Perhaps deterred by the growing inventory of multimillion-dollar homes hitting the market in Malibu, Calif., these days—everyone from supermodel Cindy Crawford to actor Leonardo DiCaprio has something for sale, nevermind the Gehrys and Lautners angling for buyers—Barbie has decided to take herself out of the game, opting to renovate her lavish pad instead of unloading it for the $25M she had hoped for when the bubblegum-pink property "hit the market" as a massive stunt in February. With this news comes the obvious product release: the 2013 iteration of the 41-year-old Barbie Dreamhouse.
Mattel, which manufactures Barbie, has been on a rather impressive marketing blitz to promote its most famous toy. In February it announced that the 2012 Dreamhouse would be "listed" on Trulia by real estate agent Josh Altman, star of the Bravo reality TV show Million Dollar Listing LA; in May it opened a Dreamhouse Experience—essentially a life-size, walk-through Dreamhouse—first in Florida, then in Berlin; and later that month it announced that Barbie, hoping to make an informed decision, was knee-deep in meetings with an advisory committee consisting of interior designer Celerie Kemble, fashion designer Trina Turk, and textile designer Lulu deKwiatkowski.
The 2013 Dreamhouse, which hit stores yesterday, appears to have undergone not a gut job or stylistic overhaul but rather a series of subtle changes. It's unclear whether those "diamond-encrusted accents, crystal chandeliers, custom mirrors, reclaimed exotic woods, natural stone and concrete" were integrated into the new layout; there are six rooms now, up from five, as well as two elevators (a main elevator and a "wardrobe elevator" running between the walk-in closet and the bathroom "for quick outfit changes," according to Mattel reps). There's also pink stainless steel appliances likely to summon the Dreamhouse Must Die subset of design critics, seasoned and novice alike, a canopy bed with a trundle bed below, a working doorbell, a light-up mirror, a flushing toilet, and the, ah, sounds of "someone singing in the shower."
What's sure to bruise in Barbie's burgeoning career as an architect is that Juliet balcony, once called "basically nothing more than a glorified suicide ledge" and "the worst architectural design in history" by Gothamist. Hopefully all those scrolled screens and railings—the hand-forged ironwork and hand-carved woodwork of the Barbie world, obviously—will help make up for it.
A closer look at the 2013 Dreamhouse:
Tour Barbie's Dreamhouse through the years:
· All Barbie coverage [Curbed National]