Sure, the horse in the Disney movie Secretariat was beautiful and everything, but what I really fell in love with was “The Meadow,” the Chenery family’s traditional white farmhouse in Virginia. I was excited to hear that the house they filmed in is for sale, so I thought it would be fun to compare how it looked then and now.
The movie is the inspiring true story of how Penny Chenery, played by Diane Lane, saves her ailing father’s Meadow Stables by raising a horse she calls Big Red. With help from trainer Lucien Lauren (John Malkovich, in some eye-popping outfits), Secretariat becomes the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years and sets records that have still not been broken.
It’s the early ’70s when Penny’s mother dies, and when she goes back to the farm with her husband and four children, the sign outside of the long drive is the first thing we see:
They pass horses grazing and we can see the house in the distance:
This is about as close as the camera ever lets us get to the front of the house (darnit):
They actually used a different house and property for the exterior shots. The interiors were shot in a real house in Lafayette, Louisiana, which is on the market for $1.150 million. Here’s the exterior of that house:
When Penny and her family walk into the house, we get a glimpse of the entry hall and dining room:
Here’s the front door and entry hall in the listing:
Here’s a shot of the entry hall from the movie with Penny and her brother (Dylan Baker plays Hollis Chenery, but every time I see him in something now I think about the creepy killer he played on “The Good Wife”):
I love the staircase and the view down the hall to another door:
To the right of the entry hall is the dining room:
The living room in the listing:
We get a look inside the kitchen at the beginning of the movie, and I kept hoping we’d go back to it again…
Note how they covered the modern stainless-steel fridge with paneled doors for the film. Here’s how it looks today:
I love this kitchen. Gorgeous.
We only see one bedroom in the movie–her dad’s:
There are 4 bedrooms and 4.5 baths. Here are some of them shown in the listing:
It’s interesting to see how filmmakers gave a retro look to the rooms in subtle ways. For example, check out this corner with the three windows in the movie:
And compare that to how it looks today, in the listing:
It was amazing to me how much older Diane Lane looked in that blond wig. She called it “Peaches” on set, and it was reportedly inspired by photos of Jackie Kennedy’s iconic hairstyle.
One of my favorite features in the house is this long screened porch. Here’s how it looks in the movie, leading off of the kitchen:
It looks so different in the listing without all of the furniture, framed photos, and shutters covering the screens that I wasn’t sure if it was the same porch or not at first. The ceiling fans are the same, though, as is that big black door that connects to the kitchen, and the screened panels match with the same arches at the top. It goes to show how much work can go into transforming a room for a movie!
The house sits on over an acre of land, but there are no stables or horses to be seen.
I would love to track down the house they used for the outdoor scenes, too, if anyone has any info to pass along about it!
For more photos and information, check the listing by Penny McGehee of Van Eaton & Romero Realtors. Thanks to Lynette for telling me about it!