“Notting Hill:” Hugh Grant’s House with the Blue Door

by hookedonhouses on September 13, 2009

Notting Hill movie sets blue door

Remember that blue door that led to Hugh Grant’s flat in the romantic comedy Notting Hill? That was the real-life home of the movie’s writer Richard Curtis, but the interiors were filmed on a soundstage. I thought it would be fun to take a closer look at both! (UPDATE: The real home is now for sale. You can see the photos here.)

Notting Hill movie blue door

The exteriors were filmed mostly on location in Notting Hill and Portobello Road.When you step inside the blue door to William’s flat, this is what you see:

Hugh Grant's flat in Notting Hill 1

Looking up into the kitchen:

Hugh Grant's flat in Notting Hill movie 2

The production designer was Stuart Craig, who is also known for his work on the Harry Potter films. It was his job to make the sets look real and lived in.

Hugh Grant's flat in Notting Hill movie 3

Hugh Grant plays William Thacker, the owner of a travel bookshop who unexpectedly meets Anna Scott (Julia Roberts), a famous movie star, when she visits his store one day. After spilling orange juice all over her, he offers her the use of his bathroom to clean up. He frantically tries to pick up some of the mess while she changes:

Hugh Grant's flat in Notting Hill movie 4

Anna (Julia Roberts) goes upstairs to change:

Hugh Grant's flat in Notting Hill movie 5

Curtis explained the inspiration for the story:

“I would sometimes wonder what it would be like if I just turned up at my friends’ house, where I used to have dinner once a week, with the most famous person at that time, be it Madonna or whomever. It all sprang from there. How would my friends react? Who would try and be cool? How would you get through dinner? What would they say to you afterwards?”

Hugh Grant's flat in Notting Hill movie 6

Hugh Grant's flat in Notting Hill movie 7

Remember the Chagall painting in the kitchen? Anna gives William the original in the movie.

Chagall painting in Notting Hill movie

The producers had a reproduction made for use in the film, but they had to get permission from the painting’s owners, as well as clearance from the British Design and Artists Copyright Society. They also had to agree to destroy it afterwards because of concerns that the fake might be too convincing.

According to Wikipedia, the real canvas could be worth between $500,000 and $1 million. So, yeah, that was quite a gift she gave him!

Hugh Grant's flat in Notting Hill movie 9

Hugh Grant's flat in Notting Hill movie 10

Hugh Grant's flat in Notting Hill movie 12

William and Anna on the roof:

Hugh Grant's flat in Notting Hill movie 8

When the paparazzi descends on William’s flat, his roommate Spike (Rhys Ifans) poses for them in his underwear:

Rhys Ifans in underwear outside the blue door Notting Hill

William’s travel bookstore:

Hugh Grant's Travel Bookstore Notting Hill

Hugh Grant's Travel Bookstore Notting Hill 1

Hugh Grant's Travel Bookstore Notting Hill 2

I always get a little teary at the final scene in the movie when William and Anna are sitting on the park bench together, and (spoiler alert!) the camera pans around to show that she’s pregnant…

Hugh Grant Julia Roberts Notting Hill movie

Notting Hill became the highest grossing British film that had been released up to that point. Before the movie, the area’s real estate was fairly affordable. Thanks to the movie’s success, housing prices shot up. Richard Curtis himself, the owner of the blue door, took advantage of the film’s publicity to sell his home afterwards for a hefty profit.

*UPDATE: The real Notting Hill house is now for sale.*

Visit my Movie Houses page to see more, including…

Something to Talk About movie filmed Davant Plantation 425The sets from the Julia Roberts movie Something to Talk About


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Nita September 13, 2009 at 1:18 pm

I never particularly liked the bachelor flat, but I did love his sister’s house. Warm and cozy and very typical of the rowhouses the British live in.

black eyed susans kitchen September 13, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Julia, I love that shot looking down the street. All of the different pastel colored houses. It reminds me of an area in France. When you travel from Germany to France crossing over the Rhine into the town of Colmar, you see all of these ancient homes painted every color in the rainbow..it is just an amazing site. Especially because I live in an upscale suburban town where every house is painted in some shade of beige.
?, Susan
.-= black eyed susans kitchen´s last blog ..PINK SEDUM SHOWING UP FOR PINK SATURDAY =-.

Robin September 13, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Ooh, one of my favorite movies. I own it and have watched it a dozen times, but if I am channel surfing and it is on I will stop and watch! I always loved the sister’s house, but I see lot’s of potential in the bachelor flat too, it just needs a woman’s touch… and for Spike to move out.
.-= Robin´s last blog ..Summer, don’t go! Is it something I said? =-.

Tracy September 13, 2009 at 2:06 pm

I loved all the interiors of this movie—especially Max and Bella’s place. They’re all very “real” and lived in looking. William’s flat is definitely interesting architecturally, and the rooftop terrace is wonderful, but the interiors arejust a big ol’ man mess and needs some tlc and a little bit of style.
Can’t wait for Spanglish… loved that house too!
.-= Tracy´s last blog ..Tranquility Farm =-.

Greet September 13, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this! I loved this movie so much and now I know a lot more about it , thanks to you Julia!!

Greet from Belgian Pearls
.-= Greet´s last blog ..Outbuilding is floored =-.

Elise September 13, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Hello, I just had to leave you a note because I’ve so enjoyed reading your posts today. You have the most gorgeously beautiful site – best wishes & thank you ..

songbirdtiff September 13, 2009 at 4:42 pm

I think Spike totally made this movie. Posing in his (rather grubby) underwear for paparazzi? Fantastic!
.-= songbirdtiff´s last blog ..Mompreneur- The Peek.a.Boo Image =-.

Spanish Preppy Girl September 13, 2009 at 5:10 pm

I love that film!!!
.-= Spanish Preppy Girl´s last blog ..SEX AND THE CITY 2 UPDATE =-.

christy September 13, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Ooh I loved reading this and looking at all the movie shots. That’s one of my all time favorite movies Julia – so romantic and British! I never noticed that geisha cut out before – freaking hysterical. And so interesting about the housing prices before and after the movie! And about the reproduction – I had no idea! Neat-o!
.-= christy´s last blog ..Our Soulful Dining Room REVEAL (finally!) =-.

AnNicole@OurSuburbanCottage September 13, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Loved this movie. Seriously, I own it on VHS and I’ve considered replacing it on DVD. And who doesn’t dream of living in a cool “flat” like William’s in a charming little neighborhood like Notting Hill? Ahhh, that would be heavenly.
.-= AnNicole@OurSuburbanCottage´s last blog ..Giveaway Results =-.

Suzann from The Olive Cottage September 13, 2009 at 8:22 pm

LOVE this movie and all of these photos are just delightful.
.-= Suzann from The Olive Cottage´s last blog ..Quote for the Day =-.

Bonnie Mattson September 13, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Julia, I just love this Monday Movie feature on your blog. My favorite is Something’s Gotta Give as far as the home goes (OMGosh), but I do love and also tear up when Anna and William relax on the park bench! Such fun…love those happy endings! Thank you for taking the time!
.-= Bonnie Mattson´s last blog ..Hindsight is 20/20 =-.

StuccoHouse September 13, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Would love to see the “houses” in When Harry Met Sally…..
.-= StuccoHouse´s last blog ..One Inch Short =-.

Jasmine Marie September 14, 2009 at 12:39 am

One of my fave romantic comedies. Thanks for posting!

Linda @ Lime in the Coconut September 14, 2009 at 4:26 am

I haven’t seen this one yet! Fun to see the London homes!
.-= Linda @ Lime in the Coconut´s last blog ..About time for an update – being nagged!!! =-.

Sarah September 14, 2009 at 8:18 am

I loved that movie. It was a cool flat he lived in. I can’t believe the door isn’t still blue! I also love the facade of his book store!
.-= Sarah´s last blog ..Athens real estate =-.

beth September 14, 2009 at 8:22 am

Well, I’m going to have to see that movie again! I don’t really remember it. My husband and I watched it together when it first came out, and he thought it was boring. He actually calls the movie “Nothing Hill”, because “nothing happens in that movie”. Maybe he would like it better now. :)
.-= beth´s last blog ..Pinata Whacking Fun on Emma’s Birthday =-.

susan September 14, 2009 at 8:22 am

Out of the whole movie I remember those words on the fridge (used to teach :)) and the china hutch at the birthday party–are those egg cups?? Yes, I bet the real interior was not what they needed for the movie. I especially love the book store! Thanks–I always look forward to this!
.-= susan´s last blog ..Metamorphosis Monday….A Tale of Three Doors =-.

Puna September 14, 2009 at 10:23 am

Julia, I’m not sure if I “got” this movie but I cried all the same. The blue door is fab.
.-= Puna´s last blog ..A Hooked on Memory Mosaic =-.

Janet September 14, 2009 at 10:32 am

My first trip to London I made sure that I got to Portobello Road with its famous Antique/Flea Market, which was hideously crowded. The Notting Hill area is just a fabulous place to wander the shops and gawk ( maybe I should say “peep”) at the architecture. Very close to Kensington Palace and Hyde Park as well. This makes me want to go to London again! Thanks Julia.

Janet
.-= Janet´s last blog .. =-.

karen September 14, 2009 at 10:52 am

first time I have visited this site. I loved it. Thanks

janice September 14, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Your film spot is one of my favourite Monday rituals. It’s pure non-alcoholic, non-calorific indulgence. :)

I get so envious of the street market in Notting Hill every time I see it. When I lived in a big town in Greece, we had street markets that were in a different street every day of the week. It was so much healthier than supermarket to freezer shopping.

But my absolute favourite bit is the enclosed park at the end. Sigh….
.-= janice´s last blog ..The House of the Thousand Horrormoans =-.

Morning T September 14, 2009 at 1:40 pm

I love that blue door and that tiny flat. It’s fun to look at but would probably get tiresome living there, running up all of those stairs.
Great movie, great post.

Mom in High Heels September 14, 2009 at 2:17 pm

One of my favorite scenes from a movie EVER comes from Notting Hill. It’s the scene where he’s walking down the street and the seasons are changing. LOVE IT. I’m sad the blue door is no longer blue. Why wouldn’t they paint it blue?
.-= Mom in High Heels´s last blog ..Thinking about moving =-.

Paula Grace September 14, 2009 at 2:21 pm

I love his movies! I also love the shade of blue of the door. Do you know what it is? BTW ~ I tagged you in my post for tomorrow. I hope you stop by ti visit :)
Paula Grace ~
.-= Paula Grace´s last blog ..Norman E. Borlaug = GREATNESS =-.

Stephanie September 14, 2009 at 6:52 pm

Awesome pics…great movie!
.-= Stephanie´s last blog ..Destination Roll, Custom Words on Canvas – Geezees Giveaway 4 days left =-.

Janet Doherty September 14, 2009 at 7:58 pm

I love London and the different styles of homes….something about it all I just can’t wait to see again one day soon.
Janet
.-= Janet Doherty´s last blog ..I have…. =-.

Amanda @ Serenity Now September 14, 2009 at 8:22 pm

I. Love. Hugh Grant. Just…love him….
.-= Amanda @ Serenity Now´s last blog ..You’ve Got Mail =-.

Melissa September 15, 2009 at 8:51 am

What a cheery street to live on! I love it! I would love to visit this street should a London trip come up?! Thanks for this fun post. Now I have to put Notting Hill on my Net Flix list…it will be fun to watch it again.It’s been a while! :) Thanks Julia!!
.-= Melissa´s last blog ..Pool Weekend! =-.

Betty September 15, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Hello!
so so funny …. I have NEVER seen the movie (but now I want to!) Just got back from London and Notting Hill and Portobello Road …. didn’t even know about the blue door. Just found your blog and will be back again.
B :)

Struggler September 16, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Wow, I was totally convinced that the interior shots were a real house; it felt like a very authentic guy place.
.-= Struggler´s last blog ..No wonder we have nothing to wear =-.

Melanie September 16, 2009 at 11:49 pm

I absolutely love that movie!!! Great post and love the still shots! The scene in the end on the bench is my favorite as well. My hubby teases me, lovingly, because I always cry when I see it…and I’ve seen it 20, 30 times. Pathetic, I know.

Theresa October 16, 2009 at 9:04 am

Just watched the movie for the first time. Very cute movie. I would like to know what is that book that he is reading at the end of the movie while they are on the park bench. Just can’t make it out. Thanks.

hookedonhouses October 16, 2009 at 9:41 am

Theresa–
When I blow the photo up, all I can make out is the word “ZEN.” Does anyone recognize the cover and know what book is? -Julia

zee October 25, 2009 at 2:00 am

Does anyone know exactly WHY the houses on Portobello Road are painted all those bright colors?

Myra November 3, 2009 at 11:17 am

I just watched Hugh Grant in “About a Boy” over the halloween weekend and I like his bachelor pad in that movie. Is it a real apartment/house or just a movie set? I like everything about it from the silver furnishings of kitchen gadgets, doorbell, tech stuff, TV and specially the bare floor. Any thoughts?

THanks, i luv ur blog.

susan November 23, 2009 at 9:53 am

Julia-I am a sucker for any Hugh Grant movie! I suspect he is a scoundrel in real life :). I think I prefer the interior of the movie set–much more character even if it does look like a fraternity house! I love the sideboard with china at Max and Isabella’s and, of course, the book store. Thank you for all these details! I hope you are working on “The Proposal”–I am dying to see that house. Hopeyou have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!
.-= susan´s last blog ..Stuffing or Dressing? =-.

Nick January 9, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Hi,

The book Will is reading at the end of the movie is Captain Corellis Mandalin!

Nick

hookedonhouses January 9, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Mystery solved! Thanks, Nick! -Julia

danu February 25, 2010 at 10:15 pm

soundtrack of my life ….

Julie Parker March 25, 2010 at 11:34 am

I just saw someone selling the life sized Geisha Girl cut out on eBay ( item number 230454156897) how wierd would it be to have that in your hall like William had?

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