‘Barbiecore Castle’ — part of Wisconsin woman’s pink empire — hits market for $1.1 million

Brooke Fleetwood has been painting houses pink for years, but Barbie’s recent influence has made her pink rental properties as popular as the doll’s pink Dreamhouses.

“I would say that interest has blown up since the ‘Barbie’ movie,” Fleetwood says. “The Barbie theme is really hot right now.”

The Wisconsin entrepreneur who has created her own line of pink dream houses hasn’t had time to see the “Barbie” movie, which shares her pink aesthetic. The Hudson woman has been especially busy since the movie debuted on July 21, and now one of her freshly-painted pink properties — the “Barbiecore Castle” — is for sale.

While Barbie’s Dreamhouse might cost about $200, this version is a bit pricer: $1.1 million.

The house, located in the border city’s historic downtown, comes with features also included in Barbie’s Dreamhouse, such as a swimming pool and a pink staircase.

“This dreamy pink palace is every girl’s dream!” the description by the listing agent enthuses.

‘Pink has always been my color’

When it comes to picking exterior colors for houses in the Midwest, the traditional aesthetic is neutral or, if feeling bold, perhaps navy blue.

So while Fleetwood has had to fight City Hall and other people’s opinions through the years, she stands by choosing pink instead of beige or gray or white.

“Pink has always been my color,” she says.

She won’t reveal the exact hue, though.

“We keep the shade very private,” she says. “I tried dozens of pinks before I came up with this one. I will tell you it’s Sherwin-Williams. I don’t think it even has a name, it’s a code; I would say it’s ‘BB Pink’ — for Beauty by Brooke.”

Beauty is her business — literally.

“I’m an esthetician and cosmetic tattoo artist,” she says. “I work with faces. I make people look and feel beautiful.”

She does that through her Beauty Resorts, located in Hudson and her home state of Indiana, as well as her BB Makeup cosmetics line, her work with bridal parties and more.

A pink empire

It was Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis on Feb. 4, 2018, that inspired Fleetwood to expand her pink empire to real estate.

“We decided to rent out the ‘Pink Castle’ — my residence — during the Super Bowl,” she says. “And then it just took off from there.”

Brooke Fleetwood in front of a pink house with a sign that says
Brooke Fleetwood at her “Barbiecore Castle” house in Hudson. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

It’s been so successful, Fleetwood says, that she and her family moved out of their pink castle to accommodate the interest.

In Hudson, both the Pink Castle and a smaller house called the Pink Flamingo are available for short-term rentals. The Barbiecore Castle, while for sale, is currently occupied until the end of November. She has more pink properties in Indiana, where she still has ties to the community.

(Get details about the houses at Fleetwoodrentals.com.)

Pink power

Over the summer, “Barbie” wasn’t just a movie, it was a cultural phenomenon: Multiple generations of family and friends, dressed in pink, showed up to experience it together. Directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken, it has earned $1.38 billion globally as of Sept. 3.

That success has spilled over to Fleetwood’s pink houses, which are accessorized with custom, sparkly wallpaper, pink furnishings and other Barbie-friendly touches.

“We had some groups of girls come over, watch the Barbie movie in the theater, then come back to the house and have a little Barbie party. It was super cute.”

“Barbie” movie parties might ramp up now that, as of Tuesday, the film is available to watch at home by renting or purchasing it on various platforms, including Prime Video (where it costs $24.99).

The pink places were popular before July, though.

“Our biggest clientele are bachelorette parties,” she says.

The power of pink has helped Fleetwood help others, too: Over the summer, as part of a back-to-school “FUN-raiser,” people could tour the Barbiecore Castle if they donated a backpack, school supplies or $20 toward the charitable outreach effort.

“We had a two-hour wait line,” Fleetwood says. “We donated $2,000 and over 200 backpacks.”

‘I like to make them feel beautiful’

An older home painted pink.
Brooke Fleetwood’s “Barbiecore Castle” in Hudson. The house includes features also included in Barbie’s dreamhouse, such as a swimming pool and a pink staircase. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

Housing has become another way for Fleetwood to do makeovers — with the help of her husband, who provides the sweat equity.

“I buy old homes and then basically redo them to be an experience,” she says. “And then I sell my rentals as a successful business.”

It’s an investment that also satisfies her creativity.

“I like to find houses that look and feel down,” she says. “I like to make it feel like they are smiling again; I like to make them feel beautiful again.”

Not everyone agrees that pink is perfect for houses, and that’s not just at City Hall.

“Ugh,” said one commenter on the Facebook page of the Hudson Star-Observer after the local paper published an article about the pink houses.

“I didn’t realize you could use Pepto Bismol as paint!” wrote another.

But some were tickled pink.

“Love it!” wrote one woman. “I would go a bit lighter, but still love it. If my husband dies first or goes blind I will be calling Holly Renaissance Woman’s Painting Co. shortly there after.”

Pink inspiration

In ‘Barbie,’ actor Rhea Perlman plays the role of Ruth Handler, an American businesswoman who invented the doll and co-founded Mattel.

“Humans only have one ending,” Handler says to Barbie in one scene. “Ideas live forever.”

Laura Gedatus, Fleetwood’s neighbor and friend, says that quote could speak to the idea of pink houses.

“I am all for the pink houses,” Gedatus says. “I think Brooke and her pink houses can serve as an inspiration for girls. She is showing girls that you can build a business from the ground up, that women can entrepreneur as much as men can, that we can be who we want to be, that we can fight for the right to paint our houses pink.”

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