The San Francisco Apartment in “Just Like Heaven”

Reese Witherspoon's Russian Hill Apartment Just Like Heaven

In Just Like Heaven, Reese Witherspoon plays Elizabeth, a hard-working doctor who doesn’t have much of a personal life. She does, however, own an apartment in this Victorian Russian Hill building with killer views of the city from every room…

Reese Witherspoon's apartment in Just Like Heaven

After she’s in a terrible car crash, a landscape architect named David (Mark Ruffalo) rents her place. There’s a catch, though: her spirit is still living there, and she wants him out.

Leslie Dixon, a San Francisco native who co-wrote the film, used to live in this apartment building. They actually only shot 10 days in San Francisco The interiors of the dream apartment were built entirely on a soundstage.

As Mark Ruffalo talks about filming the movie for the DVD’s special features, you can see the outside of one of the windows on set:

Here’s how it looked when they filmed Reese’s character through that window:

The hallway is beautiful but looks a little spooky in this shot…almost like it belongs to the house in “American Horror Story.”

The movie is based on a novel called If Only It Were True by the French author Marc Levy.

This round windowseat with the fabulous view is one of the best features of the apartment–love it:

As Elizabeth is arguing that she’s not a ghost, she looks down and realizes she has wandered into the center of the dining room table…

The bedroom has more great woodwork and another round window big enough to fit the bed in:

David starts wearing boxer shorts to shower in, since he never knows when Elizabeth might make a surprise appearance…

The Kitchen:

Jon Heder plays Darryl, the psychic who is confounded by how “alive” the spirit seems to be.

Production Design was done by Cary White, and Set Decoration by Barbara Haberecht.

Reese Witherspoon's San Francisco kitchen Just Like Heaven

Up on the Roof:

According to the DVD commentary, the apartment’s rooftop was built on a soundstage. They used CGI for the San Francisco skyline. Here’s a behind-the scenes photo taken of the set:

SF Gate reports, “The sweeping vista was filmed from the deck of a slightly more elevated apartment one block away on Russian Hill at Taylor and Green, according to location manager Rory Enke.”

“From this place, you could see the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, Transamerica — you kind of get your highlight reel of San Francisco from that rooftop,” director Mark Waters says.

David, who’s a landscape architect, created a heavenly rooftop garden for Elizabeth before leaving.

Mark Ruffalo-rooftop garden in Just Like Heaven

I won’t spoil the ending for those of you who haven’t seen it, but it was kind of a surprise. Did you see it coming?

Julia-simple-teal-signature2

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Comments

  1. Rick says

    I love the lighted glassware/storage area between the dining area and kitchen. the wall is thick enough to put in a cabinet and lighted upper glass shelves on each side of doorway. The accessable storage is great and less “dead” looking than just a door opening.

    rick

  2. A.Men says

    Love this place! I would have put breakfast nook in one of the windows!

  3. says

    I love how spacious the apartment is…even the bathroom. I think it’s bigger than my bathroom, and I live in a house! 😉 (Albeit, a 1970s Colonial) Haven’t seen this movie yet!

  4. says

    Thanks for doing this! I feel like watching the movie again.

    I was kind of surprised at how they did the ending–not the end-end on the roof, but the hospital scene before. It was a little sad, actually!

  5. says

    Such a beautiful apartment! Although it’s interesting that the director mentions a view of the Golden Gate Bridge, because in every shot you can see the Bay Bridge, not the Golden Gate.
    Still incredible place though!

  6. says

    Love the apartment and especially the garden. I can’t help it, I love gardens. I’m stumped though. I saw the movie but it was years ago and now I can’t remember how it ends. I’ll have to look it up on Netflix :)

  7. snezana says

    i was just planing to wach this moove,ts so cool,love the film,love the apartment

  8. says

    Wow, the woodwork in the living and dining rooms is super-similar to mine! (well, we don’t have paneling, but the cornices on the windows and doors are spot-on)

    Apparently, I need to watch this movie to see if there are any shots of how THEY hung the curtains.

    The interior shades in the windowseat are a good idea – somehow, I’d always assumed those wouldn’t look right with that kind of woodwork, but I guess I was wrong.

    I’m so glad you posted this!

  9. HollyM says

    I want to move in. Well, maybe I’d change the red couch . . .

  10. says

    I agree — that round banquet is awesome. I love San Francisco architecture — I understand the impulse to haunt one of those great Victorians!

  11. annette says

    Thanks,Julia.I’ve watched this film twice,not only for the sweet love story,but because of that beautiful San Francisco flat.I did not get to congratulate you on your “anniversary”,so here’s to you and your fascinating daily blog.I am so happy to have found you to keep my “lookiloo” spirit alive! Annette

  12. Sue says

    Thanks so much for featuring this movie! The set designers did an amazing job. I really thought it was an actual apartment. Almost a little disappointing, to realize that it’s been dismantled and doesn’t exist anymore. Still LOVE the kitchen, and that window seat!

  13. Kim says

    I’ve seen “Just Like Heaven” more than once and it’s a really cute movie. One of my favorite things is definitely the sets. Out of all of the movies and tv shows I have seen, this apartment is one of my favorites. If I could live here I would.

  14. Wendy says

    You’ve inspired me to watch it. I loved the kitchen. And I dig Reece Witherspoon. As a Bay Area native, I think the Victorians had an early and irrevocable affect on my love of houses. I liked that the kitchen wasn’t all right angles. I like unusually shaped rooms. Good thing, because there isn’t a single square or rectangular room in my house!

  15. says

    My daughter/blog partner lived in San Francisco for a few years, and her apartment was very similar in design. Unfortunately, she didn’t have that great kitchen. I love the shelf across the window, by the way.

  16. Brenda says

    Thanks, Julia. I loved this movie, loved the story line and all the actors. Most of all, I loved the apartment and the beautiful rooftop garden. I will have to watch it again.

  17. says

    It’s funny, because I really didn’t like this movie much . . . BUT I really noticed the beautiful wood paneling also & it stuck with me! I also enjoyed visiting the homes on your “for sale” post. Great blog.

    Warmly, Michelle

  18. says

    My daughter lives in Cow Hollow near Russian Hill. San Francisco architecture is so beautiful. The exterior of her building is much like the apartment in Just Like Heaven. Her apartment is really cute but, her kitchen is nothing like that kitchen. She also has the rooftop fixed up for sunning and looking at the Golden Gate Bridge. After college and growing up in a small beach town she LOVES living in a city.

  19. jodi from new jersey says

    How beautiful! I love that place and I am planning to see the movie. Those views are gorgeous, yet it’s still so cozy and warm inside. I swear my next house will have a view. I also love the ivy on the outside of the building. What a pretty home–only in the movies! Thanks..

  20. jodi from new jersey says

    Sorry, forgot to mention the rooftop garden–WOW! Absolutely dreamy!

  21. Katherine says

    Dar Julia,

    Perhaps the question has been posed and answered on your great blog before – but I’ve often wondered what happens to all the beautiful kitchens, furniture, and other set pieces when a film is finished? I realise many of them probably are “hollow”, and I’m sure (I hope!) a lot of recycling is done, but it’s a question I’d love to know the answer to!

    Katherine <3

  22. E. George says

    Hi Julia I have loved this movie from the first time I saw it to the 10th time (still love it) and the apartment ….don’t get me started (I want one) with the rooftop garden of course. From what I have seen of San Francisco in movies and travel shows the architecture is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Till next time Regards Esther from Sydney.

  23. LuckyMe61 says

    I’m so glad you featured this movie! I loved it!! When we stumble upon it on TV my daughter and I always end up watching it again. It is such a sweet romance. Almost like a movie from another era. The apartment is just to die for (no pun intended!). Thanks for the neat ‘behind the scenes’ photo’s. It’s always interesting to see how they work their movie magic to create those wonderful on screen images.

  24. amanda says

    AMAZING, I would just love to live there. Of course, in real life it would probably cost millions. Glad I’m not the only one who buys movies just because you love the set.

  25. Dee Dee says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Julia! When I first stumbled onto your website I wrote and asked you about this fabulous flat in San Francisco. I am so happy you posted it. I live about 45 minutes outside of San Francisco and love all the architecture there. This flat is one of my favorite movie houses. Keep up the great work!

  26. Kevin M says

    I just finished watching the movie for a second time. I love the movie, and I enjoyed the extra insight you brough out regarding how the movie was made. I knew it was filmed in San Francisco, but I would not have known the specific spot on Russian Hill. It is amazing that you were able to find the exact apartment building.

  27. Karen says

    This movie was on a few weeks ago, but I missed it given that it was featured late and I was too tired to watch it all the way through. I’m glad that you’ve featured it here and I agree that the apartment is beautiful–the stunning woodwork and architecture, not to mention the sensational view. What’s not to love about this place. This is, of course, very pricey SF real estate–wish it was mine. That rooftop garden is exquisite…you are right–so heavenly!

  28. Karen says

    Speaking of San Francisco real estate…have you considered featuring Vertigo? I love that movie and the retro apartments would be fun to see here.

  29. Carmen says

    When I originally saw this movie I lived in SF. I remember my husband and I desperately tried to find this apartment. We fell in love with that apartment. Any one who lives or has lived in SF knows that great apartments with awesome views are just the best. I love this apartment it truly makes the movie.

  30. Marsha says

    Seeing this made me go rent the movie. Thanks. So cute & loved the apartment.

  31. calixta says

    If there is one house in a movie I can’t forget; it is THIS! Since the first time I saw this movie, I fell in LOVE with this apartment. JUST Gorgeous!

  32. ladyofargonne says

    Spectacular place. I would only change one thing. I would unblock the kitchen windows. The shelf with the knicknacks could maybe go over the windows.

  33. says

    I love this space. I am wondering if you can rent this out for a week? Does anyone know how to get in touch with the property manager?

    Please let me know!

    AAE