I’ve gotten hooked on the Fox series “Empire,” so I was curious about the filming locations for it. A lot of the action takes place in this grand estate owned by Lucious Lyon, which I discovered is a real house located in Barrington, Illinois. It’s on the market, so let’s compare how it looks on TV to the real thing!
Lucious Lyon’s Mansion in “Empire”
The show revolves around the Lyon family, which runs a music company called Empire Entertainment. Lucious (Terrence Howard) is the head of the family and founder of the company. He’s dying and trying to determine which of his sons will be his successor — Hakeem, Jamal, or Andre. Lucious Lyon’s life gets more complicated when his ex-wife Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) gets out of prison early and demands her half of the company back.
“Empire” is mostly filmed in the Chicago area, and the estate they used is in Barrington Hills.
Here’s an aerial view of the property, which sits on 8 acres overlooking a lake:
The place is HUGE, with 20,000 square feet in the main house alone.
Here’s how the mansion looks on TV:
And here’s how it looks in the listing:
It’s described as a “lavish French Country-style estate.”
You can see the other side of those double doors in the foyer on the show:
The dining room in the listing is off the front hall:
The dining room on the show is a lot more formal and dramatic:
Looking from the hall into the living room in the listing photos:
There’s a piano in the real living room (above) like they have on the show (below):
There’s an article about the show in the NY Post declaring “7 Reasons why ‘Empire’ is the New ‘Dynasty.'”
It says: ‘“Empire” may scream hip-hop and bling, but, like “Dynasty,” the show is rooted in cold, hard cash. On “Dynasty,” the Carrington business was oil. On “Empire,” Howard’s Lucious Lyon is a music-industry mogul — a TV version of Jay Z who hopes his firm will become the first rap enterprise listed on the New York Stock Exchange.’
I never watched “Dynasty,” but I was a big “Dallas” fan and see some similarities to it with the three brothers vying for their dad’s approval and control of the company.
My favorite is Jamal (Jussie Smollett). I’m rooting for him to win the battle of the brothers! 🙂
The walnut-paneled library in the listing is the setting for several scenes on the show:
In this screenshot of Lucious in the room, you can see the same curtains and furniture:
As the season progressed, however, the rooms changed a bit. My guess is that’s when they began filming on separate sets. For instance, here’s how Lucious Lyon’s study looks by the end of the first season:
See the staircase behind Cookie in this screenshot taken from an episode earlier in the season?
Here that staircase in the listing:
The mansion took 5 years to build and was finished in 2008. It has 5 bedrooms and 9 full baths.
When it first came on the market 2 years ago, the asking price was nearly $16 m. It later came down closer to $13.
The Master Bathroom on TV is darker and more masculine:
Little Lola has a bedroom fit for a princess on the show:
In this scene the brothers serenade Lola with a sweet song Jamal wrote about her to help her go to sleep:
We haven’t seen the kitchen on the show yet, but here it is in the listing:
In the next photo you can see how the kitchen opens up to that living room with the piano:
I could totally see the Lyons throwing a big industry party out here by the pool:
The back of the house has a view of the lake behind it, too:
You can watch full episodes of “Empire” on Fox.com. For more photos and information, check the listing, Curbed, and Pricey Pads. 2016 UPDATE: the asking price has been lowered to $12.5 million. Anyone else hooked on this show?
P.S. Visit my TV & Movie Houses page for more, like the sets from “Scandal:”