When you think of the 1993 comedy Mrs. Doubtfire, what comes to mind? Robin Williams in drag and that beautiful old Victorian home that the Hillard family lived in, right? And not necessarily in that order. Let’s take a little trip down Movie Memory Lane and see how well the interiors have aged since the ’90s…
The house is considered a “Victorian Painted Lady,” even though it’s not colorful like others you see in San Francisco (I’m guessing it used to be and would love to know what the original colors were). The real address was mentioned in the movie by Sally Field’s character Miranda as 2640 Steiner Street.
The interior scenes were filmed in a Bay area warehouse that they used as a soundstage.
When Daniel, dressed up as Scottish housekeeper Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire, walks into the house for her interview, we see the living room through the entry hall:
The Set Decorator was Garrett Lewis, who worked on other films I get frequent requests to feature like Panic Room, Wedding Crashers, and Hook.
The kids watch The Dick Van Dyke Show on TV in the living room every day after school. I got just as irritated as the kids did in this scene when Mrs. Doubtfire turns it off in the middle of a very funny scene with Alan Brady…
The kitchen had tile on the island…something we’d never see in a house like this onscreen today:
They were ahead of their time with the stainless-steel appliances, though.
The movie won an Oscar for Best Makeup. It took over 4 hours to turn Robin Williams into a woman each day.
Even though the house was decorated in the early ’90s, it really isn’t as outdated as you’d expect it to be after nearly 20 years. You can tell they were going for a classic, timeless look–nothing too trendy.
They originally planned to film the movie in Chicago, but ultimately settled on San Francisco. I think the movie would have had a very different feel to it in the Windy City!
They also planned to give the movie a happy ending by getting Daniel and Miranda back together but realized (after the script went through multiple revisions) that it wouldn’t work. The final script had them finish on a friendly, but non-romantic, note, which really was more realistic.
The movie was based on the novel Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine.
They tried to get a sequel together in 2003 (Bonnie Hunt wrote a script for it) but Robin Williams didn’t like the story, which was reportedly about Daniel following his daughter to college to keep a close eye on her. He probably made the right choice not to sign on for that…
Ever wondered how these grand windows can be above the staircase when the kitchen and other rooms are on the other side of them? How is all this natural light getting through them? (Movie magic!)
Lydie’s room is pink and ruffly and in one of the round turrets:
Miranda (Sally Field) is a decorator, so it makes sense that her house would be so, well, decorated.
After separating from her husband, she starts dating her handsome and charming client Stu, played by the handsome and charming Pierce Brosnan. At the time the movie came out, he was best known for the detective comedy “Remington Steele.”
(You can see Sally Field’s house in Malibu here.)
The street signs in the movie marked the location as being on the corner of Broadway and Steiner.
The house was built in 1906 and has 2,578 square feet. It last sold in 1997 for $1.395 million. Whoever bought it is holding onto it, and who can blame ’em? I would, too, wouldn’t you?
Here’s how the house looks today, shown from the corner we never see in the movie (via inetours):
When Robin Williams died in 2014, the house became a kind of shrine for his fans to visit and pay their respects. His Napa Valley Estate is now on the market:
An arsonist recently set two blazes outside the “Mrs. Doubtfire” house. Fortunately, the homeowner was able to put both of them out before too much damage was done.
You can read about the incident on Curbed, which points out that Robin Williams’ character came up with his character’s fake name after spotting the Chronicle headline, “Police Doubt Fire Was Accidental.”