on August 16, 2012
So I've become a pro at assembling this product because the first one was damaged & I had to ship it back for another one. Amazon was great at exchanging the product! My recommendation, which SHOULD be in the assembly directions as item #1...put the batteries in to make sure all the gadgets work before you assemble any of it...that would have saved me a headache!! If you follow the stupid directions, you wont be advised to put batteries in until the end, which could be too late, like in my case. Oh yeah, this product cannot be disassembled without breaking it apart, just in case you think you can take it apart to store it, not gonna happen.
The best news, my Girls love it! They think it's the coolest thing ever. I have to admit, it's quite grand in size; neither one has to compete for space when playing with it. If you're thinking of buying it, do it, especially while there's free shipping...but remember...Batteries go in first!
The Dream Townhouse is roomy, spacious, has beautiful color options beyond pink and white (a nice blue hottub and middle section, for example), takes up little floor space by climbing the wall and has the dealbreaker for most kids: the working elevator. But assemblers are advised to put in batteries and test all electronics (flushing toilet, crackling fireplace, etc.) before assembling. That is, sadly, a necessity for ALL modern Barbie electronic toys since quality does vary greatly.
Deciding on a new home for Barbie:
The Townhouse, Malibu Dreamhouse, Beach House, Glam Vacation House, Pink World House, Fashion Fairytale Palace, Lightup Castle, etc. all offer something different for Barbie. In particular, the Townhouse is a much better deal when compared to the Malibu Dreamhouse - for about 25% more, Barbie gets an elevator, a lot more furniture, and a house that takes up more wall space than floor space. As well, the Townhouse suits Barbie scale much better than the Malibu Dreamhouse, which can feel a bit crowded. The Glam Vacation House and Pink World house don't have much in the way of ceilings or floors (mostly just walls), so girls don't really feel like they have a 'house'. My 9 year old never really liked the Pink House - it took up too much room in her floor and since it didn't have much of a floor, furniture fell over constantly on carpet. As for the fairytale DVD movie houses, they are built specifically for a character and regular Barbies may seem/feel very out of place. The Dream Townhouse gives plenty of roominess for a variety of the more inexpensive Barbies such as the fashionistas, whose articulated arms and legs go well with the Townhouse.
Assembling The Dream Townhouse
As noted above, install batteries and check all electronics before assembling. Mattel does have an assembly video that you can access as well [...] (2011 version Dream Townhouse) to get an idea of how to put it together. But honestly, it wasn't that hard. Mattel has been smart and designed it such that you match up shapes to pieces (and pieces all come in different widths so they won't snap into the wrong place). This was the same case with the Monster High School Playset and made sure that you assembled once and were done (IKEA has also gone this route, thankfully!). Assembly ideally takes 20-30 minutes at most, including taking out of the package. The graphics are set/already there, thankfully, so no annoying stickers to put together.
The houses of the past tended to be put together in room-sized pieces and so broke down fairly easily due to lack of a solid base. The Dream Townhouse comes with one solid 2 floor wall piece with folding, permanently attached floors. This gives some durability to the house. Once the floors are dropped, it is held together by the thick columns on each level. The penthouse level then fits onto the second floor top. The elevator has a track and fortunately the new design means that sagging parts don't cause it to fall out as easily. The newer 'softer' less brittle plastics of today often mean that the floors 'give' a bit and this does cause the elevator to be a bit creaky and stiff (especially compared to the Dream houses with elevators from the 1970s). The softer plastics also seem to contribute to the variations in track sizes for the elevators - often requiring a bit of 'modification' if your elevator doesn't work well or as designed. But that said, this is MUCH better quality than the previous Dream Townhouse.
It's great to see barbie adding in more colors than Pink or white (though there was an odd yellow fold out house in the 1990s). This townhouse has blue flooring in the middle and a large blue tub on top, and there are some purples thrown in for variety (plus, many shades of pinks - dark to light - add interest). Note that the color isn't as saturated as in the images on Amazon so it isn't as eye wincingly bright. The house is a good scale for Barbie and the dolls don't feel crowded (though Ken might be a bit tall for the middle level). As well, it makes a beautiful display for Barbies when not in play.
This is the top of the line Barbie house and is priced accordingly. Keep in mind that there are other alternatives if you don't want/need the Barbie branding or would like a house not made of plastic. KidCraft has an excellent line of full wood with full color graphics doll houses that are priced comparably to this house. Those doll houses are also Barbie-scale and ideal for a larger doll collection that may include Moxie, Bratz, etc.
In all, this is an improvement and provides more value for money than the other Barbie houses. Quality variation issues keep this from being a 5 star product (as well as the hefty price) - the elevator doesn't always work well and the electronics especially may not all work.
on December 1, 2012
I start this review by saying I am a loyal and loving Amazon fan and have never had a bad experience. I also say that while dissappointing, this experience won't change my loyalty to Amazon. The only purpose of my review is to help other parents that may be considering ordering this toy from Amazon as a Christmas gift.
I ordered this item this past week for my daughter for Christmas. As always, it arrived right on time. The only trouble was the toy wasn't contained in the standard Amazon shipping box. So, my wife/daughter pull in from work/school and there is a beautiful Barbie Dreamhouse sitting on my front porch for all to see.
Reason I felt like sharing this info:
1) Had my wife not been witty and distracted my daughter, it would have blown the biggest Christmas surprise we plan on getting her.
2) The fact that it was exposed on my front porch (it is a large, bright, Barbie box) makes me feel lucky it wasn't stolen. All it would have taken was for the wrong person to ride by and it could have been easily taken.
Perhaps I am in the wrong for assuming the product would be covered by Amazon packaging. Either way, my advice to parents considering buying for Christmas, have it shipped to work or somewhere you can guarantee your child won't see and it won't be stolen.
Amazon, I still love you. Just want to keep others from making the poor assumption I made.
on December 13, 2013
i ordered this item as a Christmas gift for my daughter on December 12th and was hoping to get it before the holiday, but it was delivered to me the next day! it is a very big box and kind of heavy, but the ups guy brought it inside my apartment! i was worried, as other people saying that everybody can see the box and what's on it, that my daughter will see it, and since there is no gift wrapping for this item. NO WORRIES!!! just order as a GIFT and the package will be completely covered with a grey heavy plastic bag and taped all over it. when my kids came from school and saw the box, first question was: what's inside???? and i said it's a kitchen table for a grandma. SINCE THEN, THE BOX IS STANDING IN THE HALLWAY AND WHEN THEY PASS IT, THEY DON'T EVEN PAY ATTENTION! use your imagination.
on December 16, 2013
This Barbie 3-Story Dream Townhouse has everything and more for your little princess. It's well constructed and detailed! Also, putting the toy together was very easy since the pieces are specified with a shape (i.e. heart, star, circle, etc.). The price was just right and the package was delivered discretely and promptly.
on December 25, 2013
I paid $80 for this in early December, 2013, and for that price, I'm satisfied. Ours did not have a pieces missing, but we were never able to get the chandelier in the dining room to work (our daughter never knew it was supposed to, so no big deal there). All other sounds worked, though. Only real complaint is the shower door which is hard to open and close and does have a tendency to come off the hinges.
My husband assembled this by himself in about 2 hours. He agrees that the directions were terrible. As he said, "no verbs," just things like "Elevator" and a useless illustration.
ADVICE: You need to have some dolls that bend at the knees (like any of the "Life in the Dreamhouse" dolls and friends), so that the dolls can sit at the couch or at the dining room table. Most other Barbie dolls only bend at the waist, and your child will have a hard time getting those to position around the furniture.
My daughter has been in love with this house ever since her cousin got it about a year ago. Usually I shrug that stuff off, they both have stuff the other doesn't and it gives them stuff to okay with when at each others houses, which is quite often. I figured the nostalgia would eventually wear off, and refused to buy it for her last Christmas. I'll admit, even I was entranced with my niece's new dollhouse at first, but Ella's desire for her own Barbie Dreamhouse only seemed to grow in intensity. So this year when it finally went on sale and I saw it top her xmas list,I just couldn't refuse her again.
This model is slightly different from her cousins of last years but not by much. The middle floor in Ella's is blue instead of all pink. Ella was a little disappointed as she went straight for the jacuzzi to flip a switch that was not on hers, the other version makes the hung lanterns light up. Not too big a deal. The sounds were mostly the same although Ella said Kay's shower makes Barbie hum and Ella's sings a sing. So if you're wondering about these minor differences the way I was, maybe that helps! I'm sure the jacuzzi no longer lighting has something to do with water being in it, probably got safety. But who knows, I'm guessing here. I also know my niece's elevator no longer works so perhaps the newer models have better elevators.
Highly recommended to anyone who plays with or collects dolls! I wish I had a dollhouse like this when I was a little girl! Five stars!
on October 12, 2012
Hours of fun for kids. Not too hard to put together although the amount of pieces is a little overwhelming
on December 25, 2013
********* Buyer beware.... ************
After reading some other reviews, I decided to test out all the battery functions first. Thank god I did, because the unit was completely dead on arrival. Not a single sound or light worked.
Contacted Amazon and they sent out another house ASAP. They actually overnighted the replacement so we would have it in time for Christmas. AMAZON YOU ROCK <3
The second house arrived and again I tested before assembly. It appeared everything worked but the fireplace light and sound. As this was on Christmas Day, we decided to assemble it and set it out for our girls Santa gift. After assembly the downstairs light stopped working and we realized it had a short in the wiring. It would function fine if it was twisted just the right way.
We contacted Mattel about the 2 issue's figuring Mattel would just send out a new Fireplace and dining room light. They refused. They stated we had to disassemble the entire house and ship it back to them on OUR dime, then if they deemed there was a manufacturer issue they would fix the part and refund the shipping....Um, no thank you?
After a few emails back and forth with Mattel trying to solve the matter without removing the house from our girls possession, we decided we would exchange it 1 more time with Amazon.
I will post an update on the new house once we get it.
PS: I feel the need again to say Amazon, we love you. YOUR Customer Service and policies rock. If only more business' functioned like you do, the world would be a better place.
*********** UPDATE ***************
Just received the new house from Amazon, pulled it out and tested it. Amazingly the downstairs light worked, however the Fireplace still does not work. Upon closer inspection, it seems as if the Fireplace uses a compression type connection for the lights and sound to function.
So if you push the fireplace in while supporting the back of the house and then use your third arm to press the Fireplace button it will function, but the moment your not making a sandwich of it, it will not function. It is just a poor design and quality.
If you can live without the Fireplace Lights and Sounds, go ahead and buy it, because our girls love it. But at this price, I would expect it to work.
We have decided to give up on replacing it and just live without the Fireplace.
Amazon once again thank you for trying to make this right.
on December 16, 2013
After purchasing this house, the price dropped by about 10% so I called Amazon and found out they do a 7 day price match. I got this house for an amazing price. Now, about the assembly. I have read reviews saying it was difficult and that it was hard. My opinion is that it is very easy (if you watch a few minutes of a You Tube video) and straightforward. I only used the instructions for a few minutes, the rest of my instructions came from the video or looking at the box. The seemingly hardest part was the elevator but after watching the video, it became clear to me that installation was very simple. Installation took approximately 1 1/2 hours, including a few minutes to find and watch parts of a video. The house of is average quality when it is compared to the KidKraft Savannah doll house that we currently own. From the perspective of the kids, the dream house will be the best gift ever.
The reason that I got this house instead of the 2013 model is because the 4 year old is excited to have her Barbies hang out in the hot tub and that is not a feature on the 2013 version.