The Lake House From “What About Bob?”

Lake House from movie What About Bob

The 1991 comedy What About Bob–starring Richard Dreyfuss as a psychiatrist whose vacation  is interrupted by a patient named Bob (Bill Murray)–was pretty funny. But what most of us probably remember is his vacation house on Lake Winnipesaukee, right?

What About Bob movie lake house 1

They used a real lake house at Smith Mountain Lake in Wirtz, Virginia, for filming–both the exterior and interior. It was on the market last year, so I thought it would be fun to compare how it looked in the movie 20 years ago to how it looks today.

What About Bob lake house exterior

In the movie, the house had lots of cheery green paint on the exterior trim and shutters.

What About Bob movie lake house 3

Julie Hagerty played Dr. Leo Marvin’s wife Fay and mom to Anna and Siggy–even though in real life she was only 10 years older than the actress playing her daughter (Kathryn Erbe).

What About Bob movie lake house 5

Dr. Leo’s family falls in love with Bob–they think he’s a lot of fun, even if he does leave a trail of chaos in his wake. Leo, however, resists his charms.

What About Bob movie lake house 4

Dreyfuss and Murray reportedly didn’t get along well on set, which may have made it easier to act out a few of the scenes…

What About Bob movie lake house 2

The puppets on the mantel are mini versions of each family member. When they’re having problems, Dr. Leo likes to use them to act out their issues, which the kids don’t really appreciate.

What About Bob movie lake house 6

What About Bob movie lake house 8

The kitchen may look outdated now, but I like it anyway–it looks like a cozy spot to hang out in with the fam:

What About Bob movie lake house 7

What About Bob movie lake house 9

What About Bob movie lake house 10

The screened porch run across the entire back of the house and is where the family eats all of their meals overlooking the lake. In this scene, Bill Murray is wearing a “Don’t Hassle Me, I’m Local” t-shirt.

What About Bob movie lake house 11

What About Bob movie lake house 12

The Master Bedroom:

What About Bob movie lake house 14

Spoiler Alert! If you don’t want to know how the movie ends, turn away now…

What About Bob movie lake house 13

At the end of the movie, Bob accidentally blows the house up. Producers used a 3/4-sized model that they detonated on a nearby lot. No lake houses were actually harmed during the filming of this movie…

What About Bob house explodes

A reader tracked down the listing photos last year for me when I couldn’t find them. (Thanks, Shelley!) It had already sold, but I was excited to see what the house looks like today.

As you can see, the bushes in front of the house have grown a lot since the movie was made and are in serious need of a trim:

What About Bob-real house front

The house was on the market for $1.675 million, but I’m not sure what it actually sold for. The house now has black shutters and trim instead of green:

What About Bob-real house porch

The living room is pretty cheery, with yellow walls and red accents:

What About Bob-real house fireplace 2

What About Bob real house LR door

The kitchen hasn’t changed much–same cabinets, same tile–but they have a table instead of an island:

What About Bob-real house kitchen

One of my favorite features of the house is the screened porch overlooking the lake:

What About Bob-real house back porch

There’s a finished lower-level that we never see in the film:

What About Bob-lower level

The house has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and 2 half baths, with a total of 2,880 square feet (which surprises me because it doesn’t look that big). This is the bedroom where their son Siggy slept:

What About Bob real house-kids rm

And the Master Bedroom:

What About Bob real house-BR

A view of the back of the house:

What About Bob-real house back ext

The listing even had the floorplans for the house:

What About Bob house floorplans

What About Bob-house and dock

Someday I’d love to have a vacation house on a lake like this. Wish I had one to retreat to right now, as a matter of fact…minus the unwanted visitor! 😉


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  1. Janelle says

    Wow — they are in serious need of an interior decorator there! I loved the screened porch, though. I want one.

    • hookedonhouses says

      I’d love to see what the new owners are doing with it! It would be such a fun house to decorate. :-)

      • says

        It really would be wonderful if we could see what the new owners do to improve this property, Julia. The house is a gem, sitting so pretty in that lakeside setting. I remember watching the movie and picturing our family living there.

    • Jen says

      What the heck are you talking about Janelle? The decorating in the home is timeless and gorgeous!!

  2. says

    All of our family loved that movie and my favorite character in it was the house! Thanks for the update, it was great fun.

  3. Kim says

    Great post! I watched this movie in health class in 10th grade and loved it. I especially loved Bill Murray’s character. I didn’t realize Richard Dreyfuss was the guy in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” until I watched this movie a second time. It’s fun to see him play a different character.

    I love the house and like how the tv set is pretty much the same as the real house. I actually love the way the house looks today and I wouldn’t change a thing.

    I too would love to have a vacation home on a lake or ocean somewhere. It would be so peaceful.

  4. says

    LOVE that movie. “There are two types of people in this world. Those who like Neil Diamond and those who don’t.” I love the built-ins in the living room, and the porch is stunning. :) That movie always makes me laugh! Had no idea the home was in VA…wonder where Wirtz is?? 😉

  5. Brenda says

    Thanks Julia. This is one of my favorite movies, I always love to see the inside of movie houses. Glad to know that the house was actually used, it must have been a fun time for all….maybe not for Murray and Dreyfus?….

    • jeff fitzgerald says

      The house is indeed located in Wirtz Virginia. I stumbled upon it in 2007 while cold-calling the local homeowners for home improvements. The owner was actually in the driveway with his son… nice man. He gave me the tour. I could “feel” the cast in the house. As unforgettable as the movie. Truly a rare memory! (It does sit on the edge of Smith Mountain Lake near Moneta)

  6. says

    Wow! I can’t believe you featured this house! We (my family) love this movie, as we’ve been vacationing at SML for years, and we actually have a house literally right down the street from the What About Bob house. The house has had a great deal of work done since the movie. Sadly (or not sadly, depending on how much you like the movie I suppose), the dock is no longer there. During the remodel they built a newer, bigger dock. Also, I believe the house’s address is in Moneta, VA. I could be wrong though. County borders are weird due to the lake being a relatively young man-made lake.

    • hookedonhouses says

      No kidding? How fun that you live near the house. I didn’t know about the dock–I didn’t see any photos of it in the listing. Thanks, Grant!

  7. says

    Oh, I loved that house, thanks for posting all those shots. I’d love a house on a lake more so than the beach (no hurricanes!) and that one would do nicely…

  8. Destiny says

    I loved the movie (It’s definitely one of my go to movies when I’m feeling blue because it is the perfect cure all. You just can’t help but crack up!) and as a NH native, transplanted to Atlanta, if I was ever fortunate enough to own a lake house, Lake Winnipesaukee (Winnie) would be a serious contender. One of my dearest friends still lives there and we dream about being neighbors…

    It would be golden! (On Golden Pond was also partially filmed on Winnepesaukee.)

  9. says

    I love that movie, one of my favorite fun ones! Adored the screened porch as well!

    Julia, come and join my new amazing giveaway by Splenderosa!

    Art by Karena

  10. says

    I love this movie but I love the house even more…I cried the first time I saw they movie and it blew up…Thank you for sharing this post…I enjoyed seeing what it looks like now.

  11. says

    That was a funny movie! The house is cute, but you are right it doesn’t seem that big.

  12. says

    Great post! I laughed when I realized that this house looks exactly like the one I just moved into on an island in Washington state – and my husband’s name is BOB! (and here I thought it just looked like the Walton’s House!)

  13. says

    Really interesting post, Julia! You’re the best on finding movie houses! :-)

    Did you have a good weekend? I hope you did… I was thinking to ask you about your puppy. How is it doing? Are you kids loving having a puppy?

    Have a wonderful week!


    Luciane at

    Post of the Day: A HOUSE IN MALIBU.

    • hookedonhouses says

      Maizie is doing great! She has gained much-needed weight and has learned to like being walked on a leash (something she’d never done before) and to at least tolerate being groomed. Ha. Thanks for asking! :-)

  14. says

    I love the house at first sight and I do really like the exterior, but I hate the inside! What about that living room with that hideous rug and those red couches! Brr. I would like to live there though, I think I could transform it easily into a really nice place. Love the view by the way!

  15. sandi says

    I loved this house from the moment I saw it! The double doors are wonderful…we still joke about Bill Murray’s mmmmmm throughout the meal! I go mmmm as I look through your post!

  16. Jane says

    It looks like the kind of place that you can kick off your shoes and put up your feet . Very L.L. Beanish isn’t it? The bedrooms look like they came right out of the pages of their home furnishing catalog. I think we had the same tile in our kitchen in the 80s. A good reminder that colors are trendy and best be used as accents rather than installed as something permanent (and costly to replace) . I liked the green exterior trim better than the black. The quintessential New England Cape Cod colors, but then maybe I’m prejudiced because that is how my house is painted.

  17. says

    This is just an hour from me. I’ve spent a good amount of time on Smith Mountain Lake when I had a sailboat (tiny tiny one) and have friends with houses there. It would be fun to drive down and try to find this one. I remember when they filmed it and Bill Murray hung out in Roanoke (where I am) a bit. He had some funny stories to tell about getting lost out in the country. LOL

  18. says

    Okay Julia, I had no idea this is really at Smith Mountain Lake…45 minutes from me!! I’ll have to go snooping! One of my all-time favorite movies! DR. LEO. MARVIN!!! Love these pics!

  19. says

    Thanks Julia!! I LOVE this movie, and always laugh the whole way through!
    And I’m with you, the screened in porch is my favorite part!

  20. says

    Great post.

    I love the house, but the red and yellow rooms? Not so much. Would love to see what the new owners have done.

  21. says

    So much fun to see. This was a favorite movie for my family. The girls were young, but, old enough to enjoy it. To this day, a bit into a good piece of chicken will have one of my adult daughters exclaiming “scrumptious, Fay”.

    You are the best!

  22. says

    Such a beautiful house. Wouldn’t mind having breakfast there everyday on the screened porch and then go out with my boat which is moored at the dock. Sigh..

  23. ShabbyChick says

    Love this movie and the house is A-mazing! Our family always throws dishes while belting out “Singing In the Rain”! Only kidding 😉

  24. says

    I’ve lived in Virginia my entire life and always heard about the amazing Smith Mountain Lake. I need to find a friend who owns a house there so I can visit. sigh.

  25. says

    I loved that movie! Such a classic comedy, and the vacation house is idyllic. I’m a fan of porches and the screened in back porch is perfect ! I too would eat every meal outside in this porch-all the benefits of dining outside without the annoying bugs! It’s cool to see the changes of the house from the movie to present day. I think I like the green trim better!

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I need to go buy one of those hilarious t-shirts. Thanks for the link Julia! Happy Monday!

  26. says

    I can’t believe this, but I have never seen this movie! I bet it’s hilarious, as Bill Murray usually is. I love that it has a walk out basement as well. Oh how I miss basements. :)

  27. mercedes says

    Thanks Julia for this post, every time I see this movie, my favourite character is the house, of course. Iwould like a house on the lake like this!!!
    Great post!!!

  28. says

    Thanks for posting this one I enjoyed it.
    Not crazy about the inside but I love the charm of the exterior.
    The back porch I agree is the best part of the house…
    I hated to see that they painted the brick around the fireplace…Why do people do that ?
    Loved that movie although I wouldn’t mind at all to have Bob as a visitor….

  29. says

    I must be a rarity because I hated the movie–it made me feel so uncomfortable watching Murray and Dreyfuss interact. And when the house blows up at the end, it cemented my dislike.

    But I remember thinking what a beautiful house (pre-explosion). Thanks for sharing something lovely. It makes Monday just a little bit brighter!

  30. says

    Julia, how ever do you get all this information and the photos? I actually remember this movie but at the time I was not paying a whole lot of attention to houses. Now when I watch something I’m more likely to notice the decor than anything else!

  31. says

    I just discovered your lovely blog. I’m just new into blogging & have just finished off my own blog on fashion & interior design.
    I had a lot of fun putting it together maybe you would like to check it out if you have a spare minute.

  32. Cathy says

    Loved this movie, thanks for posting, Julia. It’s still a cute house, the yellow walls and white trim look cheery, but agree the red sofas are a bit much. Also prefer the green trim, awesome screened porch. Now I’ll have to track this movie down and watch it again!

  33. says

    This is one of my favorite movie houses. It is still as cute and charming as it was in the movie.

  34. jim says

    Great post, great movie! Very interesting to see how the house has and hasn’t changed. Smith Mountain Lake is a beautiful place to live and film a movie!!

  35. Shelley Harris says

    Aww-you are very welcome, Julia! I love that house too! I just watched Life As We Knew It and have to look up the house on your site. haha..I’m addicted, I admit it, but don’t care about getting a cure. :) Keep up the good work!!!!!! Let me know if you need a househunter :)

  36. Jan says

    I’ve loved this article, also. My entire fam, extended fam included, can recite every line in the movie. We’ve seen it hundreds of times, and will probably watch it a hundred more times. Our family vacationed at Smith Mountain Lake the summer they filmed it, and stayed at the resort all the crew stayed at. You couldn’t get close to the house then, but the next summer we drove our boat over there. We saw the screened in porch, the bell, the dock, the outside shower, and the whole house. It was gorgeous. It was a rental for awhile, and I wish we could have stayed there. Thanks again for showing the pictures. Now I think I”ll watch it again!

  37. Gwynneth says

    Siggy: “What’s left to worry about?” Bob: “Well, not diving anyway”. What a great film! Murray really captured the multi-phobic personality and though his transformation to “okay” enough to appear on “Good Morning America” and endear everyone BUT his therapist (actually NOT as uncommon as people think!), was rather fast, it’s the movies, so…hey.

    Being a New Englander, and someone who hung out at Lake Winnipesaukee as a teen, I was annoyed to find they’d filmed it elsewhere (as with the Catskills in “Dirty Dancing”, filming it at Lake Lure in N. Carolina) and if you drive through the Weir’s Beach and Meredith, NH, you won’t see TOO many designer-decorated houses! They’re much more low-key and functional…and there are more trees near the water.

    But that’s not what the film was about. The real message that someone totally missed above was how screwed up so many shrinks actually are! Someone as vain and concerned with appearances as Dr. Marvin might really have had a house like that. And sometimes, their clients are really the sane ones. Bill Murry (as always) was amazing, and I fell as much in love with “The Fam” as Bob did, no matter what kind of house they lived in.

    Someone mentioned the hilarious “Mm-mm-MM!” eating scene. That’s how we got our 4-year-old son to FINALLY eat chicken while on a camping trip in Vermont (“Pretend you’re Bob Wiley!”). Actually, “What About Bob” provided other words of wisdom for us and our kid, such as, “I treat people like phones…and say ‘okay, this one’s broken. I’ll try again later.'”

  38. Jon Wade says

    We own a lake house just across from this cute place. You always hear people say ” come on up it is beautiful up here”, and people probably pay no mind. But let me assure you SML is heaven on earth. We watch the movie frequently with guests and always take a ride over to show them the house. It is so laid back here deep in the woods of Va. and we are all country folk. Like Bob said Yall is in our everyday vocabulary. Everyone is friendly as the lake has slowly grown commercially with extremely expensive homes,but you can turn the corner and be just as happy in a “trailer park” if you will. If you get a free weekend, YALL come on down and see us.

  39. Elaine says

    I remember that house being swooningly gorgeous when I first saw the movie… I was young, broke and house-hungry at the time. It doesn’t quite look as scrumptious as I remember, although the What Lies Beneath House is still fabulous to me.