Jason Lee’s Cottage in “Alvin and the Chipmunks”

Alvin and the Chipmunks movie sets

When a reader asked me to do a post about Alvin and the Chipmunks, I thought she was joking. I hadn’t seen the movie, but it didn’t seem like one that I’d have any interest in. Then I got another request for it (and another, and another). Finally, I broke down and rented it to see what they were talking about. I’m glad I did!

Alvin and the Chipmunks movie sets 2

Songwriter Dave Seville (Jason Lee) lives in a cottage that is so charming that it’s hard to believe a (straight) bachelor lives in it. But who cares?  It provides some much-appreciated eye candy for the moms who are watching the movie with their kids.

One of the first shots of the film has the camera panning over Dave’s neighborhood:

Alvin and Chipmunks-neighborhood

This is a real apartment complex in Hollywood known as St. Andrews Bungalow Court. They were built in 1919. What’s really amazing is how the bungalows looked before they were rehabbed:

St. Andrews Bungalow before

According to Hollywood Community Housing:

St. Andrews Bungalow Court is an historic renovation of a rare Hollywood bungalow courtyard that had fallen into severe disrepair, become a magnet for illegal activity and was slated for demolition.

This project now provides 16 homes to formerly homeless individuals and households living with disabilities. St. Andrews Bungalow Court is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has received numerous renovation awards, including a 1996 Preservation Design Award from the California Preservation Foundation.

Here’s a glimpse inside one of the real bungalows after the renovation work was finished:

St Andrews Bungalow Court interior photo

“The entire interior and walkway in front of the house was built on a soundstage at Sunset-Gower Studios in Hollywood,” writes Brian, who worked as the assistant to the animation director. “The director, Tim Hill, did a great job of mixing the exteriors shot at the apartment complex with the footage shot on stage.”

Alvin and the Chipmunks cottage exterior

Alvin and the Chipmunks movie sets 3

Alvin and the Chipmunks movie kitchen

Alvin and the Chipmunks movie kitchen 3

Actors Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney were the voices of Alvin, Simon and Theordore. Didn’t sound anything like them, did it? Brian explains:

“The voices of the Chipmunks are recorded by speaking very slowly into a tape recorder, then speeding up the tape. The trick is to be able to have emotion in your voice while you’re talking so slowly.”

Alvin and the Chipmunks movie kitchen 4

Alvin-kitchen 1

In this corner of the kitchen, next to the trashcan that the chipmunks were hiding in, you get a glimpse of the built-in booth and painted floors:


In this shot, shown from the chipmunks’ point of view, you can see the vaulted ceilings:

Alvin-kitchen 2

Those pesky chipmunks make a mess of the kitchen:

kitchen mess

Looking from the kitchen into the dining room (love the retro fridge):

Alvin and the Chipmunks movie kitchen 2

Alvin and Chipmunks-kitchen

Alvin and the Chipmunks movie kitchen 5

Looking from the kitchen into the living room:

Alvin and the Chipmunks movie sets 6

When Simon, Alvin, and Theodore make their own breakfast, they set off the smoke alarm:

Alvin and chipmunks-living rm

They wreak havoc in the living room, too:

balloons in living room

hall-looking into Dave's room

french doors into study

“The Chipmunk Song” (sometimes called “Christmas Don’t Be Late”) was written by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. (a.k.a. David Seville) in 1958. It was also performed by Bagdasarian. It hit #1 on the Billboard Pop Hit Singles chart and sold more than 4.5 million copies.

See the piano in the lower right-hand corner? That’s the actual one that Bagdasarian used years ago to write the Chipmunk Song on:

Alvin-Dave's study

According to Wikipedia:

With the release and popularity of the film Alvin and the Chipmunks in December 2007, “The Chipmunk Song” re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #70. At the same time, a remixed version of the song that appears on the Chipmunks’ 2007 album (and soundtrack to the film) Alvin and the Chipmunks: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, peaked at #66 and was credited as “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) (2007 Version)”.

Alvin and the Chipmunks movie Christmas tree

See the address over Dave’s front door? It’s 1958–the year “The Chipmunk Song” was written.

Alvin and Chipmunks-Dave's house-night

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  1. Susan says

    I happened upon your website last night and looked through all the available houses. My first thought was, she needs to post the Alvin and the Chipmunks house and then was thrilled to see that it was coming soon. This is one of the cutest cottages I have ever seen. I could easily live in something like this (minus my kids of course). I have made my daughter watch the movie multiple times, just so I can see the house. I googled the “squeakquel” and it appears that the house is featured again. Something tells me I’m not going to be able to drag my daughter to the movie theater to watch it. I guess I need to rent some kids.

  2. says

    Yay! I’m so glad that you posted about it! :) I’ll admit, I was slightly embarrassed when I emailed you about it, but I have young kids, so…what can I say? It was the hose that caught my attention, not the plot! :)

    LOVE the house! Thanks for posting all of the pics!

    ~Karla @ It’s The Little Things…
    .-= Karla´s last blog ..It’s Almost Time… =-.

  3. says

    Oh, you are just too much! This was a wonderful post. I haven’t seen the movie either and would love to. I think I was in the second grade when the Chipmunks Songs came out! Just loved it.

    Now I much tell you, a few weeks ago on The American Movie Classics channel, I watched an old Joan Crawford movie. She lived in a little bungalow just like this (the outside). Wonder if it could be the same outside? I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the movie. Anyway, that’s what I thought of when you showed the first photo.
    Hope you’re having a wonderful beginning to the Christmas season.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉
    .-= Shelia´s last blog ..Martha’s Bloomers =-.

  4. Kate says

    I’m so glad you did this post. I LOVE this cottage. The first time I saw it with my daughter, I kept saying “I want to live there” through the entire movie. I know this apartment has been used before in movies (can’t remember which ones though) & I think I remember if from a music video also.

    OK, now I’m going to have to google this place because it will drive me nuts if I don’t.

  5. Kim says

    I have never seen the movie either. When I first read that you were doing the Alvin Chipmunk cottage, I pictured this ugly cottage, but after seen the pictures, I love it. I love all of the character this cottage has. It’s one I could live in.

  6. E. George says

    Hi Julia thanks for the pics. I loved the house in this movie I don’t know how many times I watched it with my son must watch it again. I could easily live there… Regards
    Esther from very hot Sydney ….. please send us some snow

  7. says

    I’m sure in real life a struggling song writer in Hollywood couldn’t afford that house! I totally love it…the French doors, the planked vaulted ceilings, the built-ins, the moldings, the bedroom window…
    I must admit that we’ve rented the movie a couple times with our kids, and while it’s not Oscar material, it’s palatable–cute even!
    .-= Holly´s last blog ..First Weekly Thrifty Gifty Round-up and Linky Party =-.

  8. Andrea says

    How charming! My son’s one complaint about the world is , “Not enough sidewalks!” He would love this neighborhood.

  9. says

    I would LOVE to in a house just like that. I can’t believe it’s a real apartment complex? How fun would it be to live there? Great post Julia!
    .-= christy´s last blog ..Funky lights =-.

  10. says

    This is one of my favorite movie houses. I love it! I swear I am going to pack my camera and hunt down that apartment complex one day soon. Thanks Julia!
    .-= Janet´s last blog ..Easy Weekend Project =-.

  11. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says

    I even love the outside of this complex! The kitchen seemed kind of big for an actual home/apartment this size, but the whole thing was set up really cute.

  12. says

    I’ve seen this movie sooooo many times I could almost scream (Indy looooooves it), but I do love that cottage and Jason Lee (it’s weird to see him sans mustache). I want to live there. The kitchen floors are amazing. I’m so glad you did this post. I’m going tohave to watch it one day without Indy so I can pause it so I can look at the cottage.
    .-= Mom in High Heels´s last blog ..December 7, 1941: A survivors story =-.

  13. Nita Hiltner says

    I sure wish I’d kept the post from the person online who knows where that complex is, she gave me the address to go see it. However, it does have a wall and a locked gate in front, so I wouldn’t have gotten in to the courtyard. I think this may be the same complex where they filmed Swing Shift with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell (where they got together). Go see that movie too, rent it. It is a sweet cottage and place. I could sooooo live here, if you could here no noise from your neighbors next door and if people didn’t take advantage of the courtyard. There are plenty of people in California who wouldn’t behave in such a place and would make too much noise for the others. :)

  14. Nita Hiltner says

    BTW, this isn’t a house in the movie or in real life. It’s an apartment complex.

  15. Diana says

    Have you seen “The Ugly Truth?” Katherine Heigl’s character lives in a “cottage/house” that looks something like this from some angles.

  16. says

    Hi Julia, just wanted to say the updated look/feel of your blog is fantastic. I’ve been meaning to comment about that for quite sometime. Hope you’re receiving the many rewards of excellent design :)

    Merry Christmas!
    .-= Joshua Cook´s last blog ..Miles Design Holiday Card(s) =-.

  17. hookedonhouses says

    I did see that movie, and you’re right–they’re definitely similar complexes with a courtyard in the center. –Julia

  18. says

    It looks so cute! I love it! Congrats on your award, that’s terrific news!
    Have you thought about doing a post on the house on the new Courtney Cox show Cougartown? I really like her living room!
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Happy Holidays-Giveaway =-.

  19. says

    Julia- I have not seen the movie, but LOVED the song when I was a kid. I am surprised you wondered about Dave’s house. He is not your normal batchelor–living with 3 chipmunks! I especially love that painted floor! I love to hear him scream “Alvin” in the song. What a fun post. I will watch for the sequel!
    .-= susan´s last blog ..Deck the Halls… =-.

  20. Carolyn says

    It’s too adorable. My kids are grown and my grandbaby is only 4 months old, but I may have to get this on Netflix. An observation about sets: usually the interior sets are much larger than the actual cottage could be judging from the exterior. Love all the interior detailing and windows.

  21. says

    WOW. So glad you posted all of these so I don’t have to see the film, lol… tho I LOVE the chipmonk song, this just looks hokie. I’m sure Nova will want to see it someday tho, so at least the nice home eye candy will make it tolerable!
    Definately doesn’t look like the home of a straight single man!
    As soon as I saw the complex I thought of Swing Shift… only those homes were closer together and simpler bungalows if I remember right… I loved the simple 40’s decor in her home on that movie too.

  22. Katie says

    I love it and i love movie mondays! reminds me of some “cottage communties” I saw/

  23. says

    Last night we watched The Ugly Truth. The neighborhood seemed very much identical to he The Chipmunk Movie neighborhood. I would not be surprised if it was the same place.
    .-= Melissa Martin´s last blog ..Really? =-.

  24. Melissa says

    I’ve never seen Swing Shift but I’ve read in a couple of different places that people think they might have used the same place to film. I found on another blog that for Swing Shift, they filmed at the “Grand Cottages, 9th St., Sunken City” (San Pedro).

  25. says

    This is funny as we just watched this movie two nights ago for the first time. I was just home decor surfing and ended up here from another blog not even looking for this stuff. I loved that house too but want to know more about the photographs on the walls in the house! Who is the photographer, etc.!! What a cool site you have here.

  26. Al Wells says

    Great housing ….so just where in LA is this neighborhood does any one know? I am a builder/developer and if people love these layouts so much maybe we should be building them. There an architect Ross Chapman who has “The Cottage Company” which is alot like “The Chipmunk House”

  27. Yvonne says

    Thank you so much for this website. I went out and googled for the houses in Alvin and the Chipmunks movie and I found this website. This is wonderful. I have seen the first Alvin and the Chipmunks and the Squeakwul. I could not get these cottages out of my head the first time around and was pleased to find them in the second. I would LOVE to have a house like this. The built-ins and the window in the bedroom really caught my attention. Wish I could live someplace this unique. I LOVE your website.

  28. says

    FYI – Ross Bagdasarian plays the songwriter that lives across the courtyard from James Stewart’s apartment in “Rear Window”. That set also fascinates me – maybe not a house, but perhaps you could add a post about it someday.

    Love the blog!

  29. Dee Dee Brooks says

    I love that house! It was the best part of the movie and now I found someone who shares my passion. You’re awesome!

  30. says

    What a fun website and great way to get house-lovers everywhere involved in the ‘action’. Great post by the way… everyone agrees this cottage should be made available for us fans out there!
    .-= Hailey´s last blog ..60 Days to Triathlon- Day 17 =-.

  31. tammyCA says

    Oh wow, did I just find one of my fave things? Movie/t.v. houses? I took my kiddo to see this movie and I fell in love with the “cottage”. What struck me is that is looks very much like the cottages from one of my fave movies “Swing Shift” (Goldie Hawn movie that suppose to take place in the ’40s)…but, I didn’t know they were real. :)

  32. tammyCA says

    lol…just now read the other posts here about the similiarity to Swing Shift. I’m gonna go check out the other houses here…wonder if one of my other favorite movie sets is here from “Leave her to Heaven.”

  33. says

    I have been all over the Internet, trying to find out where this development is, because I know I’ve seen it before. And not just in the first Chipmunks movie.

    How lucky are the people who were able to secure a spot there???
    .-= Mom of Three´s last blog ..Our Pet Zone. =-.

  34. Anthony says

    the Address to the house which is in Hollywood is

    1514 N St Andrews Pl, Los Angeles, CA, United State

    • hookedonhouses says

      Thank you so much for this information. It helped me track down the St. Andrews Bungalow Court, and I updated the post. I appreciate the help! -Julia

  35. Cat says

    Are these the same cottages that “Swing Shift” Goldie Hawn lived in?

    • hookedonhouses says

      Several readers have commented that they were the same, so they could be. However, I just watched “Swing Shift” and although the bungalows were similar, that complex was much smaller, and the houses were closer together.

      I found a blog post written by someone who says she lives in the bungalow used in “Swing Shift,” and she mentions that it was built in 1929 (these were built in 1919).

      You can read her blog post here: http://juliegoestohollywood.blogspot.com/2005/07/my-little-hollywood-bungalow.html.

      If anyone knows more about the “Swing Shift” bungalows, fill us in! I’m going to do a post about them soon. -Julia

  36. says

    What an amazing renovation! And neat story. I can’t think of anything better than seeing an amazing historic neighborhood saved than it helping those really in need! Thanks for sharing this because I bet a lot of readers didn’t see this movie.
    .-= Karrie´s last blog ..Peonies Around the Pad =-.

  37. Nita says


    How did you ever find this out? I looked all over for this info!

  38. Mimi says

    Glad to know I wasn’t the only one who loved this house. I watched this movie with my 4-year-old granddaughter and immediately fell in love with the bungalow. Thanks for posting these pics, they’re great! :)

  39. hookedonhouses says

    A reader named Anthony sent me the info. (Thanks again, Anthony!) -Julia

  40. says

    I am thrilled that you did this! I know I mentioned it awhile ago and finding anything about it online is difficult! I love watching it if just for the house!
    I have seen this community from the sidewalk and it is marvelous!
    Seeing this today tickled me so!! Thank you dear heart!
    .-= Susie Q´s last blog ..Where Did That Week Go? =-.

  41. Shelly Joseph says

    And they used the same house for the squeakeal. I didn’t see the first one but in the squeakeal I was thinking the same thing. Holey Moley I like this house. The house really reflects the caring nature of Dave the adoptive dad of the chipmunks very well. Thanks for doing this one…

  42. Anna says

    I love this house. I was wondering if you have ever considered the house from the movie Practical Magic?

    • hookedonhouses says

      Yes, I wrote a post about “Practical Magic” last year. Click on the TV/Movie Houses link above to find it! -Julia

  43. Jeff says

    …the front door, a staggered wood and glass oriental inspired piece? Was this a custom door? I’ve never seen another like it. Thanks for the the great story.

  44. Marcia L. says

    Please consider doing a feature on the villa in the film I Am Love, starring Tilda Swinton. It’s amazing. Love your blog; thank you!

  45. Patsy Brewster says

    This is a beautiful home, I wish you would feature another kid’s movie house Marmaduke. They go from small town country farm house, to big city digs. The houses are both charming.Thank you. I am hooked !

  46. Deb says

    I would love to know the paint colors used in the interior of the cottage. The walls, the cabinets and the bathroom especially! Is there any way of finding out what colors they used? And then letting me know? Thanks!

    • hookedonhouses says

      Sorry, I don’t know the paint colors. I’ve heard that they’re usually custom-mixed for sets to take into account the lighting, and that the colors would look different in a normal house, anyway. -Julia

  47. Shannon says

    I love this house! I was searching for another house and found this site. I really want to see pictures of the boys bedroom on I love you, Beth Cooper. I just loved it. The movie…eh…but the bedroom, yes! It’s exaclty how I would love to do my boys’ rooms!

  48. ShabbyChick says

    Just had to comment, even thought it’s been a while since you posted this. Oooohhhh, LOVE the painted floor in the kitchen and the wainscotting in the bathroom! Such an adorable cottage! You know, I think I’m addicted to your site! I’m Hooked on Hooked on Houses!

  49. kelly says

    Hi, thank you so much for your post…..i watched this show the other day with my kids and saw the shelf above the cooktop. I’ve never seen that before. Can you tell me what it is called?