It happens every December… the snow starts to fall here in Salt Lake City, I decorate our home exterior for the holidays, then proceed to share plenty of photos & videos of our house looking pretty covered under a blanket of snow, only to receive hundreds of messages with the same observation: “Your house looks strikingly similar to the Home Alone house!” We get this ALL the time (even from neighbors), and it’s honestly a wonderful compliment I love hearing. Let’s be real- that Chicago house in the movie is beyond beautiful. Anyway, in the spirit of Christmas, I thought it would be fun to analyze the Home Alone house together, shed some light on colonial architecture, and make some interesting exterior comparisons. Click through to talk about the famous Christmas movie house and colonial architecture with me (I promise it will be fun and educational!)…
First, let’s talk architecture and exteriors. I think a lot of people draw the conclusion that our homes look the same because they have the same style of architecture. Are they exactly the same? No. Can you read a very similar aesthetic and make the connection? Most definitely! To get more specific, both my home and the Home Alone house have a classic, Georgian colonial style architecture. What exactly does that mean?
Georgian colonials are typically identified by certain aesthetics and structural features:
- Symmetry- they’re very symmetrical homes
- Balanced multi-pane windows flanking the front door
- Stone or brick exterior
- A transom over a paneled front door, in the center of the home
- Side gables or a hipped roof
- Pediment or bulky crown and pilasters at the front entrance
- Exterior dentil moulding
- At least two stories
- Hard edges, lines, square or rectangular, boxy shape, 90 degree corners.
- Can often have: columns, a cornice, and window dormers
In short, colonial homes are very balanced in terms of composition and include plenty of classical, English details. Have you heard of the architect, Christopher Wren? He was famous for his colonial style architecture. He also designed Kensington Palace, one of the most famous Colonial style buildings. This was actually the first architect-inspired style in America, which is pretty cool! Check out this article for more beautiful Georgian colonial exterior inspiration. Am I boring you yet? Let’s switch gears.
I love living in a colonial home because they’re rare here in Utah (except the below image is a colonial in OUR neighborhood), and you all know I love balance and symmetry. It’s a very classic and traditional exterior look. I think our home checks many of the typical “Georgian Colonial” boxes, but given its not actually a historic home, and is a builder grade house built in the early 90’s… there are definitely some architectural shortcomings. Our house is obviously not as grand as others mentioned here, but the scale doesn’t bother me, nor does it make it less of a colonial. Emmett and I have been talking about other exterior updates, since our roof contract is signed and that project is on the docket for spring. We’ve talked about potentially adding a couple window dormers, reworking the columns and balcony railing, replacing windows, and updating the millwork. I would love to see traditional dentil moulding and corner quoins added, that you see with many colonial homes. Maybe someday! We have big plans, but first up- the roof is getting english-style slate tiles. I’m VERY excited for the update.
Ok, moving onto the film and the Home Alone house… some quick facts:
- It’s located in Chicago.
- According to Redfin, the home last sold in 2012 for $1.5 million (you can tour it here).
- For the movie, they actually only filmed the exterior of the home and the outdoor scenes… the interior shots were all filmed inside a two-story set they built inside a gymnasium.
- The interior color palette was intentionally designed with seasonal red, green, and gold hues (the entire set)… it was inspired by antique cards and Norman Rockwell paintings.
- They used a lot of traditional decor and furniture from designers like Schumacher and Ralph Lauren.
- The movie switches between cool and warm tones depending on where the family is located… when the McCallister family is together in Chicago, the decor tones are warm. In France, they are cooler.
Emmett and I just watched Home Alone last week. We watch it every holiday season- it’s one of our favorites. What holiday movies do you end up watching year after year? Is it on your list?!
Did you learn anything new- either about architecture or the movie set?! This was a fun and different type of post for me. I hope you enjoyed it! I have an interest in movie set design, so I also found this article to be a fun read: 15 Most Iconic Movie and TV Houses of All Time… of course the Home Alone house is included. Emmett and I have our fingers crossed for a big snowstorm, now that our exterior Christmas lights are installed. Ha!
*You can also learn more about this particular style of architecture here… this is a great source for Georgian architectural info.