‘Tis the season to gather round with family and friends and binge-watch holiday movies. Ever wondered about some of the houses featured in your favorites? To satisfy the house-hunter in all of you, I did some digging. Here’s what I found.
Miracle on 34th Street. Six year old Susan Walker is brought up to not believe in fairy tales, let alone Santa Clause, but she cuts Macy’s stand-in, Kris Kringle, a deal. Deliver her dream Cape Cod house, and she’ll become a believer. I won’t tell you whether or not she becomes a convert, but I will tell you that the house actually exists. The address for the 1947 version is 24 Derby Road in Port Washington, Long Island New York. At 1,700 square feet Redfin currently estimates its value at $706,687. The 1994 version appreciated in size and value located at 771 Washington Road in Lake Forest, Illinois. This 5 bedroom 5,964 square foot house sold for $2,660,186 in 2016. Kris Kringle had to work a little more magic to make that dream come true!
The Holiday. My daughter is a Nancy Meyers fan and watches this movie whether it’s the holidays or not. Beautiful settings, as my daughter likes to point out, are a trademark of a Meyers film and the writer/producer goes to great lengths (and expense) to get them just right. In the case of The Holiday, that meant scouting the English countryside for the perfect place for Iris (Kate Winslet) to call home. Meyers found the village, Shere, about an hour out of London, but the perfect cottage was in a town over four hours away. So Meyers and her crew built a shell on a hillside overlooking Sheer where all the exterior scenes for the movie were filmed. The interior scenes were created and filmed at Sony Studios in Culver City.
The other main character in the film lives in Los Angeles in a Mediterranean style mansion complete with swimming pool and terra cotta roof. Meyers didn’t have to construct this house; it actually exists at 1883 Orlando Road in San Marino, California and Realtor.com lists its value at $8,089,300. Once again, exterior shots were done here while the crew headed back to Sony Studios.
It’s a Wonderful Life. Seems Mary Bailey was into flipping houses before they became the Reality TV show rage. She took the old Granville house at 320 Sycamore Street and made it into a home. As nostalgic as the movie may make us, we can’t go visit the Bailey’s home because it only existed on a movie set. The town of Bedford Falls was spread out over four acres in Encino, California and has since given way to development. Unless, of course, you believe the folks of Seneca Falls, New York, who claim that their town is the “real” Bedford Falls. They even hold an “It’s a Wonderful Life” celebration every year to prove it. You can catch this year’s on December 8-10.
A Christmas Story. The child’s-eye view of this movie has made it a perennial holiday favorite. Although set in the fictional town of Hohman, Indiana, the outside of Ralphie’s house was filmed in Cleveland. And leave it to Cleveland to capitalize on that—the house has been restored and is open for tours and even overnight stays. As if that’s not enough Christmas Story nostalgia to feed you, there’s a museum located across the street filled with original props, memorabilia and costumes from the film.
Holiday Inn. This is the movie that gave us “White Christmas,” so no wonder it’s a classic. The Inn is on a farm Bing Crosby moves to which he decides to open as an entertainment venue for holidays only. According to IMDb.com, most of the movie was filmed at Paramount Studios; however, there is an inn in Monte Rio, California, that claims scenes for the film were shot there as well. Rumor also has it that the set was reused 12 years later for another Irving Berlin Christmas classic, White Christmas.
If you’re like Susan in It’s a Wonderful Life, and want a new house for Christmas, give me a call. I might be able to help Santa make your wish come true. 503.939.9801. Or check my website.