Homes play a major role on television. They’re often more than just a setting, but a secondary character on a show. The homes of the Brady’s, the Huxtable’s, the Jetson’s, Bruce Wayne and even Clark Kent are places we wish we could explore. Sometimes the homes seen on TV are actually residences, but other times they’re just Hollywood sets. In either case, they still capture our imagination. Today, I want to explore 5 of the most interesting homes on TV today. Not necessarily the grandest places or even the most expensive, but ones that I think would be extremely interesting to experience:
5. Michael Westen’s Loft on USA Network’s Burn Notice
This place is far from exotic. In fact, it’s pretty much a dump. But it’s the coolest dump on TV. The one room home to Michael Westen and the unofficial gathering place for scheming his team’s next job is actually situated above a Miami night club. Michael actually got the loft by helping out the Russian owner of the nightclub below in the first episode of the series.
Westen’s loft contains just the essentials for this modern day, CIA-trained Robin Hood: a bed, a workbench, some barbells, a punching bag, some stools, a fridge stocked with just yogurt and no air conditioning. USA Network has even created an interactive way to explore Michael’s loft (pictured above) and uncover some of the interesting aspects of his humble abode. What I love about this place is first of all it’s in Miami, which is a win right there. Second, it’s a fairly flexible pad to have friends over, get work done, build a rocket launcher, etc.
How many other homes on TV can do all that?
4. The Penthouse on CW’s Ringer
This is New York living at its best. Some would argue that Gossip Girl or Castle have better places, but I think you’re hard pressed to find a New York City penthouse like the one on Ringer. The central couple on the show, Siobhan Martin/Bridget Kelly (she’s a twin pretending to be her sister who she thinks died but didn’t and is actually plotting her demise) and Andrew Martin, own an entire floor of this high rise building set on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
This place boasts it’s own private elevator that when opened greets you with a six feet high painting of Mrs. Martin. Open floor plan is an understatement in this home as almost every room seems to flow into another. Each room is exquisitely decorated and Siobhan’s walk-in closet with over-sized ottoman in the middle is every woman’s dream. Not to ruin it for you, but the home is actually created at Culver City Studios lot in Culver City. Our friends at LXTV Open House got an exclusive look at the set design and decor which you can watch by clicking here.
3. Downton Abbey
The Masterpiece Classic surprise hit, Downton Abbey, is one of the few shows on TV where a real life home has been taken over by a TV show. The home of the Grantham family is actually Highclere Castle which resides on 1,000 acres of English countryside near Newbury. Here’s a little known fact for you: Charles Berry, who built the estate, was also the man who built the house of Parliament. Highclere Castle is an actual residence where Lord and Lady Carnarvon live and simply allow the cast and crew to take over portions of their home to film the show. The only exception is the servants’ quarters which was built on a studio set.
The furniture and decor seen on the show is really part of the house although the production crew does supplement some furniture and artwork from time to time to update the sets. The home also has a fairly famous neighbor in Andrew Lloyd Weber who allegedly tried to at one time purchase the castle to house his artwork collection.
One of the popular rooms on the show is the Music Room which actually has a mahogany desk that was once owned by Napolean. According to the LA Times Blog, the Saloon Room’s interesting decor is actually gold-embossed leather wallpaper. Note to self: don’t wash those walls with water.
Downton Abbey/Highclere Castle is one of the largest homes currently on TV and you can see how it would require a host of workers to keep it up and running. For me the biggest question is who has to mow that massive lawn?
2. Bill Compton’s House on HBO’s True Blood
Move over Cullen clan, Bill Compton’s estate is king of vampire hangouts. The antebellum house was redesigned as part of the story line of the show and its refinished decor is a rare mixture of Southern elegance and masculinity. Production designer for the show, Suzuki Ingerslev, has said that the home was designed through the eyes of a decorator who was interpreting what kind of look Bill would want for his home. Of course, the decorator would have to do all the shopping for Bill in the daytime. You’ll notice in the photo above that the entry way is an eclectic mix of classic decor while adding an exotic touch like the zebra throw rug.
To me the best room has to be the office. This is a man’s man type of room. Bill Compton’s office is outfitted with chrome accents, abstract art, Egyptian artifacts and one of the largest area rugs I’ve ever seen. My only issue with the room is it appears he’s using a desktop PC. Really? Aren’t all vampires Mac users?
In each room you can tell it was designed by a man as masculine touches are featured throughout and there seems to be a lack of warmth that a female eye tends to add. However, that kind of makes sense as vampires don’t really care about warmth anymore.
1. The House from FX’s American Horror Story
Very few haunted houses have the ability to make you wish you lived there. Ok, maybe you don’t want to live in that exact home, but if that home could be recreated elsewhere without all the creepy ghosts and murder history then that place would be awesome.
The Rosenheim Mansion in LA is the real life home used on the show for both exterior and interior shots. You may not realize it from the show but this house is 10,440 sq. ft. with 6 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms and sits on an acre of land. If you ignore the jars of body parts in the basement, the nosy neighbors and life-threatening lifestyle that comes with living here, it’s actually quite beautiful.
Stained glass windows are featured in the entryway, the center staircase and study. Hardwood floors cover the entire house. And the kitchen…is to die for. Pun intended. Seriously, look at the size of that center island. It’s perfect for carving jack-o-lanterns and other creepy stuff. Of course the kitchen seen on the show is the Hollywood-version and the real kitchen in the actual house is much less desirable.
Without a doubt, this is the most interesting home on TV for its decor, layout and its fictional, but horrific, history.
Which home featured on TV today do you find most interesting? Share your favorites in the comments and here’s our list of honorable mentions: Don Draper’s new apartment on Mad Men, Neal’s apartment on White Collar, the Hampton’s castle on Royal Pains, the beachfront home on Two & a Half Men.