My all time favorite Christmas movie has been and always will be Home Alone. I love the setting, the characters, the music but most of all the Georgian-style Colonial house. The Home Alone house has been my dream home all my life. I adore the way it oozes a classic, idyllic Christmas in a charming neighborhood. Back in 2014, when I was traveling to Chicago, I decided to drive by it and now have visited it many times. This year I wanted to combine my love of Home Alone with American Girl, the result was to re-create the iconic picture of Kevin with his shopping bags.
John Hughes wrote, produced and directed many movies in the 80’s and early 90’s. He used the same area north of Chicago to film many of these iconic movies. The area became home to him at the age of 13. After visiting Chicago’s North Shore area I can see why it inspired him so much. The neighborhoods are classic, cozy and definitely capture the American dream. When in the area I also like to check out the houses from Uncle Buck (4 miles from the Home Alone house) and the two houses from Dennis the Menace (about 8 miles from the Home Alone house).
A few things have changed since my first visit in 2014. The wrought iron fence that now surrounds the home and security cameras are a newer addition. I try to always respect people’s property and privacy when taking pictures but not everyone is polite. I was only parked on the street for about 20 minutes and in that time around 30 tourists came to gawk and pose for photos. I can definitely see why the fence is now needed because I’m sure the owners had people looking in their windows and on their porch daily. For years I never knew that the address Kevin gives the police in his 911 call pretending to be Mr. Murphy is the real address of the “Murphy” home.
In 2011 the Home Alone house was listed for sale at $2.4 million and sold for $1.585 million. Next door is Old Man Marley’s home, it was never really visible in the movie but it is a magnificent, interesting house. It went up for sale in 2014 at $3.1 million.
In it’s opening weekend Home Alone grossed $17 million. It was the number one film at the box office for twelve straight weeks and played in theaters for nine months. It grossed $476.7 million worldwide and was in the Guinness World Records as the highest-grossing live-action comedy ever until 2011.
I thought it would be fun to talk about a few facts from the movie that I have learned in my research of the house.
The basement door that Marv breaks into isn’t original to the house. It was put in for the movie and then sealed up and the hole filled in after production.
The back kitchen stairs originally went down to the basement. A floor was laid over them and a faux staircase was created going upstairs. It was removed after the movie was made.
Most of the main floor scenes were filmed in the home but a lot of the upstairs scenes were filmed on a sound stage at a local auditorium.
The church that Kevin goes to is actually two different churches. The exterior is Trinity United Methodist Church and is less than 3 miles from the house. The interior is Grace Episcopal Church and is 20 miles away from the house.
It was too dangerous to send a child down those stairs on a sled, so a 30 year old stunt double is the one flying down them. Also, if you pause the movie right on the sled as it flies out the door, you will see wheels on the underside.
I still watch both Home Alone and Home Alone 2 at least once each season, usually as I decorate my Christmas trees. The home’s red and green patterned wallpaper, the poinsettias dotted around the rooms and wreath on the front door take me back to childhood. So I guess there’s nothing left to say but… “Merry Christmas ya filthy animals” 😉