Whether it’s Lorelei’s house in “Gilmore Girls” or the living room with the leg lamp in “A Christmas Story,” some of the locations in our favorite movies and TV shows are just iconic.
And then there are many homes and living spaces like those in “Friends” and “Home Alone” that seem just palatial. It makes sense to do this from a script writing point of view. It gives the writers, actors and directors the space to play out a grand vision onscreen. However, have you ever wondered what it would actually cost to live in some of those places in real life? We did.
Join us as we embark on a grand tour of homes from the big and small screen alike.
There was plenty of room for Kevin McCallister to roam in the house featured in the 1990 holiday classic directed by John Hughes.
The house in suburban Chicago had five bedrooms and three and a half baths where Kevin could hide from the people trying to rob his house. It’s a really nice house as depicted in the movie. But how much would it cost in real life?
According to the “Home Alone” wiki, the movie novelization states Kevin’s father Peter is a successful businessman. If he had held onto the house, it would be worth $598,263 based on fair market value in that area for 4,243 square feet.
Home values often rise faster than the inflation rate, particularly in a seller’s market, but Zillow home value data only goes back so far. It’s not perfect, but in order to get an approximation of what the home would have been worth, I’m using the inflation rate.
The home would have been worth $324,316.97 when the movie was released in December 1990, assuming the only factor driving the price up was inflation. However, one way to really see your home value rise in a way a successful businessman like Peter McCallister would really appreciate is to have it featured in a blockbuster movie.
According to Zillow, the home in Winnetka, Illinois, is actually likely worth $2,079,433 today. There’s clearly some markup because the movie was shot there.
‘The Addams Family’
They’re creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky, and they happen to have a seriously cool mansion. That’s right – I’m talking about “The Addams Family.”
This house is a little bit awesome, because it definitely has a look that Morticia and Gomez would be proud of. The history of the exterior is well chronicled. The 21 Chester Place address that’s used to set the scene in the show is actually located in the West Adams District of Los Angeles.
This one poses an interesting challenge to try and find a value. Longtime fans of the show will notice there’s no third floor or tower. The show used a matte painting for the exterior for every episode after the pilot once they had their inspiration. In addition, the house was never sold. It was eventually donated to the Catholic Church, which eventually gave the land to Mount St. Mary’s University.
However, that doesn’t mean some enterprising people haven’t tried to do their own real estate evaluation. The Movoto Real Estate blog calculated that the third floor and tower would add 2,400 square feet, for a total of 14,400 square feet. Based on Los Angeles real estate prices, the current value would be $5,846,400. In 1964 dollars, that comes out to $736,665.49. That house is spooky expensive.
On “Friends,” they conveniently avoid the problem of how much the characters’ apartment would cost by explaining that Monica inherited a rent-controlled apartment from her grandmother and never told the landlord that grandma died.
That has to be illegal, but it’s brilliant screenwriting because it gives them a lot of flexibility. Monica and Rachel were paying just $200 per month, which suddenly makes a two-bedroom apartment in the West Village district of New York seem a lot more reasonable on the salary of a coffee barista and a sparsely employed chef. How much would it really cost for Monica’s apartment?
A quick search of Trulia shows that you can expect to spend a minimum of $3,400 per month on an apartment in that area. And that price probably doesn’t include the gorgeous windows and balcony access.
Bottom line: If your job’s a joke and you’re broke, the only way you’ll afford a West Village apartment is with a little TV magic.
The Chicago area appears to be a favorite setting for John Hughes. He moved there as a teenager. Before that, he’d grown up in the Detroit area (hence Cameron Frye’s Gordie Howe jersey in the next movie on the list).
Nice real estate near the big city is expensive. The house from “16 Candles” is no exception. When the house was listed for sale around June of last year, the owners wanted $1.5 million.
While it will cost you $141 per square foot to get a home in the area, there’s definitely a movie markup here. Based on square footage, the home should have cost around $435,500 today if the movie hadn’t been filmed there.
‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’
Cameron Frye had the coolest house in our final John Hughes movie of this list. It had a very distinctive modern look with floor-to-ceiling glass windows. It also didn’t hurt that there was a Ferrari to ogle at. But like a few other houses on this list, the story behind the real estate listing holds its own intrigue.
Although it looks very cool, the windows made the place harder to sell. It turns out that single-pane windows aren’t great from an insulation perspective, making it hard to keep the house a comfortable temperature. Also, it was strangely divided into two parcels of land.
This caused the listing price of the home to fall from $2.3 million when it was originally listed after the owners died in 2009 to $1.65 million in 2011, and it was in danger of being torn down.
It was finally sold in 2014 for just over $1 million. The owners are undertaking a major renovation.
The home from “Full House” sold last year for $4 million. Well, not the home from the show. That was a soundstage. The home that serves as the backdrop in the exterior shots sold for an inflated price, even by San Francisco standards.
The house is 2,484 square feet. That gives the house a value of $1,381,104 based on the square footage. If anyone wants to give me the $2.6 million markup for being the Full House exterior, my response is going to be “You got it, dude!”
‘A Christmas Story’
One of my mom’s absolute favorite movies during the holiday season is “A Christmas Story.” I couldn’t let this post pass without knowing what the house in that movie was worth. The really cool thing about this particular house is that you could legitimately buy the place without drawing a Hollywood paycheck.
The house where Ralphie listened to “Little Orphan Annie” and learned to always drink his Ovaltine is actually in Cleveland. A fan purchased it on eBay in 2005 for $150,000. It has since been turned into a shrine to the movie, complete with museum tours.
Super fans can even sleep where Ralphie and Randy did for as little as $395 per night. The upstairs floor has been converted. The price per night does vary with the seasons. If you want to stay Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, it’ll cost you $1,995 per night.
One thing I feel comfortable saying about Alicia Silverstone’s character in “Clueless” is that she probably had no idea how much it cost to live in that mansion.
The Encino, California, house had seven bedrooms and 10 bathrooms. Who knows why you’d need 10 bathrooms in a house with seven bedrooms, but why not? It’s 9,441 square feet on a two-acre lot.
Basing solely on square footage (not accounting for the amenities in the house), it’s worth $3,833,046 currently. In July 1995, that would have translated to nearly $2.4 million.
Batman is one of the cooler superheroes around. That’s a fact in my mind. The best thing about him is that his status is attainable. Sure, he’s a gazillionaire, but at least his abilities are based on skills and technical prowess rather than mystical or sci-fi powers. I had to check out what Wayne Manor would cost.
As it turns out, someone totally went ahead and did the math. The Movato blog puts the cost of the Caped Crusader’s digs at just north of $32 million. It’s not just the 42,500 square feet of space, either. We have to take into account the multilevel garage, ballroom, game room, library and laboratory. Of course, it includes the services of Alfred.
One of the things that was most interesting about this is actually putting a real-life location to Gotham City. They chose Chicago, although in the movies, New York and Pittsburgh have also been used, to name just a couple.
Throughout the show’s seven seasons, the houses of the characters played a key role in setting the stage for the events that happened to Lorelai, Rory and the gang.
How much would it really cost to live in Stars Hollow? An enterprising writer from Trulia grabbed some coffee worthy of Luke’s Diner and set about finding out by comparing the homes in the show with those in the Connecticut town it’s based on.
Sookie had the most expensive home on the list, with her three-bedroom, two-bathroom house coming in at $685,000 when the Trulia article was written last year, and Lorelai and Rory’s house came in at $445,000. Real estate in the Northeast doesn’t come cheap.
Do you have a movie or TV show home you’d like to live in? Let us know in the comments. What did we leave off the list?
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