A new book shows how the Barbie DreamHouse changed over time:
The monograph, which the publishers say is “the first architectural survey of the world’s best-selling dollhouse”, features glossy images of the houses captured by fashion photographer Evelyn Pustka, alongside detailed architectural drawings…
The homes themselves range from contemporary influencer houses all the way back to the mid-century bungalow of the 60s.
In this way, the book establishes the Dreamhouse as an early example of homes turning from private domains into a means of expressing and performing our personality for others – alongside the Eames house, the Playboy apartments and Jackie Kennedy’s televised tour of the White House in 1962…
“So there’s this bifurcation where the Dreamhouse is more in conversation with McMansions, which might reference postmodern architecture but lose the kind of ironic quoting involved in using Doric columns.”
The emphasis here seems to be on how the Barbie homes reflected architectural styles. However, how much did these toys shape architectural styles? As people played with these houses, how did it change their perceptions of houses? This might be difficult to ascertain but presentations of homes and what is normal or aspirational can help shape what people expect.
A question: have any constructed houses been inspired by the Barbie DreamHouses? This could be another signal of how Barbie has affected homes.