Sadly, of the four main characters, only Betty White is still with us. Each of the four women, in real life and in character, are fascinating and I could go on about them for pages. But, this being a design blog, I'll instead tackle the silent fifth star of the show--the Golden Girls' house. From the pilot episode, the house was an integral part of many plotlines. There were episodes that centered around the leaking roof, the garage renovation, the bathroom remodel, unsolicited offers to purchase it, and neighborly disputes over felled trees.
The exterior of the house is typical of the sort of ranch house that might have been built in Florida or California during the 70's--a long, rambling thing with a low pitched roof and a vaguely Polynesian flavor. While Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, and Sophia were said to live at 6151 Richmond Street in Miami, the REAL house used for the exterior shots is located at 245 N Saltair Ave in Brentwood, California.
Blanche owns the house for most of the series (in a later episode, she retitles the house in ALL of their names to avoid bureaucracy regarding tenants), having lived there with her late husband George. We know most of the furniture and decorating decisions were hers, because the house looks virtually the same during the pilot episode as it does throughout the show.
In one memorable scene, Blanche returns home with one of her many gentleman callers and trips the newly installed burglar alarm. Rose, who has been traumatized by an earlier robbery, fires a shot into the living room, ruining a cloisonne style vase that sat by the front door. Rose apologizes, pointing out that "At least I didn't shoot Lester!" but Blanche retorts "I'd rather you shot Lester!" while Sophia hides fragments of the vase in a potted plant to prevent Blanche repairing it.
A glimpse of the front entrance of the house...including Blanche's beloved vase (pronounced "vozzz", natch)
Much of the show's action takes place right here, in the girls' living room. The distressed wood doors throughout the house now look fresh again--Restoration Hardware has built whole collections around wood pieces with a similar finish. The furniture screams "80s"...rattan everything, peaches and teals. and the odd sprinkling of French style fautilles. Sophia once advised Blanche, "NO MORE WICKER!" and I have to agree!
The rear of the living room features a wall of glass overlooking the lanai, vaulted and skylit ceilings, and a fireplace. With some new furniture, I think this could be a very dynamic space.
How many cheesecakes were devoured around that kitchen table? (I just noticed those Chinese Chippendale chairs! Give those puppies a new coat of paint and some snazzy upholstery and they could be awesome!) The oak cabinetry, muted earth tone wallpaper, and butcher block counters are all children of the 80's...and the harvest gold wall phone looks to be leftover from the 70s. The wallpaper in this picture is the second used during the show. It replaced a small floral pattern in a similar color. The Golden Girls were not the first TV family to use this particular kitchen, though. In the short lived ABC series "It Takes Two" (from the 82-83 season), this same set was used in the home of its main characters.
In one episode, the ladies set about replacing the toilet in this bright and spacious bathroom. Hilarity ensues, of course, but eventually they get it all put back together. Check out those colors! Teal and pink tiles cover the walls, and that hot pink shower curtain---have mercy! But the wall of glass overlooking a small walled garden and overall size of this bathroom make it memorable. Updated with a few acres of marble, this bath could be amazing.
Are you a fan of the Golden Girls? What were some of your favorite moments from the show? What suggestions do you have for the floor plan?
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