In real estate, it's location, location, location. But when the home is a TV set, anything goes. The exterior of a famous TV home might come from one building, while the interior lives behind a different façade or in a filming studio. Still, the houses (or mansions, or futuristic spaceships) take on a new life in our minds, and it's easy to imagine living in them. Some TV homes have appeal because of their setting and features, while others exude their own kind of alluring personality.
How you ever sat in front of the television in awe of your favorite character's pad? Let's take a look at some TV homes from past and present shows that we'd love to live in.
The Halliwell Manor (Charmed)
This pink Victorian sits on a slight hill in a picturesque San Francisco neighborhood filled with similar historic homes. It features huge rooms, gobs of stained glass trim around the windows and doors, a spacious, updated kitchen, and an airy, sun-filled conservatory. Being charmed, the Halliwell Manor's cozy, flower-filled landscaping tends itself -- or is tended by garden gnomes and fairies.
Of course, there are a few drawbacks -- like the Woogie in the basement and some meddlesome ghosts in the attic. And the upkeep has got to be costly, what with all those demons and warlocks dropping in and blasting out the walls and windows. But after being in the family for four generations, at least the mortgage should be paid off!
Rick Castle's Apartment (Castle)
TV novelist Rick Castle has prime real estate high in the New York City skyline. This two-story loft apartment has room to roller skate across, and it's stocked with top-of-the-line toys.
The walls radiate with texture and color. Chrome and glass accents create an upscale, modern-urban atmosphere on the wide-open main floor. Banks of windows let in sunlight during the day and look down on the city at night.
And yet, tucked off to one side, Castle's book-lined study exudes old-world warmth and comfort. Rich with wood and leather like an old English manor library, the study alone is bigger than some New York dwellings.
Honestly, if there's one place to spend a bout of writer's block in, this pad in the Big Apple isn't bad.
The Ponderosa (Bonanza)
Sturdy and unmovable as the mountain it tops, the Ponderosa was a haven of hospitality and security to friends, and a formidable fortress against enemies. Ben Cartwright's timber and stone manse was presumably built from the Ponderosa pines and stone outcroppings that grew abundantly on the ranch's 600,000 acres. The home was elegant and inviting, and the grounds offered 1,000 square miles of gorgeous, high mountain vistas in the Nevada territory.
With Adam, Hoss and Little Joe in residence, the Ponderosa was a testosterone-rich environment in which every inhabitant was an able-bodied gentleman. Hop Sing was always around to provide bounteous meals and handle the clean-up. And there were horses aplenty.
But proceed with caution, ladies. No femme fatale survived the episode in which she inflamed a Cartwright heart.
Robin's Nest (Magnum, P.I.)
Who wouldn't want to live in tastefully opulent Hawaiian seclusion?
On "Magnum, P.I.," Robin Masters' estate is a low-profile, Spanish Colonial hacienda that blends harmoniously with its lush, level acreage. On one side, there's warm, Pacific Ocean access. Magnificent mountain views provide a backdrop for the red, Spanish-tile roof and the numerous arches of the exterior.
Inside, priceless artwork adorns white brick walls with stylishly trimmed doorways that rise from red tile floors. Deep leather chairs invite you to sit down and stay awhile.
As added bonuses, there's a well-stocked wine cellar and round-the-clock security provided by Thomas Magnum, aka Tom Selleck. What's not to like?
The Great Northern Hotel (Twin Peaks)
Picture the grand Overlook Hotel from "The Shining" with upscale, hunt-lodge décor. Now, place it at the edge of the majestic Snoqualmie Falls, where water dropping 268 feet to the riverbed below kicks up an ever present mist. That's the Great Northern Hotel.
Inside, firelight warms wide, pine paneling to a soft glow. Unpeeled stripling pines trim doorframes and windows. Stuffed fish, mounted antlers and upturned deer legs holding antique rifles accent sturdy log and twig furniture to create a feeling of rustic affluence. The dining room staff is attentive, and the coffee, of course, is excellent.
The Great Northern Hotel offers comfort and easy living in an idyllic Pacific-Northwest setting -- if only the residents of Twin Peaks were so charming.
Bob Newhart's Apartment
For city-dwellers, apartment 523 in the high-rise on Sheridan Road in Chicago was a study in small-scale luxury. A sunken living room centered the space. Big sliding glass doors gave the room an airy feel and opened onto an expansive balcony with a great view of Lake Michigan. Emily's compact kitchen kept everything in easy reach. The apartment actually offered two eating areas -- a small dining table and a two-stool bar that fronted the kitchen. Built-in bookcases took advantage of wall contours and kept the home from feeling cluttered. Two other rooms, a bedroom and a study, completed the floor plan. With the living area in between them, the apartment seemed vast.
The Jupiter 2 (Lost in Space)
For those of us with wanderlust, the Jupiter 2 is the ultimate RV. It's not just a home, it's an adventure. Every week, there's a new world to explore with new life forms to escape. It comes with a compact space pod for short planetary excursions. There's even a sentimental, super-intelligent robot to size up every situation and bark warnings of danger.
Each member of the crew enjoys his or her own fully appointed, tightly organized sleeping compartment. There are modular ladders to climb from level to level, and an elevator in case your hands are full. When you get hungry, just press a button and the Jupiter 2 sends up covered dishes through an electronic dumb-waiter. There's never a meal to cook or a pot to wash. The only thing the Jupiter 2 lacked was a GPS. If they'd had one of those, the Robinson family and crew wouldn't have gotten "Lost in Space."
Gibbs' House (NCIS)
The home of Leroy Jethro Gibbs sits somewhere on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., far enough out to be away from the noise and traffic, but close enough to be convenient to the Navy yard and NCIS headquarters.
Sure, the house is outdated and spare on furnishings, but if it comes with Mark Harmon, who cares? Besides there are several mysteries to solve about this house:
- How could Gibbs afford this house on a marine sniper's salary?
- How did he manage to hang on to it through three divorces?
- And the biggest mystery of all, how the heck did Gibbs get that boat out of the basement?
The Beverly Hillbillies Mansion
With palatial elegance and more rooms than you can shake a stick at, the Clampett's Beverly Hills mansion inspired a generation of TV viewers to dream of striking it rich. Marble, gilt and Roman architecture graced the entrance lobby, the parlor and especially the heated cement pond (aka the swimming pool). That covered pool was a paradise of columns and statues, with a panoramic view of serene mountains beyond ivy-covered arches.
In real life, the residence was known as the Kirkeby Mansion. Built in 1933, the 20,000 square foot mansion occupied six and a half formally landscaped acres in Bel Air, Calif. In addition to 10 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms and a great banister to slide down, the mansion had rooms for every reason, for no reason, and, under Granny's management, for some strange reasons.
The Stephens' House (Bewitched)
On "Bewitched," this unpretentious house on Morning Glory Circle, a level, tree-lined suburban utopia, was the perfect place for a normal, newly-wed couple to blend in. As part of the marriage contract -- and in order to help with that whole blending-in thing -- Samantha agreed not to use her witchcraft.
Of course, Samantha couldn't suppress her own magical nature, so her husband, Darrin, erupted in fury over witchy powers in every episode. But he never seemed to mind that their house practiced its own kind of magic: It adapted to their needs. When Darrin needed to work from home, a tiny den expanded into an office. When Tabitha came along, a nursery popped up on the upper floor. Sometimes the back yard was luscious grass; sometimes it was durable concrete. Once, a back stairwell even descended from somewhere upstairs into a never-before-seen anteroom off the kitchen, seeming to appear just for the diaper delivery man. Talk about a house with a quirky personality.
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- "Clampett Mansion." TV Acres. TVAcres.com. (Nov. 19, 2010) http://www.tvacres.com/homes_clampett.htm
- Coy, Peter. "Beverly Hillbillies Mansion, Brady Bunch House, etc., etc." Hot Property. Bloomberg Businessweek. June 22, 2006. (Nov. 19, 2010) http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/hotproperty/archives/2006/06 /beverly_hillbillies_mansion_brady_bunch_house_etc_etc.html