No matter what you’re doing, the first tinkling notes of that theme song take you back to the days when you’d park on the sofa (in the dark ages before on-demand TV) just in time to catch the opening shots of your favorite show: the home where your beloved characters lived, laughed, and loved.
In fact, in many of the most popular sitcoms, the homes are just as much part of the plot as the characters themselves. And although the shows typically weren’t filmed inside the houses portrayed on screen (the actors usually took place on a soundstage in Los Angeles), these fictional houses still hold a special place in the hearts of millions of fans.
One such iconic TV home, the “Brady Bunch” house, received a retro renovation in September when a group of design gurus and original cast members overhauled the interiors to match the 1970s-themed set we all know and love. The renovation was chronicled in an HGTV reality show, “A Very Brady Renovation,” and the results were nothing short of stunning.
The team accounted for every little design detail and went to great lengths to source the exact (or nearly identical) furniture, appliances, paint colors, and finishes that we grew up seeing on screen. You’d better believe they found that perfect shade of orange for those kitchen countertops!
So, after seeing the incredibly accurate results of this groovy renovation, we started to think: What other famous sitcom houses would we like to see restored? It turns out, there are plenty of great candidates.
And it’s worth noting that our list would have included the “Full House” Victorian home in San Francisco if it hadn’t already received a massive (and luxurious) overhaul last year (overseen by none other than the show’s creator and current owner of the home, Jeff Franklin). It’s back on the market, and Uncle Jesse would hardly recognize it!
Below, the legendary TV homes we’d love to see restored to their on-screen glory, a la Casa Brady.
The Cunningham house from ‘Happy Days’
We say Ayyy with a big thumbs-up to the prospect of this renovation. The six-bedroom, two-bathroom home used in establishing shots on “Happy Days” is currently off the market. However, if designers could get their hands on it, we’d definitely want to see how they pull off that memorable yellow and blue plaid wallpaper in the kitchen. And while a matching floral couch and curtains might sound like a lot, the Cunningham family was game for hosting this 1950s trend in their living room. We imagine sourcing the exact fabric could turn into quite a scavenger hunt.
The Sugarbaker & Associates design firm from ‘Designing Women’
Address: 1321 Scott Street, Little Rock, AR
The 1980s sitcom “Designing Women” was set in Atlanta, but the house that served as the fictional headquarters of Sugarbaker & Associates Design Firm is actually in Arkansas.
Known as Villa Marre, it’s a four-bedroom, 1.5-bath mansion built in 1881 that is on the National Register of Historic Places. A massive interior overhaul here would be tricky, as designers would have to observe the historical society’s rules when making any design or architectural changes. Still, we’d love to see them replicate that unforgettable—and elegant—staircase.
The Archie Bunker house from ‘All in the Family’
Address: 8970 Cooper Avenue, Flushing, NY
Through its bigoted lead character Archie Bunker, “All in the Family” revealed just how complicated families can be. This popular but controversial sitcom was set in Queens, NY, and for the exterior house shots the producers selected a nondescript 1,312-square-foot home that personified the vibe of the borough.
Bunker was known for living in the past, so for nostalgia’s sake we’d be game to see the original Bunker house restored. That floral wallpaper would probably be easier to track down than Bunker’s easy chair. The actual beat-up, stained chair is sitting in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
Mindy’s house from ‘Mork & Mindy’
Address: 1619 Pine Street, Boulder, CO
Nanoo, nanoo! The late ’70s comedy “Mork & Mindy” took place in Boulder, CO, where alien Mork shacks up with Mindy (a professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder). Production chose this beautiful Victorian for the exterior shot of Mindy’s home. The seven-bedroom, four-bathroom place last sold for a mere $80,000 in 1974, but visitors can see that the homeowners have kept up its architectural quirk and charm. The only noticeable changes to the exterior are the new shutters, white picket fence, and tall trees in the front yard.
The overhauled interiors would have to include the red sofa, plenty of wood paneling, and, of course, that famous egg chair.