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The 20 houses from the movies we’d actually want to live in

By on 2 June 2011 in Films

The 20 houses from the movies we’d actually want to live in
The Doctor’s Residence, Sleeper
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You might have noticed that we have a slight obsession with movie architecture. Previously, we looked at the architecture of John Lautner in films and we’ve also taken a look at the home of a certain Mr. Bond.

Well, continuing this theme, we thought it might be interesting to take a look at some of our favourite movie homes. Rather than focus on the more obvious abodes, such as the apartment from Rear Window or the sprawling heap of Xanadu, we decided to look at the residences we wouldn’t mind making our own. So, with that in mind, here’s our list of our top 20 places to live in the land of make believe.

20. The Doctor’s Residence, Sleeper

In Woody Allen’s 1973 film Sleeper, his character Miles wakes up two hundred years into the future. Here, two doctors who wish to use him to overthrow their Totalitarian state take him into hiding. The futuristic home he is taken to is Charles Deaton’s Sculptured House in Denver. A beautiful sweep of concrete and glass, the home is referred to now as the Sleeper House and recently sold for 1.5 million US dollars. Take note, however, that giant bananas do not grow in the garden.

19. Tracy Island, Thunderbirds

Okay, we admit it. We saw it. But the truth is that we saw it just to see the coolness of this island base. (By the way, if you’re a good guy, it’s a base; if you’re a baddie, it’s a lair.) This has it all: private beach, swimming pool, suitably modernist design (although we do kinda like the one from the TV show a little more for its mid-century modern vibe) and more transport possibilities than you can shake a stick at. Sophia Miles will drop in dressed in pink leather, and that’s no bad thing. Trouble is, you get stuck with all the Tracy boys and Brains. Still, did you think a Thunderbirds pad would come with no strings attached?

18. Deckard’s Apartment, Blade Runner

Deckard’s apartment is actually Frank Lloyd Wright’s incredible concrete Ennis House – now somewhat in disrepair. The apartment might be what Stephen Fry would generously describe as “compact and bijou”, but it is, at least, big enough to incorporate a piano. Tyrell’s pad might have boasted floor to ceiling windows and offered an incredible view over the city, and J.F. Sebastian’s entire floor of the crumbling Bradbury was certainly much larger, but its Deckard’s place that has the most character, stuffed full of objets (memories?) and with the intricate patterned concrete on show. Invite a chaste Sean Young over to keep you company and tell her all about her childhood memories. Have a snooze and dream of unicorns.

17. Thomas’ Studio, Blow Up

This studio seems to be a labyrinth of tight staircases, split levels, raised walkways and open spaces. This is all the result of clever camera angles chosen by director Antonioni, as the actual studio location isn’t that big, but the effect leaves one feeling slightly disorientated. It’s what you’d expect to see if David Bailey owned a TARDIS. Why live here? Well, it’s swinging London baby, yeah! And this is the coolest pad there is. Why, one minute you’ll have Verushka writhing on your floor, the next Jane Birkin will be begging you to rip her top off. You can get stoned with Vanessa Redgrave and the smashing Sarah Miles lives next door, who’ll happily give you a back rub and a beer whilst you playfully insult her husband.

16. The Pseudosphere, Charlie’s Angels

(Okay, we made this name up.) Based on the fabulous chemosphere by John Lautner, this ultra cool pad has the advantage of being slightly bigger than the real deal. Perched on a single column on a Los Angles hillside, this place has a view to die for. Well, almost, if you’re Drew Barrymore.

15. The Lars Homestead, Star Wars

A bit out of left field, we know, but this place is cool. Well, it would have to be on a planet with two suns. Forget the fact there’s nothing for hundreds of miles in either direction. Forget that your uncle is a bigger bastard than the Emperor. Forget you best friend is a 60 year old man. Here, your hobbies will include driving a floating car, sniping Tuscan Raiders with your unwieldy looking blaster rifle, blowing away Wamp Rats in your T-16, and drinking blue milk. That’s right, milk that’s blue! Crazy! You will also get to indulge in what most teenage boys do, which is watching poorly recorded videos of young women bending over and looking slightly nervous. Except this one will be your sister.

14. Patrick Bateman’s Apartment, American Psycho

Ah, the eighties. Nearly everything was horrible. However, the super-rich and criminally insane Patrick Bateman managed to make his apartment look fantastic, or as fantastic as the eighties would allow, by keeping the colour scheme monochromatic, the lines clean and the furnishings classic. It boasts a large bedroom for three-way sex and aggravated torture. There’s plenty of storage space for bespoke suits, bodies and chainsaws, as well as a spacious kitchen, complete with a large refrigerator – perfect for storing severed heads. We’d offer this word of caution, however: A predominately white house is not ideal for murdering people with an axe.

13. The Carver Residence, The Ice Storm

Nestled in amongst the trees, this beautiful house was designed in 1972 by architect Richard Henderson and is located in New Canaan, Connecticut. This low, white, angular house features large panes of sliding glass and a deck that extends out over the rocky outcropping. Perfect for a bit of afternoon delight with Sigourney Weaver, but watch out, she has a whip.

12. The Frye Residence, Ferris Beuller’s Day Off

Ferris coldly dismisses Cameron’s place as “cold” and “like a museum”. Have you looked around your place lately, Ferris? It sucks. Give me the beautiful glass and steel box of delight that is the Frye residence any day of the week. Mia Sara in the pool and a ten million pound Ferrari 250 GT California in the garage. Que bella, indeed.

11. Jason Nesmith’s House, Galaxy Quest

Probably better known as The Stahl House, or Case Study House #22, this stunning piece of mid-century architecture was designed by Pierre Keonig in 1959 and is one of the most recognisable examples of modern architecture in Los Angeles. Be prepared to be woken by fans at some ungodly hour whilst you’re trying to sleep off you hangover.

10. Willard Whyte’s Summer House, Diamonds Are Forever

Not an easy choice, this one. We could just as easily have written “every single villain lair in the entire James Bond series” but that would have been a cop out. Why not Piz Gloria, Goldfinger’s ranch or Palmyra? Well, whilst we’d love to be stuck up a mountain with those Angels of Death, we’d prefer not to find Irma Bunt in our bed one evening. And whilst a roll in the hay with Honor Blackman (curiously, the only Bond girl whose real name is also a double entendre) might be many man’s idea of a fun way to while away an afternoon, it isn’t ours. Of course, Palmyra has Claudine Auger doing laps and Luciana Paluzzi working the pump action, but ultimately it has to come down to the fact that Willard Whyte’s house is the fantastic Elrod House by John Lautner, and that should be reason enough.

9. Catcher Block’s apartment, Down With Love

One for the boys, for sure. This bachelor pad looks like it was dreamt up by Ken Adam, and it even has the hallmark gadgets one would expect from the veteran Bond production designer. There’s a state-of-the-art sound system, a well stocked bar, and at the flick of a switch, the lounge becomes the bedroom. The perfect place for entertaining. For the ladies, Barbara Novak’s apartment might just be the perfect female equivalent.

8. Sean Ambrose’s Sydney Harbour House, Mission: Impossible II

Like many of the coolest movie houses, this one doesn’t exist. The whole thing was built out of flat-packed polystyrene and sailed across the harbour in a boat to Bradley’s Head, where it was assembled. It nearly didn’t make the journey. Still, it looks pretty damn awesome. It features a private jetty, a sweeping garden with fabulous views over the harbour and a private security detail headed up by Richard Roxburgh, whose improbable accent swings between South African and a poor impression of Prince Charles. It also comes with the gorgeous Thandie Newton, who, as we can attest from personal experience, is one of the loveliest women in the universe.

7. The Cullen Residence, Twilight series

Okay, this is a bit of a cheat as it’s more than one house. Certainly the best thing about the first film was the vampire’s choice of lair (yup, we know what we said about it being the bad guys that have the lair, but the rule applies here too, as we can’t imagine anything more evil than their acting.) The Cullen residence in the first film is a beautiful, modern building, all wide panes of glass, jutting steel and warm wood cladding, surrounded by tall conifers and gentle mist. This is actually the Hoke House in Portland, OR, and was designed by architect Jeff Kovel. Edward’s room in this house is just beautiful. However, serious architecture lovers will perhaps be more familiar with the house used in the second film, Blue Moon. Designed by one of our favourite architects, Arthur Erickson, this low level residence is actually in Vancouver, Canada, and was recently on the market for about three million Canadian dollars. Actually, a proper bargain. It didn’t even come with the annoying, angst-ridden tweeny vampire set, which we think should probably add another million to the value right there.

6. George Falconer’s House, A Single Man

Let’s face it; there are not many worse things that can happen in your life than loosing your soul mate. However, if you have to spend your last days on Earth grieving, why not do it in style? The beautiful wood and glass house featured in Tom Ford’s directorial debut is the Schaffer Residence, yet another John Lautner creation, and is utterly gorgeous. This redwood, glass and concrete house was also recently on the market for a cool 1.5 million dollars.

5. Sam Flynn’s Container Home, Tron: Legacy

In this age of carbon footprint reducing, environmentally responsible, energy saving responsibility, what better way to make your home than out of the detritus left behind by global industry? Sam has shown us how to make responsible use of waste by stacking up these empty shipping containers and turning them into a home. The entire walls simply roll up, creating either an easily accessible front door or providing a view across the harbour. All this and it comes with not one but two Ducati bikes. The jaw-droppingly beautiful Ducati Sport 1000 can be garaged behind the sofa for easy access. Sam can keep his little mutt, though.

4. Kevin Flynn’s Grid Hideout, Tron: Legacy

Okay, we know. It’s from the same film, but this Kubrick inspired den is one of the most incredible apartments you’ll ever see on celluloid. Full of mid-century design classics, such as the Eames 670 Lounge Chair, the Barcelona chair and the Arco floor lamp, this glowing white apartment has a sunken lounge, a fireplace that produces what looks like water flowing upwards, and a view across the digital frontier that is simply like nothing on Earth. Access is secure and there’s parking for the fastest lightcycle on the Grid. Your live-in young lady is the delectable Olivia Wilde, who lounges around in skin-tight rubber and, in her wide-eyed innocence, hangs on your every word. She is also able to cure all disease, which is handy if you’ve been around the block a few times. Eagle-eyed viewers will have noticed that Sam and Kevin’s homes are laid out almost identically, although the scale and interior design is somewhat different.

3. The Vandamm Residence, North By Northwest

Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, this almost perfect home, situated atop Mount Rushmore, is, like many other movie homes, completely artificial. What a shame, because it is utterly gorgeous. Constructed out of a blend of matte paintings and practical sets, this house has large windows that lead out onto the cantilevered balcony, giving a wonderful view across the mountain and the surrounding woods. With a huge open plan living room, maid service and a garden big enough to land a plane in, it’s no wonder that Cary Grant was prepared to get his palms scratched to get a peek inside.

2. Syndrome’s Lair, The Incredibles

Okay, The Incredibles has some of the finest production design of any movie in the last 60 years. However, Syndrome’s island lair (the island is called Nomanisan, by the way) is so fantastic that it very nearly came in at number one on the list. This place pretty much combined all the elements of every cool James Bond villain lair we’ve ever seen. In fact, it has so much awesome stuff going on, we really don’t know where to start. The fact that it’s on it’s own tropical island? The fact that waterfall that opens up like someone throwing open the curtains? The groovy monorail system? The secret rocket base? The giant computer interface protected by a wall of lava? (One can only imagine that you mum knocking on the door to give you a cup of tea would not interrupt your “special computer time”.) It is protected by an almost indestructible robot and a horde of disposable goons. The beautiful and intelligent Mirage makes sure you have all you need. There are just so many cool things about Syndrome’s lair that it really is difficult to beat. But beaten it has been, by a rather more modest abode…

1. Tony Stark’s Residence, Iron Man

Okay, this is the biggy. Trumping Syndrome’s lair by virtue of just being the coolest building in the known movie universe, Tony Stark’s Lautner inspired residence is simply the number one place to live in the world of movies. Why? Well, firstly it is perfectly placed, nestling on top of Point Dume in Malibu, with a panoramic view of the Pacific. Secondly, it is simply exquisitely designed and beautifully conceived, fusing all of the best elements of John Lautner’s designs into one tidy package. Lastly, the whole place is practically alive, being precisely run by the computer, Jeeves, who, one imagines, precisely monitors and those little things like energy consumption and climate control. Oh, and we forgot the garage. How could we? Filled with an assortment of boys’ toys and automotive excellence, this really is where Tony hangs out the most. Left to us, we’d get out of the garage and into that pool that curves along the side of the house. That is, if we could drag ourselves out of the massive bed, which seems to be comfortable enough to entice the likes of the gorgeous Leslie Bibb. Or why not sit back in your Eames Lounge chair and strum either your Gibson 335 or you Fender Telecaster? Curl up on the sofa by the roaring fireplace, or mix yourself a martini in the bar. If you feel like a work out, there’s a full gym. Whatever your tastes, you’ll be comfortable here. There is, of course, a helipad, but with a super-alloy computer-aided combat suit, capable of supersonic flight, why bother? In fact, the biggest question is why Tony Stark bothers leaving it at all?


The 20 houses from the movies we’d actually want to live in

Dublo counts us down the top 20 most desirable homes in the movies. You have a read; we’re off to call the estate agent…

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Ben is our resident screenwriter, that’s right, a real-life movie screenwriter. If we hadn’t captured him, drugged him and locked him in the basement here at Prodigal Towers, right now he’d be living the Hollywood dream that should rightfully be his, ensconced in a John Lautner house in Malibu. But don’t feel sorry for him. More fool him for drinking that spiked Martini in the first place.

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  • The Prodigal Fool

    Wonderful list, Dublo – and thoroughly researched, as is fast becoming your trademark. You’re putting the rest of us schmucks to shame.

    Having said that, I do have some thoughts…

    How could you possibly have left out my number 1 most desirable house from the movies: Wayne Manor!!?

    A beautiful gothic mansion complete with dedicated (and, ahem, discreet) butler, a vault-load of cash, and the batmobile parked in the basement. What’s not to like!?

  • Dublo

    Yes, I did seriously consider Wayne Manor. However, when I thought about it, I decided that Gothic was not really to my taste. I’d rather a small modern abode than a sprawling heap like that. Not my furniture taste, either.

    Then there’s the bat cave. An opportunity was there to make it very cool and high tech. I respect Nolan’s choice to keep it dank, as it fits in the film, but it’s not somewhere I actually wanna hang out in. If I owned the bat cave it would look like a Ken Adam set. All floated concrete and cantilevered steel buttresses blending into the rough-hewn rock.

    Besides which, Wayne Manor is a tinderbox. One match and it’s razed to the ground. I’d prefer something a little more sturdy and easy to insure.

  • Chris I

    The Cameron Frye House is my favorite. Maybe because it reminds me of Glass House.

  • Val Darrant

    Now seriously….how could you leave out the Mercer House in Savannah,Ga? Or the Biltmore House?

    • Dublo

      Well, Val, the article is really about houses I’d want to live in. Whilst I’m sure the Biltmore and the Mercer are lovely, they are not to my taste. They are certainly impressive, though. And just think, when you move in, you won’t have pesky Prodigal Guide contributors messing up the feng shui.

  • aml

    great read. that said, sorry to follow up on the ‘you missed my favorite’ vein, but how about casa malaparte, in godard’s contempt?

    • Dublo

      Hey Aml,

      How could I forget Le Mepris’ Casa Malaparte? The location and that view are pretty hard to top. That huge floor to ceiling picture window just draws you to it, and rooftop sunbathing with a naked Bardot would have a similar magnetic appeal, as well. There’s even an Alfa Romeo 2600 Spider in which to swan around Capri.

      There were quite a few close calls, but I honestly can’t imagine why this one’s not on the list, so let’s just slip it in there somewhere.

  • Karl Freudenreich

    This might have been the inspiration for Sam Flynn’s place.

  • Kris Marshall

    my pic for the #1 place to live is the house from When A Stranger Calls (2006)

    • The Prodigal Fool

      Good call, Kris.

  • Barry Dalton

    I adored the house in Ghost Writer that Ewan McGregor visits.