Heard some good chatter on the radio, as we often do this time of year, about favorite Christmas movies. Since I sell real estate, I often study the homes in movies (hey, I can't just turn the job off that easily...). One of things that does make me always a little curious is that Hollywood, by and large, has a fascination for older homes, and the custom detailing that went it to them. Today's buyers though, by and large, are far more willing to pay for a newer home, without all that charm, curb appeal and detail, than to find a seriously Hollywood home and update it. I guess most of us are just too busy! But I digress.
The most popular movie, in most of the polls, is the Griswalds family in Christmas Vacation. I was going to do a post on various information on the home of the Griswalds, as part of the post, but I have been beaten soundly to the punch with this post here: (Incidently, her blog, http://hookedonhouses.net, which features celebrity housing is really well done and just has a ton of information). All pictures are courtesy of her site. The author has painstakingly written about both the exterior of the home (which is a home on a movie lot set used for several other major films) and has all the photos of the interior as well. A little disappointing that it's not a "real" house, but that's the movies for you.
So, Matt, what do you notice about the house?
Thanks to HookedOnHouses.net
Well, there's several things that I think are terrific about the home. On the exterior, in the forties and fifties (and earlier too), good builders would extend the roofline past the home (the roof's overhang). This was a good way to keep the rain away from the foundation and the areas of home where there are seams (this is pre- aluminum gutters, remember), and was also a nice way to add additional detail to the home, but does have the problem of cutting off light in the upstairs windows. The colonials built in this area in the 70's, 80's and early nineties by and large had virtually NO overhang, which can make the homes really boring (why? It's cheaper, of course). Today's contemporary colonials are bringing back overhangs, and these homes tend to me more popular. I also notice the rounded half-moon windows in the attic, which you can find around here on some well-built homes of the 20's and 30's. Today, of course, no builder would spend that kind of money on a custom window in the attic, but it really adds to how the home looks from the street. Ditto with the front door overhang, which (again, has to do with the time before cars and garages), which was practical in that it kept people dry why fumbling for their keys in the rain, but also adds scale and depth to the curb appeal.
On the inside, either the director/set people did a great job of showing off the home of a working stiff, or it was a really tricked out 80's house that just looks dated today. Today's buyers do not care for wallpaper! And the home is really fully of wallpaper. Wallpaper serves many purposes in older homes. If they are pre blueboard (drywall), they they are plaster, and plaster cracks (typically much longer cracks in plaster), which can make painting an annual event. Wallpaper is very effective at covering small cracks (but will rip if they get large enough). It also is extremely durable, and for the most part washable, and in times gone by, people didn't think about redecorating every 10 years like they do today - it was more of a generational thing. For a fake home, they did a good job putting all the wainscoting, chair rails, crown molding in the front rooms (foyer, dining room, living room) of the home, but that detail fades away as you head up stairs. Buyers of that time period, any time period really, were just a strapped financially, and didn't have the dough to put the fancy fixins in rooms only used by the family. Lastly, the bath couldn't be more 50's, there was really only one decade, maybe two, where builders and folks wanted those 4x4 inch tiles up to their elbows. I guess the thinking was that the durability and moisture resistance made it an effective to solution to some of the issues presented in bathrooms, but today's modern materials have eliminated the need to waterproof the whole bathroom, and the look never really caught on in residential construction.
Old houses can be great to look at for decorating ideas or especially things to ask your builder about doing. Small items up front can make a huge difference and make that house pop when it's on the market.
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