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Welcome to the Doll Haus :: vintage toys

So I started out this week with the intention of talking about doll houses. When I was a little kiddo, I looooved my dollhouse. I would sit in front of that thing for hours, arranging and rearranging the furniture. I don’t even know if I made up stories, I just loved LOOKING at it and organizing it. There’s something about miniatures that gets me every time—things that are little are just cuter!

My crafty godmother made my dollhouse for me when I was around five or six. While it was pretty basic to start, it was still awesome. A few years later my mom and dad surprised me by totally tricking it out—they added a whole story to the top floor, including a music room and a rooftop garden. It was AMAZING. I loved it. My younger brother Karl was always fascinated by the dollhouse (and as a bossy big sister I was always complaining about his curious little fingers messing up my “just so” set up). That same Christmas my mother, who is from Germany and always had a cool dollhouse growing up, had a brilliant idea. She got my dad to build a special farm house for Karl. It was totally amazing. They based it on an old-school Euro farm house, so it had a kitchen/bedroom area on one side and a stable for horses/sheep/cows and a hay loft on the other side (all under one roof). It was kind of genius—and all his little guy friends were entranced! No one had heard of a dollhouse for boys before, and this was the perfect combination. I have to say, my folks were pretty inventive (and progressive) for a family living in Flint, Michigan in the 70s. (I can’t lie, I’m still jealous of the wee cans of Coke and Dr. Pepper the farm house came with…)

So that was the plan. To show off cute dollhouses. But lemme tell you I had a tough time finding cute photos. After pouring through oodles of random, poorly lit images of stuffy Victorian houses, all I came up with were these two photos:


images: top photo from vampire meadow, bottom photo from rubylane

Not bad, right? But alas,  two photos does not a post make. And then….and then people…. as if my mother’s German dollhouse was calling to me from beyond, a random chain of link clicking let me down another path. And  I stumbled upon the Holy Grail of dollhouse imagery: The Puppenhaus Museum. And my jaw dropped. There I found the most delicious collection of vintage 70s dollhouses you can ever hope to see—each with home interiors that are so cool and so colorful, I’d move in tomorrow. Welcome to the Puppenhaus my friends:



Ahhhhh! How I love those chairs and the wall unit! Now check out this classic A-frame:


Did you see that little blue lamp on the top floor? My Tante Maria had one just like it. LOVE! This next Haus ain’t too shabby either:



I’d move in to this sucka tomorrow. I also appreciate the stairs. For some reason my dollhouse, like so many, didn’t include stairs. It never bothered me, but years later when Jenny Kells, one of my 7th grade besties came over, and totally made fun of my non-stair havin’ dollhouse. She made the dolls stand on each others shoulders like second-rate Circus acrobats to get to the top floors…..hah!

OK. One world. WALLPAPER. *sigh*

We couldn’t talk about doll houses without mentioning it’s sweet little inhabitants:

I have to say, those little people never looked particularly comfy sitting in those chairs. What was the deal….you could design the swankiest of pads, but you couldn’t make a brotha’s knees bend??



OK, this one  killed me….a wee hair salon. HOW COOL IS THIS??? Please take note of the proprietress however…

A closer look perhaps? Someone needs her hair did.

But really it was always about the furniture and the sweet little details. Let’s end this post on a high note!






That’s our vintage kiddo toy post for the day! I hope you loved it as much as I did. And I have to ask, did you have a dollhouse? And more importantly….did it have STAIRS?

All images from the super rad Puppen Museum‚ and there are TONS more. Be sure to browse the 50s dollhouses.

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Posted in Best of Alix, Vintage Childhood, Vintage Toys + Fun Stuff.


31 Responses

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  1. hillary says

    My dad made me a doll house when I was six, and it DID have stairs! And a little door with a thumbtack knob that really opened. It was filled with Ideal Petite Princess furniture (my mother’s when she was a child). Best Christmas ever!
    http://www.petiteprincess.com/inhouse.html

  2. Dottie says

    OMG! I loved loved LOVED my dollhouse. And it was a total seventies house too! It came with all sorts of great furniture but of course I tried to create a few things of my own. My Tic Tac aquarium was genius if I do say so myself. HAHAHA.

    I can’t wait to have my parents ship that out along with my other childhood toys when the Peach is older. She’ll love ‘em!

  3. Alix says

    Tic Tac aquarium, like the candies??? I love it!!!

    Hillary….the PETIT PRINCESS??? Amazing. I love it!!

  4. Liz says

    I need to live in those petite houses of happy but onl if I’m not forced to rock that Phil Spector-lite hairdo!

  5. OhSydney says

    Ahhhh! I keep reading this post over and over! Why are miniatures SO addicting? My grandfather made my sister and I a three-story dollhouse that was, like, a CENTIMETER too short for Barbie (my other passion!). It was frustrating that all she could to was sit and sleep unless she went to the rooftop. But it had brown shag carpet, and the kitchen had linoleum! How fabulous is that? I wish I had pictures!

    • Alix says

      LOL oh man I feel your pain!!!!! Barbie was always just a tad too tall for lots of other dolly things. I love the real carpet and linoleum….mine had that too! Makes it feel so “real” huh! My dad was an artistic guy…but you know, I don’t know if we have photos of it either!!!

  6. OhSydney says

    P.S. My mom still has TONS of items from the Petit Princess collection! I never knew they had a name, the white baby grand piano was always my favorite! How wonderful!

  7. BethR says

    that’s pretty awesome how the furniture in that first one is made of blocks. we had (and my mother still has) a set about like that. i never would’ve thought to make mod furniture with it.

    this past xmas, i gave oliver my old doll house similar to the second one, but not nearly as groovy.

    and the puppenhaus museum? holy cow.

    • Alix says

      Awww, i love that Oliver has a doll house too!!! YAY!

  8. heather says

    ahhh i passed up that metal one on the red table cloth in the second photo last month because i didn’t have any cash on me and they didn’t take credit cards. we were on vacation and on our way out of town!

  9. heather says

    oh and i did have a doll house and still have it!!! i got it when i was a mattel toy tester back in the 70′s!!! i used to play with it and my sunshine family dolls!!!

    • Alix says

      Wait a sec, you were a TOY TESTER for Mattel???? Does your coolness know no bounds??? ROCKIN!!!!

  10. Katie Stephenson says

    Loved!! Yes, I had a huge dollhouse when I was little that my mom made for me from a kit. I am in the process of renovating it and by “in the process” I mean I haven’t done squat to it yet except let it sit on my worktable for the last 3 months. You really do find the coolest stuff.

    • Alix says

      It may be taking you a while, but if I know you lady it’s going to be WORTH THE WAIT!!!!

  11. RocketGirl says

    OMG, that orange bedroom–That’s Carol Brady’s room! I SWEAR!

  12. lishyloo says

    i am now obsessed with petit princess! holy hannah!

    well you KNOW i love minis and dollhouses! i have 2 and 2 rather large shelves of minis that tru calls “the tinys.” cracks me up!

    my aunt linda was the one who got me into dolls and dollhouses. here are some pics of one of her many, and her largest dollhouse.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/21432813@N07/sets/72157613823369353/

  13. kristin theiss says

    What a cool post! You hit the jackpot on awesome photos. I loved my dollhouse too. I think there is just something extra special about growing up in the ’70′s. I would have loved having you as a dollhouse neighbor. And no, I didn’t have stairs either- just a floating elevator from another neighborhood. :)

    • Alix says

      Kristin, your floating elevator had be DYING. Like you said, sooooo Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!! The elevator was from the barbie townhouse, right??

  14. Virginie says

    LOVE this post! i always wanted one, and envied all my friends who had one but i never had one myself though :( *sigh*
    if i have a little girl one day, i think i might fulfill that dream through her!

  15. flo says

    with this slow economy for construction, i may give up on being an architect…and focus on designing sustainable dollhouses and playhouses! cheers for the inspiration!

    • Alix says

      Flo, you might be joking but I’M SERIOUS people would LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Remember me when you become a dollhouse millionaire and are selling your wares at fancy shops and the MOMA store.

  16. Dottie says

    I gotta agree with Alix, where did you get that sweet job testing Mattel products as a kid. Lady, you were LIVING THE DREAM!!!!!

  17. martin says

    Hi,
    I am looking for a 3 level plastic doll house. It was 70′s modern retro. the house was red,blue,yellow, green see thru plastic body. It was like a movable staircase. I want as much info on it as possible.

  18. Lucille Rosenblum says

    thank you sooo much for sharing that. I have debbie’s dream house.

  19. Jill Browning says

    Oh my word, this is amazing!

  20. tina aka forrestina vintage says

    Wow, just wow! The furniture in these doll houses is just amazing. We never had stuff that mod…and my sister and I had a Barbie kingdom in the 70s, I kid you not. My folks could not afford to buy us all the plastic Barbie houses and items to go with so I remember we created our own Barbie condo complex with materials we’d salvage from my dad’s project scrap pile. We scrounged carpet remnants and household items and dreamed up new uses for them in our Barbie world. We made them clothing out of fabric scraps, ribbons and trims. Good times! Funny now that I sell vintage on Etsy, my husband is our toy and game buyer and we have an entire section full of vintage fun for kids and kids-at-heart.

  21. lucille says

    I had Debbie’s Dream House and I must say it was, along with Barbie, my most favorite childhood memory. My mom always threw everything out when she thought we were to old or weren’t playing with it anymore. How sad is that!!! Never got over that. Well, for my 35th birthday my darling brother searched the internet for months and guess what…. Piece by piece he found all the parts to my dollhouse. He asked me to go into his porch room and get him something and… There it was just as I remembered it. In perfect condition and lit up and not to mention the door bell rang too!!! I was happier than when I got it at 5 yrs. old.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Vintage Kiddo Toys: Debbie’s Dream Dollhouse – Modern Kiddo linked to this post on May 24, 2010

    [...] Want more retro mod doll house love? Check out this past post: Welcome to the Doll Haus. [...]

  2. Modern Kiddo 2010: The Year in Review – Modern Kiddo linked to this post on December 31, 2010

    [...] Welcome to the Doll Haus [...]

  3. Vintage Kiddo Retro Round Up! – Modern Kiddo linked to this post on January 31, 2011

    [...] room and chair set? I wouldn’t mind hanging out in that dollhouse. They would look perfect in one of these mid century beauties.  From Etsy seller, The [...]

  4. Vintage Toy Flashback :: Debbie’s Dream Dollhouse – Modern Kiddo linked to this post on September 15, 2012

    [...] Want more retro mod doll house love? Check out this past post: Welcome to the Doll Haus. [...]



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