Tour the Home in the Movie, Home Alone
Have you ever thought about the psychology that goes into making a movie…the little things that influence us without us even knowing it? Of course there’s the brief product placement that flashes by, but I’m thinking more about the movie sets and how they are designed and decorated to make us think or feel a particular way while watching the movie.
I grew up in a home environment that was furnished very modestly and very non-decorated.
When I got married, I knew absolutely nothing about decorating and had no past experiences from which to pull. I vaguely remember being in awe of a high 4-poster bed I once saw while playing at a friend’s home and I remember loving an antique dresser in an Aunt’s home. I remember loving my next door neighbor’s home with the wide staircase that turned going down. I actually grew up living in two old (now historic homes) until we moved when I was around 13, but I never appreciated their high ceilings, deep moldings and fireplaces until I was grown and thought back on those spaces.
In those early years of marriage, finding out what I really loved and wanted in my own home came from devouring the pictures in Colonial Homes magazine (which later became Classic Homes) and pouring over issue after issue of Traditional Home…before it changed to what it is today.
Home Alone, the Movie:
The movie, Home Alone, came out just about the time I moved into my current home. I saw it, loved it and never thought much about it again until many years later. Even though I had loved the house in Home Alone, if you had asked me to describe the interior, I don’t think I could have. I just knew it felt the way I thought a home should feel. It spoke to my heart and it spoke of family, comfort, security…but most of all, love. How is it a home can tell you all this and make you love it and want that same home for yourself? It really is a mystery…in some ways.
Over the years, I began to wonder…what was so special about the Home Alone house? Why had it left me craving a home like that? So, I decided to watch it again a while back, and I was stunned. The home is beautiful but I was really surprised at how it was decorated.
I was amazed to find the upstairs was carpeted in red carpeting and the walls were painted bold GREEN. I was surprised to find one of my favorite rooms, the master bedroom, had a red duvet, red dust ruffle, red sheets and red pillowcases. The whole bed was a sea of red. I don’t think I would ever dress a bed like that, so why had this home left such a huge impression on me?
Over the years, I have used a lot of red and green in my home…Dining Room, Family Room and Master Bedroom. But, I wonder, did I like those colors together that much first or had this movie I so loved influenced me more than I had ever realized?
Today, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the rooms in the Home Alone house. Did Home Alone (the movie or the house) have a profound effect on you? What feelings did you walk away with after seeing the movie? Or, was there another movie, like Something’s Gotta Give, or Father of the Bride or The Holiday that’s influenced the choices you’ve made in decorating your home?
A Little Background on the movie, Home Alone:
You can skip this brief synopsis of the movie in italics below if you saw the movie and still remember the plot.
The McCallisters have been planning a wonderful trip to Europe for the Christmas holidays. Other family members are going, too. They all arrive at the McCallister home to spend the night before both families leave to fly out the following morning. With soooo many people crammed into the home, things are pretty chaotic with last minute packing, sleeping arrangements and planning for dinner. Kevin, played by Mccaulay Culkin, acts out and gets sent to his room…which for this night is a fun attic room. It’s the only place left for him to sleep since he doesn’t want to get stuck sleeping with a cousin who has…ummm, shall we say, a continence problem.
A big storm occurs during the night, knocking out the power. Everyone oversleeps and it’s mad chaos the next morning when the airport van arrives to pick everyone up for the flight to Europe. Kevin is forgotten and left peacefully sleeping in his attic room. The family is over the ocean, well on the way to Europe before this is discovered. All flights are booked so it takes days for Kevin’s mom, Kate, who is played by Catherine O’Hara, to get back home to check on Kevin. The father, Peter, played by John Heard, stays with the rest of the family on the trip.
Kevin, in the meantime, is busy learning what it’s like to be “home alone,” especially when he finds out two wily burglars (played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) have plans to rob his home. This movie is funny, heart-warming and loaded with lots of physical humor. It’s a great family holiday movie.
Now let’s check out the house!
The House in Home Alone: A Tour
The movie, Home Alone, was filmed in a real home, not on a movie set. It is located at 671 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka, Illinois. Here are a few exterior shots of the house from the movie.
Evening view all decorated for Christmas…
Later during the movie, there’s a big snow storm…
In this scene in the foyer, Kevin is having a little fun while the parents are gone. He is about to take a sled ride right down the front staircase. If his parents only knew what he was up to! Note the red and green wallpaper, red carpet and the green matting around the prints on the wall. The pattern in the wallpaper is huge, but this big, beautiful foyer can take it. Even Kevin’s scarf coordinates with the decor. In this movie, no details are overlooked!
A view looking from the front door to the end of the foyer. Note the green sofa and the red chairs…starting to see a definite color pattern here. Wonder if that door leads to a closet or the kitchen?
A view looking up the stairs Kevin slid down. We see a gorgeous landing and a beautiful palladian window.
Arriving at the top of the stairs, this would be your view. Kevin is being ushered to the attic room without supper since he has caused a disruption. You’re feeling a bit sorry for Kevin here because he’s been being picked on by all the other children in the home and a not-so-nice uncle. Note again the pictures are done with green or red matting.
Here’s a view later in the movie showing the green walls and red carpeting of the upstairs hallway. BTW, in real life, this house did NOT look anything like this! This color scheme and decorating was done specifically for the movie.
Another view of the upstairs hallway with a glimpse into the bathroom…
This is the only shot we really ever get into one of the bathrooms…even the tile in there is green.
A glimpse up the attic stairs where Kevin will be sleeping this night… We see red candles against green walls and more green matted prints/paintings.
Looking back down the hall from the attic stairs as Kevin is told goodnight by his Mom, and he is telling her that he would be happy if his family just disappeared.
Here’s the attic room where Kevin spends the night. It was dark out “supposedly” when this scene was shot, but I bet this would be a cool room during the daytime with light streaming in through the dormer windows.
Kevin has an older brother named Buzz and this is his room in the movie.
Buzz’s room may be the least red and green room in the house. Although, now that I’m looking a little closer…that may be green and red pinstriped wallpaper.
A lot of the scenes in the movie take place in the Master Bedroom and Kitchen. Let’s check those rooms out next…
The night before the family is scheduled to leave, Kate McCallister is busy packing. Too bad she didn’t have a wireless phone with a bluetooth headset, huh? Wallpaper was big back when this movie was made in 1990. The red/green color scheme continues in the wallpaper, bed linens and picture matting.
When Kevin wakes up the next morning, he heads for the Master bedroom in search of his parents.
Once he realizes he is “home alone,” he starts having some fun. What kid doesn’t like jumping on the bed?
All red bed linens?! Wow! Well, it is Christmas! They even double pillow-cased the pillows, so no white would be peaking out.
Here’s when I realized just how planned and coordinated every. single. shot. in this movie is. In this scene, they made sure to have Kevin’s green robe lying just so across the bed to further emphasize the red/green color scheme throughout the movie.
Would you ever use those drapes in this room with this wall paper? So interesting some of the choices they made for the set. I ADORE the 4-poster bed with the vines going up the posters. In this scene, Kevin is longingly looking at a photo of his family and wishing they had not disappeared.
A lot of scenes take place in the kitchen. Now keep in mind this movie was shot in 1990.
Green counter top, red pans…no details missed with the red/green color scheme. I do think these are the real counters…don’t think they were installed just for the movie. More wallpaper. Do you see the laundry chute and the built-in “Butler’s pantry?”
Microwave on the counter, but in this huge kitchen, who would care with all this counter space. Note the red curtains, red plates…even green dish washing liquid. If you ever doubted every single thing is planned for a movie set…green dish washing liquid would have to change your mind. LOL
Even a green rolling pin!
Adorable gingerbread house! Doesn’t this movie make you wish you could be adopted into this family? I see a cute window seat with red pillows.
Love the built in butler’s pantry/cabinetry…
Here’s another glimpse…complete with red and green china! If you were making or in this movie, do you think you’d be sick of red and green by the time it was over? Nah… You can see the door to the laundry chute in this pic.
Another shot across the kitchen/breakfast area. I love that back stairway! It is as nice as some main stairways! This is in the early part of the movie when Kevin first realizes he is alone and can do whatever he wishes. So he’s running, running, running through the house because there’s no one home to tell he can’t.
Some of the most funny scenes in the movie take place in the scary basement…the hanging handles look like a noose! Yikes!
Kevin has to come down here to wash clothes a few times…
And he is terrified of the evil furnace that lives down here. I can’t say as I blame him…this basement would creep me out, too.
We never get any great shots of the dining room…only a few glimpses. Again, red walls, green rugs. I do love the wall paper that we get a glimpse of here in the living room of the home.
A little bit more of the dining room. Wonder where those French doors go? Don’t these movie producers know we want to see everything!
This is a scene near the very end of the movie…just before Kevin’s Mom arrives back home. He has decorated the whole house for Christmas and he’s really missing his family. Note the green sofa, green drapes, red rug, red throw and the green and red patterned chair.
Another section of the living room…very traditional decor.
Here’s a few shots of the neighborhood from the movie. Not sure if these are really in the neighborhood or not…but I think some probably are.
So, this is the house I think seriously influenced some of the ways I’ve decorated my home, if in no other way than my love for using the colors red and green…but not quite in this volume. More than anything, I think this house spoke to me of the importance of family and togetherness. Have there been any movie houses that really spoke to you and influenced the way you decorated your home?
Love holiday movies? Here are three more favorites:
A Christmas Story