Inside the Saga of ‘The Brady Bunch’ House
After some twists and turns, and a cameo from a member of *NSYNC, one of TV’s most famous houses is ready for its latest close-up.
Inside the Saga of ‘The Brady Bunch’ House
It’s one of TV’s most famous houses.
The iconic exterior of “The Brady Bunch” house — a real home with real, non-Brady residents in Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley — was featured in the credits of every episode of the classic sitcom (after the pilot episode). And ever since the show’s run from September 1969 to March 1974, the house has symbolized TV family wholesomeness. People travel from around the world get a glimpse of it.
Recently, the home went on the market, and a frenzy broke out among potential buyers. They all wanted a piece of TV history, not to mention a pretty great slice of Los Angeles real estate.
Here’s the story behind the house itself, and the stir is caused when it went up for sale. And why you’ll see it on your TV again starting Sept. 9, 2019.
Location, Location, Location
Though much of the show was filmed at Paramount Studios, the house itself sits in the middle of a residential neighborhood between Studio City and North Hollywood, in Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley. The exact location is 11222 Dilling Street, in case you’re in the area and want to commune with your childhood.
A Little Background
The series creator picked the house because he thought it looked like one an architect would design and live in. When the exterior shots were taken for the show in the late 1960s, the house seemed to embody all the modern trends of the day.
A rock wall is prominently featured, which was a popular trend of the era. The salmon color hinted at the somewhat louder yet earthy color palettes of the day without being too obnoxious. And the large slanted roof had some individualism to it, which was a popular trend in the late ‘60s and ‘70s as Americans began rebelling against societal norms.
The property sale listing says the house was originally built in 1959. When it went on sale in 2018, it was the first time it had been up for grabs in decades.
The Original Owners (Not Pictured!)
The house was built by Luther B. Carson. He and his wife, Louise, were forced to move from their original home because of the construction of a Los Angeles freeway. By the time calls went out in 1969 for an exterior of a home for this (soon-to-be-iconic) TV show, Luther had passed away and Louise was living in the home by herself. She answered the call. The show’s creators were smitten.
The Fake Window
The show creators loved the home’s look, but there was a slight problem. Though the exterior epitomized so much of what they wanted in a home, the actual home is a split level and not a two-story home. It would be way too crowded with the Brady clan if it were only one story, and people may have a hard time believing so many people could fit into a home of that size. Their solution: add a false window to the exterior to make it look like a two-story home.
Changing Ownership Midstream
Though Louise Carson’s son didn’t remember how much his mother was paid for the use of her home, he recalled it wasn’t a lot. And despite the newfound fame, Carson didn’t seem to mind people’s interest in her home.
In 1973, during the fourth season of “The Brady Bunch,” she decided to sell the home. She was a widow living alone, and the house became too big. She sold it to George and Violet McAllister. The sale price: $61,000.
Adding a Little Privacy
After decades living in the home, the newly-widowed Violet McAllister wasn’t as excited about huge groups of tourists and onlookers stopping by every day. Even though “The Brady Bunch” set itself was in a studio backlot, people seemed believe they could capture some Brady magic by walking around the property. In the early ‘90s, she built a fence around the property to keep people from looking into windows and taking pictures.
People Still Take Pictures (and Lots of Them)
Though the fence helped with privacy, Brady-lovers from all over the world still come and take pictures of the iconic house. In fact, some claim it’s the second most photographed house in the United States, right behind The White House.
To be fair, the iconic “Full House” house in San Francisco is likely in contention as the most popular TV home that attracts tons of visitors and photographers. The “Painted Ladies” are a major draw for photographers.
It’s as Groovy Inside as It Is Outside
Even though the series itself wasn’t filmed in the home, the inside of the actual house retained some serious ‘70s style. Though the kitchen in the listing’s pictures looks like it had been updated with oak cabinets and white countertops, at least one master suite remained decked in paisley pink.
You Can Yelp It
So many people want to see the home that it has both Google and Yelp reviews, with people offering tips and tricks to find it and what to expect once you get there. People seem to love that the home not only brings up wonderful memories from the show and their childhoods, but that it’s a free activity.
Going on the Market
In July 2018, the house officially went on the market. Though plenty of developers had bought and torn down homes in the area, the owners made it clear they were willing to wait for ownership that would do the famous home justice. Interest in the home was widespread and immediate. It quickly became clear that this iconic house would be sold for above asking price.
Relatable Home, Not-So-Relatable Price
For a house chosen in part because it looked like an architect would design it and in part because it was “relatable” and “middle class,” the asking price wasn’t exactly attainable for the average American. The original asking price was $1.85 million, certainly an appreciation from the $61,000 it was bought for back in the ‘70s (even when factoring in inflation). That price is about average for a comparable home in the area. But this home was anything but average.
Queue the Bidding War
Unsurprisingly, many people with plenty of financial means were interested in calling the iconic house their official home. Unlike traditional home sales, there wasn’t an open house. Nor was there a typical bidding war.
The press covered it, though, and it was all over social media.
Celebs Take Their Shot
At one point, *NSYNC band member Lance Bass tweeted that his offer, which was supposedly over the asking price for the house, was accepted. His tweet had other celebs, like home renovator Jonathan Scott, lamenting that they had missed out with their own bids. Even the original Marcia, actress Maureen McCormick, considered bidding on the house. Screenwriter and director Gregory Storm also placed a bid on the house.
Within a day or so, Bass posted his own heartbreak that the house wasn’t confirmed as his — a big corporate entity had swooped in and bought it, also well above asking price.
And the Winner Was…
None other than HGTV, which obviously had the deep pockets to secure such a coveted home. Apparently, the TV network knew what it wanted the moment the house hit the market. The execs were ready and willing to offer cash well over the initial asking price.
And the Price Was...
The 5-bedroom, 3-bathroom house ended up fetching $3.5 million, with the final deal solidifying only a month after it went on the market. HGTV outbid Lance Bass at the last minute, nearly doubling the original asking price.
Bass, who was originally upset about the sale, admitted on Twitter that HGTV was a good home for, well, the home.
What Are HGTV’s Plans?
HGTV plans to do what it does best — create a TV show about renovating a home. Only, this time it will give a retro makeover to the “The Brady Bunch” house, possibly restoring it to its nostalgic groovy-era glory. The show will be called “A Very Brady Renovation” and is already in the works.
HGTV has brought the original cast members into the excitement, and the network is leaning on some of its biggest names to work together to recreate all the looks and feels of the sitcom.
Hopefully, of course, this home has actual toilets. The TV house famously didn’t.
The Cast’s First Reaction
Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia Brady, said the reunion of “The Brady Bunch” cast for the renovation kickoff was the first in 15 years.
Barry Williams, aka Greg Brady, was discombobulated upon entering the home for the first time. “Going into the house is odd,” he said on “A Very Brady Renovation” on Facebook Live, which is documenting parts of the reno process. “We expect to come through the door and see things that are familiar. And this isn’t familiar...yet.”
Peter Brady, known in the real world as Christopher Knight, couldn’t find his words. He pretended his head was exploding.
The Bradys Get Down to Business
Eve Plumb, who played Jan, showed off her power tools prowess on her Insta. “The right gloves will protect your manicure doing construction,” she wrote.
The Bradys Get Down to Business, Part 2
Knight shows off his own power tool skills on site with two HGTV hosts, Jonathan and Drew Scott.
The Bradys Get Down to Business, Part 3
Williams poses with another host, Lara Spencer. The two are standing in what will be come “Greg’s Groovy Attic.”
The Bradys Get Down to Business, Part 4
McCormick and Spencer stepped away from the renovation to shop for ‘70s decor that will, presumably, end up in the finished house.
The Search for Brady Decor
HGTV put out a call for specific items, wondering if viewers and fans might have Brady artifacts from the set like the old horse (pictured), the groovy couch or even the oven like the Bradys had in their TV house.
What’s Lance Bass Gonna Do?
With the heartwarming plans for the future of the home, not only will people be able to see the home restored to what they always imagined it to be, but even the biggest “loser” in the scenario, Lance Bass, may find a home in the house.
Yes, there’s a push for him to host the renovation show. With the Scott brothers and Spencer already on board, it might not be in the cards. But we'll see what surprises HGTV might have in store.
An Early Look
In late May HGTV released an early look at the now-completed renovation, with "The Brady Bunch" kids on the iconic Brady steps.
Susan Olsen's View
Olsen's caption for this Insta shot, which she took from her spot on the steps: "My place in life: the top!"
Counting Down to the Unveiling...
The cast of "The Brady Bunch" visits a Brady-themed set on "The Today Show" on the morning of the premiere of "A Very Brady Renovation."