The Real “American Horror Story” House in L.A.

by hookedonhouses on October 31, 2011

American-Horror-Story-TV show house

This old house is haunted and known as “Murder House” on the TV show American Horror Story, but in real life it’s the stately Rosenheim Mansion in L.A. Architect Alfred Rosenheim built it in 1908 in Country Club Park as his own residence.

They gave the front of the mansion a serious “makeover” (makeunder?) for the opening scenes of the pilot, which supposedly took place in the 1970s when the house was standing empty.

According to Curbed, it was on the market for $4.5 million earlier this year. I tracked down the listing on Trulia, and it’s now “Off Market,” but the photos and information are still posted. Huffington Post ran a story at the time with even more photos of the house, which is great because now we can compare how it looks onscreen to how it is in real life.

In the listing photo, for instance, it doesn’t look haunted at all:
The Harmon family takes one look at the house and decides that–even though it was the site of a murder-suicide and their dog keeps barking at things they can’t see–this is the perfect place for a fresh start:

You can see that front entry in this listing photo, which leads me to believe that the show is at least partially shot in the real house:

“The three-story, 10,440 square foot house has six bedrooms, five bathrooms and sits on almost an acre of land alongside a former chapel that is now used as a recording studio,” according to HuffPo (which has many more photos of the real house by Cameron Carothers, via the listing with Brad Downs, Rodeo Realty).

Here’s how that hall looked when the house was deserted in the 1970s (on the show):

The hallway shown in the listing is in much better condition, and there’s nothing creepy about it:

You can see the staircase behind Ben (Dylan McDermott) in this shot:

And again in this one:

This is how the staircase looks in the listing for the Rosenheim Mansion:

We get a look at how the living room looked in a flashback from the 1960s:

Here it is in the listing (there are 6 Batchelder fireplaces in this house–gorgeous):

The Dining Room (this show is filmed SO dark that it was almost impossible to get clear snapshots as I watched it, so I lightened them within an inch of their lives):

And the real dining room, which is clearly different (but looks a lot like Ben’s study, as you’ll see):

Constance (the brilliant Jessica Lange) and her daughter Adelaide like to make unannounced visits to the Harmon home. Adelaide always tells people, “You are going to die in there!” Alas, the Harmons don’t take her warnings seriously…

When Vivien strips the wallpaper in this room, she discovers some truly disturbing and macabre murals underneath.

Ben works from home. He’s a psychiatrist whose mentally unstable patients meet him here in his office.

That pretty young maid who keeps coming onto him only looks pretty and young to him. To everyone else she looks like Frances Conroy.

The stained glass in this house is incredible.

The ceilings in his study look like the ones in the dining room that we see in the real house. Here’s a shot of the dining room from the real estate listing:

See what I mean? I thought they may have shot the office scenes in the actual dining room of the house, but it seems to be a little different (larger, with more windows), so I’m not sure:

These doors shown in the listing photo are the same that we see on the show with the circular designs on the glass:

Ben and Vivien in the kitchen:

“The house is the star of the show,” Dylan McDermott, who plays Ben Harmon, said in an interview. Can’t argue with that!

Connie Britton, who plays Vivien, added, “I think it’s interesting how the house seems to be reflecting whatever their deepest, darkest fears are.”

I loved her in Friday Night Lights. I have to say it’s kind of disturbing to see “Tami Taylor” in a show like this with so many creepy and disturbing things happening all around her. If I were her, I’d high-tail it straight back to Texas and Coach Taylor.

American Horror Story is the brainchild of Ryan Murphy, who was also behind popular shows like Glee and Nip/Tuck.

You can see photos of Murphy’s house, which used to belong to Diane Keaton, here:

Ryan Murphy's house

The real kitchen doesn’t look anything like this one. It’s very white…and kind of odd. So I’m guessing the kitchen scenes are filmed on a set.

The upstairs landing and hallway:

Looks like the same hall we see on the show:

The Master Bedroom:

Master Bath (listing photo):

Their daughter Violet’s room:

They clearly shot this in the real house because I spotted the same room in the listing, but in a startling blue:

There’s a website for the house that says it’s available for filming. Maybe it’s off the market now because it’s being used on “American Horror Story”?

I collected these photos from all over the place: CasaSugar, Curbed, Huffington Post, Trulia, FX, and Ugly Angel. Check those sites to see more. (Thanks to Kat for sending me the research she had done on the house, which got me started!)

The house even has its own website where you can explore each of the rooms: You’re Going to Die in There. And you can watch episodes online at FX.

American Horror Story cast FX poster

11/9/11 UPDATE: Lee Kay passed along this wonderful behind-the-scenes video with Production Designer Mark Worthington in which he explains that the pilot was shot on location at the house and then they replicated it on a set for the rest of the episodes. Amazing!

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Sally October 31, 2011 at 8:14 am

Seriously. That is one ODD kitchen. What on earth?

Rick October 31, 2011 at 8:17 am

Love the light , bright real home. It just goes to show you how much proper lighting and open drapes helps make a house welcoming.


Rick November 1, 2011 at 8:16 am

I also came across a google search that shows it is on youtube, but can’t access it from work computer. (no I am not on work time yet) enter Rosenheim Mansion for search.

Joleen October 31, 2011 at 8:20 am

I loved the house from the get go, and I love scary movies so I was excited about this show. It’s a little weird but I can’t stop watching it!

Heathery October 31, 2011 at 8:33 am

“Off market” until the show is canceled! That is the strangest kitchen ever. Did they run out of money during a remodel? Letting the new owner make it their own?

Romina October 31, 2011 at 8:59 am

Loved the house!
I could live there. I don´t care if is haunted :)

Ricki Jill Treleaven October 31, 2011 at 9:19 am

My daughter loves this show, but I have not seen it yet. I need to watch it now for the house! Great photos, Julia, and thanks so much for putting this post together for us. I know how time consuming it must have been using so many different sources!

Andrea October 31, 2011 at 9:24 am

very creepy yet beautiful house!

Kellye October 31, 2011 at 9:54 am

Seriously…the kitchen should be used in your “what room doesn’t belong” feature! I haven’t seen this series as I just got into BBC’s “Bedlam” which has a similar premise.

Love Where You Live October 31, 2011 at 10:49 am

Wow. In some places, I couldn’t believe that was the same house. I do prefer the unhaunted look (smile).

Luciane at October 31, 2011 at 10:53 am

I didn’t even hear about this show before! Well, it’s okay though… I’m becoming a scared cat lately! :-) I guess it’s the fact I’m giving birth to my little one in only 4 weeks and the last thing I need is to feel my heart racing more than already is! :-)

I hope everything is great with you, Julia. Loved your daughter’s custom. She’s always so adorable.

Have a happy and sweet Halloween!!!


Luciane at

Kelly, Arte Styling October 31, 2011 at 11:08 am

Fun post!! I’ll have to check out the show. Looks good ‘n creepy.

Happy Halloween, Julia!

the cape on the corner October 31, 2011 at 11:12 am

i am LOVING this show, so i was super excited to see your post on it. neat info! can’t wait til weds!

Dee October 31, 2011 at 11:32 am

I love this show too and had been wondering if it was filmed in a real house (or if at least the front shots were of a real house). How cool that it is but I think I’d still be freaked out living in it based on the show–even though it’s not really haunted :)

Thanks for sharing–can’t wait to go check out the house’s web site now!

Carrie October 31, 2011 at 11:35 am

I think after reading this post I need to watch this show!! That staircase is amazing!!

Cindy October 31, 2011 at 12:32 pm

GREAT post Julia! This house is amazing – 6 Batchelder fireplaces, are you kidding me, and those windows and woodwork. I need to get some housework done but now I’ll probably be spending the next 3 hours checking out all the links. Thanks cuz I hate housework.

Cindy October 31, 2011 at 12:35 pm

And I think I will do a drive by later this week!

Rebeca October 31, 2011 at 12:50 pm

perfect post for Halloween!
Love your blog.

Amanda @ Serenity Now October 31, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I did not watch the show b/c it would give me serious nightmares, I am sure. So much beautiful woodwork!!

Diane October 31, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Love the real house, but stopped watching the show about halfway through the first episode – really, really vulgar language. So fair warning on that.
Too bad, ’cause I love Jessica Lange playing creepy!
Thanks for the great house comparisons. The stained glass and woodwork are gorgeous!

Kim October 31, 2011 at 1:36 pm

What a great looking house. I love the staircase and stained glass windows.

It’s really sad the way the kitchen looks. You would think it would reflect the details of the other rooms. I hope someone will redue the kitchen and make it match the rest of the house.

Mandy October 31, 2011 at 1:38 pm

I love this show! I still think the house is creepy, especially with that kitchen!

Nita{ModVintageLife} October 31, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Oh…this was a great read. I am so into this show. I look so forward to it each week. So creepy and scary. Love Jessica Lange in it. I just don’t know how they are going to justify that they stay in that house with all the bad things happening. So interesting to see the actual house on the inside. That real kitchen is very strange. The one they’ve created for it goes so well with the rest of the house. Whoever eventually buys this…should redo the kitchen to look like that.

Margot October 31, 2011 at 6:25 pm

I’ve never watched the show as real life is scary enough for me but I love this house. The stairway looks very familiar to me. Is it possible it has been used before? I’m thinking specifically of a murder mystery I saw on TV. David Ogden Stiers played a blind man who committed a murder. He located his victim by putting a pieces of paper on the steps that the murder victim stepped on. Maybe an old Matlock or Murder She Wrote?

hookedonhouses October 31, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Since the website says it’s available for filming, it’s very possible that it’s been used for other TV shows in the past. Not sure which ones, though. Does it look familiar to anyone else?

KatD November 1, 2011 at 3:32 am

From another website:

“The Rosenheim home was also used in the Halloween-themed Season 4 episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer titled “Fear, Itself”, as the Alpha Delta fraternity house where Buffy Summers (aka Sarah Michelle Gellar) and her friends attended a Halloween party. […] [In one] scene Oz (aka Seth Green) turns into a werewolf, which was filmed inside of one of the property’s real life bathrooms.”
–> That is the same bathroom in which in “American Horror Story” the intruders in Episode 2 “Home Invasion” try to murder Violet, who is then rescued by Tate.

“According to the property’s official website, it appeared in a 1950’s movie named Old Blue Eyes which starred Frank Sinatra […] according to [another] website, the house was also used in 2002’s “Spiderman”, 2007’s “Because I Said So” […] and “Seabiscuit”.

In the series, there is some kind of attic, in which Vivien and Ben find a gimp suit left there by murdered gay couple owners. That scene was actually filmed in a former Chapel which was installed by the Sisters of Social Service, who converted the house into a convent in the 1950s.

There are more amazing pictures here:

and here
(this even features the basement, yup… THAT basement)
Sooooo much more to see: I mean check out that GOAT sculpture on the hand railings!

My favorite pieces are the garage-y place and the pillar thingys (what do you call that?) outside on which Violet sits and smokes with Tate.

In sum: I absolutely adore this house! Thanks for putting the post together! So happy to see it featured here.

I also love this show and absolutely recommend it to everyone. My favorite characters are Violet, Tate and now Chad.

hookedonhouses November 1, 2011 at 6:55 am

Thanks so much for this additional info! That’s great! The Malibu Locations link you gave us had different photos of the dining room that convince me that they filmed Ben’s office scenes in there (I wasn’t sure before). You can see the same stained glass and everything. Very interesting!

KatD November 1, 2011 at 9:53 pm

I found a screencap now. These structure are my favorite part (plus the ‘garage-y’ thing is in the back):

What do you even call such an architectural feature?

KatD November 1, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Oh and one last thing: Video!!!

cecile delouvrier November 10, 2011 at 2:17 pm

thank you so much for the links, i wanted so much to visit that house and that is a real tour!

Angie October 31, 2011 at 6:40 pm

This is my family’s favorite show! I had been looking for pix on the internet since the show’s start. I was SO happy to see it featured today. I’ve been looking everywhere for the floor plan. Any ideas where to find them???

hookedonhouses October 31, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Sorry, I didn’t come across any floorplans for this house.

shelly January 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm
hookedonhouses January 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Thanks, Shelly!

Lee Kay January 22, 2012 at 9:22 pm

I’ve just updated floor plans (again!) and added 3rd Flr & Basement.
Also figured out how to include link onto my flicker page!

Updated 1st Flr Plan:
Updated 2nd Flr Plan:
(New) 3rd Flr Plan:
(New) Basement Plan:

hookedonhouses January 23, 2012 at 8:36 am

Thanks for these!

Nathan October 31, 2011 at 11:14 pm

That kitchen is horrible!! I really love the room used for the daughter’s bedroom though.

sharron November 1, 2011 at 3:57 am

I am hooked on the show and the house!!!!

Jenny @ Kerrfect! November 1, 2011 at 12:14 pm

We love this show! We were just saying last week that this show has given us so many decor ideas for our own home. It’s 100 year old house with all of the original red oak woodwork and I honestly was on the verge of painting it all white because I just could not find any elegent inspiration for what to do with… well… WOOD colored woodwork! I told my husband when we watched the last episode that I was going to do the framed out linen upholstery in our dining room just like on the dining room in the show. I love the way it looks! Thanks for posting this btw!

ashley @ the handmade home November 2, 2011 at 8:28 am

Awesome! this post caught my eye-I love how you always have the houses from shows, because I totally obsess over them when I watch. Jamin (the hubs) and I have actually had our eye on an antebellum house on a bad part of town here, and I think we may get in to see it next week-this guy is restoring it, and I am fascinated. So, this show caught my eye halloween night after we got the kids into bed…and it has awkward disturbing parts in it, but I set it to record on my DVR. So this post…needless to say…made my morning! I still think its got a creep factor to it, even when its cleaned up. It has that 1908 architecture factor that I personally find a little weird. ;) LOVE it.

Kristen @ More Than Mulberries November 2, 2011 at 11:19 am

I just have a really hard time looking past Dylan McD – he looks exactly like my old college boyfriend. (swoon…) Maybe it’s just as well – I can’t do scary movies!

Bre November 3, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Fantastic post, Julia! I am a big fan of anything creepy so this show is awesome! I am always confused by it so I read recaps online after the new episodes air to try and make sense of what I just saw (*nerd alert*). Dylan McDermott is right, the house is absolutely the star of the show. All the wood work, stained glass, moldings, it’s really gorgeous! I love Violet’s room! It was fun to see the house as it appears on the show and the listing, that kitchen is so bizarre! It looks so small and lost in such a huge house. I much prefer the kitchen on the show.

Anthony November 4, 2011 at 2:14 pm

So glad that I came across this web site!! I am hooked on “American Horror Story” and cannot take my eyes off of the house. It’s GORGEOUS!!! One thing that I love about houses, is that they are filled with so much history. This house in particular probably has tons of history… not only in the show, but also in reality. Regardless of how much history it has and how old it is, it still looks young. That’s the great thing about houses – as long as you take care of them, they could look ageless. Here is a cool feature from the show’s web site.
I understand that the show does not interest many people, but I love admiring the house while listening to the song (you’ll know what I’m talking about if you visit the site). Enjoy!

hookedonhouses November 9, 2011 at 10:55 am

That’s a great website. Lots of fun to explore the house on it!

Lee Kay November 8, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Thx 4 the extra photo links, I have enough info now to draft up faurly accurate floor plans, will post when done. Here’s vid of AHS Prod Designer, Mark Worthington, talking about using the actual house & how they’ve recreated some of it as sets:

Sent from my greasy iPhone

hookedonhouses November 9, 2011 at 10:55 am

This is great! Thanks so much for that link. I just added the video to the post. -Julia

Lee Kay November 15, 2011 at 12:16 am

Floor plans! They’re probably about 95% accurate, without visiting site & measuring myself I can’t do much more right now.

Flr 1:
Flr 2:

hookedonhouses November 15, 2011 at 7:08 am

Wow! These are GREAT! Thanks so much!!

cecile delouvrier November 10, 2011 at 2:23 pm

OMG! I didn’t realized you had that house on the site. I just discovered the show by chance on the internet (in France we don’t have it yet) and I was first intrigated by the script talking about an haunted mansion. So I watched it and fell in love with the house on the first image even if in the series it looks creepy. But I’ve seen beyond the haunted side and I wanted so much to have a tour of the place. I love the house, if I had the 5 millions and a green card, I’d move there even if the backyard is a real mess; and I’d still rent it for the show to be filmed there because it’s an amazing freek show and I love it too.
Thank you for all the pics and links, I’m really happy tonight.

Rebekah D. November 11, 2011 at 10:55 am

I LOVE this house! Love the stained glass windows! Love that deep, rich wood throughout the home. The kitchen needs “more” (a bigger island in the middle maybe). I sometimes wonder what I like — the house or the show because of the house. Either way, I still watch this show every week.

P.S. I hope the real basement (if there is one) isn’t like the one in the show. LOL

hookedonhouses November 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm

The basement totally freaks me out. I wish the characters would stop walking down into it in every episode with the lights off, at night. I mean, seriously!

Mary November 13, 2011 at 11:10 am

I think the house is beautiful, but the decor in the listing photos is scarier than the show. Some ugly garrish colors, some cheap looking pieces of occasional furniture, even some of the expensive pieces look really badly chosen for the house. All those framed paintings going up the stair case wall… too much, breaks up the wall in a way the fragments the space rather than adorns it. Poor house.

Matt grimaldi November 16, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Just saw the house. Creepy old lady looking out the window. How amazing!!!

hannah November 27, 2011 at 5:17 am

i love tate and i want that house!! if there was a ghost like tate id marry

Chris November 27, 2011 at 7:49 pm

I read an interview where the guy who plays Tate, said the pilot was filmed in the actual house, but now they only use the real house for exterior shots and have build sets that mimic the house interiors.

sockpuppet December 1, 2011 at 3:13 am

you goofball—you really thought they were filming this on location??? Do you know how much that would cost? It’s pretty common practice to film a pilot on location and then build sets once the show has been picked up. Funny.

hookedonhouses December 1, 2011 at 8:30 am

Wow, I haven’t been called a goofball since I was ten! Ha. As I said, it looked partially filmed there for the pilot, partially on a set, and then they presumably replicated it after that like most shows do. But I couldn’t say for sure until I saw that video where they explained it. I am amazed by the level of detail they went to. Most shows you can tell after the pilot that the houses are different. This one looked like they were still filming some scenes there (like Violet’s room). They did an incredible job!

SW December 3, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Blech! This house is too large for me and far too creepy. It literally turns my stomach just looking at those pictures! Although, it does look like it would be a perfect fit for the show….

mar December 5, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Thank you so much for all this great information. The house is only a five minute drive from my house here in Los Angeles and I got to go see it today, well the outside part of it!

You really made my week! Thank you so much!

NJ Cellulose Insulation Contractor January 5, 2012 at 11:56 am

Amazing how they can make a house look so different just by using different lighting.

Michele Nicholson January 11, 2012 at 9:31 am

I can’t believe I stumbled across this site. You’re a woman after my own heart. This is fantastic. I can’t wait to tell my mom and sisters and my best friend!!! Two of my favorite houses are the one on the current tv show on ABC Family, “Switched at Birth”, and the house that was on 7th Heaven years ago. Both very warm and traditional. Do you think you will post those houses on this site?

hookedonhouses January 11, 2012 at 9:55 am

I haven’t watched those shows, so I don’t know anything about them. I’ll have to set my DVR to record “Switched at Birth” and check it out!

Traci January 27, 2012 at 7:43 pm

Such a great, scary show. Thanks for putting in all the work to compare. It would be great to tour the house.

Movies January 28, 2012 at 1:56 am

nice movies and great collection sharing on your site……….

excitingLA February 24, 2012 at 4:49 pm

this house is massive! i think i’d be terrified of the basement, but overall the real house is beautiful! thanks for the comparison between the show and the real thing – much less scary. the stained glass is absolutely beautiful!

Victor Moreno March 3, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Another tidbit, I was watching some old music videos not too long ago and one of the ones that came up was the band Korn and their video for “Alone I Break” The video is from the early 2000’s, maybe 2002? But it’s shot in the exact same house. Including a shot of the odd little kitchen being used to prepare food, Violet’s bathroom and the video has shots of the same staircase and ends with a shot of the front of the house. You can see lots of little details about the house not instantly noticeable on the show. Here’s the link

hookedonhouses March 3, 2012 at 8:52 pm

No kidding? Thanks, Victor!

Sarah March 31, 2012 at 11:24 am

The pilot was shot in the house’s interior. A replica soundstage was built for the filming of the rest of the episodes. However I wasn’t aware that the beautiful kitchen was not true to the home’s interior-how disappointing! The exterior shots of the home looking dilapidated in the 1970s was done with CGI. The house is once again on the market at a newly inflated price of $17,000,000.

hookedonhouses March 31, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Thanks, Sarah!

Carisa August 24, 2012 at 10:08 pm

The exterior was also used as the exterior of the fraternity house/entrance to the Initiative’s hideout in season 4 of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”.

hookedonhouses August 25, 2012 at 8:34 am

Interesting! Thanks, Carisa.

Me December 11, 2012 at 5:49 am

This house was also used in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Season Four Episode Four. It’s used as a frat house.

GreenpointGuy December 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Here’s how it works: location teams find the houses for the filming of pilots. If the show is picked up, an identical version of the house (or nearly identical) is built as a set.

AHS_Fan December 15, 2012 at 10:43 am

I wouldn’t mind owning this house weather it was haunted or not especially if one of them ghosts were Tate.I like buildings with a story a certain fell and this one has it all not only has it been on TV but can also look beautifully normal or weirdly unnatural. P.s in the new season its based around the asylum but where is it?
<3 Evan Peters <3
<3 Tate Ladgon <3
<3 Kit walkers <3

Cameron Carothers January 11, 2013 at 4:05 am

Hi Julia-
Just found this post. First, thanks very much for crediting my photos (with a link to my site even!). Second, for trivia’s sake, Ben’s office was based on the dining room. The stained glass behind the woman on the couch (3rd office shot) was actually there. The doors you refer to in that shot were modeled on the doors of the study (which are Tiffany glass). But in reality the doors in the dining room were just plain french doors (not stained glass). The windows you see in the background of the 5th shot (boy on couch, Ben at left) are really there, but those in the second shot don’t exist. The actual view of that wall of the dining room is the one in my dining room shot (fireplace on the left).

hookedonhouses January 11, 2013 at 7:42 am

Thanks for answering some of our questions, Cameron! So nice to hear from you!

A February 3, 2013 at 11:11 am

Oh, So poor I live in europe, I would like to see this house on my own. Really great, it is the first time in my life when I am fascinated by TV show. And I jealous about people who live in neighourhood :)

Melanie April 14, 2013 at 1:35 pm

The house in the show looked a lot better then the real life version. The TV version showed the true beauty of the house and used the wood to make it look natural the white everywhere takes away the beauty if i seen this house on the market and seen it first as it was on the show I would buy but if i seen it the way it is in real life i would pass or have a lot of remodeling to do.

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