HGTV's Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge Created Major Headaches For An Entire Neighborhood

It seems like everyone and their mother was jumping on the "Barbie" train with the release of Greta Gerwig's unforgettable spin on the Mattel classic. HGTV was no exception; known for its cast of house designers, renovators, and real estate agents, the network got in on the hype with its four-part event series "Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge." Hosted by the stunning Ashley Graham, she and the cast of HGTV stars descended on a quiet California neighborhood to renovate an average home into a real-life Barbie Dreamhouse.

However, the residents of Michael Crest Drive wouldn't exactly refer to the summer of Barbie as a dream — it was more of a nightmare. After all, when homes are built in a subdivision, they're usually not on spacious plots of land. Each house in the Sand Canyon neighborhood of Santa Clarita was constructed to be a suburban family home in the 1990s. Today, the block is considered one of the most upscale in the city, with houses selling for double what other homes in the area do. But the neighborhood is friendly, quiet, and family-oriented nonetheless.

That is, until construction crews, film crews, staff, and celebs swarmed the neighborhood. One resident told The Ringer, "It was just a huge nightmare. Nobody was happy that this was going to happen on our street." The street was closed to traffic, various power tools and equipment were brought in, and filming took place nearly 24/7. Fans commented on HGTV's teaser, "obviously there's no HOA," and boy, were they right.

Residents couldn't enjoy their slice of suburbia

While film crews aren't allowed to film homes or individuals without consent, their presence did put a damper on the normal way of life for many on the block. A police squad car blocking traffic access to the street when the HGTV stars flew in for "Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge" was just the beginning. Security was also positioned around the home all day, every day, to ensure people out for a jog weren't taking photos of HGTV's newest production set. In the beginning, neighbors didn't even know the network's plan for the home, as the series was kept under wraps.

But soon, the fact that it was associated with the blond plastic doll was blatantly obvious. The mailbox was suddenly pink, and a mammoth plastic handle was affixed to the roof. As construction carried on, so did the film crew's requests. According to an interview in The Ringer, one neighbor "was mowing his lawn, and they told him he had to stop." The neighbor replied that he mowed his lawn on the same day each week, to which the film crew said, "' Nope, not today you're not.'" Babysitters and gardeners were barred entry, but monstrous, heavy equipment regularly barreled up and down the roadway.

Eventually, some residents reportedly began trying to push back against the film crew, loudly playing music outdoors when they knew cameras were rolling. As the home became pinker and pinker, nearby neighbors worried about the value of their property sinking lower and lower.

Barbie Dreamhouse: before and after

The Barbie nightmare began when longtime resident Nancy Radomski decided to sell her home now that she was an empty nester. She didn't realize that the two men touring her abode were scoping it out for production value, though she did say their mannerisms were "odd." It wasn't until they came back with several vans of crew members with cameras and notepads that she knew something was amiss. After she accepted their offer, she caught whispers of "talent" and decided to look up the names of the buyers, discovering they co-ran a production company. Right before she moved out, a nearby homeowner approached her after pulling the permit on the home and discovering "Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge."

Even after Radomski moved, she said her former neighbors informed her of the chaos in her old home that went on for months. One said that the crew asked to rent a portion of their yard, to which they responded, "Go to hell!" Radomski confessed to The Ringer that once she knew the plans for her house (and her unfortunate neighbors), she "felt sick to her stomach."

Fortunately, the house's Barbie pink days seem like just a bad dream today. It has been returned to a neutral color palette, and its former aesthetic now reflects average suburbia. Two months after the crews left, the home was sanitized of Barbie, and on the day the series premiered, it was put back on the market. Unfortunately, spectators still arrive to take pictures several times each day.