Raise your hand if you saw the movie Paddington and thought the Brown family’s house in London was as much fun to see as the bear himself!
I was totally charmed by the colorful and creative sets they designed for the film and all the fun vintage details they decorated them with.
Let’s take a closer look at them!
The Set Design in the “Paddington” Movie
After an earthquake destroyed his home in the Peruvian rainforest, a young bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) makes his way to England in search of a new life. The Brown family takes him into their home at Windsor Gardens and names him Paddington after the London train station where they found him.
According to Movie Locations, “It’s implied that the Browns live in Notting Hill, but their pleasant home, on ‘Windsor Gardens,’ is in an even posher area. It’s 30 Chalcot Crescent, Primrose Hill, NW1, just north of Regent’s Park.”
They live at “32 Windsor Gardens,” and their nosy next-door neighbor is Peter Capaldi, also known as the current Doctor on “Dr. Who.” Set designers commissioned a stained-glass transom window with the #32 to go above the front door:
When Paddington walks into the house for the first time, he’s in awe of the two-story mural of a blossoming cherry tree that winds its way up the spiral staircase (and so are we!):
According to 3 Story Magazine:
“The interior was built on a set at Elstree Studios. The aim was to create ‘a heightened reality,’ says production designer Gary Williamson — a place where a talking bear would feel right at home.”
The filmmakers wanted to be true to Paddington’s era.
The first book by author Michael Bond was published in 1956, and you’ll notice some of the mid-century influences in the house, but they wanted it to be a modern-day story.
Mary Brown is an artist, and her creativity is evident throughout the house.
According to 3 Story Magazine, “Much of the art used was borrowed from artist friends of the set designers, or created for the film. Some of it is hung at deliberately kooky angles to drive home the idea of family and fun.”
Production Designer Gary Williamson explains that each character was given a color motif for their rooms and wardrobe.
For instance, Mary Brown (played by Sally Hawkins) wears red and has a red bedroom, which visually connects her to Paddington’s famous red hat.
The headboard is upholstered to match:
Daughter Judy’s color is blue.
Her room has a wall covered in photos and magazine clippings:
Son Jonathan has an outer space theme in his, and his color is red like his mother’s:
The Upstairs Landing:
Paddington tries to wash up in the bathroom and chaos ensues.
The scene ends with him taking what looks like a fun ride
down the spiral staircase in the clawfoot tub:
Did you know Colin Firth was originally the voice of Paddington?
He left late into the project and they had to scramble to find a replacement. You can read about it on Entertainment Weekly.
Paddington has a room in the attic, complete with a classic round window:
There’s a dollhouse in the attic that looks a lot like their house, round window included:
It opens to reveal what is going on in each room of the house at that moment.
Looking down the spiral staircase from the third story:
Henry’s library looks fairly serious with blue walls and bookshelves, except for the carousel horse.
You get the feeling that was Mary’s idea!
Henry Brown (played by Hugh Bonneville) takes longer to warm to the bear, and his conservative nature is reflected in the blue of his office and wardrobe, Gary Williamson explains.
Some of the sets are so bright and fun, they look like cartoons or illustrations brought to life.
The kitchen is colorful, too, with pale blue and white cabinets, yellow countertops and tile, and orange accents:
Julie Walters plays Mrs. Bird
(I’ve loved her since seeing her in the movie Educating Rita years ago).
Toward the end of the movie, we get a quick glimpse of the opposite side of the kitchen:
The tree mural was originally supposed to be a beech tree as a nod to the jungles of Peru where Paddington
came from, and it was going to be black and white.
Williamson suggested they paint a cherry tree instead.
Director Paul King used CGI technology to have it reflect what was happening in the story,
like when Paddington leaves and the family is sad:
According to West End Extra, “Instead of returning to Westbourne Grove, where his fictional home of Windsor Gardens was believed to be set, production company Marmalade Films opted for picturesque Primrose Hill in neighboring Camden.”
Here’s a production photo that shows them shooting the snow scene in the street:
When we see it in the movie, the blue house has a round window and green door it doesn’t have in real life:
For more photos and information about the sets and filming locations,
see the articles at Cinefex, Movie Locations,
Tokyo Fox Beyond the Movies, 3 Story Magazine, and the official Paddington movie site.
Never saw the movie, but it looks so magical and well done! Thanks for sharing
Emily @ 11gables.blogspot.com says
I really am excited to watch this movie with my boys! One of my favorite books growing up. I love how you point out all the little details. I would have thought they would have swapped out the round window on the movie box cover photo as well!! Did you catch that? I want that banister in my life!!!! xox, Emily
Good point about the movie box cover. I hadn’t noticed the missing round window! That’s kind of funny. 🙂
I love that you featured this house! I had fun watching this movie with my kids and had the same thoughts about the house as you did. Fun!
I absolutely loved this movie! I wanted to climb right in and explore that house myself. I’m so glad that you featured it – I’m also thrilled that someone else is crazy about houses just like me! I love to go trick or treating with my kids just so I can peek into my favorite neighborhood houses (wait – should I admit that??!)
Gosh this was fun, I loved the sets in this movie, especially the doll house, kitchen and the painted tree! They are so fun and whimsical! I pondered on the set decoration for awhile after the film, it’s interesting to me how much atmosphere and emotion can be conjoured up with paint and furniture! Since you’re so good at digging up the details I would like to make a request: I would love to know more about the sets in the latest Cinderella movie, Ella’s family home especially. Thanks Julia, I always look forward to your latest posts!
PS Donna, you are not alone. Since I was a kid seeing inside my neighbor’s homes was my favorite part of Trick or Treating!
As soon as I saw this movie I rushed to your website to see if you had a feature! I’m so glad that you do! I found it enchanting! I really love Jennifer Lopez’s house in The Boy Next Door. Nice use of turquoise and green…
Oh, really? I haven’t seen that movie yet — thanks, Tessa!
I really wanted to find out the specific paint colours inside the house. Does anyone know what they are?
Sorry, I didn’t come across any mention of specific paint colors when I was researching this house. They often create custom colors for sets, though, because they have to work with the special lighting.