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Homes of most popular TV shows

Colleen Kane, CNBC.com
May 14, 2012
Can you name this British estate from a popular TV show? (Answer is below.)
Photo: highclerecastle.co.uk | PBS.org

The settings for favorite TV shows can often become almost as familiar as the characters themselves. But although we’ve spent many hours with these apartments and houses in the background, their details usually remain a mystery.

Of course many programs are shot on sets, but sometimes real home exteriors and interiors are used.

Slideshow: Where Have I Seen That House?

With this collection, readers may wonder no more about some well-known homes from television dramas on AMC, HBO, and PBS as well as situation comedies on NBC and FOX. There are a few reality homes thrown in as well, from programs airing on MTV and Oxygen.

Check out these five TV homes that we especially enjoyed viewing:

Downton Abbey
Price: $240 million*
Location: Highclere Park, Newbury, England
Bedrooms: 41 - 51

*Estimate by real estate expert Barbara Corcoran

Downton Abbey is filmed on location in Highclere Castle.
Photo of property: highclerecastle.co.uk | Cast: pbs.org

The hit British period drama “Downton Abbey” is filmed on location at Highclere Castle , home to many generations of the Carnarvon family. The castle, situated on 1,000 parkland acres, has been the home of Carnavons since it was built in 1679, but humans have occupied the site for some 1300 years. Screenwriter Julian Fellowes, a friend of the Carnavons, had Highclere Castle in mind as the setting when he penned the script.

Among the extraordinary features of the home are two grand staircases — the oak one took almost a year to carve and install; wall coverings of leather and silk; a library with over 5,650 books; and secret cupboards that once hid the family’s collection of Egyptian antiquities. At one time, 60 staff members lived on the grounds; some of their freestanding living quarters now serve as two- to four-bedroom rental cottages.

Mad Men
Price: $75,000 in 1948
Location: Los Angeles

This is Betty's home as depicted in Mad Men.
Photo: Home: Creative Commons | Inset: Betty Francis: amctv.com

This season on Mad Men, gone is Don and Betty Draper's house in Ossining, the picture of early-1960s suburbanity. Don lives with his new wife in a too-swank-and-enormous-to-be-true (indeed, it's a set) midcentury modern pad in New York City. The once wasp-waisted Betty has a new husband, a new house in Rye, N.Y.

Betty's home is actually a 30-room Romanesque mansion in the Victorian-rich neighborhood of Los Angeles called West Adams. Known as The Stimson House and sometimes The Red Castle, it was built by lumber baron Thomas Douglas Stimson in 1891for $150,000 — the most expensive house in L.A. at the time. The basement's maze of rooms includes a one-time lounge and bar, and remnants of pipes from an organ.

Sex and the City
Price: $9.85 million
Location: New York
Bedrooms: 5
Bathrooms: 3
Square footage: 4,000

The apartment used in this famous show sold recently.
Photo: Home: luxe.truilablog.com | Inset: hbo.com

Carrie Bradshaw's apartment on “Sex and the City” is an oft-cited example (along with the girls’ pad on “Friends”) of impossible TV real estate. Now we have an idea of just how impossible. The brownstone at 64 Perry Street, used in exterior shots early in the show's run, recently sold. According to Curbed , though, its neighbor at 66 Perry played the role of Carrie’s home’s exterior for the bulk of the series.

The West Village Italianate townhouse at 64 Perry, built in 1866, has a deep back garden, 12-foot ceilings with crown moldings, herringbone wood floors with inlaid borders, and six carved marble fireplaces, among other original details.

30 Rock
Price: $2.75 million
Location: New York

Liz Lemon's apartment in Manhattans UWS (Upper West Side).
Photo: maps.google.com | Inset: Liz Lemon: nbc.com

The apartment of Liz Lemon on “30 Rock,” which includes such characteristically nerdy furnishings as an old library card catalog [inset, at right], is found in a real-life building at 160 Riverside Drive on Manhattan's Upper West Side. The 16-story residential co-op was built in 1929 and has 70 apartments, many with views of the Hudson River and Riverside Park, according to CityRealty.com.

While Liz lives in apartment 3B on the show, in one episode she indulged in the very New York practice of annexing a neighboring apartment to expand her living space. A 3-bedroom, 2-bath apartment in the building is currently on sale for $2.275 million. Perhaps not coincidentally, “30 Rock” mastermind Tina Fey herself lives about 12 blocks away on West End Avenue.

The Office
Price: $425,301
Location: Van Nuys, Calif.
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2
Square footage: 1,770

A home used in The Office is based near Los Angeles, not Scranton, PA.
Photo: maps.google.com | Inset: Jim and Pam: nbc.com

This house stands in for the suburban Scranton, Pa. home of Jim and Pam Halpert on “The Office.” In season 5, Jim buys this house from his parents, saying he wants to help them — adding, in his typical deadpan, that he also saved on closing costs.

Built in 1953, the house has an in-ground pool, a carport, and a freestanding garage. The garage became a minor plot point in the show when, as a bonus, Jim converts it into an art studio for Pam.

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