The new Katherine Heigl-Josh Duhamel comedy Life As We Know It hasn’t gotten great reviews. What is getting raves, however, is the couple’s house in the movie. I’ve lost track of the number of e-mails, tweets, and Facebook messages I’ve gotten from readers asking to see photos of it.
I usually wait until a movie is out on DVD, but when a reader told me that the Colonial-style house from the movie is actually on the market in Atlanta, I was so excited that I had to show it to you. Like, right now–even though I had planned to feature “The Addams Family” mansion today.
Life As We Know It was filmed in Atlanta, Georgia, where the story takes place. According to the production notes, finding the house that Holly (played by Heigl) and Messer (Duhamel) would live in while raising their friends’ baby, was key.
The Production Designer was Maher Ahmad, who explains: “For the exterior, we settled on a Colonial style house on a very pleasant street, with a bit of a curve and a little bit of a hill, providing good angles on the house. Then we had to determine what we needed for the interior of the house, since we didn’t want to simply replicate what our real house offered inside.”
The house was built in 1945 and renovated extensively in 1995. It has 5 bedrooms and 6 baths and is on the market in Atlanta for $1.775 million. From what I can tell, the interiors were all sets created on a soundstage, but they were inspired by the rooms of the real house.
Here is the actual family room, as seen in the real estate listing. You can see it has similar beamed ceilings, a stone fireplace with a wood mantel (but with brick trim around the opening, which is different), and french doors leading to a sunroom:
In this shot from the movie, you can see how they replicated the ceilings from the real house on the set:
The foyer and staircase in the movie:
The set designers expanded the sizes of the interior rooms to make filming easier but wanted them to reflect the look of the real house.
Ahmad says his goal was to create a set that would allow the directors of photography “as much variation in things to see and ways to shoot while keeping as much architectural and visual interest as possible. To give them a lot of open views and the ability to move easily from one room to another, I designed big French doors and a back hallway that connects everything together, so they could dolly through on any kind of axis and see the big entry hall.”
The decor of the house has been referred to by other bloggers as “Pottery-Barn style.” Some of the rooms really do look like pages from their catalog, don’t they?
Here’s the real living room, via the listing–love the twin arched doorways:
A close-up of the stone fireplace in the movie:
A wide shot of the real family room, from the listing, shows how similar the stone fireplace is:
Director Greg Berlanti says that two of the fireplaces on the set were operational, to help convey the passage of seasons: “The movie takes place over the course of about a year, and all the events that come with that–birthdays, Thanksgiving, and so on.”
The dining room in the film:
The dining room in the real house is more traditional and formal looking:
There’s a white kitchen in the movie with lots of glass-front cabinets:
It has black counters, dark wood floors, stainless appliances, and pendant lights similar to another popular movie kitchen–Something’s Gotta Give:
The actors prepare to film a scene in the kitchen on the Life As We Know It set:
The real kitchen is a lot darker, though, with stained cabinets and no window:
“All of the appliances in the kitchen had to function, especially once Holly moves in because she is a chef and we would see her cooking,” according to Ahmad.
And the real kitchen, which is also beautiful, but very different:
The adjoining breakfast room looks into the family room with the fireplace:
Josh Duhamel as Messer, hanging out with baby Sophie:
If you like the decorating style in the house, check out the post over at CasaSugar about how to get the look.
The upstairs landing:
I couldn’t find any screen shots or stills of the baby’s room from the movie (I’ll have to wait for it to come out on DVD and add them then, I guess), but there are a couple of cute kids’ rooms in the real house. Here’s one of them:
Couldn’t find any photos of the master bedroom from the movie, either. The one in the real house has a fireplace and vaulted ceilings:
The bathtub in the movie:
And the master bath in the real house:
Producer Barry Josephson stresses how important it was for the design team to create a warm and happy home to tell the story in: “After the tragedy they’ve just gone through, we couldn’t have them move into a house that was somber. It needed to feel like Holly and Messer would be off to a fair start if they were living there. The design Maher gave us felt very positive and very organic in terms of family.”
The screened porch in the real house has painted brick walls and arched windows that are really lovely:
The back of the house:
Director Greg Berlanti says, “The house is pretty beautiful. I think most of us decided we wanted to live there.”
*3/11 UPDATE: A reader found set photos and floor plan sketches done by Set Designer Cameron Beasley on his website. (Thanks, Candace!)
Check the listing for more photos and information about the house. Thanks to Detail Gal for finding some of the screenshots of the movie that I used and to reader “1/2 a Dozen” for tracking down the listing for me. Stills from movie via Warner Bros. Pictures, taken by Peter Iovino.