Mid-Century Modern Ranch Dollhouse (“Magnetic Doll House” by Child Guidance)

Stephen Coles

A 1950s ranch-style dollhouse went up on eBay today. One of our favorite sellers, momoderne, is opening the bids at $125, or buy it now for $135 (Update: the previous auction ended with no bids. The item is now listed again at $20.) It’s not entirely modernist (the drapes and bedroom furniture are traditional remnants) but there are many progressive details such as the walls of glass, the built-in woodwork and room divider, the fireplace, and the pedestal chairs.

Update: Thanks to Anne’s comment below, we have the original name: Magnetic Doll House by Child Guidance. TimeWarp Toys says it was produced in 1964.

Update: Sears sold a similar magnetic dollhouse in 1964:

1963-(via File Photo)

Scan by “File Photo” on Flickr.

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  1. 06.28.09 Robert

    I like it the way this post has been done, with the Picnik slideshow on the front page and the “standard column of photos” over the fold. I don’t like the eBay listings at all.

  2. 06.29.09 — Angela

    I prefer the static photos.

  3. 06.29.09 Justin

    Slideshows don’t show up well (i.e. at all) in feed readers, which is how I, and probably at least a few other people, read this site. So I have to vote for the static column of photos.

  4. 06.29.09 — Anne

    I still have parts of this dollhouse stashed away in the basement. It was made by Child Guidance. The house rested on a board (to which ‘feet’ were attached) and you could move the people around the house from underneath with the magnetic wands provided. I just loved this dollhouse. See TimeWarp Toys for more images, including the wands.

  5. 06.29.09 Stephen Coles

    Thanks so much for your comment, Anne. You just raised the level of fantastic on this dollhouse. It looks like the one pictured on eBay is missing a lot of the people and the decals which go on the walls to represent decor (I wondered why the bookshelves were so bare).

  6. 06.29.09 — Anne

    Glad to have added to your post. Upon further study of the photos I notice that the seller has put the wall with the mirror and mounted drawer unit in upside down! No matter…let’s see if it sells

  7. 06.30.09 Daniel

    I really like the slideshow feature. Unfortunately, because it is Flash based, it doesn’t show up in google reader. In the future, I will likely forget to click the link and watch the slideshow, so without the static pictures I wouldn’t see what you were talking about.
    I’m not sure if there are any slideshow widgets that would show up in an RSS reader, though.

  8. 07.01.09 Baz

    This is where my MCM mini me shall live. Happily.

  9. 07.12.09 — Martha

    I, too, have a complete Child Guidance Magnetic dollhouse. Not shown in these photos or mentioned are the two clear roof panels which go on to complete the house. By the way, there was no decal for the bookshelves–apparently the plastic people weren’t great readers! My set came with 6 people–appears to be 2 men, one woman, boy and girl with magnets and another permanently seated (no magnet) woman. I became adept enough with the wands and magnetic people that I could have the people rearrange the furniture. Unfortunately the kitchen cabinet unit often fell over, necessitating removing that portion of roof to reposition it, but fortunately none of the people were seriously injured in the crash!
    I never knew anyone else who owned one of these, but years later met my husband who still owns the Child Guidance Magnetic Service Station and Car Wash!

  10. 07.12.09 Stephen Coles

    Wonderful comment, Martha. Thank you for taking the time to share your personal experience with this wonder.

  11. 09.21.09 Joyce VanWeelden

    My sister just called me and brought back and old memory of the magnetic doll house we had when we were kids. I had totally forgotten about it and have no idea where it went. I couldn’t believe it when I googled it and this site came up! This is the exact house we played with for hours and hours! Does anyone know where we could find one? Iit looks like the ebay one is gone. Thanks in advance for your help!

  12. 09.21.09 — Kate McGonigle

    It was my birthday, probably 1965 or ’66, and the vision of that box at the foot of my bed when I woke is still so clear in my mind. I had asked my Pepe for the Magnetic Dollhouse and there it was. In a large family where it was just impossible for everyone’s wants to be fulfilled, I remember feeling so special. I remember assembling the house at the kitchen table and even applying the decal wallpaper. My sister and brothers would play for hours and all would be fine until invariably my brother would drive the car IN the house. Pissed me off! But we would sometimes remove the divider from the living room and put it across the bathroom door, creating a jail, and apparently that was OK.
    I would just love to have another Magnetic Dollhouse!

  13. 11.07.09 — michelle c.

    I had one of these as a child, and I loved it. How can I find another one?
    Michelle C.

  14. 12.25.09 — Matt

    My wife had one of these as a child. I would love to find one for her!

  15. 04.21.11 — cshpgh

    how funny! these photos are great. I have one of these in the box–it was my mother-in-law’s and she left it at her old house with a bunch of old toys. I found this post while searching to see how much I should sell it for at our garage sale next month, or if it’s worth putting on ebay. Looks like I might try ebay for the heck of it! Thanks for the article and the info, everybody!

  16. 10.19.12 — Meggan

    Disappointed this has vanished off EBay. Just discovered it there recently. Who knows, thinking it really could have been mine as my mother put the lingering, last great toys stashed upstairs in our barn, on the site. And yet, parts would have been in tact. Now that I work with architects, my modern magnetic dollhouse prevails and was obviously inspiration as we witness current trends.

  17. 04.11.13 — Michael J.

    Just posted one on eBay with a video. Or just watch it on YouTube.

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