(Barbie toys with moving, but she remodels instead)
Move or remodel? That's a question many homeowners face, and Barbie is no exception. After checking out houses across the country, the iconic doll decided to remodel her three-story home in Malibu, Calif.
"That's where most of her family and friends are, so she decided to keep her house but make it more up-to-date," said Michelle Chidoni, Barbie spokeswoman and Mattel Corp. brand manager.
The result is the 2013 Dreamhouse, which hit stores Aug. 27 with a suggested price of $184.99.
In keeping with the lighthearted spirit of Mattel's marketing campaign, real estate website Trulia listed the beachfront property for $25 million.
"In real estate, it's all about location," said real estate agent Roger Perry of Rodeo Realty in Beverly Hills, Calif. "This house has 150 feet of ocean frontage and an unobstructed view because it only has three walls. In Iowa, the price would be much lower."
Chidoni said Barbie can afford the remodel because "she's had 135-plus careers, from president of the United States to surgeon."
When Barbie does sell the house, buyers will appreciate the upgrades, including two pull-string elevators, a working doorbell, lights and sounds throughout, pink "stainless steel" appliances, "granite" countertops, a steam shower, chandeliers, surround-sound, built-in TV, a hot tub and 15-car garage.
The 2013 Dreamhouse also has loads of room for clothes and shoes, Barbie's favorite indulgences.
Still, a bright pink house with only one bedroom and bathroom might be a turn-off for some buyers, Perry said.
The 2013 home is a far cry from Barbie's first house in 1962. It had the basics — bed, couch, a TV in a credenza and record covers on the walls. Made of cardboard, it fit Barbie's budget at the time.
By 1974, Barbie had enjoyed many successful careers, so she could afford a modest three-story town house. Upgraded to plastic, it had a patio and kitchen on the first floor, bedroom and sitting room on the second floor and dressing room and bathroom on the third, but no closets.
In 1979, Barbie was on the cutting edge of architectural trends with her new A-frame house. It had a larger kitchen and living room/dining room, a master suite and closet.
In 1983, Barbie's new town house was more grown-up, with wooden floors and a glass-front hutch. Like many buyers in the 1980s, Barbie chose an informal great room plus formal rooms. The third floor had a roomy master bedroom and sitting room but no bathroom, probably a deterrent to buyers.
Barbie's Dreamhouses represent a survey of American house trends, said Stephen Melman, director of economic services for the National Association of Home Builders.
"She went from a turntable to surround sound, and from earth tones to jewel tones to monochromatic. Although when other homeowners were painting everything beige in the 1990s, she used pink," he said.
"Barbie was ahead of her time … as a single, female homeowner," Melman added. "Single women, ages 35 to 64, are more often buying homes now. They own 6.1 percent of the owner-occupied homes, compared to 2.7 percent of men the same age."
"She always was a trailblazer," Chidoni said. "She went to the moon before Neil Armstrong did."