We'll admit that we often pay more attention to the setting than the storyline when we're watching a movie. Whether real or created through movie magic, we've rounded up our all-time favorite historic homes featured in films — if only there was an Oscar for Best Supporting House! Which famous movie homes did we miss? Tell us in the comments below!
Ever felt like impulsively moving to Italy, buying an abandoned villa, and renovating it? Well, that's what Diane Lane's character Frances does in the 2003 film Under the Tuscan Sun. After spotting a real estate listing for the Bramasole estate while on vacation, she falls in love with the rundown home, despite the fact that it's filled with pigeons, old junk, and broken plumbing. But don't worry — it's nothing some elbow grease, a team of Polish workers, and some soul-searching can't fix! The Tuscan villa used in the movie is real — since the movie, it has been fully renovated and now you can even rent it.
Perhaps one of the most famous houses in all of cinema history, Tara, the fictional Southern plantation from the 1939 film Gone With the Wind, was modeled after Civil War-era Georgian plantations and antebellum buildings. The palatial home seen in the film was actually a set built on a backlot in Culver City, California. The original facade traded hands several times over the years, and eventually ended up collecting dust inside a barn in Georgia. You can read more about the history of the Gone With the Wind set here, and visit the Saving Tara Project on .
In the 2006 film The Holiday, Iris (Kate Winslet), who lives in England, and Amanda (Cameron Diaz), who lives in Los Angeles, decide to swap homes for the holidays, so they can both escape their respective romantic woes. We definitely think Amanda gets the better end of the deal: Iris' fairytale country cottage, tucked in a quaint hamlet outside of London, is completely enchanting. Sadly, the cottage isn't real — a facade was built in the middle of an empty field that was extensively landscaped for the movie. But that doesn't mean you can't be inspired by the lovely interior sets, which you can see photos of at Hooked On Houses.
Sigh — The Notebook: Probably the most romantic home renovation ever captured on film. Of course we're talking about the house with the blue shutters and the wraparound porch — the historic home that Noah (Ryan Gosling) remodels in an effort to win back his love, Allie (Rachel McAdams). According to Hooked on Houses, the home used in the film is Martin's Point Plantation on Wadmalaw Island in South Carolina. The film crew doctored the circa 1770s home in order to make it look rundown for the pre-renovation shots.
We think it's safe to say that the 1986 comedy The Money Pit, starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long, is the funniest home renovation movie ever. The 1890s Long Island mansion that starred as the hopelessly dilapidated house that Hanks and Long struggle to repair was owned by publisher Eric Ridder during the filming of the movie. The current homeowners, Rich and Christina Makowsky, bought the 5.4-acre estate in 2002, and they recently told the New York Times that their experience renovating the home was similar to the one depicted in the movie. Now that it's been completely overhauled, the property is on the market for $12.5 million. You can see photos of the house as it looks now here.
The stunning house featured in the 1998 movie Practical Magic is the ne ultra of Victorian homes. But, as detailed in an article in the October 1998 issue of Victoria magazine, the home is not real — it was an architectural shell built for the movie on San Juan Island in Washington state. (Even the flowers in the gardens surrounding the house were silk!) The structure took eight months to build, but was demolished after filming ended. You can read more about the story behind the the Practical Magic house house and see photos of the interior sets here.
If there was an Oscar for Creepiest House Ever, we're pretty sure it would go to Norman Bates' imposing hilltop abode featured in the 1960 horror flick Psycho. If you've ever taken the Universal Studios Hollywood Studio Tour, you know that the original Psycho set is still standing (though the house has been moved twice since it was originally built). Director Alfred Hitchcock allegedly modeled the Bates house on the Edward Hopper painting The House by the Railroad, a portrait of a Victorian home in Haverstraw, New York.
While we're willing to bet it didn't come with a home security system as effective as Kevin McCallister, the beautiful suburban Chicago home from the 1990 hit Home Alone sold for $1.5 million in 2012, according to Zillow.com. Former owners John and Cynthia Abendshien actually lived in the red-brick Georgian house during most of the filming, according to Reuters. But while some of the interior scenes were filmed on location, most were recreated on a soundstage inside a nearby school gym. We just hope whoever moved in doesn't try to sled down the stairs and out the front door.
While many people may recognize this adorable two-bedroom Victorian cottage in Oceanside, California as the home of Kelly McGillis' character Charlie from the Tom Cruise flick Top Gun, the property has an interesting and storied past. It was built in 1887 by a man named Dr. Henry Graves, and according to an article on Zillow.com, it's one of the oldest beach cottages in San Diego County. The home was declared a historic property in 2005; the city of Oceanside has approved a $209 million dollar luxury hotel project set to break ground next year that will incorporate the recently restored bungalow perhaps as a gift store or coffee shop, according to the U-T San Diego.
The picture-perfect Victorian home featured in the 2012 movie The Odd Life of Timothy Green was placed on the market for $1.39 million in July 2012, according to Zillow.com. The property, located in Newnan, Georgia, includes the 5,500-square-foot house, a three-bedroom guest house, a pool, a pond, and a gazebo. Built in 1842, the details of the restored home are to die for, including gingerbread trim and stained glass windows. (That Timothy was a lucky kid, huh?) The sale of the house is currently pending, and you can see more photos of it here.
Grey Gardens, the fascinating 1975 documentary from the Maysles brothers, chronicles the eccentric lives of reclusive socialites Little Edie and Big Edie Beale. The mother-daughter duo lived at Grey Gardens, a beachside mansion in East Hampton, New York. Built in 1897, the once-stunning home had become decrepit over the years as the Beales' fortune declined. Following a series of inspections by the Suffolk County Health department and increasing media attention in the early '70s, it was revealed that the crumbling dwelling was infested with fleas and raccoons, and filled with garbage and cat waste. Luckily, Big Edie's niece Jackie Onassis stepped in the help the Beales repair their home and avoid eviction. Little Edie sold the house in 1979 to former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, who set about completely restoring it to its former glory. You can see what the stunning 10-room mansion and surrounding gardens currently look like here.
Tim Burton's 2003 film Big Fish follows the fantastical life of Edward Bloom (Ewan McGregor/Albert Finney). With stories of giants, witches, and werewolves, the line between reality and embellishment is always blurry in his tall tales, but we're especially smitten with young Edward's discovery of the curious — but enchanting— town of Spectre, supposedly tucked away behind a haunted forest. Years later, Edward returns to Spectre to find that it has fallen into disrepair, and he sets out to renovate the charming but dilapidated cottage that belongs to Helena Bonham Carter's character, Jenny.
Fun fact: The town of Spectre was custom built for the movie on a private island in the Alabama River outside of Montgomery — and it still exists! You can see photos of the now-crumbling set covered in Spanish moss on Forgotten Southeast.
The lovely Louisiana house that M'Lynn Eatenton (Sally Field) and her family call home in the 1989 tearjerker Steel Magnolias is just too cha cha for words. The 5,900-square-foot, brick-columned property in Natchitoches Parish where the movie was filmed operated as a bed and breakfast until it was placed on the market in 2012. Built in 1840, the home once served as a hospital during the Civil War, and features six bedrooms, a pool, and its own 800-square-foot guest house. The home was put up for auction in 2013, and is now off the market. You can read more about the Steel Magnolias house on Zillow.com.
Father of the Bride: The movie that inspired thousands of brides to want a backyard wedding. The charming home with the white picket fence seen in the 1991 version of the film starring Steve Martin is actually a combination of two different homes: The interior and front exterior shots were filmed at a home located in Pasadena, California, while the backyard and side property scenes were shot at a traditional Colonial located in Alhambra, California (pictured). According to Zillow.com, the latter property sold for $1.2 million in 2011. You can read more about the Father of the Bride house at Hooked on Houses.
The amazing farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania that Jennifer Aniston's and Owen Wilson's characters move into during the latter part of the 2008 movie Marley & Me is the stuff that old house dreams are made of. The 1830s stone farmhouse, which was used for both interior and exterior shots, had already been completely renovated before production began, and very little was changed about the property for the film, according to Zillow.com — the producers even used the owner's own furniture.
Okay, so some of the exteriors of Jay Gatsby's palatial West Egg mansion in Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby are the result of CGI magic, but most of what you see is a real-life building in Sydney, Australia: a former seminary that was covered in faux ivy for the film. According to an article in Architectural Digest, it took the set design team 14 weeks to build, paint, and decorate the interiors for Gatsby's mansion alone, including his luxurious grand ballroom, library, master bedroom, entrance hall, terrace, and gardens. It's also worth noting that we're entirely enamored of Nick Carraway's adjacent garden cottage and its Arts and Crafts-style interiors.
Probably one of the scariest home makeovers in cinema history (especially if you're not a fan of avant garde architecture!) can be seen in the 1988 cult classic Beetlejuice. At the beginning of the film, Adam and Barbara Maitland (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin) live in a quaint old Connecticut farmhouse, decorated with a traditional country aesthetic (four-poster beds, Windsor chairs). But after the couple dies in a car crash, the Deetz family moves in, and the home gets a majorly modern, city-slicker remodel both inside and out. The house seen in the movie, filmed in Vermont, was just a facade that was later torn down; the interiors were filmed on soundstages in Culver City, California. You can see before-and-after photos of the Beetlejuice house here.
There is no shortage of stunning locations featured in the 2005 version of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, but the one that never fails to tug at our countryside heartstrings is Pemberley, the fictional estate owned by Mr. Darcy. It's believed that Austen's original inspiration for Pemberley was the Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, England — and indeed, that was the location chosen for the exterior shots in the film adaption starring Keira Knightley. However, many of the interior shots were filmed at the equally as lovely Wilton House in Wiltshire. The bottom line: Arrogant or not, if it meant we got to live at Pemberley, we'd never turn down a marriage proposal from Mr. Darcy — just saying.
In Wes Anderson's 2001 movie The Royal Tenenbaums, the eccentric titular family resides in an equally as eccentric—but beautiful—old building at 111 Archer Avenue in New York City. While the address is fictional, the building seen in the film is real—you can find it at the corner of 144th Street and Convent Avenue in Harlem. According to Gizmodo, Anderson rented the space for six months and the majority of the interior scenes—as well as the scene on the roof—were shot on-site, apart from those in the kitchen. "The only cheat was with their kitchen, which was in the house next door, because this place had no windows," Anderson recounts in an article on Vulture.com. The building is now a private residence.