“Hope Floats:” Birdee’s House in Small-Town Texas

by hookedonhouses on May 2, 2010

Hope Floats DVD coverIn the 1998 romantic drama Hope Floats, Sandra Bullock played Birdee Pruitt, a woman who’s publicly humiliated on national TV when her best friend announces she’s having an affair with Birdee’s husband. Birdee takes her young daughter Bernice and flees Chicago, returning to her mother’s house in a small Texas town.

Hope Floats house today

The front gate and fence were added for the movie. There was also a pool that the crew covered up during filming. In this heart-wrenching scene, Bernice begs her father to take her back home to Chicago with him:

front walk

Gena Rowlands was perfectly cast as Birdee’s eccentric mother Ramona. She’s one of my favorite characters in the movie.

porch 1

Bernice was played by Mae Whitman, who was 10 at the time. Since then, you may have seen her in Arrested Development as George-Michael’s girlfriend Ann Veal, or as Lauren Graham’s troubled daughter Amber on Parenthood.

Here she is on the front porch with some of her grandmother’s many stuffed animals:

porch 4

When Justin Matisse (Harry Connick, Jr.), an old boyfriend of Birdee’s, shows up at the house to do some work around Ramona’s house, Bernice lets him know she doesn’t want him anywhere near her mother. This scene always makes me laugh.

porch 2

Bernice: “Back home we had a pet skunk that Mom called Justin Matisse. All day long, she’d say, ‘You stink, Justin Matisse!’ Finally, one day she just picked up a club and killed it.”

Justin: “Well, that’s a sad story.”

Bernice (while packing up his tools for him): “If you liked the skunk, and we didn’t. I wonder if she’s still got that club in her purse upstairs…”

porch 6

After a death in the family (I won’t give it away in case you haven’t seen it yet), Justin talks with Birdee’s nephew Travis on the front porch. Travis’s mother left him with Ramona and didn’t even come back to visit for the funeral.

Justin Matisse-front door

Ramona keeps a couple of “Scaredy Cats” perched on the staircase. Bernice asks her mother, “Did Grandma kill those cats?” Birdee says, “No, honey, they come already dead.” Ramona has apparently made a lot of money selling these things.

Hope Floats-staircase

staircase 2

The Dining Room:

dining room

dining room 2

Birdee’s Childhood Bedroom:

Birdie's bedroom

bedroom door

Bernice’s Bedroom:

Bernice's bedroom

The Bathroom:


Ramona’s Bedroom:

Gena Rowlands-bedroom

I didn’t get a photo of it, but when Birdee dances with her father in the nursing home (he has dementia), it kills me every time.

Gena Rowlands bedroom 2

The Kitchen:


Sandra Bullock has starred in some great “house movies.” I already featured Practical Magic and While You Were Sleeping, and I’m working on both The Proposal and Blind Side. Do you have a favorite of hers?

Screened Porch Off the Kitchen:

screened porch

Looking Out from the Front Porch and Down the Street:


The House at Night:

Hope Floats house at night

This photo of the house at night is the only shot we get of the entire front of it in the movie. Here’s how it looks today, via Blue Eyes and Bluebonnets:

Hope Floats house today

It’s known as the McCollum-Chapman-Trousdale House, in Smithville, Texas. It’s a Neoclassical-style home built in 1908.  Most of the movie was filmed in Smithville, a small town of 4,000 residents, which is 29 miles southeast of Austin. You can see some great photos of the town and more photos of this house, here and here.

P.S. In real life real-estate news, Sandra Bullock just put the California beach house she shared with husband Jesse James on the market and has moved into a Victorian house in New Orleans with her newly adopted son Louis.

Visit my TV/Movie Houses page for more, from Home Alone to Howards End.

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Tricia Rose May 2, 2010 at 10:52 pm

Another fascinating movie house ! Love the frontage, but the animals aren’t too inspiring…
.-= Tricia Rose´s last blog ..A Little Frivolity – Show and Tell =-.

Annie@ A view on design May 2, 2010 at 10:57 pm

yeah poor sandra bullock being married to that wretched man! I hope she’s doing better now with her new “little man” in her life – what a lovely lady! so generous with her love… the home is gorgeous too, no other words for it!
.-= Annie@ A view on design´s last blog .."Calstock" Tassie Georgian B&B =-.

Kim May 2, 2010 at 11:03 pm

I absolutely love this house. The kitchen, porch balcony, and stairs are to die for. I wouldn’t mind living in a house like that.

I really like Sandra Bullock. She’s been one of my favorite actresses since I was a little girl. She is great at acting. I feel so sorry for all that she has been through these past months, but happy that Sandra is doing well. I always hoped that she would have a child so I am happy for her and her new adopted baby. She will be a great mom.

I love every movie I have seen Sandra in. Some of my favorites of her’s are: “Speed”, “While You Were Sleeping”, and “Practical Magic.” I love how Sandra picks good movies instead of being in any. She really is dedicated to her acting.

I am just curious, what program do you use to get all of these great pictures from tv shows or movies? It would be nice to have.

Billy May 3, 2010 at 1:05 am

I was surprised how many house there are like this along the Farm to Market roads in Texas. Sadly most were in poor repair or abandoned partially restored. I was there for 360 days during the oil bust, and haven’t been back. I always hoped some of them found people that could rescue them.

Thanx for the post.

There was a house in “The Proposal”?

Farmerswifey May 3, 2010 at 5:28 am

Love this house….loved the movie as well!!
.-= Farmerswifey´s last blog ..Please do me a little favour…. =-.

NAM May 3, 2010 at 5:43 am

I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to see the house from the Blind Side. I loved it in the movie, but have had a hard time finding pictures online. I love the house from The Proposal, too!

duchess May 3, 2010 at 6:21 am

This house is absolutely beautiful. Love that porch. It’s funny that I’ve never noticed that the front door is off center. I usually like balance but I guess this adds to the quirkiness of this wonderful house.
.-= duchess´s last blog ..Sunday Morning Visitors =-.

E. George May 3, 2010 at 6:43 am

Goodmorning Julia well I love this movie but have not watched it for a long time it makes me cry everytime but must be brave and watch it again – it is a lovely house except for the animals love Bernice’s bed. Morning coffee , afternoon tea and anything inbetween on that beautiful porch thats for me…. My fav. Sandra Bullock movie has to be While you were sleeping. Thanks Julia for another great post… Regards Esther from Sydney with strange warm temps. for Autumn….

rosie at 3 rosebuds May 3, 2010 at 6:57 am

Thank You!!! I couldn’t place where I had seen Mae Whitman when I saw her on (my new favorite show) Parenthood. I loved her in this movie (and in the new show, too) and even though I don’t remember much of the movie, I do remember that scene where she is talking about the skunk-so funny. Love the house, too.
.-= rosie at 3 rosebuds´s last blog ..Thanks to the genius of Craisglist… =-.

living with lindsay May 3, 2010 at 7:03 am

Gorgeous! Even though I live just minutes from where this movie was filmed and I swear that Sandra and I would be best friends if we ever met, I have never seen it. GASP! I must see it!
.-= living with lindsay´s last blog ..Pottery Barn Knock-Off Tutorial – Ribbon and Bird Chandelier =-.

lisa May 3, 2010 at 7:06 am

This was great. I had forgotten how much I liked that movie. I also enjoyed The Lake House with Sandra and Keanu Reeves.
.-= lisa´s last blog ..Herbs Planted =-.

E. George May 3, 2010 at 7:12 am

Hi Julia its me again sorry I must be tired otherwise how could I forget The Lake House which I thought was very picturesque….. Goodnight from this side of the planet Esther…..

Amanda @ Serenity Now May 3, 2010 at 7:16 am

I haven’t seen Hope Floats in ages, but I love that movie! Harry Connick Jr. —swoon!!! I think my fave SB film is While You Were Sleeping, but I love the house in The Proposal. :) Love that big old front porch!
.-= Amanda @ Serenity Now´s last blog ..Thrifty Treasures: Yard Sale Nirvana =-.

Penny May 3, 2010 at 7:19 am

I had forgotten this movie and how much I loved it – and the house. That porch is wonderful and the site of so many good scenes in Hope Floats. How I chuckled when Bernice tries to scare away Justin and how I cried when Bernice is begging her father to take her, Birdee standing in the doorway, letting it all play out.

Thanks for another peek into a movie house. Beats me driving 10 mph on stately street at dusk to just catch a glimpse at some grand old houses on a tree lined boulevard.
.-= Penny´s last blog ..Tree peonies =-.

LOVE WHERE YOU LIVE May 3, 2010 at 7:21 am

Always enjoy SB movies. I didn’t know this house was in a little Texas town and therefore the movie filmed here in my state. I had to see! Smithville. I will have to drive through sometime….Hmmmm.

Jane F @ Atticmag May 3, 2010 at 7:22 am

Hi Julia, thanks for stopping by to see us. I always love to come by here as it always looks so happy. — Jane F.
.-= Jane F @ Atticmag´s last blog ..Picture Wall Possibilities =-.

Michelle May 3, 2010 at 7:25 am

Great feature today, especially with Sandra’s news. It sure has been a roller coaster for her this year but I’m sure her new son is keeping her smiling. I love this movie and the house is so pretty. When I have watched it, I never realized how odd the door placement is. Still a gorgeous property though!
.-= Michelle´s last blog ..A Boy Room =-.

melissa May 3, 2010 at 7:42 am

This is my most FAVORITE movie. Thank you, thank you for blogging about it. Now, if I could only get all of her clothes from this movie. : )

melissa May 3, 2010 at 7:46 am

p.s. if you could feature any of the homes from the show, Parenthood, I would be truly happy. : )

Melissa Rakowski May 3, 2010 at 8:01 am

Hi Julia,

I always enjoy your posts.

I would love for you to stop by my blog and read about the renovation of our home which was built by the engineer of the empire state building. Go here http://colorandlightatelier.blogspot.com/2010/04/maison-gemeux-renovation-of-our-country.html

Stephanie May 3, 2010 at 8:09 am

Great movie…makes me want to live and breath southern living, and i love Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick Jr :)

Southern Fried Gal May 3, 2010 at 8:28 am

This movie makes me want to move back to my home town every time. DH usually doesn’t like for me to watch. Thanks for the memories. Sandra is class all the way! Have a blessed week!
.-= Southern Fried Gal´s last blog ..May Door Decor: Trash to Treasure =-.

Susan May 3, 2010 at 8:42 am

Julia-This is one of my all time favorite movies!! Love Sandra and Gena Rowlands, but Harry Connick just DOES it for me :) I have the sound track. I always wondered about the house! Going to turn on my music! Thanks for another great Monday!
.-= Susan´s last blog ..Quick, Cheap, and Cute for Mother’s Day =-.

Becky @ Farmgirl Paints May 3, 2010 at 8:43 am

I love anything with Sandy in it. Such a beaut of a house.
.-= Becky @ Farmgirl Paints´s last blog ..Needle and the haystack:) =-.

Jessica at Lavender and Lilies May 3, 2010 at 9:00 am

I always loved the entrance to that house. Gorgeous.
.-= Jessica at Lavender and Lilies´s last blog ..Dining Room Redo: Phase 1 =-.

Cotty May 3, 2010 at 9:09 am

I never seen this movie, but looking at the pictures I want to see it now!!. It’s raining here, it looks like the perfect movie for a day like today. ;)
.-= Cotty´s last blog ..Hoy fue El Dia… =-.

Lacy May 3, 2010 at 9:10 am

I love the little girls bed. So gorgeous. Thanks for sharing. I love that show!

Deidra May 3, 2010 at 9:12 am

This post is great. I’m going to add Hope Floats to my Netflix. I had forgotten about this wonderful movie. I loved Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality, but I think my favorite is The Proposal.
.-= Deidra´s last blog ..Cutting In::Tips From My (Sherwin-Williams) Guy =-.

Cori Heffernan May 3, 2010 at 9:12 am

I have to rent this movie again. Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick Jr. (sigh). The background and the foreground are perfect in this movie! Sandra’s new baby is sooo cute. All the best to her.

Lisa May 3, 2010 at 9:16 am

How about “The Lake House”…now that’s a special house and a totally underated movie! Love it.

Lauren May 3, 2010 at 9:16 am

I think my favorite Sandra Bullock “house movie” would have to be Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, though this one is pretty awesome. I just love Southern houses. :)
.-= Lauren´s last blog ..In Our Thoughts =-.

desiree May 3, 2010 at 9:32 am

I really didn’t like the movie at all(sorry Sandra) but I love that house. What a gorgeous porch. I love the houses in divine secrets and while you were sleeping.
.-= desiree´s last blog ..Smackdown! Lookiloos Style =-.

Bailey@peppermintbliss May 3, 2010 at 9:46 am

I always so loved loved loved this movie. I always say I am a country mouse living in the city, and when I imagine my dream country town this movie comes to mind. The soundtrack was so good too! Do you remember it?
.-= Bailey@peppermintbliss´s last blog ..Clifford’s New Spectacles =-.

hip hip gin gin May 3, 2010 at 10:03 am

Oh my word, little Bernice is Amber?? That just blew my mind.
I love Hope Floats, and this house is magnificent. It is so great to see these photos and all the details, I never really took enough notice of it during the movie. I confess, I was way too distracted by Harry Connick Jr.
.-= hip hip gin gin´s last blog ..Calling Cards =-.

Sue Murphy May 3, 2010 at 10:11 am

Just a note that I thought you would find amusing. Last night my hubby and I watched “It’s Complicated.” A home you have featured on your Blog. All he could say through the whole movie is”I love this house”, “Boy could I live there.” He then went on to say” This kitchen is amazing.” and the garden scene sent him over the top. So fun to have my Hubby be my best girl friend and love these homes as much as I do. Sue

Mom in High Heels May 3, 2010 at 10:25 am

I so love this movie. Thanks for the photos. The house is gorgeous,but the stuffed animals always weirded me out. I’m captivated by the curved front porch.
.-= Mom in High Heels´s last blog ..Weekend Military Funnies =-.

Claire May 3, 2010 at 11:47 am

I’m on to you, Julia…! I’m sure you wanted me to be enjoying the beautiful front door, or maybe even that crazy lampshade, but all I see in the pic of Justin (after the one of him and Travis) is his butt. Oh no, don’t you dare say you didn’t even notice!

(and thanks for it, it’s a great picture!!!)

Nichole May 3, 2010 at 12:13 pm

I’ve always liked that movie and that house. Unfortunately, whenever it comes on TV, I usually turn it off. This is because my husband call the movie #$%* Floats and makes fun of it so much that you can’t watch it. Men!
.-= Nichole´s last blog ..My Stairway Got Hit With The Ugly Stick! =-.

Lesley @ TheDesignFile May 3, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I’m fascinated by the off-center door – as the other commenters have pointed out. I would have thought I’d hate that but it seems perfect.

Love the front porch. Oddly, the interior seems somehow disconnected from the exterior. But lovely.
.-= Lesley @ TheDesignFile´s last blog ..Easy decor changes you can make today =-.

Ann May 3, 2010 at 6:00 pm

I loved the Lake House. Wouldn’t it be cool to live in a house like that?? I like her movie Premonition, but I don’t remember much about the house.

Annelise May 3, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Even better than the movie was the soundtrack, had it on CD way back when. Thanks.
.-= Annelise´s last blog ..I love my Sectional Because… =-.

Annelise May 3, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Even better than the movie was the soundtrack, had it on CD way back when. Thanks.
.-= Annelise´s last blog ..I love my Sectional Because… =-.

Pat May 3, 2010 at 7:18 pm

It’s been ages since i saw thsi movie but I do rememer loving this stately house and it was fun seeing photos of it. I hope Sandra’s days will be full of love and joy with her new baby.

Heather May 3, 2010 at 8:28 pm

I loved that movie (and the CD) and haven’t seen it in ages. It was fun scrolling through all the shots!
.-= Heather´s last blog ..Aren’t Flowers Cool? =-.

Nita May 3, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Harry Connick lives in NO too. I think she’s flipping out a bit. Her family is in Texas where she has always lived, and simply wants to live in NO because her kid was born there? Kinda weird thinking, I think. NO is still not a safe city to be in. The kid doesn’t know he was born there, he’d do fine in Texas. It’s so discomforting moving to a place you don’t know.

Lisa May 3, 2010 at 11:17 pm

this is great! how about the house from Premonition?
.-= Lisa´s last blog ..throwing it back [a repost] =-.

Josanne May 4, 2010 at 12:18 am

This reminds me of a lot of the homes in my area. There are a lot of huge, historical homes on the main street, and I enjoy the old staircases and some of the wallpaper. This home looks like a comfy place.
.-= Josanne´s last blog ..A Peculiar Twitch =-.

melissa May 4, 2010 at 6:42 am

I loved that movie when it came out–the soundtrack too. Sigh. Thanks for this fun post. The set designers did a great job. This house looks so real & lived in.
I wish Harry & Sandra would do another movie together. They were really great!
.-= melissa´s last blog ..My Off Time =-.

jodi from new jersey May 4, 2010 at 6:47 am

Thank you so much Julia. What a sweet movie! I remember watching it and thinking what a cozy, safe place to go home to. Only in the movies is a childhood bedroom kept intact. I love, love the front door. Gena Rowlands is so beautiful as her Mom. I have such a crush on Harry Connick, too. He’s got it all for sure, sometimes I forget he can sing and he seems like a great Dad in ” real life”. What a treat. Have you ever seen the movie ” Once Around” ? It’s one of my faves. Gena Rowlands is in it and Danny Aiello and Richard Dreyfus, Holly Hunter, too. The house is pretty, the story is better. I hope you have a happy day…………….

Crusty Crone May 4, 2010 at 7:13 am

Oh, I haven’t thought of this movie in a long time. Loved it, loved the house.

I couldn’t help but note the similarities between the movie and current real life. Birdee was publicly humiliated because of her husband in the movie and now its happened in real life to Bullock.

Sometimes life gifts us with something we don’t deserve and we screw it up. I guess Jesse couldn’t change his spots. Too bad.

Angela May 4, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Love this house. Love Sandra Bullock. There is this movie with her and Keanu Reeves where they fall in love over time…I think it’s called The Lake House…or something like that. It’s an interesting house! I must add that I would go bonkers if I didn’t have the front door centered!

~angela @ peonypatch
.-= Angela´s last blog ..More Pictures =-.

Kate (Little Beach Bum) May 4, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Wow you know what is crazy?! I hadn’t seen this movie in ages and I just put it in the DVD player of my computer few days ago to watch it, and then this post came up right at the same time! I love the house, and the movie – it always makes me cry, multiple times. Thanks for doing a post on this house. Kinda makes me want to move to a small town in Texas…Love it!
.-= Kate (Little Beach Bum)´s last blog ..Some Monday Humor =-.

Vicki May 6, 2010 at 12:51 pm

I love Sandra Bullock. I would love to see the houses (cabin and the Walker’s main house) from The Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood.

Robin Feltner May 7, 2010 at 9:45 am

This house is beyond gorgeous. The front door looks off center, though. Wonder why?
.-= Robin Feltner´s last blog ..Rocco DiSpirito Now Eat This =-.

Katie May 7, 2010 at 11:04 pm

No kidding, Sandra has really been on set with some awesome movie houses. If that had been me, they’d have totally caught me “making home” in plenty of them (actually…and sadly… all of them).

I love the staircase…thinking of a TV show that had something similar -man, can’t remember which (was it Happy Days that had that same staircase layout???)….anyhoo, not related, I love how the posts on the bannister have that chunky stained portion up top and then painted the rest of the way down. And who doesn’t want, scratch that, NEED a stuffed mouse reading a storybook rested on top of one?

P.S. One of my fave all-time movies.
P.P.S. The skunk part…I wanted to name my daughter Bernice after that.
.-= Katie´s last blog ..First Hydrangea of the Season =-.

Tami Lewis May 11, 2010 at 12:18 am

as usual i loved the post and the house! sandra is one of my favs. this house and the Lake House are my 2 top picks :)

elz May 11, 2010 at 4:00 pm

We visited Smithville about a month ago and I looked everywhere for this home (I love Hope Floats). Now that I know the name, I will be sure to find it next time!
.-= elz´s last blog ..Plants, Petals, and Weird Scaly Things =-.

pamgalloway May 15, 2010 at 11:31 am

After reading Katie’s comments about the mouse and the storybook…now I’m wondering…where do you think that mouse is now? Kinda’ made me want to go eBaying for movie props and set pieces! LOL!

Kelley May 19, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love this movie. I have wanted to see more of it, especially the front view ever since I saw the movie. I also Liked Justin’s house from the movie.

jodi from new jersey June 16, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Hi again Julia. Lovin everything as usual. I just treated myself to Paula Deen’s book called ” Savannah Style.” I don’t know if you enjoy decorating books. I have a collection. The gardens and porches are gorgeous in the South. She’s so down to earth and funny,now she’s got a furniture line! Anyway , thanks and take care……… Jodi

LA King September 21, 2010 at 10:38 am

Also one of Goldie Hawn’s: Seems Like Old Times.

LA King September 21, 2010 at 10:45 am

Other Goldie Hawn movies: The Housesitter (Concord, MA.?) and Private Benjamen (English or French?).

Elizabeth June 9, 2011 at 4:27 pm

I don’t if someone has already said this or not, but the houses from The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (yet another Sandra Bullock movie w/ great houses!) would be neat to see, particularly the lake house where Sandra’s character stays for most of the movie, and her parents’ big white house, which is basically my dream house! I love your blog; thanks for all of the work you put into it! =)

NTexas October 31, 2012 at 2:02 pm

There is also another house in Smithville where Brad Pitt starred in The Tree of Life – not far from this one. Smithville is a cozy, sweet community full of friendlies!

hookedonhouses October 31, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Didn’t know that. Thanks!

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