,” and it was the first to incorporate plastic into the design. Kids could pick it up by the plastic handles and easily carry it from place to place.
This house was a Sears exclusive, and back in the day it would have cost less than $10. Now, though, if you want one in good condition, be prepared to part with at least $100! Wow.
Now this was luxury living for Barbie and her friends. The Townhouse wasn’t just stylish and colorful; it even had a working elevator that would take the dolls between floors! There wasn’t a lot of play space compared to some other Barbie houses, but it looked pretty cool.
According to the 2022 book Barbie Dreamhouse: An Architectural Survey, the 1974 Townhouse mimics the design of famed architect Le Corbusier’s “Maison Dom-Ino” creation. Back in 1914, this had been put forward as a solution for the post-war housing crisis.