The Victorian Farmhouse in the Sitcom “Hot in Cleveland”

by hookedonhouses on March 5, 2012

Hot in Cleveland Set Design | hookedonhouses.netThe popular TV Land sitcom Hot in Cleveland is about three women–played by Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick, and Valerie Bertinelli– who relocate from L.A., moving into a charming old farmhouse in Ohio. The rent is crazy low to the California natives, but the house comes with a “catch”–Betty White is the crotchety caretaker. (She tells them she cooks breakfast and gives advice, “Like Drama on Entourage.”)

That’s a real house in Cleveland that appears at the beginning of most of the episodes:

Hot in Cleveland Farmhouse | hookedonhouses.net

When the show first came out, I immediately thought of the 30 Rock episode when Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon is thrilled to discover that in Ohio, she’s mistaken for a model because she’s “too thin.” She tells Jack that she wants to move there and he says, “Oh, Liz, we’d all like to flee to the Cleve!”

Hot in Cleveland farmhouse side view

The sitcom’s creator Suzanne Martin wanted a big, Victorian-era porch where the women could gather: “It is the antithesis of what our characters knew from their life in Los Angeles, a symbol of the slower, more gracious lifestyle that our characters discover in Ohio,” production designer Michael Hynes told the L.A. Times.

Hot in Cleveland cast on front porch

“I suggested a porch swing in addition to chairs, because the swing is the ultimate throwback to a Norman Rockwell-like past that we all get nostalgic for,” Hynes said.

Hot in Cleveland sitcom front porch set

Here’s how the living room looked in the pilot when they first saw the house and it was empty:

The furniture and fabrics were pretty basic during the first season, sometimes changing from episode to episode. There was a leather chair here in one, for instance:

Then it disappeared and a pale green velvet armchair took its place as the sets slowly evolved and became more feminine:

During the first season there was also a dining area in the living room that you can see behind Wendie Malick:

By the second season, the walls were less green, more blue.  A large window had appeared to the right of the front door, and the green velvet chair was replaced by a red one:

Production Designer Michael Hynes explained, “The (second-season) mandate was to update the interiors as a nod to all of their tastes, while staying mindful of the fact that they are in Cleveland, not Hollywood.”

Hot in Cleveland living room set

Set Decorator Maralee Zediker added that the more feminine furnishings were meant to reflect “women who want to celebrate their new life in a traditional city, but whose ideas about style have been shaped by a half a lifetime spent in a very design- and trend-conscious metropolis.”

Hot in Cleveland living room set 2

The dining room became its own separate room in Season 2:

Hot in Cleveland dining room set

The kitchen may be my favorite set in the house, and it has changed the least. Here’s how it looked in the pilot episode:

Hot in Cleveland sets-kitchen 5

The floor looks like old linoleum but is actually a pattern painted onto the studio’s concrete floor.

Hynes told the L.A. Times about the backstory they were working with for the farmhouse kitchen:

“The Victorian-era original had been updated with new appliances including an enameled Magic Chef oven in the 1930s, and then it got its Dishmaster sink faucet and a GE combination icebox in the 1950s.”

Hot in Cleveland sets-kitchen 8

Just a few changes from the first season to the second. For example, the framed poster above the butcher block was replaced by plates, and there’s a new wall hanging in the stairwell (above Valerie Bertinelli’s head).

wide shot of kitchen second season Hot in Cleveland

Have you seen the show? I watched most of the first and second seasons while taking screenshots for this post and it was better than I expected.

It’s fun to see all the guest stars who pop up on the show, like Carl Reiner as a love interest for Betty White’s Elka, and Bonnie Franklin as Melanie’s potential mother-in-law (she played Bertinelli’s mom on One Day at a Time.)

My favorite guest star, though, had to be Mary Tyler Moore, who turned up as Betty White’s prison mate. She drew a big “M” on the wall of their cell, and when Elka asked what it stood for, she growled, “Murder.”

You can catch the show on TV Land on Wednesday nights. Netflix is streaming most of the episodes right now, too, if you missed any from the first two seasons! Read the L.A. Times article by David A. Keeps for more information about the sets. (Photos via TV Land.)

Visit my Houses Onscreen page to see more sitcom sets, including…

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Alex (@OldTownHome) March 5, 2012 at 8:41 am

My wife and I grew up on the west side of Cleveland. Though we’re hardened east coast DC area residents now, we always have a bit of a soft spot for cool houses in the Cleveland area. There are a whole bunch of really great places that are in serious need of attention, and many look much like the Hot In Cleveland house. Either east side, west side, or close in areas like Ohio City or Tremont all have great places (I mean, the Christmas Story house is in Tremont) for reasonable prices. It’s just a shame the city cut up the old neighborhoods when they installed the highways through the city. Ruined a lot of the character and quaint small town feel.

A.Men March 5, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Love the floor!

Hildie March 5, 2012 at 9:34 am

I’ve never even heard of this show but I love the house! I wonder if it’s on Netflix.

hookedonhouses March 5, 2012 at 9:42 am

It’s streaming on Netflix right now–that’s how I watched the first two seasons! :)

Molly @thewaffler March 5, 2012 at 10:05 am

I’m digging those pillows on the living room couch. Oh, and also the front porch swing. I’d really love a front porch swing.

Aria March 5, 2012 at 10:52 am

Never heard of the show, but LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the kitchen! I want, no, NEED that stove! ;)

Janice Mahon March 5, 2012 at 11:20 am

The exterior shot of the home reminds me of Jessica Fletcher’s home in Cabot Cove in Murder She Wrote. The original home is in Mendocino, California, on Little Lake Road. My brother lives on Little Lake Road. I spent many days watching Angela Lansbury filming in Mendo. Watching them turn Mendo into Cabot Cove was a real treat. The production changed the signs on the stores. Watching Angela walk down Main Street was a joy to see!

Sorry to get off the main point. Cammie King, who played Bonnie Blue Butler in Gone With The Wind lived in Mendo. She recently passed.

Maybe you could do a segment on Mendocino. Lots of beautiful homes and the local hotel is to die for.

HerInnerVoice March 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm

I didn’t notice it until your still shots, but it suddenly struck me that although the architectural features of the house are different, the decor and furniture placement, and even general layout of the house floorplan is a near Golden Girls replica. I wonder if they tried for that.

hookedonhouses March 5, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Interesting! I hadn’t thought about that.

Mary March 5, 2012 at 1:01 pm

It’s very “up” and fun – love the sofa tucked away in the corner. I think it’s really important to squeeze a sofa into the kitchen if you can!
mary x

Black Eyed Susans Kitchen March 5, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Fun post Julia! I don’t think that I noticed all of the changes over the different seasons. It is a cute show though.

Pam March 5, 2012 at 2:49 pm

I have watched the show from the beginning and so I have waited for this post! I do love the kitchen floor and the way other spaces have evolved. The sitting area off the kitchen is one of my favorite spots with the red curtains. Also, I’d like to mention the little child’s chair that is hanging on the wall by the front door. I believe it holds a guest registry usually.
Thanks so much for the post!
Pam

Wade Watson March 5, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Episodes of the show first appear on the TV Land cable network. I’ve seen many of the episodes. The writing may not be the pinnacle of the art, but with that cast it’s always worth a look. The sets at least look like they might plausibly fit in the house shown for the exterior. Most sitcom sets are designed with really odd angled walls that wouldn’t fit into any house you ever saw (as Mark Bennett’s great book “TV Sets” illustrates).

Kim March 5, 2012 at 4:18 pm

What a beautiful Victorian home! They did a great job with the interior. I love the colors, accents and furniture. They make the house seem so light, which I love in a home.

Brandy March 5, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Cute show and great set design, though some of the changes are confusing.

Could you do a post on the sets on The Good Wife? I would love to learn more about them.

MadMegan March 5, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Does the kitchen remind anyone else of Family Matters? Maybe it’s just the staircase… now I need to look it up to make sure I’m not crazy.

Maggy March 5, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Great post! That show has gotten so much good buzz; I need to rent it from Netflix!

Am I the only one, or did anyone else prefer some of the earlier room decors before they ‘glammed’ them up? I actually liked the earlier version of the living room (after the leather chair was replaced); did anyone notice that they had three different coffee tables?

And, Julia, I’m with you .. I really like the kitchen, especially the earlier shots. It’s quirky and pretty believable, except for all the interior cabinet lighting. It would be a real feat to pull off that off, especially in a house that age! (Don’t ask me how I know this … ;- )

Wendy March 5, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Wow! That’s my house. I could move right in. And my favorite living room look is the slightly feminized later half of the 1st season, so nobody would even be using it anymore!

Love, love, love the kitchen. Agree that I liked it slightly better before they updated it, but it’s thoroughly groovy by me either way.

And that front door! I have that exact same front door on my 1899 cottage, an old summer cottage, in Mill Valley California.

Wendy March 5, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Whoops, I meant the back door. The kitchen door. Exactly the same.

Wendy March 5, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Now I realize it sounds like I meant that house is really like my house. Nope. That house is my dream house. My cottage is very sweet, but only 1,200 sf…and that’s divided between two flats!

Debbie March 6, 2012 at 12:49 am

I love that kitchen…I keep trying to figure out how I can do something like that in the corner of my basement.

Kathy March 6, 2012 at 9:01 am

I live just south of Cleveland. When I first moved here I wasn’t so sure I liked it here. I have to admit I really love now. Once you open yourself up and think OK it’s not the east coast so don’t even compare it you start to appreciate the area. We can live in VERY nice homes for a fraction of what it would cost in other areas. Also there’s something going on in the neighborhoods and is really breathing new life into the different communities. We had wonderful porch swings at two of our old homes. In the wee hours of the morning rocking my children out there was about as good as it gets. Nice memories.

theSavvySeeker March 6, 2012 at 9:49 am

Haven’t seen the show…but maybe I will now! Love that kitchen…and the rest of the set is charming…especially the porch! Thanks for sharing!

Lauren March 6, 2012 at 10:21 am

Love that big round table in the kitchen! So civilized Imagine them all lined up in a row on stools at a “breakfast bar” instead.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com March 6, 2012 at 11:15 am

I love this show and this house.

jodi from new jersey March 7, 2012 at 8:14 pm

That porch is perfect! I love the whole house. I can’t remember the last time I heard the word “icebox” used. My Gram called it ( the fridge) that for years. She’s still around at 104 years old! What fun it must be to decorate sets like that . Thanks for a fun post.

C Holland March 7, 2012 at 9:28 pm

CW in Texas
Back staircase!! I love seeing them in those Victorian Queen Annes. I know the back stairs were originally for the servant(s) to use, but I look for them. “Father of the Bride” kitchen set had one, later “Bewitched” TV episodes did also that I don’t recall them using and Family Stone movie had glimpse of one. More?

Rachel Carey March 8, 2012 at 12:46 pm

I too live in Cleveland (Kamms), and love it! It’s an awesome city to call home. This show is hilarious. All of the ladies play off of each other, it makes an excellent watch. Season III is about to begin. Newman from Seinfeld is also a character (he’s a neighbor)

I love the set. My tudor has the original 1930′s kitchen with no updates, in excellent condition, so it reminds me of this set. However, I don’t ‘love’ our floor. This kitchen floor would be perfect in my old tudor kitchen.

The pillows on the sofa are from WORLD MARKET. Those little chairs are had from Hobby Lobby or Michael’s for around $20. Of course, you could find an antique salesmans sample if you want to spend a ton.

Lorri March 24, 2012 at 8:16 pm

The porch and kitchen are my favorite spaces, too. But, nothing and no one, can compete with Betty White! She’s wonderful :)

LDub March 28, 2012 at 7:42 pm

I’ve never seen the show, but from these pics, it looks like the same/similar set as the one in the 90s sitcom “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”.

Tory April 23, 2012 at 8:59 am

Hot in Cleveland also has a video clip “set tour”
http://www.tvland.com/video-clips/hot-in-cleveland/hot-in-cleveland-set-tour

On the same site, you can watch full episodes of the show…..

hookedonhouses April 23, 2012 at 9:01 am

Thanks, Tory!

Duchess May 23, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Has anyone else picked up on the fact that the window in the dining room behind the fireplace has trees in it, but there should be a hallway on the other side of that wall – the one that comes out by the back stairs in the kitchen and has the powder room off it?

hookedonhouses May 24, 2012 at 6:10 am

I hadn’t! That’s funny.

Kevin May 31, 2012 at 1:15 am

In the kitchen, next to the sink, is a green shark looking thing?

Does anyone know what that is?

Barbara Hart July 12, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Does anyone know the colour of green on the front door of the house
in ” Hot in Cleveland” show
I wold like to have a Table Set made in that exact colour of Green and Antique White [cream} trim. Please let me know the Brand Name of the Paint. and Name of the Colour. Thanks So Much Barb Hart

Becky Davis August 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Nevermind the paint! Where can I purchase the front door?

Lynne October 1, 2012 at 7:08 pm

I just got back home from Cleveland where we buried my father. My dad used to tell me stories about his great grandmother who, with her husband, built the Hot in Cleveland house. This couple, Brougham and Martha Harris, both lived in the house until their deaths. My dad used to go visit his great grandmother there where she would read to him and give him licorice candies which she hid in her closet. As a child, I remember our trips to the Westside where we still had family living and my dad would drive us by this house, called Lake Cliff, and tell us funny family stories. What a treat ,especially after being at the family gravesite where Martha and Brougham are also buried, to find out that their family home is now on TV!

hookedonhouses October 1, 2012 at 7:58 pm

No kidding? Wow! I loved hearing your stories. Thanks, Lynne!

Lori February 5, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Does anyone know any of the paint colors of the kitchen and living room?

Laura March 1, 2013 at 8:35 pm

OMG! I live down the street from that house in Lakewood! I’ve never seen this show, but I’ve loved that house since I was little. It’s right by the lake, and it’s just as gorgeous in real life.

bev June 18, 2013 at 6:14 pm

So, is the refrigerator vintage or a reproduction? Does anyone know?

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