Thursday, March 31, 2011

April fools? NOT!

Shopping on ebaydeutscheland can be tricky. There is a wealth of dollhouse items in every color, shape and from every era. I start hyperventilating just thinking about it. 

But... getting it to your little spot on the globe can be difficult. Many German ebay sellers restrict their shipping areas. Some will go as far as the European Union but for bigger items... not so much.

I had a friend help me or this dollhouse would never be in my collection. And I want to thank the brave seller who we wheedled into undertaking this,

Thats is why after waiting and waiting, when I drove up to my daughter's house and saw this

                         My heart sank to the bottom of my toes!

As I peeled away the soggy paper and touched plastic my heart quickened!
Thank heavens for plastic (sound of celestial choir). It made it.

To me German dollhouses are the top of the scale. In fact sending treats to my friend there is worrisome, like sending coals to New Castle.

From the earliest houses to the blooming of design that followed WWII is an interesting story. is an inclusive look at post war design dollhouses.


who chronicles the history of German dollhouses is wonderful. In fact, I heard she was a Rosetta Stone Award winner for her contributions to the history of dollhouses!

There is much to say about the furniture and dolls that live in these houses but that will have to be left for another day. I am so grateful to have mine!

 I will leave you with this little scene in the kitching showing the 1960's detail of the flooring.
German table and chairs, rement sushi, plates and purse from Dawn Carrol CDHM

Cheers! CM

Saturday, March 26, 2011

As we say Goodbye to Marx

It is hard to write a story here like I did about the Colonial house or the Victorian house. The dolls actually look like clones. Maybe a Twilight Zone theme, or a Kafkaesque story?
Obviously the shift is away from dolls to furniture. Was this reflecting the advent of "Interior design" as it became popularized for the masses?

Mixing in other dollhouse items just doesn't work.


I had mentioned this once before on my blog and Pubdoll suggested making an art gallery. So I used various items such as this Bozart vase and art work by Oese.

And I will leave you with that post from Feb. '10. It uses 1/12 scale dolls and other dollhouse items. Judge for yourself if you think it works.

Then we thought of using it as a nightclub or disco. Mmmm, maybe another time.... Click here:


So long Marx, C

Monday, March 21, 2011

Contemplating the world from the Imagination House

This is my all time favorite dollhouse picture and it is by Superjunk on Flickr.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Imagination dollhouse by Marx

You have to admit this is a striking dollhouse.

                                And colorful.

If you look at doll house history, the 1960's  are a major time of change in dollhouse development. Hello plastic.
The figures evoke that mid century vibe. It is similar to the "Mad Men" look which is so popular now.

The idea was to offer rooms that could be arranged in any manner.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pool for your 1950's dollhouse.

The 1950's Marx dollhouses expressed the idea of a happy, healthy family. They were probably all drinking orange juice around those kitchen tables.
Leisure became part of family life. Swing sets, sand boxes and swimming pools arrived in the back yards as rumpus rooms and breezeways appeared inside the house.

I love this iconic pool. It is a boomerang, or kidney shape so typical of the time. The set included a life saver a floating duck toy and a sailboat that my assistant may have waylaid. She likes them very much. They fit right in her little palm. Or pockets. Oh good I see the duck float in the first picture.

With the wonders of working with plastic the figures could show great action. This boy is immortalized ready to spring from the diving board for all eternity.

The teenager appears in the late 50's. The 1960's female teenagers show great attention to style with plaid straight skirts and yes... flips.
This red umbrella table is not Marx, but is sturdy and survived.

UPDATE: The umbrella set identified as Ideal Co.

These dolls look so wholesome today. I'm just saying. Have you seen the Moxie girls at Toys R Us? I only go there for my little assistant you know. Really.  C

I went on ebay and sure enough there was a pool figure set for sale.

I'm not sure but I think the blue one might be the lifeguard.
Item# 360350949662 and it's so far only $9.99. It ends 6 days from today  3/10/2011. If I bought it it would only disappear again...
Cheers! C
Update: From the Sears Christmas Wish book

Monday, March 7, 2011

Kiddie rooms by Marx

The 1950's seemed to be a time when anything was possible. Post WW2 parents were thriving and busy creating the "baby boom".

 Check the view out the window. "When the red, red Robin comes bob, bob, bobin along..." Pretty optimistic time. I love the soldiers.
I also like the Big top, tenting design over the drapes.

Check out the toys.

The Marx Company also made a Disney version with the kiddie room covered with their characters. Growing up in SoCal I have had enough Disney in my life.


I really like these soft pastel colors

Focus on childrearing was becoming enlightened. The rooms for children reflected this, very child oriented. Still very 1950's though. C    
        Please be sure to go over to the side bar and read Rebeccas Collections post. it is about a dollhouse book from this era. Very revealing!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Furnishing your steel 1950's dollhouse

Marx houses were affordable and carried by companies like Sears. The houses were know for rumpus rooms, breezeways and patios, all modern additions to the American home. They reflected the possessions of the upper and growing middle class in America in the 1950's.

Plastic made the toys easy to produce. You can see piles of plastic dollhouse furniture at garage sales and on ebay. Some are made of a hard plastic and others softer. The latter is often found with teeth marks.

 Here is the Marx Colonial upstairs bedroom. Notice headboard and side lamps. I particularly like the pleats on the bedspread.

 Such a handsome fireplace in the master bedroom. These interiors are idealized. A contractor I know who builds mini mansions told me the feature of a fireplace in the bedroom is called "a babymaker" in the trade...

 Don't you love the colorful graphics on the wall. I think this master bath is supposed to have a rectangular tub in the middle of the curtains, but this home came with the corner tub. Pretty sophisticated design for the time.

Notice the toilet paper. So realistic.

Plasco, Marx, Renwal, Kleeware, Reliable Plastics and others mass produced these colorful toys. After you spend time with them it is easy to see at a glance which manufacturer made which. They each clearly have their own style. But at first glance they may all look alike.
US ebay item #150564401205  3/3/11
US ebay item# 290538862499 3/3/11

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Marx dollhouse


Happy March! March is Marx Dollhouse month. I will be showing this house and my 1960's Imagination House by Marx.

According to McKendry in History of Dollhouses steel houses began to come out around 1948. See  They were lighter and had intricate lithographed illustrations. They came flat with tabs that fit into slots and then bent back to hold the walls together after assembly.

The Marx Company began with Colonials and spread to Split levels, Ranch houses and even a model with a bomb shelter in the 1960's. That model did not sell too well... It is considered rare today and valuable. I bid on one several years and stopped at $699.00 It had giant rust spots too!

 Here is the livingroom from my Colonial. Notice the traditional furnishings and bright colors.

In contrast to the brightly colored room, the people of the set are monochromatic. Attention is paid to detail in clothing, hair and accessories reflecting the times. The Mothers are smoking cigarettes and the Fathers have pipes. The little girl dolls are shown drying the dishes and the boys have baseball mitts! Such simple role models.

( 3/3/11 update: Ok the doll hacker in me want to switch it and make the little girl playing catch and the boy drying dishes.)

                                              Cool hi fi!

The dolls come across as bland. There is no dressing or changing them. Up close the children are adorable, but you have to look closely to notice. The mass produced plastic does not allow for individuality. The furniture is nicely detailed too though also monochromatic . The role of the player is to set up rather than to create and impress himself on the dollhouse. It is a toy to arrange.

Marx made steel Farms with barns, "Western sets" featuring Cowboys and Indians, WWII sets and Civil War sets. The people of these sets were "figures" more than dollies and started the action figure genre.

I have the Western set and will need to dig it out of the attic to show you.

You can see several versions of these Marx steel dollhouses on US ebay. Because the steel was sturdy the dollhouses survived play. Being fairly recent in dollhouse history  (60 years old, that is young in dollhouse time) they can be found commonly at garage sales. Finally, being mass produced  they are plentiful so are easy to collect. Need I mention again that Martha Stewart magazine featured them last month in an article about collecting? We are getting so trendy.

Here are 4, to show you the variety, that are listed on US ebay today, 3/2/11. They are ending at various times so if you are interested look them up by the ebay item #. Let me know what you think, C

item # 390288280953         Love the pond and the carport.

item #  270712732165                      So long and low.

and  #180633379190
                               Love the awnings and the garage with sundeck!

item# 370487478590           Cool brickwork and there are many more!

My rule of thumb for collecting dollhouses is only 1 from each genre. I have the  early 1950's Colonial and the late 1960's plastic Imagination house, and that's it for me from Marx. Otherwise I would  never be able to stop.

I had this house out and blogged about if it was "modern" on my design blog people made interesting comments if you want to see them. It is before the minimodernista post. C

How do you organize your collection? C