June 22, 2011

The Toys You Buy - Are They for You or Your Child?

I can admit it. I’m not ashamed. I am a grown man who likes dollhouses.

Now, I don’t like all dollhouses. I feel that I should point that detail out at the very beginning. Nor do I own any dollhouses. I’m not some eccentric heir in a Robber Baron holed up in my 24 room mansion filled to the gills with antique dollhouses of every variation. There’s not a miniature of the Biltmore Estate in my living room or Victorians gracing the carpet of my parlor (I don’t even have a parlor). But in recent months, while browsing the Internet for all things baby girl related, I have consequently stumbled upon the surprisingly unexpected dollhouse that struck my fancy.

Typically, when I thought of a dollhouse in the past, which admittedly was not often, or frankly ever, I pictured a square boxy Colonial or Saltbox with an open back—two bedrooms, no baths, with maybe a rumpus room, a satellite dish, and an attached garage (but only if you’re lucky; otherwise, you have to park on the street). Not exactly something to excite the adult imagination, in my view at least.

Then I stumbled upon a thing that can only be referred to as being of a decidedly “contemporary” design. As far as architecture goes, “contemporary” is not one of my favorites. But when I came across a dollhouse that looked like it could’ve been designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, it made me want to run out and get one for my daughter, and she’s not exactly dollhouse age. She’s not even doll age. She’s barely diaper cream age, and I am certain that she could care less about the quintessentially American named “Emerson” flat-roofed glass and river stone house at 1:18 scale with L.E.D.s powered by working solar panels, also at 1:18 scale, but fully functional all the same. Which might lead one to the assumption that I actually wanted to run out and get the dollhouse for me.

And, naturally, there are available furniture packages that come with the house, in addition to other miniatures which the interested buyer can find for purchase from multiple “modern” living design retailers, small Eames chairs for example, both the molded plywood one, with cowhide (for the study) and the lounge chair with ottoman, in black (for the den).

Then later, in my online searches, I came across my daughter’s future doll summer house. I’m not entirely certain that these structures were intended to serve as playthings, but instead simply as miniatures for people who collect that sort of object, but apparently they can be used as dollhouses, all the same. They’re converted “sea containers” (clearly for those of the environmentally minded population) that you can picture on a bluff in Montauk overlooking the Atlantic. Nothing too fancy, nothing ostentatious, not a competitive sort of property to put up against the shingle-sided Traditionals with gunite pools and tennis courts, but just a little place to get away from the City on summer weekends.

And somewhere else out there, for my daughter’s “mountain place” in the Adirondacks, there’s got to be a mini Airstream or a mini Prefab with a mini boathouse for her mini mahogany Christ Craft runabout for those late October weekends, a nice little place complete with working wind turbines and a water harvesting system for the miniature greenhouse…

The notion must be entertained, even by this red blooded American male, that dollhouses are no longer just for little girls.


  1. totally with you on this. I want all of those dollhouses you mentioned for myself!!

  2. OMG I totally want the first one. And I can't wait to fill it with modern miniatures.