The 1990 John Hughes movie Home Alone made both Macaulay Culkin and the red-brick Georgian-style Colonial his character Kevin lived in famous.
It remains one of the most popular and beloved movie houses ever, so it’s pretty big news that it’s on the market in Winnetka, Illinois.
Let’s take a look back at the house and the sets they designed for the movie 20+ years ago.
The “Home Alone” House
The real staircase today (below):
Director Christopher Columbus talks in the DVD commentary about recreating the second-story interiors of the house on a sound stage in a high school gymnasium. (More info here.)
Entertainment Weekly interviewed Columbus and reported:
The “Home Alone” production team spent weeks searching the North Shore for the house in Winnetka that would eventually be used as the main backdrop for the 1990 movie.
“We knew we were going to shoot in the North Shore, so we were in the Wilmette, Winnetka, Glencoe, Lake Forest area, so we basically drove around for several weeks until we found the right house,” Columbus said.
“And then when we found the house, I took some pictures and sent them over to (producer) John (Hughes), and I remember John saying, ‘This is perfect. This is exactly how I imagined the house.'”
They considered the look of the house and its layout for use for the kinds of stunts 8-year-old Kevin McCallister, played by Macaulay Culkin, would have to pull off in it.
Columbus says, “We needed to cast a house that would work for the stunts and also a house that was visually appealing and, if this makes sense, warm and menacing at the same time. It’s the kind of house if you were a kid it would be fun to be left home alone.”
I’ve wanted a back staircase leading to my kitchen ever since I saw this one in the movie:
The real kitchen has been remodeled since the
movie was filmed here and looks completely different:
Christopher Columbus says the neighbors were “extremely cooperative” during filming.
It was a low-budget film, so they couldn’t afford to build a (fake) exterior of the house on a separate sound stage.
That meant all the stunts that happened outside of the house happened at night:
“We would be shooting from like 5:30 at night to 6 in the morning. I think that the lights and the actors shouting, and me yelling ‘Action!’ probably got on a few peoples’ nerves.”
The Real “Home Alone” House Floor Plan:
The house has 3 stories and 5 bedrooms.
Someone had some fun with the listing description for the “Home Alone” house on Zillow:
This is the perfect Christmas home on so many degrees. Firstly, it has many large rooms perfect for filling with Christmas decorations and booby traps. The front door has a handle that could potentially be used to burn a home-invaders hand.
In addition, one could spray water on the stairs in Ofer to make it slippery. There is a doggy door, however rather than for dogs it could be used to shoot a BB gun through. This house also has a back door through which if a home-invader tried to open, one could rig a blowtorch to burn their head.
There is an attic, perfect for sending a small child after having acted like a jerk. Beautiful bathrooms with aftershave. A gorgeous television that plays mafia movies not appropriate for children.
There is a grand kitchen perfect for hosting large family pizza parties. The master bedroom has a beautiful king-sized bed, suited for jumping.
As mentioned before, this is a perfect Christmas house and could be decorated as such. There is a large grandfather clock in the dining room to look at whilst eating Mac and cheese.
Sarah, whose aunt and uncle owned the house, answered some of my burning questions:
They were approached about having the movie filmed there and declined at first, but changed their minds when asked again.
That same staircase was used by all of the cast, the same wallpaper in each room, for years! It has just recently been painted within the last couple years.
Now, the secret to the kitchen stairs. They exist, but not going up. They actually go down, to a basement.
They covered the opening going downstairs and made flooring for the film, and put a fake staircase going up.
If you notice in the first movie, shots looking towards the staircase in the foyer, you can see to the right in the back, the opening to the kitchen, as well as the “fake” staircase.
BUT in the second movie, looking in that same direction, up the foyer staircase, towards the back to the right, you clearly see a door with hinges that lead into the kitchen. With no visible staircase. My uncle did not want another floor put over his basement opening for the 2nd filming.
There is also no entry way to the basement from outside. The production dug that and put it in for filming only, then buried and covered it back up afterward.
It is true, a lot of filming took place on a soundstage, but that is ONLY for the upstairs scenes.
All scenes that took place on the first floor were most certainly filmed in the actual home.
The whole crew actually stayed in the house for months with my Aunt Uncle & cousin. Even Mac stayed there. It was an amazing experience.
After looking through the listing photos, I’m amazed by how different the house looks without the red and green accents, as well as all the patterned wallpapers it had in the movie.
Listing agent Marissa Hopkins of Coldwell Banker says, “The $2.4 million isn’t just because of its cinematic history. It really is a residential masterpiece.”
For more information about 671 Lincoln Avenue in Winnetka, Illinois,
check the listing, photos taken Inside the Real Home Alone House, and the EW interview with the director.
UPDATE: The house sold for $1.585 million in 2012.