While I’m busy working on orders from my JOYBIRD sale, please enjoy a reprint of “The Post Penthouse” from Fashion Doll Quarterly magazine. (2013).
Re-purposing a Rarity…
Text, photography and set designs by: Maryann Roy
Many of you may not know that Mattel Toy Company offered some fabulous Eames style furniture in 1958. This is just prior to the introduction of the Barbie Doll. In those days, the most sought after fashion doll was 10- 10 1/2″ in height, and this furniture was perfectly tailored to them.
In the over 50+ years of play and storage, this forgotten treasure has become a rarity in itself. Perfectly crafted in every way, including opening drawers and working components, these pieces of decor history are now finding their way into collectors hearts .
For this presentation, I have taken the liberty to replace tired and worn upholstery, and re-purpose otherwise forgotten pieces to reflect the style to which they are accustomed .
Your focus in dolls may center around the 12″ or 16″ fashion doll. But, prior to 1959, and the introduction of the Barbie Doll, the “IT” gal was a mere 10″ – 10 1/2″ in stature. And, until I started doing research for this article, I had no idea just how many there were! American Character offered Toni and Ginger, Ideal – Little Miss Revlon. Madame Alexander made Cissette, and a myriad 10″ dolls. Vogue had Jill and Jan while Horsman Cindy dolls were also quite popular. Even with today’s contemporary dolls, this size can still be found in Tonner’s Tiny Kitty, Madame Alexander’s Coquette, and The Ingénue lines, not to mention hand made fashion dolls like Persia Idols and Mdvanii.
To show you just how far this lovely little set of furniture can take a doll collector, I’ve used the Mattel furniture to create a posh penthouse for my 10″ model. By adding some of my own pieces and a little decor know how, the penthouse took on a life of it’s own! See if you can recognize these pieces in their new surroundings.
Peering in to see what’s going on, imagine if you will, a glorious abode for your favorite doll.
Modern, clean lines show off the stunning living room! The sofas have been given new life with stylish, yet inviting brocade cushions. The credenza anchors the far wall, perhaps housing some stereo equipment or reading material. It is flanked on either side by hostess style chairs that I made to reflect the Eames style. No matter where she stands, notice how all of the pieces are in perfect scale with the model. No heavy accessories are needed. A crystal beaded lamp, colorful area rug and two plants make perfect accents.
A long windowed hallway is a perfect place to set up a display or collection of treasures. Here, a second credenza is being used in a different way. By sliding the door all the way to the left and hiding the drawers, shelves are now exposed that can be used to showcase any number of items. The once sliding door now appears to be one that swings open instead, making the piece look entirely different!
A Ladies Boudoir …Bold and colorful for my gal! The original coverlet used to hide the sleek lines of the bed. Now, with new linens tucked under the mattress in a more contemporary way, you can see the bed as it was meant to be seen. Low head boards were the style, and this one shows off it’s rattan trim. The dresser pulls double duty as a vanity as well as storage for clothing . A bold black and white print rug and matching wall art add an element of surprise! Adding the pink voile chair rounds out this very feminine room.
In the walk in closet, an extension of the bedroom, I’ve carried the color pallet by using the same rug and adding a blue tufted ottoman. The original wardrobe is now set among two side cabinets which help to store the many needed accessories my lady would have acquired over time. An open wardrobe makes it so much easier to choose an article of clothing!
The craftsmanship is so detailed and beautifully designed on all of the wooden Mattel furnishings that you don’t need a lot going on in any one area. Each piece speaks for itself. Yes, Barbie doll lovers have adapted these pieces for Barbie over the years which is a loving tribute in itself, but using these modern style gems with the doll size they were designed for really makes you sit up and take notice!
By the way, there are more pieces to the Mattel Modern Furniture collection!
Two style dining sets, another living room set with two sofas, coffee table end table and lighted lamp! Be on the lookout for these treasures. They are hard to find, but, not impossible. With a little polish and a little love, they can take on a whole new look. While you are at it, check out some of the 10″ dolls too. Someone has to live in your penthouse!
Re-post from Fashion Doll Quarterly Magazine 2013
Welcome Home – “Add a little LIFE to your display”
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