Welcome to the (Designer) Dollhouse

Written on by jeremy
Debbie's Dream House designer dollhouse (1960s)

Debbie's Dream House (1960s)

In the solar system of designer toys, I’ve just become aware of a neighboring planet: modern dollhouses. The designer dollhouse planet is populated by meticulous, artsy, crafty collectors–just like the the fun folks on the designer vinyl toy planet!

The Kaleidoscope House designer dollhouse (2001)

The Kaleidoscope House (2001)

I spent the past hour or so geeking out on the amazing (largely German-designed) modern dollhouses of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, but let’s start with something more recent: The Kaleidoscope House. Designed by artist Laurie Simmons and architect Peter Wheelwright and produced by Bozart Toys, the Kaleidoscope House is a 1:12 scale modernist architectural house. It has sliding transparent color walls and an accessory line of miniature furniture from contemporary designers and artists including Karim Rashid and Cindy Sherman.

Kaleidoscope House art collection

Kaleidoscope House art collection

The tiny furnishings are still available and affordable, but be prepared to shell out some full-size cash for the amazing technicolor dream house. I couldn’t find a current live auction on eBay, but in 2007, an unassembled Kaleidoscope House sold for nearly $1,600. In 2009, $450 secured a used model off Craigslist.

Debbie's Dream House designer dollhouse (1960s)

Debbie's Dream House (1960s)

Going back in time, check out this 1960s den from the American-made Debbie’s Dream House above! Not only do designer dollhouse fans collect the houses and furniture, some of them make their own. Those tiny pillows below are handmade by The Shopping Sherpa, and she provides a tutorial here. “Craft is the new black,” indeed!

handmade miniature cushions by the shopping sherpa

handmade miniature cushions by the shopping sherpa

For lessons of a historical nature, head over to the Püppenhaus Museum. Like all the best toys, dollhouses and their interior fittings tell important stories about the times in which they were made. The assemblage of miniature food below reflects post-war Germany.

Kinderkaufladen (1950s)

Kinderkaufladen (1950s)

There is a bustling subculture of miniature modern designer dollhouses. Google around, or start with one of my favorites: Call of the Small. Click through for a few 1960s and 1970s models I’d happily live in if I wasn’t so darn gigantic!

Highrise House (1960s)

Highrise House (1960s)

Kathrin House (1960s)

Kathrin House (1960s)

Lundby house (1960s)

Lundby house (1960s)

VERO House (1970s)

VERO House (1970s)

Whitman A-Frame (1970s)

Whitman A-Frame (1970s)

Brio house study (1970s)

Brio house study (1970s)

Bodo Hennig dollhouse furniture (1970s)

Bodo Hennig dollhouse furniture (1970s)

Posted in 3D, Art, art multiples, Toys, vintage | 1 Comment

One Response

  1. Posted by: karen on February 19, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Just read your website and I was looking up to see how much my kaleidescope house sells for. I am shocked! Funny part is that I have never opened it and was going to but I think after reading your site, it’s better left sealed! If you happen to know of anyone wanting to buy it, please let me know. I don’t know how much to ask but would love to hear!
    Best regards,
    Karen