The Stone Farmhouse in “Christmas in Connecticut”

by hookedonhouses on December 25, 2008

Christmas in Connecticut-stone farmhouse

I love old black and white movies. Especially romantic comedies. And if there’s a little Christmas thrown into the storyline, all the better! One of my favorites to watch at this time of year is Christmas in Connecticut with Barbara Stanwyck.

In the movie, Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck) writes a popular column in Smart Housekeeping, describing her daily life as a wife and mother, an accomplished cook and home decorator, on a farm in Connecticut.

Barbara Stanwyck in Christmas in Connecticut typewriter

But the truth is, Elizabeth is a single woman living in NYC who needs a recipe to boil water. As the camera pans to the window of her apartment, this is what we see instead of farmland:

Barbara Stanwyck Christmas in Connecticut NYC apartment

Her “Uncle Felix” (played by Hungarian-born S.Z. Sakall) runs a successful restaurant in the city, and she uses his recipes for the magazine column. The Connecticut farmhouse she writes about is actually her architect boyfriend’s.

arriving by sleigh

When her boss, publishing titan Alexander Yardley, invites himself to Christmas dinner and wants to bring along war hero Jefferson Jones as a sort of publicity stunt, Elizabeth and her boyfriend–now fiance–have to pretend to be married and living at the farmhouse.

photo 1-living room

Christmas in Connecticut fireplace 4

The curving stone fireplace is almost larger than life with the opening stretching above their heads and niches built-in for books and things.

Christmas in Connecticut fireplace 5

I tried to get a good shot of the fireplace, but it was difficult. The camera was always panning past it, or people were standing in front of it…

Christmas in Connecticut fireplace 1

In this shot you can see the built-in bookshelves on the other side of the fireplace, too:

built-in bookshelves

She brings “Uncle Felix” along to the farmhouse to cook, and they borrow a neighbor’s baby to play the part of baby Roberta. But then Elizabeth meets Jefferson Jones (Dennis Morgan) sparks fly, and complications ensue. Not to give anything away, but maybe she won’t marry John Sloan after all. . .

photo 3-Jefferson Jones shows up

John’s den with bar:

John Sloan's study

Sydney Greenstreet, a well-known character actor, played Alexandra Yardley, Elizabeth’s publisher. I love when he says, “What a Christmas!” at the end of the movie and can’t stop laughing.

John Sloan's bar

Jefferson helps Elizabeth bathe the baby in the bathroom. “Are you sure the baby’s name is Robert?” Oops. “I mean, Roberta!”

photo-4-bathroom1

This looks like the perfect place to spend Christmas to me…

photo 5-living room

Jefferson wins Elizabeth over by singing Christmas carols while she trims the tree:

photo 6-trimming the tree

Her fiance John starts to feel a little left out, though…

John Sloan-living room

According to the IMDB website, the set was the same one used in the Cary Grant-Katharine Hepburn rom-com Bringing Up Baby in 1938. I found that interesting because I loved that house, too.

12/10 UPDATE: I wrote a post about Bringing Up Baby, so you can see how the sets compare.

photo 8-staircase

Jefferson and Elizabeth in the upstairs hallway. (These are the kinds of outfits I like to hang out in when I’m in my Connecticut farmhouse, too.)

photo-7-upstairs-hallway

Felix teaches Elizabeth how to flip flapjacks:

photo-8-felix-flapjacks

Love the Dutch door in the kitchen. So does this cow, which has wandered to the house from the barn:

photo-9-dutch-door

Sitting around the kitchen table:

kitchen table

Housekeeper Norah proclaims this “The best kitchen in Connecticut!”

photo 10-kitchen

A shot of the pretty guest bedroom:

Jefferson & Elizabeth-guest room

I like the fireplace in the bedroom with the slanted wall above it. Gotta love all the dormers in this house!

photo-12-bedroom

The war hero’s fiancee shows up to complicate things further:

fiancee arrives

But everything gets straightened out in the end and Elizabeth and Jefferson fall in love. Unfortunately, when Elizabeth chooses Jefferson, she must leave John’s farmhouse behind, so the ending isn’t a totally happy one (in my opinion!).

Christmas in Connecticut-covered in snow

Elizabeth’s character was supposedly based on popular Family Circle magazine columnist Gladys Taber, who lived on Stillmeadow Farm in Connecticut. But unlike Elizabeth, Gladys was the real deal who wrote something like 50 books about cooking and homemaking.

Christmas in Connecticut-house outside door

4/10 UPDATE: Susan Turnley says that Taber was not really the inspiration for the movie:

Apparently this rumor came about many years ago when the IMDb.com website began annotating movies for readers. There were paid-by-the-hour workers who had to come up with newsy notes about the movies. One of them cooked up the line: “…Gladys Taber, whose column ‘Butternut Wisdom’ ran in Family Circle Magazine from before World War II until the 1970?s…” Fans of Gladys know that the Butternut Wisdom column didn’t start until 1959, 14 years after the movie.

From late 1937 to the end of 1957, Gladys had a column entitled “Diary of Domesticity” that ran in Ladies Home Journal. BTW, Gladys always said that the title of that column was forced on her and “it was a bad title but a pretty good column.” The family says they are sure the character of Elizabeth Lane was not based on Gladys, but the rumor has gone viral on the internet. I do feel that it doesn’t hurt getting her name out to more people: our goal is to get more people reading her books.

Christmas in Connecticut farmhouse 1

8/10 UPDATE: I just got this note from Anne Colby about the Gladys Taber connection to the movie:

Taber was my grandmother, and my family still owns Stillmeadow Farm. But I have to correct Susan Turnley’s post a bit, since my family actually has always believed — and hoped — that the movie was indeed loosely based on my grandmother’s Ladies Home Journal column “Diary of Domesticity” (I know, what a title). We’ve never tried to pin this down, however, so we’d welcome any confirmation/thoughts.

Taber’s column was one of the Journal’s most popular columns ever, and in 1945, the monthly essay was nationally well-known and at the height of its success. Apparently during the war, copies of Ladies Home Journal were sometimes included in care packages sent to troops overseas, and my family has a wonderful fan letter sent to my grandmother from a WWII soldier who had read her columns while in the service, and wrote that the soldiers had found comfort in her portrait of hometown America.

Beyond the basic plot point, however, the similarity ends — since Gram really lived on her (very simple) CT farm, and her cookbooks, while delicious, were not exactly low-fat — so she would have envied Barbara Stanwyck’s glamorous look!

So interesting. Thanks, Anne!

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Kristin December 25, 2008 at 5:21 pm

One of my all time favorite B/W movies is “Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House.” Most of the movie is about the house being under construction, so it probably won’t be considered, but I love it. Cary Grant was one of my favorite actors.

Susan Smith December 25, 2008 at 6:12 pm

Loved the cliff notes! I live in CT, and there is a converted barn/house for sale down the street. Will peek in during the next open house!

Is it me, or does the living room look like it would a perfect retail space?

~Susan

Janice December 25, 2008 at 7:14 pm

I have been scouring the Internet for this farmhouse! I read yesterday that you were doing a piece on it and have been glued to the site ever since. My presents didn’t get wrapped until after midnight b/c I couldn’t pull myself away from this site. I absolutely love it here! Please rent Bringing up Baby and snap some more pics. I’m dying to see more! I feel in love with this house years ago from the Baby movie!

Jan December 25, 2008 at 7:33 pm

Just dropping in to wish you a Merry Christmas!!

~Blessings,
Jan & Tom

The Summer Kitchen Girls` December 25, 2008 at 8:27 pm

HOw funny….haven’t seen this one in YEARS…however, we love Bringing Up Baby and just watched it last month…no wonder this house looked familiar!
Enjoy your Christmas Julia!! We’ve so enjoyed visiting you this year!!
Karla & Karrie

Mary Kay Andrews December 25, 2008 at 9:01 pm

My favorite old movie is Sabrina. Remember the amazing Larrabee family estate on Long Island, where Sabrina and her chauffeur father live above the garage? That’s where I wanna live.

Pat December 25, 2008 at 9:03 pm

In the movie, Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House, there is a dream sequence. Murial dreams of a white colonial type home, I think, while Jim dreams of a hunting lodge, sort of half timbered and stone house. It’s Jim Blanding’s dream home that I would love to see more of. There were no interiors, just that shot of him standing outside. There is a home on the way to our daughter’s that I always call Mr Blanding’s house, because it’s very much like the one he dreams of.

I was wondering where I had seen the Christmas in Connecticut house. Now you’ve solved the mystery. I like the house, very much.

Enjoy your holiday! We’ll be heading to the lake early next week. We had a wonderful Christmas with our children, today.

Kellye December 25, 2008 at 11:12 pm

Thanks for this post, Julia. I just watched this movie for the first time a few months ago.

My Mom said that the bathroom shown in the movie wasn’t very modern. Her mother built a bathroom during WW II in what used to be a coal room. It had a walk-in shower and a separate tub. Of course, my grandmother was particularly fashionable and it had to be very new!

marilyn @ simmer till done December 26, 2008 at 12:02 am

Julia – Christmas in Connecticut is one of my all-time favorites! We just saw it for the umpteenth time the other night, and I turned to Greg and said, “just LOOK at that house. It’s like my dream faux-rustic place in Connecticut!” Thanks so much for the perfect post. Happy Holidays to you and yours. :)

Robin December 26, 2008 at 12:36 am

Julia, this is my favorite Christmas movie although I have been unable to watch it this year. I even did my own blog post about it at http://robinsblessednest.blogspot.com/2008/12/true-meaning-of-christmas-from-funny.html! Thank you for posting these pictures…what a beautiful house and pastoral setting. I would love to curl up in one of those chairs in the living room, wouldn’t you? I would love to know how you snap pictures while watching a movie…didn’t even know that was possible! Merry Christmas!

Mom in High Heels December 26, 2008 at 3:13 am

I love that movie! The stone on the outside of the house is dreamy! And I too love to wear long dresses and fur shrugs when I hang out around the house. I hope we don’t bump into each other wearing the same thing. How embarrassing!
If you love old b&w movies with an awesome house (lots of views of the house int he movie) and a holiday theme, you NEED to do a video tour the house in Holiday Inn. Best. Christmas. Movie. Ever. We watch it every Christmas Eve. It’s the movie that the song White Christmas was first sung in. It’s got Bing Crosby and Fred Astair. What’s not to like? Interestingly, the farm house in Holiday Inn looks remarkably like the farm house the General owns in White Christmas (which IMO is a poor man’s Holiday Inn). Oh, and they do a movie within a movie thing, so you get to actually see the set, which thrills me. So many people have never seen or even heard of this movie. It distresses me. I’m on a mission to make everyone want to watch it. If you’ve never seen it, please do so! You will not regret it. Plus, the house! Dreamy!

Marsha December 26, 2008 at 6:06 am

Hi Julia – I love the window by the piano and all the furniture of that era. A lovely old home !
And don’t you love the clothes they wore from that era ? Bring back the hat I say !!
Another brilliant post !

Angela December 26, 2008 at 8:41 am

This is one of my all-time favorite movies! I’ve always loved the farmhouse in the film, and would love to build one like it someday (I may have to tweak the kitchen just a little, though). That fireplace in the living room is to die for!

Melissa (Missy) December 26, 2008 at 8:59 am

I just love old B$W movies as well. I hope that you and your family had a Wonderful and Merry Christmas!

Blessings,
Melissa

Dawn Gahan December 26, 2008 at 9:56 am

OH MY GOSH. You had me at Dutch door.

Love this house. Also loved the one that Nicole Kidman lives in as the modern Bewitched. As well as Lucy and Ricky’s Connecticut house (minus the kitchen which I always thought lacked personality) and the house in the original version of Father of the Bride (1950).

Happy New Year!

Dawn

Dawn Gahan December 26, 2008 at 9:58 am

Gotta add, although it’s not a house. . . the Columbia Inn from White Christmas!

Dawn

Scarlett December 26, 2008 at 9:59 am

I have just recently found this amazing “blog world” and yours is one that I love to pieces. I have always loved the houses in movies, pretty much more than the characters,but don’t forget TV houses. As a child, I wanted to live in the houses from “Leave it to Beaver”, “Donna Reed”, and “Father Knows Best”, and especially “Ozzie and Harriet”. The farmhouse from “I Love Lucy” was fantastic, too. Some of my friends think I’m weird, but I always notice the houses and decorating in movies, to the point that I kinda want to push the actors out of the way when they’re blocking my view. It’s nice to know that there are others out there that understand my “sickness”. Thanks and Merry Christmas!

Angela December 26, 2008 at 11:02 am

Thanks for sharing! I love the old movies! If I am correct, it seems that the house in “All that Heaven Allows” (Jane Wyman) is pretty cool for it’s time. And I’m sure the house from “Mommy Dearest” is pretty sweet too!
Hope you had a merry Christmas!
~angela

Laura December 26, 2008 at 12:00 pm

I love that you posted all these photos from the house. I looked for them as well online when I posted for your holiday house tour but there were none to be found. I see I’m not the only fan of this great old film!

lylah ledner December 26, 2008 at 3:46 pm

I’m enjoying reading about the old homes. Think I want one. :-)

Thanks for your scoop on your Wii. It helps subside my guilt.

Blessings…lylah

Beth December 26, 2008 at 4:44 pm

I’ll second the mentions of the inn from White Christmas! It’s been a LONG time, but I remember thinking the house in North by Northwest with Cary Grant was cool – one of those modern, mostly glass ones built into the side of a mountain. It wasn’t b&w, but I also got a kick out of the two houses in Christmas Vacation. The Griswold’s was a slightly more classic, while the neighbors’ was pure 80s “modern.” Thanks for the Christmas present, Julia!

hookedonhouses December 26, 2008 at 5:03 pm

You guys are giving me some great ideas for future movie/TV posts. I’m writing them all down. Thanks!! -Julia :-)

Ramona Owen December 26, 2008 at 5:49 pm

Merry Christmas Julia ~ I just thought that I would swing by and say howdy and wish you and yours a blessed and rest~filled holiday. Great post! I am know off to bake cookies and watch movies…two of my favorite ways to pass the time…besides blogging around the Universe.

So good to know you!

Smiles ~ Ramona

Donna December 27, 2008 at 2:11 am

Thanks so much for these pictures. I, too, have always loved this movie and the house. It was wonderful getting to “study” it. All the old movies have great houses. They all seem to have huge bedrooms with sunny window seats and fireplaces in all the rooms.
Yes, I do have a request. The farm house in the movie “The Great Lie” with Bette Davis. I LOVE that house. Her bedroom has a wonderful balcony that looks out on the back lawn. I’d LOVE to see this house. Thanks. LOVE your blog!

Karen December 27, 2008 at 10:37 am

This is my favorite so far. I miss the days of wallpaper and oval portraits and elaborate drapes. Not that I lived them, but you know what I mean!

Fifi Flowers December 27, 2008 at 1:13 pm

The house… set… reminds me of the house that Ricky and Lucy moved to in the Country… from I Love Lucy!
Hope you are ENJOY this holiday season!
Fifi

Jim December 27, 2008 at 2:27 pm

Love these movie house posts!

I want to suggest Mary’s country house from the orig The Women(1939) – her city house isn’t too shabby either!

Also – how about Auntie Mame?… her apt decor corresponds with any new interest and changes many times thruout the movie.

Tam December 27, 2008 at 7:12 pm

Great Post! I love old movies too! I think one of my all time fav’s is “Don’t eat the daisy’s” staring Doris Day-I am a big fan of her movies. My kids and husband say her personality (crossed with Lucille Ball) in her movies are just like mine-silly people I don’t know about that! Lol! Well maybe just a little-haha! But as I remember that was a very interesting home in that movie as well. Hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas!
Happy New Year Dear Blogging Buddy!
~Smiles~Tam!

Tam December 27, 2008 at 7:20 pm

P.S. Lol! I know that Doris Day movie is not a Christmas movie -but it is a fav of mine. You know what house I really liked in TV land was Samantha Steven’s home in Bewitched! As a kid I thought it was pretty high tech and cool-the oven and stove did some very cool things! If you ever get to see an episode where they are using it you will see what I mean. And in fact those very stoves were actually a type that was sold. Of course they didnt do everything the Steven’s stove did. Funny how those kinds of things would stick in my little kid mind huh? Anyhow just had to add that! :D

Bramble December 27, 2008 at 8:20 pm

This was one of my all time favorite movie houses too! But Mr Blandings Builds his Dream house is tied along with the house in Baby Boom!! And “The Father of The Bride House” … Did you know that they remade Christmas in Ct with Dyan Cannon in the 70’s? Her house was fabulous too!

If you look very carefully at the original movie set, some of it looks like the CT. Living room and kitchen of Lucy and Ricky fame!
Maybe they “recycled some components of it for the show?!
Have a wonderful New Year!

Bettsi December 28, 2008 at 1:35 am

Hi Julia! Merry Christmas!!! I’m so busy and so behind on blogs, but I enjoyed the tour of the darling stone cottage very much. I am a sucker for Dutch doors. Great house- wish it were real, instead of just “reel”! Best wishes to you and yours.

Lisa December 28, 2008 at 11:59 am

Wouldnt that be just the funnest house to decorate and live in? Although it looks great as is…

I hope you had a great holiday, and an even more terrific new year, Dear Julia!

i love that weve met, here in blog land!!!
xoxo from the beach
lisa
coastalnest

Derek December 28, 2008 at 5:37 pm

Thanks for doing this movie. One of the lesser know Christmas movies.

Now do My favoriate. The Bishops Wife , with Cary Grant and Loretta Young.

Amy December 28, 2008 at 9:30 pm

I vote for Holiday Inn too! Love that movie- and the house is to die for. My husband and I have joked about having someone design a house for us based on the movie- when we have the $$$ for it of course.

sandra/tx December 29, 2008 at 12:32 am

Julia, I love old movies, too, and can’t believe I’ve never seen this one. It almost seems like a movie that could be adapted for today, huh?

I’m trying to think of an old movie or two that I’d like to see more of, but I’m at a loss. Actually, “Sleeping with the Enemy” has a couple of neat homes. The first one is that contemporary beachfront property Julia Roberts shares with her mean husband. The second one is the little cottage she escapes to far away from said mean jerk.

Sandy December 29, 2008 at 7:53 am

Awesome photo’s it sure looks like a cozy place to spend the holidays. How I wish I could have a holiday in such a nice place (of course if it was real).. thanks for these memorable pictures.

marie December 29, 2008 at 4:32 pm

This is my all-time, hands-down, favorite Christmas movie. EVER!! I have it on my dvr and it’s NEVER going to be deleted. I’m shocked to see how many of your commenters haven’t seen it before! AACK! lol I also loooooove Little Women (the version with June Allyson), White Christmas (where they go help the owner of an inn in Vermont…I want to stay at the inn in the worst way!! lol)

Melissa Lewis - Off The Wall December 29, 2008 at 6:54 pm

Ive never seen this movie before, so I enjoyed the tour of this old home. So pretty and charming. I love the tinsel all over their Christmas Tree, no one uses tinsel anymore… why not? Sure it’s messy, but it’s oh so pretty!

Pat Layton December 29, 2008 at 8:02 pm

Julia,
I love the name of your blog but really, you should issue a warning to go along with the name…..a girl like me needs to know that I WILL GET HOOKED on “Hooked on House”. Your blog is wonderful! I love these old movies as well but have not seen this one for quite a long time. I had FORGOTTEN how much I loved that outfit Elizabeth wears in the visit to the farmhouse scene. I want that little white jacket!
Happy New Year!!

Gretchen December 31, 2008 at 9:37 pm

Thank you so much for posting these pics. If we ever rebuild, this is the house for me. I had already bought both “Christmas in CT” and “Bringing Up Baby” just so I could drool over the house, but your putting photos on here is just great. I love the Blandings house and the “Holiday Inn” house, too. In fact almost any Hollywood set of farmhouses in the 30’s and 40’s are wonderful.

Leah January 4, 2009 at 9:37 am

I’m glad someone has posted something about this house! One of the best parts about black and white movies – after the crazy house dresses and hair the women wear as everyday attire – are the houses and their contents. Since Mr. Blandings has gotten plenty of mention I’ll add Holiday Inn (before Bing turns it into an inn/club). My husband is a builder and each time we watch movies like this I’m constantly hitting pause so he can remember a detail as if they are able to be replicated in real life.

I’m a fan of the house int he first season of the Doris Day show as well.

Janet January 4, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Julia,

I just love this movie and was lucky enough to watch it with my 91 y.o.parents this year. Don’t you wish you could go out for a ride in a sleigh( even if you did get arrested)?? Love the house and Uncle Felix and sometimes find myself in what I call “my Elizabeth Lane frame of mind”

Happy New Year and thanks for 340 great posts.

Janet

Carl January 10, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Does anyone know the real names of the two babies in the 1945 version of Christmas In Connecticut?

Ron Hildebrand February 2, 2009 at 12:14 am

I luckily found this thread trying to locate some information on the house in “Bringing Up Baby” and “Christmas in Connecticut”. As seems to be the consensus here, I think that’s a great looking house! It seems to me to be a timeless design, and would work just as well with a very contemporary interior as the more rustic look found in “Baby”. I also agree the interiors between “Baby” and “Connecticut” do not look like the same house, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was completely different from one film to the other–perhaps it’s just the exteriors that are the same?

I can also shed a bit of light on two of the other houses mentioned in this thread, those being the house in “Mr. Blandings” and “North by Northwest”. The NbyNW house was pretty much a matte painting, with some of the base of the house and the cantilever beams constructed for Cary Grant to climb around on. It was designed to look like a Frank Lloyd Wright house, which, before I learned tht the house never really existed, is what I thought it might have been!

http://www.flickr.com/groups/mid-century/discuss/72157594261231182/
http://www.jetsetmodern.com/modatmovies.htm

The Blandings house (at least one of two that were constructed–one for the “finished” home and one for the “under construction” home) still exists. It’s used as a park headquarters building in Calabasas, California.

To see a very good arial view in Live Maps, go to maps.live.com and enter the coordinates:

Las Virgenes and Waycross Dr, Calabasas CA

In the image window, click on “Bird’s Eye View”. (Bird’s Eye gives you a closeup arial view.) You’ll see an orange arrow box at the intersection of Las Virgenes and Waycross, and immediately to the south of that intersection, you’ll see a group of two buildings surrounded by some parking areas. The larger building is the Blandings House itself. You may recognize the dormer windows in the roof of the smaller end of the house, and the gently “s” curved walkway up to the front door. And the tree at the corner of the house shown in the ending frames is huge now-bigger than the larger half of the house, and covering much of the southwest corner of the lot. It looks like there’s been an addition to the rear, but I’m not sure we ever got a look at that area in the film, so it, too, may be original. Unfortunately, the upper storey has been painted “Forest Service Brown”, completely destroying the look of the house–leave it to the government, huh? :)

And immediately to the west (maybe a mile or so?) is the location of the set of MASH (the TV series, not the film AFAIK.

If anyone lives near there and can get some shots of the current state of the house, it would be great to see them posted somewhere! I’ve searched Google as thoroughly as I can without any success.

Ron

trent April 12, 2009 at 8:01 pm

clinton indiana hicks ville u s a

the living room looks alot like the house lucy and ricky buy in the later years of I love Lucy

Jacey April 27, 2009 at 4:25 am

I also love the house in “Holiday Inn” starring Bing Crosby. One of my favorite interiors is the apartment in “Eyes Wide Shut” with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Strange movie but wonderful set decoration for their apartment.

Nita H July 12, 2009 at 11:11 pm

I wonder if this set is the same as the movie Leave Her to Heaven with Gene Tierney?

Richard Orton October 3, 2009 at 3:19 am

I love movies with sets designed in something called “Connecticut Farmhouse vernacular”, best examples found in “Bringing Up Baby” and “Swing Time” both made at RKO about 1937, I think they re-worked the set for use in both films. There’s great stonework, whitewashed beams, and dutch doors everywhere. I like “Christmas in Connecticut” sets too. It was made during the war at Warner Brothers, so it’s not likely to have re-used the sets from RKO. “Mr Blandings”, “Holiday Inn” and “Imitation of Life” all have great sets in the CFVernacular. Last week I visited Connecticut and saw in person a house very close to my ideal: Hill-Stead Farm in Farmington, Ct • http://www.flickr.com/photos/7384797@N02/3972985679/ and it has a great story behind it. It was designed in 1898 by a young Theodate Pope for her wealthy parents to house their Impressionist art collection, still inside for public view today. Built on the top of a hill, it’s full of dutch doors, terraces, molding details, great views and landscaping. The side entrance looks like it inspired the set in “Holiday Inn”. Some years later she survived the sinking of the Lusitania.

Richard Orton October 3, 2009 at 3:45 am

Just thought of one more film in the Connecticut Farmhouse vernacular: “Invitation” 1952 MGM starring Van Johnson and Dorothy McGuire. It’s a chic flick. She’s an invalid about to kick off at any moment. He’s a young architect who redid an old barn so the interiors are pretty nice, timeless in my opinion. The exterior is an ugly back lot contraption but the studio set interiors are great.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044751/

Richard Orton October 3, 2009 at 3:57 am

If you are into staircases, the best one belongs to “Auntie Mame”!
But that same Warners set was used for almost 20 years in different movies and TV shows. Here’s where I’ve spotted it…
“Bright Leaf” 1950 Gary Cooper
“Tea for Two” 1950 Doris Day
“Strangers on a Train” 1951 Robert Walker
“So Big” 1952 Jane Wyman
“Band of Angeles” 1957 Clark Gable
“Spirit of St Louis” 1957 James Stweart
“Auntie Mame” 1958 Rosalind Russell
“Summer Place” 1959 Troy Donahue
“Parrish” 1961 Troy Donahue
“Rome Adventure” 1962 Troy Donahue
“Oceans Eleven” 1960 Frank Sinatra
Once in Architectural Digest I saw a photo spread of Jack Warner’s house and it has a staircase almost identical to this one. Isn’t that curious.

Marija Riska December 7, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Love this Christmas movie from the very first time I had seen it (many years ago) – I would move into this house today, if I had the opportunity. It is cozy, roomy, great details & not too big – get the fuzzies just looking at it. Love the “Blanding House” also. Thank you for posting, what fun!

Richard Orton February 11, 2010 at 1:41 am

Here is the link to the YouTube I posted showing the “Auntie Mame”staircase in 6 or 7 other films. Enjoy.
.-= Richard Orton´s last blog ..Gisela May – Kessel Buntes 1981 m. Fernsehballett – Mame =-.

Richard Orton February 11, 2010 at 1:45 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61xwm0QDrqQ

The Auntie Mame staircase used in many other films, this is the YouTube link

Ron H March 24, 2010 at 12:31 pm

I’d have to question whether the “Christmas in Connecticut” house is the one from “Bringing Up Baby”. The exteriors for ” Connecticut” are obviously shot in studio with studio lighting, while the exteriors for the “Baby” house are shot of a real structure outdoors in genuine sunlight. (The stonework of the two houses seem to be substantially different, too.) The interiors for at least the main living/dining area for “Baby” appear a bit more rustic, with very heavy, exposed beams and stone walls, than those in “Connecticut”. Now, it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen “Christmas in Connecticut”, so my comment on the interiors for “Connecticut” is based on the above photos, while I have a copy of “Baby” that I’ve referenced. (I’d be happy to send a couple screen caps.)

I think the houses share similarities in construction and “feel”, but are probably not the same structure from the exterior, or even the main interior sets. (Perhaps some of the interior rooms with plastered walls were the same sets, however.)

Ron H
Reno NV

Robbie April 4, 2010 at 10:33 pm

I love your site!!! I thought i was the only house nut out there.
I would love to se you add the Jumanji house , Please dont eat the Daiseys, Antie Mame.
Thanks
Robbie Ciaccia

Joy October 7, 2010 at 7:29 pm

I totally agree. What a awsome site. Im so glad I stumbled on it too. I am fascinated with all things houses & also love the Bringing up Baby house. What a bout the victorian house in Its a Wonderful life? Thanks so much for such great info.. Keep it going…

hookedonhouses October 7, 2010 at 7:33 pm

So glad to meet fellow movie-house fans. :)

I have covered “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies” and “Auntie Mame,” and you can find the links here: http://hookedonhouses.net/houses-onscreen/.

I’ll be posting about “Bringing Up Baby” in November. And I really should do “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Thanks for the suggestions! -Julia

Karen May 2, 2010 at 12:11 pm

“Christmas in Connecticut” is my kind of dream house. For years, i have wondered if it is the same house as “Bringing up Baby” so I guess I wasn’t the only one who is reminded of that! Well, maybe they just used the same sets…

Anyway, love your site! Karen

Anne Colby August 4, 2010 at 7:28 pm

What a lovely site! Just a quick note regarding Gladys Taber’s magazine column as a possible inspiration for this movie: Taber was my grandmother, and my family still owns Stillmeadow Farm. But I have to correct Susan Turnley’s post a bit, since my family actually has always believed- and hoped- that the movie was indeed loosely based on my grandmother’s Ladies Home Journal column “Diary of Domesticity”(I know, what a title). We’ve never tried to pin this down, however, so we’d welcome any confirmation/thoughts. Taber’s column was one of the Journal’s most popular columns ever, and in 1945, the monthly essay was nationally well-known and at the height of its success. Apparently during the war, copies of Ladies Home Journal were sometimes included in care packages sent to troops overseas, and my family has a wonderful fan letter sent to my grandmother from a WWII soldier who had read her columns while in the service, and wrote that the soldiers had found comfort in her portrait of hometown America. Beyond the basic plot point, however, the similarity ends– since Gram really lived on her (very simple) CT farm, and her cookbooks, while delicious, were not exactly low-fat– so she would have envied Barbara Stanwyck’s glamorous look!

Again- enjoyed this site– Anne C.

hookedonhouses August 4, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Anne–
I’m so excited to hear from you and get more information about your grandmother. After I wrote this post a couple of years ago, a reader sent me four of the Stillmeadow books that had been his mother’s (the way Barbara Stanwyck was sent gifts from her readers in the movie!). I have really enjoyed reading them and am now a fan of her work. Thanks for taking the time to tell us a little more about her and her column! -Julia

Janice August 21, 2010 at 11:28 am

interesting that we have the same name and are both deeply in love with the house from Bringing up Baby — saw it again last night on TCM and was frustrated that the camera moves so quickly in the scenes that you don’t get time to drink it in. The difference in the houses’ staircases is that the one in Baby is metal and stone, not traditional wood. If anyone ever finds out more about this set I’d love to hear about it!

Gretchen September 12, 2010 at 1:17 pm

I watched “Leave Her To Heaven” the other day and would love for you to get pictures of the inside of that house. It is absolutely divine!

Gretchen

Gretchen September 15, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Just read Ann Colby’s post. I adore the Gladys Taber books and got my best friend reading her, too. She always made us want to clean our houses–not something we usually want to do! She must have been a lovely lady.

Lee J. Rydzewski September 20, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Hello! I know it’s late to posting a comment on this blog. I noticed that the other comments where dated 2008. I had stumbled across your blog while researching if it was too early to start decorating for fall today! I have found that a lot of people have beat me to it… Well, I love the house featured in this blog from “A Christmas in Connecticut! I could only dream of home to such a gorgeous house! LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! Love your blogs! Thank you!

hookedonhouses October 7, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Better late than never! Thanks, Lee. -Julia :-)

pat rizzo October 26, 2010 at 4:51 pm

I love your website!! I love the movie Holiday Inn and was curious to see if there
was a real Inn or was it a sound stage. I did some investigating and found out
that the Inn still exists!! Of course there have been some changes since the movie
but the new name of the Inn is The Village Inn and it is located in Monte Rio
California. The address is 20822 River Blvd, Monte Rio California. They had
kept the name Holiday Inn for many years and now it is called The
Village Inn.

Rick Ritchie December 20, 2010 at 2:09 am

Great post. I only wish the photos included one of the fireplace. Though I couldn’t find such a picture through Google images when I looked. I just watched the movie again tonight and found this post while looking for background information about the movie.

hookedonhouses December 20, 2010 at 3:52 pm

You’re right! I just added a few, but it was hard to get any really good shots of it. -Julia

Rick Ritchie December 20, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Thanks! Love those shots. That fireplace made the house, in my mind. I knew it had made an impression on you, too, as you had mentioned it early on in the original post.

Laurie December 22, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Found you when I asked Google “when can I watch Christmas in Connecticut?!” This is my favorite EVER movie. Thank you for the stills of the house! I am SO happy to know the Gladys Tabor connection. I suspected so after reading Still Meadow Seasons (which I found in a 25cent pile at a used book store a few years ago – it was rather weathered) I was an instant fan! I have collected quite a few for my “snow pile”. I recently moved to Vermont after living most of my life in California. I am looking forward to making my way through the collection and the cook book. How exciting to know that Stillmeadow Farm is still owned by the family. I was hoping that it was open for tours by now. It’s on my bucket list! Merry Christmas.

Jennifer in DC December 27, 2010 at 6:48 pm

I still think the house in Holiday Inn is the BEST ever–I watch the movie several times every Christmas and have been thinking of building it since my childhood. It is warm and inviting and so Connecticut. The epitome for me.

I also like cottages and love Joseph Cotton’s english cottage in the Movie Love letters with Jennifer Jones. It is also very very charming-small but charming with all the bells and whistles–in 1947.

Donna Shuford May 28, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Three of my favorite houses are : #l. Lucy & Ricky in Connecticut (Westport) l957.

2. l939 version of “The Women” in Norma Shearer’s house on L.I.

3. Dark Victory house in Vermont

Barbara August 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm

OMG! So glad there are others who loved this movie and loved this farmhouse! However, I am a little confused. Has it been said exactly where this farmhouse was, who it belonged to, and who designed it (assuming it is real)? I could not be sure from the description of the film whether or not this farmhouse was Stillmeadow Farm (Taber family) or something else. But, oh yes! absolutely a fabulous house! It would do my heart good to learn it was/is the real deal and any facts about the house. Thanks for a great (and super fun) blog!

hookedonhouses August 27, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Sorry for the confusion. I don’t think the farmhouse was real. It was just a set built for the movie.

Rumor is that Barbara Stanwyck’s character was based on Gladys Taber and her farm. Others dispute that. But I know for sure that this wasn’t actually filmed at Stillmeadow Farm. I’ve seen photos of it and it looks very different.

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