February 15, 2009

Mad Mod Ply Dollhouse Prototype On eBay


This sweet, birch ply modernist dollhouse just turned up on eBay, where it's described as "one of just a few modern dollhouse prototypes designed and built by an architect-cabinet maker team. Designs were based on modern houses by Le Corbusier, Mies, Neutra, Ellwood, Breuer, Eames and the Case Study houses." That's everybody!

And just like a real architect-designed, modular prefab prototype house of the early 21st century, this 18 x 30-in. [3.75sf] dollhouse went way over budget [$1,000], and is now being liquidated for much less, just $133/sf.

Natural Wood MODERN DOLLHOUSE Neutra Case Study & Eames, $499 reserve + $120 s/h, auction ends feb. 23 [ebay via dt reader john]


Not to seem rude to the fabricators, but how in the hells did this cost $1k?! Baltic birch sure isn't anywhere NEAR $500 per 4x8 @ 3/4" (especially at wholesale). Are they are each billing at $100US per hour, including glue-drying time? Planning time?

I know guys that, after the initial drawings and mock-ups, could knock one of these out in 3-4 hours.

And it isn't a 'prototype' if, as the listing individual says, there are 10+/- of them.

Why the 'cloak-n-dagger'? You'd think that cabinet makers would WANT to get their name out and about, especially in an economy like this, where bespoke woodwork probably isn't in that great a demand.

sorry- cranky from spending too much time with the Teufelskind this week and not sleeping enough.

all valid points, I'd say. I doubt someone wrote a $1,000 check for this, but whether they did or not, they'll face the harsh reality of the 2009 doll real estate market.

And "study" might be a better word than "prototype," unless they were designing a product that didn't pan out. The anonymity is a bit odd, too.

Looks like beautiful work, and I'm liking the design even for a real house! But that said, the sellers seem more than a little "prétentieux" and full of themselves.

After problems with the spam filter, the seller emailed a comment, which I'm posting here. I assume the "only similar thing" to which he refers is Sirch's Villa Sibi, which is, in fact, a marvelously crafted piece of woodworking, not a knocked-together plywood box:

For the sleep-deprived commenter, here are some brief clarifications.

The material cost for one of these houses is probably about $50. The labor costs, at normal shop-time billing rates for this cabinet maker, are about $1,000. That’s because they are not “knocked out in 3-4 hours", but each one is carefully crafted over more than twice that amount of time. They were also designed several times over, both on paper and in the shop. If the commenter has friends that have the skills, talent and motivation to do this on the cheap, we wish them all the best.

We are not implying that Baltic birch ply is an exotic expensive material – we just wanted to inform people exactly what the house was made of and why that material was chosen.

The only similar thing out there that comes even close to this in style or quality sells for about $900.

We’re under no illusions about the high-end dollhouse market. This was originally built as a toy for my daughter. Then we made another for a friend. Then another, and for fun we decided to try a few at once and modify them as we went along. Since they’re experiments to see what production might be like, and are all hand-crafted, that makes them prototypes in my book.

We’re only partially anonymous – a large number of people know us very well. But we’re not a company (yet, or maybe never) and are merely following some basic internet rules of caution that we advise for everyone. It’s unclear why the commenter is so keen to know the name of a random ebay seller from whom he or she has no intention of buying anything.

Good luck with the sleep thing.

I've no wish to get into a rather pathetic flame war over a doll house, but have a comment;

Regarding the anonymity, I could personally care less. My POINT was, people who are laying out for expensive, one-off, arty objects TEND to like to know who made/designed them (unless you want them categorized as 'folk-art). ;)

Listing the item as made by *secret*, designed by *secret*, only draws attention to the *secret* nature of it. If you really wanted it to be a *secret*, simply avoiding the issue would have been much easier.

Regarding billable shop time, cheers and my hearty congratulations to any artisan who can bill at nearly $100/hr.

Best of luck to the seller. It's a tough market for luxuries right now.

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