The Craftsman in the Movie “Monster-in-Law”

Craftsman featured in the movie "Monster-in-Law" with Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez |

Did you see Monster-in-Law, the movie starring Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez? It had some pretty funny moments, but the sets are what really held my attention. I especially liked the Craftsman Michael Vartan’s character lived in, so let’s take a closer look.

Kevin’s Craftsman:

We don’t see much of the exterior in the movie, but here’s a production photo snapped of the house during filming:

Monster-in-Law movie house Kevin's Craftsman

Lopez is sweet and likable as Charlie, a temp who spends her days walking dogs and answering phones but dreams of being an artist. She doesn’t know what she’s getting into when she agrees to marry Kevin (Michael Vartan) until she meets his mother.

Lopez is sweet and likable as Charlie, a temp who spends her days walking dogs and answering phones but dreams of being an artist. She doesn’t know what she’s getting into when she agrees to marry Kevin (Michael Vartan).  Kevin is a doctor. He's young and handsome and thoughtful. Best of all, he lives here, in this beautiful Craftsman, and asks her to move in with him. He really does seem like the perfect man. But then--as the movie's tagline goes--she meets his mother. Dun-dun-dunnnn.

Charlie moves into Kevin’s house:

Monster-in-Law movie house Craftsman

Actor Mark Ruffalo was reportedly asked to play the part of Kevin, but he declined.

Monster-in-Law movie house Craftsman

Fonda is hilarious as Kevin’s mother Viola, who lends the movie its title. In this shot, we can briefly see the staircase behind her:

Monster-in-Law movie house Craftsman

In the DVD special features, we get a look behind the scenes and are treated to a couple of close-ups of the beautiful fireplace and the built-in shelves on either side of it:



Looking from the living room into the dining room and kitchen:

"Monster-in-Law" movie Craftsman house

This was Fonda’s first film in 15 years. She has said that she based her character on her ex-husband, Ted Turner (!).

"Monster-in-Law" movie Craftsman dining room

"Monster-in-Law" movie Craftsman kitchen

Charlie decides to add some of her own style to the house by painting a wall in the breakfast nook:

"Monster-in-Law" movie Craftsman

We never get to see how it turns out in the movie, but I spied it here in the Behind-the-Scenes featurette on the DVD:


"Monster-in-Law" movie Craftsman

"Monster-in-Law" movie Craftsman

The real house used for the exterior shots is in Pasadena. The interiors were created on a soundstage. Here’s a behind-the-scenes photo of the sets being built:

Production photo of sets being built on a soundstage for the movie "Monster-in-Law"

Iamnotastalker did some excellent sleuth work and found the actual house that they used in Pasadena: “In real life, it’s known as the Ross House and it was designed in 1911 by Alfred and Arthur Heineman, the same architectural team who was responsible for giving us Dylan’s house from Beverly Hills, 90210 and the Eppes house from the television series Numb3rs.”

Monster-in-Law movie house Kevin's Craftsman

“The Heineman brothers built the residence, which features Craftsman, Asian, and Neo-Classical design elements, for a rancher named Winslow Ross at a cost of $8,000. The house, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, boasts Batchelder tile work, a hand-painted mural, four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a whopping 4,657 square feet of living space.”

Monster-in-Law movie house Kevin's Craftsman


The owner of this Craftsman contacted me and sent me some of his personal photos of the house! You can see them here.

Bonus: Viola’s Country House in Montecito

Viola's Summer home in "Monster-in-Law" same as Independence Inn on "Gilmore Girls"

BTW, Viola’s country home was the same house used on “Gilmore Girls” as the Independence Inn. Did you recognize it? :)

Monster-in-Law filming location same as Independence Inn from "Gilmore Girls"

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  1. Lara Jane says

    I loooooove Wallace Neff but I would choose Charlie’s place! It’s in Venice, near the beach, and I am definitely feeling the artsy/bohemian vibe. Kevin’s house is just too dark for me.

  2. says

    I really liked the craftsman style house, but the decor was a little too dark/modern for my tastes. But it suited Vartan’s character perfectly. Jane Fonda had some great freak-out scenes in this movie. :) I am SO glad my mother-in-law isn’t like that!!! She’s only had two melt-downs, never in front of me, and they were during the Christmas holiday. We’ll be working on that this year. 😉
    .-= Amanda @ Serenity Now´s last blog ..The Waste Land =-.

  3. says

    I love Kevin’s house! It’s funny that the thing people don’t like about it, that it is dark, is exactly why I do like it. I think I’m a bit of a den animal, at the end of the day I want to hole up somewhere dark and cozy to relax! Beautifully decorated too but not fussy. Love it!
    .-= Hip Hip Gin Gin´s last blog ..Simple Pleasures =-.

  4. says

    Thank you for this, you worked so hard for all these great pictures! I’m fascinated that the vote above favors the Craftsman House over the big mansions – how lovely we all have our feet on the ground.
    Funnily, I was driving to work this morning and noticed the subway sign that they used (shown in a couple of your pics) in the window of Restoration Hardware.
    .-= Struggler´s last blog ..Impulsive but Adorable =-.

  5. says


    Enjoyed your post today!! I just discovered your blog. I am really enjoying it. I love going to the movies with my friends just to see some of these houses. Favorite ones are the English cottage from The Holiday, Hampton House in Something’s Gotta Give, and the house in CA for the movie It’s Complicated!!!
    .-=´s last blog ..My first blog post! =-.

  6. Kim says

    I rented this movie right after it came out on DVD and I liked it. I loved how Jennifer Lopez character, got back at Kevin’s mom. She had it coming to her.

    I loved the Craftman and Country styled homes. I could see myself living in any one of them.

  7. greenie says

    I was just talking (and laughing) about this movie 2 or 3 days ago with someone from work. Funny movie– Jane Fonda and Wanda Sykes are hilarious! Love the craftsman the most. Surprised that the interiors weren’t “real”.

  8. devil says

    Surprisingly, I loved all the homes in this film. The craftsman is my fave, though.

    Remember the scene where Viola wakes up Charlie with the airhorn, then claims that she thought it was air freshener (then cackled evilly)? That’s my mother. Seriously, that is EXACTLY something my mother would do. My brother’s wife is a living saint having my mother for a MIL.

  9. E. George says

    Hi Julia I voted for the Pasadena Estate but I love Kevins place too. The pressure to make this vote….. I’ll take all of the above. Is Pasadena anygood at this time of the year? You know I have only seen this movie once I loved Wanda Sykes character she is my favourite and now I’ll have to send hubby shopping for the DVD. This was great thanks Julia. Regards Esther from Sydney with Autumn on our doorstep.

  10. Claire says

    Is the country home the same property used as The Independence Inn on Gilmore Girls??

    • hookedonhouses says

      Oh. My. Gosh. It is! It’s the same house! I’m a huge “Gilmore Girls” fan, but I didn’t even notice it. I just checked the first season to get a look at the Inn again and you’re right. I’ll have to update the post as soon as I can get a photo from “G.G.” Thanks! -Julia

  11. ellen brady says

    I’ve been looking for a bed to buy and found the perfect one when I saw this movie again. How did I miss that bed? Can anyone tell me where to buy the Master bed seen in Jane Fonda’s mansion? It’s in the scene before the wedding. You can see it in one of the photos above where she is sitting on it. PLsss.!