Houses in films and TV shows aren’t always normal. What I mean by this is that they seldom depict the average houses where common, everyday people live in. On the contrary, houses in films and TV tend to be way bigger, fancier, and at times more extravagant than the real-life houses of real-life people. This is not necessarily a bad thing; after all, the bigger and stranger the house is, the more memorable it’ll be for the general public. In this list, we’ll go over the 23 most iconic houses in film and TV history. I’m pretty sure that you’ll recognize many of them despite not having seen the films they appear in!
Photo: Courtesy of King5
#23. The Desperate Housewives House(s)
Let’s start this list with a TV classic! The TV drama Desperate Housewives was one of the most successful series of the early 20th century. It was aired for 9 years and it won 3 Golden Globes. If you’ve seen at least a couple of chapters, then you’re probably familiar with Wisteria Lane, the name of the fictional street where the four housewives live in and where most of the events take place.
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The set for Wisteria Lane is actually located within the premises of Universal Studios Hollywood. Its real-life name is Colonial Street, and it has actually been used for many other TV shows and films, such as Gremlins and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
#22. The Wonder Years House
Although millennials may not be so familiar with it, The Wonder Years was one of the most iconic TV series of the 90s. This TV comedy-drama revolves around the life of Kevin Arnold, a teenager who grows up and comes of age during the turbulent 60s and 70s. Those who have seen it will definitely recall Kevin Arnold’s house, a standard home of an average American citizen.
Photo: Courtesy of Los Angeles Magazine
This house is located at 516 University Avenue in Burbank, California. It was sold for the last time in 1987, and the same owners have lived there ever since. It must be weird living in a house whose direction everyone knows, right?
#21. The Fresh Prince House
Before becoming an A-list Hollywood star, Will Smith starred in the 90s TV comedy The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He played the role of a poor young man sent by his mom to live with his aunt and uncle in their Bel-Air mansion.
Photo: Courtesy of MTO News
You would think that this house is in Bel-Air, but it’s actually located in a very posh area of Brentwood, Los Angeles. This 34-room mansion is actually currently for sale, at a rocketing price of $22 million. Of course, it costs that much, it even has a waterslide leading to the pool, for crying out loud!
#20. The Sleepless In Seattle Houseboat
Sleepless in Seattle is one of the most iconic romantic films in history, starred by Hollywood stars Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. And if you’ve seen it, you probably vividly recall the beautiful and peculiar houseboat where Tom Hanks’ character, Sam Baldwin, lived in.
Photo: Courtesy of King5
This houseboat is located at the end of a dock with a fancy flower-lined entry near Westlake Avenue in Lake Union, Seattle. The property was sold 11 years after the release of the movie in 2014, for slightly more than $2 million. It is said that the new owner bought is as a part-time summer house, lucky him!
#19. The Dexter Apartment
If you’re a thriller lover, you’ll probably figure out which TV series this house is from in a second! It’s the home of Dexter, the main character of the series of the same name. Dexter revolves around a man who works as an analyst for the Miami police at day but is a serial killer at night.
Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Although most of the show’s locations are found in California, Dexter’s small yet beautiful Palm Terrace apartment is located in Southern Florida. In fact, the apartment is one of the many Bay Harbor Club condos in Miami Beach. Fancy!
#18. The Munsters House
The Munsters is the oldest TV series included in this list, so if there are any millennials out there, it may or may not ring a bell. This comedy revolved around a family of friendly monsters and their misadventures, kind of like a 60s version of The Adams Family. But one thing’s for sure: if you’ve ever seen any of its seasons, you’ll definitely remember the Munster’s home, since it truly looks like a haunted 19th-century mansion.
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This house is located at 1313 Mockingbird Lane in the Universal Studios backlot. The house first appeared in the film So Goes My Love, but it underwent a 1-million-dollar renovation to become the Munster mansion. The second floor was demolished and rebuilt, and its insides were used for the filming of Desperate Housewives.
#17. The Goonies House
The Goonies is a 1985 adventure comedy film about a group of kids who find an enigmatic treasure map which leads them on an unexpected adventure. Both in the film and real life, the house where one of the kids lived is set in the small rural town of Astoria, Oregon.
Photo: Courtesy of Mother Nature Network
The release of the film revolutionized Astoria, which from one day to the other became a major pop culture landmark. In fact, the house’s owner, Sandi Preston, has claimed that living there has been quite difficult ever since because she is constantly harassed by fans who show up at the front door to take pictures.
#16. The Poltergeist House
Poltergeist is a classic horror movie about a middle-class family, the Freelings, whose house is haunted by demonic ghosts. The movie was filmed in a house in Simi Valley, California. Allegedly, film producer Steven Spielberg chose this place because it had the exact middle-class suburban look he was looking for. But there was yet another reason behind this choice.
Photo: Courtesy of Movie Locations
Freelings’ neighborhood was also based on the neighborhood where film Spielberg was raised.
“[I]really based the neighborhood on suburban Scottsdale, Arizona, where I grew up. It is the lifestyle of suburban America; two-car garages, tract homes and cul-de-sacs, the U-Totem down the street, and an elementary school within walking distance”, Spielberg explained.
Rumor has it that the neighbors got so excited that they named the area where the house was located “Spielbergia“. How cool would it be to live in a place with that name, huh?
#15. The Christmas Vacation House
If you’re a Christmas fan, then watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a must. This 1989 comedy film shows how the Griswold family’s plans for a big Christmas celebration turns into a major disaster. But while the film is set in a snowy Chicago suburb, it was filmed somewhere else. Can you guess where?
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Most of the scenes were shot in Los Angeles, while a few exterior shots were taken in Colorado. You can visit this iconic traditional clapboard house on the backlot of Warner Bros., but bear in mind that it’ll come without the Christmas lights.
#14. The Downtown Abbey Castle
Downtown Abbey is a British series that chronicles the lives of the Crawleys, a British aristocratic family, and their servants during the early 20th century. Since the Crawleys were allegedly one of the wealthiest families in Britain, this period drama took place in an impressive castle that most of you probably remember.
Photo: Courtesy of To Europe and Beyond
The giant Highclere Castle is located in Hampshire, England, and after the show began, it became one of the most famous and visited castles throughout the nation. Because of this, the castle and its gardens are now closed to the public.
#13. The Ferris Bueller House
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is one of the most famous and hilarious teen movies of all time. Starring Matthew Broderick, the film shows the adventures of a high school rebel who tries to skip school with his girlfriend and best friend. However, it’s not Ferris Bueller’s house the one that we remember, but his best friend’s.
Photo: Courtesy of Chicago Tribune
Ferris’ friend, Cameron Frye, lived in one of the coolest houses ever, not only because it was right in the middle of a forest, but also because part of it was covered by modern glass walls. In real-life, this house is located in Highland Park, Illinois, and it was sold at $1 million after five years in the market, despite its initial asking price of $2.3 million.
#12. The Brady Bunch House
The second oldest TV series on this list, The Brady Bunch was aired from 1969 and 1974 but was popular throughout the 80s and 90s as well. The series depicts the adventures of one very large family, which forms when a widow and a widower get married. Do you remember the house where the Bradys lived?
Photo: Courtesy of Curbed LA
This iconic house is located at 11222 Dilling Street in North Hollywood, California. The producers of the show picked this house precisely because of how normal it looks, considering that the show meant to portray the life of a middle-class family. After the show ended, its owner had to build a tall fence in the front, because hundreds of fans kept showing up at the property and walking all over it to take pictures.
#11. The Amityville Horror House
All of you who have seen The Amityville Horror will probably remember the house where it is set, mainly because of its odd and perfectly geometric shape. This house was built in the 1920s, and it is visited by thousands of fans each year, especially for Halloween.
Photo: Courtesy of Architectural Digest
Even though the house is beautiful and enormous, its previous owners sold it for $955,000, quite less than the initial asking price. People believe that they sold it so cheap because it’s haunted, although the former owners insist that the only reason behind this was that they were getting divorced and needed cash urgently.
#10. The Twilight House
Twilight is one of the most successful romance movies of the last decade, especially among teenagers. It tells the story of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, a super attractive young man with a troubling secret – he’s a vampire! However, he’s no ordinary vampire, and here’s why.
Photo: Courtesy of Skylab Architecture
It appears to be that Edward Cullen isn’t too fond of dusty coffins because the house where he and his family live in is super modern and luxurious. In fact, it’s one of the most luxurious houses in all Vancouver, Canada. Who would’ve thought?
#9. The Nightmare On Elm Street
A Nightmare on Elm Street is a famous slasher film from the 80s which has become a cult classic over the years. Believe it or not, the story is based on real-life events. According to the L.A. Times, the director Craven came up with the story after reading an article on a group of teenage Khmer refugees who died in their sleep after suffering nightmares.
Photo: Courtesy of CBS News
However, the iconic monster Freddy Kruger is not the only thing that everyone remembers about the film. I’m pretty sure that this red-door home rings a bell too! This house, where most of the most shocking scenes take place, is located in Los Angeles, and it was sold for $2.1 million in 2013.
#8. The Full House House
Continuing with our list of retro TV shows, Full House is a TV comedy that everybody from the 80s and 90s grew up with. It’s about a widow who raises his three children with the help of his eccentric brother and best friend. The beautiful house where the show is set features stunning colonial architecture. Can you guess where it’s located?
Photo: Courtesy of Curbed SF
This iconic house is located at 1709 Broderick Street, in San Francisco, California. If you wish to visit it, I’ve got excellent news! It’s a very accessible site, as it’s only a one-mile walk from Alamo Square. And if you look for pictures on the Internet or Google Earth, you’ll see that all the houses in the surrounding blocks are equally charming.
#7. The Gone With The Wind House
Gone With the Wind is a 1939 historical drama about a manipulative woman (Vivian Leigh) and a knavish man (Clark Gable) who maintain a romance during the American Civil War. Did you know that it’s the longest film to ever win the Oscar for Best Picture, lasting 3 hours and 58 minutes?
Photo: Courtesy of Times Union
Gone With the Wind fans, I’ve got some good news for you! The O’Hara plantation house where the movie was shot can actually be visited, and it’s a half-an-hour ride South of Atlanta, Georgia. However, bear in mind that this building is just a facade, so there is nothing inside.
#6. The Notting Hill Apartment
Notting Hill is a British romantic comedy about a bookshop owner that falls in love with a famous actress. If you’re a fan of the film, then I’m pretty sure you recall the apartment where Hugh Grant lived in, with its signature blue door and white columns.
Photo: Courtesy of Movie Locations
Now here’s a fun fact that you probably didn’t know: it turns out that the apartment was in the building where the movie’s screenwriter, Richard Curtis, lived in. As to the real-life blue-door building, you can find it at 80 Westbourne Park Road in Notting Hill, London.
#5. The Friends Apartment
Friends is one of the most – if not the most – successful TV comedy in history. If you don’t believe me, let’s talk numbers. The final season was such a hit that the actors and actresses earned up to $1 million per episode, and the season finale had a total of 54 million viewers, the highest since the Seinfeld finale.
Photo: Courtesy of Viator
Without a doubt, every Friends fan is familiar with the building where Monica (and all the rest of the characters) lived since it is shown at least once in almost every of the series’ 236 episodes. This apartment is located in Greenwich Village, New York, right at the corner of Grove and Bedford Streets.
#4. The Forrest Gump House
In 1994, Tom Hanks gave his most brilliant performance ever in drama film Forrest Gump. Thanks to its perfect combination of humor and emotional depth, the film performed extremely well at the box office and it received a whopping 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
Photo: Courtesy of Hooked on Houses
If you’ve seen the film, I’m pretty sure you remember that beautiful old house in the Alabama countryside where Forrest and his mother lived, right? Well, it turns out that the house was built just for the movie, and it was not even located in Alabama, but in South Carolina.
#3. The Beetlejuice House
Tim Burton‘s fantasy film Beetlejuice has become one of the greatest cult films from the 80s, especially among teenagers. And obviously, we all vividly remember the creepy haunted house where the story takes place. Can you guess where it’s located?
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Well, actually, that giant white house on a hilltop was only a facade built for the movie, and it was torn down after they finished shooting the movie. The real house where most of the scenes were shot is located in East Corinth, Vermont, but sadly it cannot be visited.
#2. The Home Alone House
Home Alone is probably the most iconic family movie in history. Released in 1990, it tells the story of Kevin, an 8-year-old troublemaker who is left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation. All of us who have watched the film have wished we lived in that impressive mansion.
Photo: Courtesy of Movie-Locations.com
This house belonged to John and Cynthia Abendshien, who agreed to open their Chicago house to the film’s cast and crew. Obviously, never would they have imagined that their home would become one of the most iconic buildings in film history. In 2012, the couple sold their four-bedroom and four-bathroom mansion for $1.6 million. If you plan to visit, you should bear in mind that its exterior has changed quite a lot ever since the movie was shot.
#1. The Psycho House
Without a doubt, Psycho is the most iconic psychological thriller in history, as well as Alfred Hitchcock‘s most famous film. What’s more, the Bates Mansion is probably the most iconic house in film history. Popularly known as the “Psycho House”, this old and creepy mansion is located on the Universal Studios Hollywood backlot.
Photo: Courtesy of Kipp Teague’s RetroWeb
The house was actually built for the film, and in fact, it’s just a facade, as there is nothing inside. This facade has been expanded, relocated, and even rebuilt on several occasions. As you may imagine, the building is included in the Universal Studios tour, and it has been used for several other films and TV series, such as Big Momma’s House and Murder She Wrote.