Inside the Mansion that Inspired 'Gone With the Wind'
"Gone With the Wind" features one of the grandest homes in all of classic cinema, and now is your chance to own it — or at least the home that inspired the Wilkes' Southern plantation (the movie was mostly shot on specially built set pieces).
The antebellum plantation known as Twelve Oaks is located in Covington, Georgia, about 35 miles from central Atlanta. You could have bought it back in July 2019 when it was on the auction block at Target Auction, with a minimum reserve price of $1 million for the historic 10,000-plus-square-foot estate.
The mansion continues to operate as Twelve Oaks Bed and Breakfast with tours available that'll take you back to the days of Scarlett O'Hara. But "Gone With the Wind" isn’t the only Hollywood history found within this home’s gables. Several other television shows and movies have been filmed here, including "The Vampire Diaries." Take a look inside the home’s many rooms.
A Georgia judge named John Harris built this home in 1836. One hundred years later, "Gone With the Wind" novelist Margaret Mitchell spotted the antebellum mansion from a photograph in the Atlanta Journal. She sent along a note to movie producers to use it as a model for Ashley Wilkes’ home in the feature film.
The mansion fell into disrepair over the years and at one point sat empty before Nicole Greer purchased it in 2011.
Speaking to Deep South Mag, Greer says she kept everything historically accurate, and she appears to have gone to great lengths to do so.
The Renovations Were Historically Accurate
She replaced the broken windows' old wavy glass and even had the gas coal sets in each fireplace built to resemble the original. "There was only one person in the United States that even did that, and we found him in Washington, Georgia," she told the magazine.
It’s quite the feat. The 12-bedroom home has 12 fireplaces and has attracted numerous television shows and movies as a filming location.
And They Cost Over $2 Million
According to the press release, over $2 million of renovations went into this mansion, which has been christened Twelve Oaks in honor of the Wilkes mansion.
Greer operated the estate as an upscale bet and breakfast, event venue and shooting location for over six years. She has given many of the home's en-suite bedrooms a name based on shows and movies that have either filmed here or are connected to the South.
It Was in 'The Vampire Diaries'
As per Twelve Oaks' Facebook page, this photo shows a scene from "The Vampire Diaries" featuring the mansion.
Twelve Oaks is used for the 1864 flashback scenes featuring the Lockwood Mansion. It can be seen in the fourth episode of the second season and other scenes throughout the series.
Connections to Hollywood
Other productions that have showcased the mansion include:
- "Step Up: High Water"
- "Life of the Party"
- "Tyler Perry’s The Family that Preys"
- "Halloween 2"
- "Southern Fried Homicide"
- "In the Heat of the Night"
According to the press release, the estate averages "one or two movie or TV show contracts per year and also provides accommodations for the cast."
Notes from Margaret Mitchell
Mitchell’s handwritten notes from the book "David O. Selznick’s Gone With the Wind" by Ronald Haver.
Mitchell spotted the mansion while visiting Covington and sent this newspaper clipping to the film’s producers. Although Mitchell had little else to do with the film’s production, it was used as a basis for the iconic mansion shown in the classic movie.
Stepping off the porch and into the 183-year-old mansion, you'll notice the hardwood floors, period lighting and a long staircase.
You might also notice that this staircase doesn't entirely resemble the one in "Gone With the Wind." However, the real Twelve Oaks' staircase is quite grand.
And it wraps all the way up the mansion.
Sure, it's not GWTW, but it's certainly impressive. Just shout about how much you don't give a damn whenever someone enters the front door.
They'll be able to hear you.
Take a step back in time in the parlor room, which is adorned with all kinds of classic furniture.
It's quite spacious, and the ceilings are about 11 feet high.
The Dining Room
The dining room can seat 40 when additional tables are set up.
There's quite a lot of room for guests outside, too. The home sits on over three acres, and there's a four-car carriage house and an electric vehicle charging port on the grounds.
Dining With Style
As a bed and breakfast, Twelve Oaks serves classic Southern foods like biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, peaches and cream French toast and strawberry shortcake pancakes.
If that doesn't fill you up, Covington has a slew of restaurants to satiate your appetite and a number of boutiques to drain your wallet.
A black and white coffered ceiling adds a modern touch to the kitchen, which features a wood-topped kitchen island large enough to seat several people.
A row of arched windows provides ample light in the country-style kitchen, which features a double-sink and impressive cabinetry.
The Master Bedroom
The four-poster bed, chandelier, morning bar and antique furniture make sleeping (and living) in the master bedroom a delight.
This room isn't on the Twelve Oaks Bed and Breakfast website. We believe it's the owner's suite.
Very Expensive Bathtubs
According to a press release from Target Auction, two of the baths in this home cost "over $14,000 each."
This is surely one of those very expensive bathtubs.
Double vanities: One sink for Rhett, and one sink for Scarlett.
The obscured glass, decorative windows look out over the property's rolling landscape.
The Salvatore Brothers Study
This bedroom/study combo is the Salvatore Brothers Study, named after Stefan and Damon Salvatore from CW's "The Vampire Diaries."
However, it might be a bit too bright for true bloodsuckers.
Study Up on Demonology
The study is a great spot to do some research on the shadow self and other occult practices.
We're surprised there aren't more mirrors, though. The Salvatore brothers are from a family of doppelgangers, and we're guessing they like to make sure they look just right before going in for the kill.
Bathe in Blood ... Well, Not Really
The Salvatore brothers' bathroom features subway tiles and an antique-looking brass showerhead.
You probably wouldn't want to shower in blood here, even if you were a vampire. It's just too nice and clean to sully with pauper's plasma.
Steven McQueen stayed here while filming "The Vampire Diaries."
In the show, McQueen played Jeremy Gilbert, who lived at the Salvatore's boarding house after the original mansion burned down. He played his role for six seasons and became a vampire hunter.
The show lasted for eight seasons, with its last episode airing in March 2017
In the Heat of the Night is a second-floor suite named after the 1988 TV series of the same name.
The show was set in the South and starred Carroll O'Connor and Howard Rollins, and ran for seven series. It was based on the 1967 movie. Check out the theme song.
The show had several scenes filmed at the mansion, including one where a car exploded.
In the Heat of the Night
"In the Heat of the Night" dealt with a whole lot of gritty issues, including police brutality, poverty, drunk driving, euthanasia, AIDS and domestic violence. It was a popular show while it aired.
The first season was filmed in Hammond, Louisiana, but at the start of the second season shooting moved to Covington.
During the show's run, Rollins struggled with alcohol and drug addiction, racking up three DUIs in eight months and had two outstanding warrants in Rockdale County and Covington by 1993. He was then fired from the show after season six, and costars Anne-Marie Johnson and Geoffrey Throne left as well.
Tragically, Rollins died in 1996 at the age of 46 from AIDS-related lymphoma.
A Hot Bathroom
This bathroom is elegant and simple, with shocks of red and a decorative bubble glass window.
The freestanding tub is similar to others in the house, while the basin with its antique-styled brass fixtures brings a touch of modernism to a classic design scheme.
Katherine's Mirror Image
This second-floor bedroom has been coined Katherine's Mirror Image, nicknamed after Katherine Pierce from "The Vampire Diaries." She meets Elena for the first time in an episode that was filmed at Twelve Oaks.
The bedroom includes a double slipper clawfoot tub that's large enough to fit two people. And it's right in the bedroom. Fancy.
But what if you want to take a shower? Then you're in for an experience.
The Ribcage Shower
This bedroom in Twelve Oaks has one of the most interesting features on the entire property. It's a needle or rib cage shower that's likely from the 1920s.
Most people used bathtubs, and only the wealthy could afford these early types of showers. This shower has either been restored or copied from its original design.
Small water jets spray (or "needle") out of multiple areas of the shower's four ribs.
The Ribcage Shower, Continued
These showers were rather overdesigned, but they were supposed to be more like a massage.
The jets would shoot into the kidney area and spine, massaging it like a standing jacuzzi.
They cost between $300 and $500 in the 1920s, which is like spending $4,800-$8,000 today. For comparison, an expensive bathtub cost $50.
A Touch of Vervaine
As pointed out by the Fairy Tale Traveler, that purple flower by the bed is Vervaine, and it's in all the suites.
In "Vampire Diaries" lore, Vervaine is a vampire repellent, which can burn or weaken them, similar to holy water.
In real life folklore, Vevaine has been associated with divine forces since ancient Egypt and ancient Greece.
It wouldn't be a Southern antebellum plantation without a ghost story, would it?
Twelve Oaks is said to be haunted by a woman and her young son. The woman's son died on the property, and the two haunt the halls to this day.
The Frankly Scarlett Suite
This first-floor suite has been nicknamed the Frankly Scarlett after "Gone with the Wind" (obviously).
It features an antique grand canopy bed, a columned fireplace and views of the massive porch columns outside.
Frankly My Dear, I Don't Give a Hoot
Naturally, this room is named after the "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" line from the movie.
Contrary to a popular myth, it wasn't the first time "damn" had been used in a movie, and the producers weren't fined $5,000 for using it.
Before the movie was released in 1939, the Motion Picture Production Code ratified rules to allow the use of "damn" or "hell" in a movie under certain circumstances, and as long as those nefarious words weren't used to offend good taste.
Producers were a bit worried about the line leading up to the release, though. Various alternatives to the famous line include "I don't give a hoot!" and "I am completely indifferent." Those don't have the same ring.
Frankly, You'll Give a Damn
Each of the home's 12 fireplaces are remote-controlled, and the mansion has five chimneys.
This fireplace is original to the house, too.
The Frankly Scarlett Bathroom
The bathroom features Carrera marble tile and a huge walk-in shower with three rain heads, crystal sconces and a hand spray instead of a tub.
The Third Floor
The third floor has its own small seating area and a kitchen equipped with a fridge, sink and microwave, just in case you don't want to go all the way downstairs for a snack.
This third-floor suite features a bead board ceiling, French dormer windows and a canopy bed with French silk draping.
It's called Steel Magnolia, probably after 1989's "Steel Magnolias," which was filmed in Natchitoches, Louisiana.
A Sweet Suite
Netflix's "Sweet Magnolias" also features the house. In it, Twelve Oaks is an old mansion being renovated into a women's health center.
The bead board ceiling is original to the house, and the fireplace is controlled via a remote. It's good for those chilly Georgia winters, although most of the time you'll be cranking the air conditioning.
Unwind in This Perfect Bathroom
The peaceful bathroom features a freestanding tub and a marble shower.
The bathroom includes both chromotherapy and aromatherapy features, so you can soak and rest for a day out in the Hollywood of the South.
Suite Home Alabama
This third-floor suite, named Suite Home Alabama, features an antique king-sized bed from France that can be split into two twin beds.
Of course, this room is named after "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynrd.
You Can Say Suite Home Alabama Again.
A small study nook overlooks the front yard and gives a great view of the oak-lined yards. The room faces the front of the house, with a desk placed in front of a dormer window.
You can watch the people come and go, and write letters like Margaret Mitchell.
Where the Skies Are So Blue
Over 90 films and television shows have been filmed in Covington, making it one of the most popular filming destinations in Georgia.
Over the past decade, Georgia became the so-called Hollywood of the South, starting with AMC choosing Senoia for the shooting location of "The Walking Dead."
The state offers a 20 percent incentive on productions that cost $500,000 or more, plus another 10 percent if the show or movie throws in the Georgia peach logo in the credits. That's one sweet peach.
Suite Home Alabama, Times Three
Have a drink and a soak in this suite's double slipper claw foot tub, complete with hand spray and book/cup holder.
This room is named Cannonball Run, after the 1981 comedy starring Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, and a whole lot of other guest stars.
A memorable scene in "The Cannonball Run" was shot in Covington, when the two lead actors fly a plane and land in the town square for some beer.
A Grand Soaking Tub
A beautiful soaking tub sits near a window and below a barrel ceiling.
This looks like another one of those $4,000 bathtubs.
Dreams of Relocating
If a stay at Twelve Oaks makes you want to relocate to Covington, we don't blame you. The town is gorgeous.
Median houses list for $259,000 and sell for about $237,000, according to realtor.com, and have a median listing price of $129 per square foot.
Breakfast at Tiffany's
"Breakfast at Tiffany’s" was shot entirely in New York City, so why is this room named after Audrey Hepburn’s 1961 film?
What About Breakfast at Tiffany's?
Well, there’s a scene where Hepburn sings the song "Moon River" by Henry Mancini and Savannah native Johnny Mercer.
The song was immensely popular and received an Academy Award and a Grammy.
Additionally, Truman Capote, who wrote the novella, was born in New Orleans.
And, the home has Tiffany Blue colors.
An Electric Fireplace
This is one of the few rooms in the house that did not have an original fireplace. As such, this one is electric.
It does blend in quite well with the cozy little third-floor suite, which also comes with a queen-sized bed.
The Eiffel Tower on the mantel is a nice touch, too.
There's a Gazebo
The grounds are expertly manicured and features a beautiful gazebo by the pool.
It's located just beyond a a set of iron gates in the back yard. Tall trees create a natural privacy fence above where the ivy-covered brick wall stops.
Relax either in the pool or enjoy a drink in the gazebo and embrace your inner Scarlett O'Hara. Or Rhett.
Just don't start making a scene.
A Place for Parties
You don’t have to be a vampire from the 19th century to enjoy the night.
The patio has more than enough room to accommodate dozens of guests.
The Carriage House
The carriage house holds four cars.
It can hold even more golf carts, which is great because it’s legal to drive golf carts on Covington’s streets.
There is also a charging station for carts and electric cars.
A Look Back
This photo is believed to have been taken in the early 1900s.
The mansion still looks almost identical to this photo, although the east wing’s second-story balcony has been removed and converted into a bathroom.
How Much to Replicate? A Lot
Target Auction says the cost to rebuild the mansion would be over $6.3 million.
Twelve Oaks continues to operate as a bed and breakfast under its new owners. So if you're looking for a trip down South, or want to live for a weekend in full Southern grandeur, pay them a visit.