The 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. Let’s take a closer look at it and the sets they designed for the show.
The Farmhouse on “Hot in Cleveland”
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!”
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.
“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.
Here’s how the living room looked in the pilot when they first saw the house and it was empty:
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 was Mary Tyler Moore, who turned up as Betty White’s jail mate.
She drew a big “M” on the wall of their cell, and when Elka asked what it stood for, she growled, “Murder!”
The furniture was 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.”
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.”
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.”
The floor looks like old linoleum but is actually a pattern painted onto the studio’s concrete floor.
You can see set photos and read more about them in the L.A. Times article.
These are screenshots I took while watching “Hot in Cleveland.”
Visit my Houses Onscreen page to see the other shows I’ve featured, listed A-Z.
Alex (@OldTownHome) says
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.
Love the floor!
I’ve never even heard of this show but I love the house! I wonder if it’s on Netflix.
It’s streaming on Netflix right now–that’s how I watched the first two seasons! 🙂
Molly @thewaffler says
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.
Never heard of the show, but LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the kitchen! I want, no, NEED that stove! 😉
Janice Mahon says
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.
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.
Interesting! I hadn’t thought about that.
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!
Black Eyed Susans Kitchen says
Fun post Julia! I don’t think that I noticed all of the changes over the different seasons. It is a cute show though.
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!
Wade Watson says
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).
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.
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.
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.
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 … ;- )
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.
Whoops, I meant the back door. The kitchen door. Exactly the same.
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!
I love that kitchen…I keep trying to figure out how I can do something like that in the corner of my basement.
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.
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!
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 says
I love this show and this house.
jodi from new jersey says
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 says
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 says
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.
The porch and kitchen are my favorite spaces, too. But, nothing and no one, can compete with Betty White! She’s wonderful 🙂
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”.
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?
I hadn’t! That’s funny.
In the kitchen, next to the sink, is a green shark looking thing?
Does anyone know what that is?
Barbara Hart says
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 says
Nevermind the paint! Where can I purchase the front door?
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!
No kidding? Wow! I loved hearing your stories. Thanks, Lynne!
Does anyone know any of the paint colors of the kitchen and living room?
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.
So, is the refrigerator vintage or a reproduction? Does anyone know?