10 things to love about the onscreen Barbie Dreamhouse

By Gen Terblanche22 May 2024

10 things to love about the onscreen Barbie Dreamhouse

The Barbie movie is a phenomenon of pink, sparkly fun … with heart. Seeing it again, it’s no wonder everybody raved about how production designer Sarah Greenwood and set decorator Katie Spencer interpreted the historic Barbie Dreamhouse, bringing it from the playroom to the big screen. Serious magazine for grownups Architectural Digest even conducted an official house tour, while decor taste arbiter House Beautiful raved about the aesthetic of Weird Barbie’s house, and Glamour Magazine gave remodellers the floor as they showcased fans’ memes about Ken’s Dream House makeover – The Mojo Dojo Casa House. 

It’s a fresh coat of paint for the imagination. And we had fun picking out 10 must-have features we’d love to see in our own dreamhouses in the human world. 

Come play Barbie on Showmax now.

1. All or nothing aesthetic

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We bow to an aesthetic queen. While the shades of pink in Barbie’s Dream House would be eye-watering in the human world, they blend perfectly into the surrounding environment’s clear blue skies, bright blue ocean, and purple mountains. The aesthetic extends inside the house where appliances are harmonising shades of pink and other pastel shades toned to suit the joyful vibe, with pops of aqua and lemon meringue yellow.

Even areas that look white are, in fact, pale pink. And where there are stone elements like Barbie’s crazy paving back wall, you guessed it, they’re pink. Then take a gander at Barbie’s front door, which is a glorious transparent pink and features her initial. Wouldn’t coming home to that make every day feel like playtime?

2. Peak architecture

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The Barbie house has good bones. Along with years of different playsets, Barbie’s Dream House design for the movie was inspired by the mid-century modern (MCM) style and the architecture of the Kaufmann Palm Springs Desert House, built by architect Richard Neutra. Some special adaptations have been made as a nod to a land where there’s no wind, no rain, and it’s never too hot or too cold, no matter which outfit you have on.

First of all, who needs windows? Walls are either open so you can wave to your friends, or they’re replaced by decorative pierced screens that let in the light. And it also means that you can build the perfect flat roof for strolling on and enjoying the view.

3. Accessibility

The Dream House has a dreamy spiral staircase, but you never have to set foot on it unless you’re descending it to show off a ballgown. If you, or a friend who’s in a wheelchair, want to go up you can take the lift. Want to go down? Take the fun slide directly into the swimming pool (don’t worry, you won’t get wet) or just float down from your roof like the hand of a kindly unseen child-god is moving you, which is the best way to travel.

4. Bathing beauties

The Dream House is as “green” as it is pink. There’s no water supply or electricity. Instead Barbie technology allows our doll friends to take their morning showers by simply standing in the stall and thinking shower thoughts for their entertainment. You wouldn’t even have to restyle your hair afterwards. And if you want ultimate me-time luxury, Barbie’s bubble bath surrounds you with glamorous oversized bubbles that float permanently in mid-air. This splash of fun is echoed in Barbie’s suspended bubble chairs in her living room. 

5. Wonder wardrobe

There’s nothing lurking down the back of Barbie’s wardrobe or slipping off her hangers. Her outfits are laid out in her wardrobe like vertical styling flatlays (the way that Mattel used to package Barbie fashion packs). Wardrobe pieces are fitted on blank, full-body cutouts, with everything ready to go. Each outfit is surrounded by a range of perfectly coordinating accessory choices, from giant lipsticks, to sunglasses, shoes, handbags, gloves and jewellery. And her Chanel really is Chanel!

Chanel creative director Virginie Viard designed several outfits for the film, as well as lending Barbie’s costume designer Jacqueline Durran some archival outfits. And once Barbie decides which outfit she’d like to wear, hidden Barbie technology allows her to dress head to toe by spinning around a couple of times. The wardrobe then instantly refreshes with the next day’s outfit. 

6. Mermaid bed

Oh, to wake gently in the morning in a plush, pink velvet bed with a sparkly bedcover and a headboard shaped like a scallop shell. You’d feel like a pearl. After a night in bed, every Barbie wakes feeling refreshed and ready for a new day in Barbie Land, even President Barbie and Postal Worker Barbie. 

7. Fridge fun

When Barbie opens her refrigerator, the groceries in the fridge door are pastel toned and perfectly packaged, while a fun cartoon decal of food at the back of the fridge ensures that you never have a lone pickle in a jar in your empty fridge making you seem like a sad bachelor. Nothing ever goes off in Barbie’s fridge, even if her milk bottle is more than 20 years old. 

8. Pool party space

The Dream House opens onto a swimming pool with a dedicated indoor-outdoor bar area (pink, naturally) for a never-ending house party with 200 of your closest friends … and Alan. The “water” is always the perfect temperature and needs no maintenance to stay blue instead of green. Your pool floatie is in the shape of your initial. And there are always plenty of perfectly pink flamingos strolling around if you need to wipe your hands on anything. In honour of the flamingos, Barbie’s postbox is also decorated to look like a flamingo. 

9. Giant toothbrush

Why spend boring minutes scrubbing your teeth with an annoying midget brush when you could just reach for this bad boy? Barbie’s giant toothbrush comes with toothpaste ready installed and works with one-swipe Barbie technology to clean your pearly white smile with a vague back and forth motion that takes just seconds. The same Barbie technology is in her giant hairbrush, which gives her perfect hair every day in under a minute, with just a few gentle passes over the surface of the hair. 

But maybe the Barbie aesthetic isn’t for you. Maybe what you really want is…

10. Kenvenience and comfort

While the Mojo Dojo Casa House is as eye-wateringly garish – imagine living inside an energy drink-themed Croc shoe – it’s also the ultimate party house. It’s always peak-TV in Ken’s world, with at least 21 flatscreen TVs playing footage of nothing but galloping horses, to go with Ken’s horse-themed lamps, book selection, the cowboy hats hung up on every wall and a horse-themed, swinging saloon front door. Ken’s sofas are squishy black leather that’ll embrace you as tenderly as a mother’s lap, or you could sit on a gaming chair for 48-hour comfort. You won’t want to get up to go to the bathroom, ever! 

Ken is an innovator and a boundary breaker, so you’ll love his indoor barbecue grill and the mini-fridges full of brewski beers in every room. His blender is full of Doritos, his pool floatie is a jetski, he has a mini-foosball table on top of his big foosball table. Best of all, Instead of a sequinned blanket (scratchy), Ken lies flat under a plush blanket with a majestic wild animal (a horse) on it. Every child of Africa knows about the pleasures or luxuriating under or on top of The Blanket. 

… or embrace the Weird Barbie aesthetic

Not into the mojo dojo of it all? Looming over Barbie Land’s peaceful neighbourhood like an art installation is a third option. Weird Barbie’s house is made up of ultra modernist shapes, stacked like blocks and triangles that carry through to create interesting angles in the interior. The production staff’s inspirations included iconic houses like the Boo Radley house in the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird and the flight of stairs and positioning on the hill echo Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho house. Fans of classic horror comedy Beetlejuice will also spot similarities to the Deetz family’s renovated farmhouse. 

Weird Barbie’s house is filled with art, including several of Simone Cenedese’s Murano glass bubble chandeliers. Colour-blocked and swirly “groovy” murals cover the walls like a hippie graffiti. Her pool floatie is a shiny shark, her garden is filled with cubist and Memphis-style sculptures and her mailbox is shaped like a vulture. But the feature we want most might be her giant 3-D map of Barbie Land. Weird Barbie sees all. 

So get your notes app out, let your imagination take over, and come play with Barbie on Showmax now.

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