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The Fascinating Fates of 8 Movie Homes

When the industrial lights are unplugged and the movie stars pack up and go home, what happens to the on-screen homes featured in some of Hollywood's biggest movies? Though many movie houses begin, and end, as private residences, here are a few iconic homes that managed to retain their silver screen legacies while being used for other purposes.

1. RALPHIE’S HOME FROM A CHRISTMAS STORY (1983)

Destined to become: A museum

A Christmas Story House, as it appears today (Summer 2014) Image via: A Christmas Story House & Museum

It has been 33 years since Ralphie and the rest of the Parker family first appeared on screen in the yellow and green house with the 1937 Oldsmobile Six parked outside. A Christmas Story is set in 1940s Indiana, but the actual Parker home is in Cleveland, Ohio and has operated for the past decade as the A Christmas Story House and Museum. Fans of the film can tour the restored home, then cross the street to view original props, costumes, and memorabilia from the film. 

“The House was purchased in 2004 by Brian Jones for $150,000,” A Christmas Story House associate Danielle Bailey tells mental_floss. “Brian had recently started a company selling replica leg lamps, so when the house went up for sale on eBay, it was the perfect fit!”

Jones spent two years and another $240,000 restoring the late 19th-century Victorian home, using the film as a guide to get the details just right, from the size of the kitchen tiles to the light switches. Over 4000 people visited the home in its opening weekend (Thanksgiving 2006), and Bailey says that they now welcome more than 50,000 visitors each year.

“In the decade that A Christmas Story House & Museum has been open, we've been asked more times than we can count, ‘Do you have an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time?,’" says Bailey. "It was the holy grail for little Ralphie in the movie, and it was for us as a museum.” The museum did finally buy one of the guns from the film (which Bailey says were commissioned especially for the production); it is now displayed as a prominent piece of the property’s collection.

2. LEATHERFACE'S HOUSE FROM THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974)

Destined to become: A restaurant

Image via Tatiana Danger

Nearly two and a half decades after The Texas Chainsaw Massacre director Tobe Hooper had used the structure as the stomping (and chomping) grounds for the Sawyer family, the building had fallen into disrepair. Barbara and Dennis Thomas moved it from Round Rock to Rockland, Texas and spent over a year restoring it, then turned it into the Grand Central Cafe.

Co-owner Andrew Gerencer tells mental_floss that the house was moved to its current location because it was close in age and style to The Antlers, the historic railroad hotel across the street, which the restaurant owners also bought and restored. “Also, it was moved to make way for a highway and a shopping complex in Round Rock,” Gerencer says.

Fans of the iconic horror film often visit the restaurant and ask the owners questions about its past. “It is a tie between ‘Is the place haunted?’ and ‘Do you ever see Leatherface roaming about?,'” Gerencer says of the questions they're most frequently asked. “The place is a bit haunted, yes ... and though many people believe The Texas Chainsaw Massacre story to be true, we have never seen Leatherface roaming about.” Those hoping to catch a glimpse of the masked killer should visit on Halloween, when a man named Brad from the upstairs bar wears a Leatherface mask and apron and runs around the restaurant with a chainless chainsaw.

3. THE HOME FROM STEEL MAGNOLIAS (1989)

Destined to become: A bed and breakfast

Hanging out with M'Lynn (Sally Field) and Shelby (Julia Roberts) in real life is something that most of us only dream about, but all it takes is a trip down to Natchitoches, Louisiana to see and actually stay in the home featured in the female-driven '80s dramedy, Steel Magnolias. In 2003, the home was converted into a bed and breakfast, then aptly named The Steel Magnolia House.

The rooms are named after the characters from the film (The Shelby Room is done up in Shelby’s “signature” pink and the private bath features a tub used in one of the opening scenes), and the house itself is one of the key locations on the town's Steel Magnolias Tour.

4. THE DELTA HOUSE FROM ANIMAL HOUSE (1978)

Destined to become: A parking lot and commemorative plaque

 

Image via Google Maps

In 1977, Universal Studios approached the University of Oregon and asked if they could use a couple of frat houses for the film Animal House. The building used for exterior shots of the Delta House was located at 751 E. 11th Ave. in Eugene, Oregon, but a Google Maps search of that location may disappoint John Belushi fans: The building was torn down in 1986, and in its place is a parking lot for the Oregon Foot & Ankle Center. There is, however, a plaque near the sidewalk that briefly mentions the location’s role in the beloved comedy.

Dahlia Bazzaz, editor in chief of the Daily Emerald, the University of Oregon’s student newspaper, tells mental_floss that the “students are very aware of the fact that parts of Animal House were shot at the university. The tour guides at UO make it a point during tours to mention the locations where stuff was filmed. They bring Otis Day and the Knights for events so they can perform ‘Shout’ occasionally.”

5. THE PARTY HOUSE FROM THE CRAFT (1996)

Destined to become: A religious temple

 

Image via Honlos Temple on Facebook

Formerly known as the Chateau Bradbury Estate, this private property in Duarte, California was used as a venue for weddings, private parties, and the occasional film production. In addition to being the used for The Craft, the mansion was also featured in Ghoulies IV (1994), Grosse Point Blank (1997), and episodes of Tales From the Crypt and Bones, among other productions, according to the film location website I Am Not a Stalker.

The property now belongs to a Chinese religious group and is known as the Honlos Temple. The Temple’s website says that Chinese teachings, yoga, and cooking classes are offered on-site, which is a far cry from the witchcraft and partying displayed in The Craft

6. ROCKY BALBOA’S HOME FROM ROCKY (1976)

Destined to become: A tourist attraction

 

Image via Google Maps

It will be hard for any city to embrace the legacy of a film more than Philadelphia has embraced Sylvester Stallone's Rocky over the past 40 years. There is a statue of Rocky near the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the footprints of his sneakers are at the top of the museum’s steps. The official visitor and travel website even has a Rocky-specific landing page for those wanting to experience the city through the boxer’s eyes. But hardcore fans of the film often seek out the less public filming locations. “Luckily for us, Rocky Balboa criss-crossed the city on his training runs so there are lots of Philly locations to visit," Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of Visit Philadelphia, tells mental_floss. "But purists go to 1818 E. Tusculum Street in Kensington, the site of Rocky's first house.”

“The story goes that the 1970s owner was paid $50 for use of her facade,” Levitz says of the private home, warning that, “The house is currently occupied, so be discreet and respectful if you visit.”

7. BUFFALO BILL'S HOUSE FROM THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991)

Destined to become: Your new home

The basement of Buffalo Bill's house is one of The Silence of the Lambs’ creepiest spaces, but it doesn't actually exist. According to the Associated Press, the basement was built on a soundstage, but the house itself is real and is located in the village of Layton, Pennsylvania, about an hour southeast of Pittsburgh. The New York Times reports that the current owners of the home have been struggling to sell it since August of last year.

The original asking price for the five bedroom home was $300,000 and it was reportedly the second most-clicked property on Realtor.com, but that did not translate into offers. The price dropped to $285,000 two months later, then $275,000, and then $249,900 before it was eventually delisted. The house is now relisted for $224,900.

8. JACKIE TREEHORN'S HOUSE FROM THE BIG LEBOWSKI (1998)

Destined to become: LACMA's first gift of architecture

The James Goldstein House, designed by John Lautner, photo © Jeff Green

It may be a stretch to qualify what Jackie Treehorn (Ben Gazzara) did in The Big Lebowski as "art," but the place where he lived definitely was. Known as the Sheats Goldstein Residence, the estate is owned by James Goldstein, a wealthy sports fan who keeps his source of income a secret from the public. It was recently announced that Goldstein has promised the house—and its contents—as a donation to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), which will make it the first piece of architecture in the museum's collection.

The iconic home was designed and built by American architect John Lautner in the early 1960s for artist and social activist Helen Sheats and her husband Paul. It was purchased by Goldstein in 1972. Included with Goldstein's donation is an extensive fashion collection, works by Ed Ruscha, Kenny Scharf, and other famous artists, and a 1961 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud.

"Hopefully, my gift will serve as a catalyst to encourage others to do the same to preserve and keep alive Los Angeles’s architectural gems for future generations," Goldstein said in a press release. "In the near future, we will begin presenting occasional cultural and educational programs that engage the house as the work of art it is," LACMA wrote on its blog, though it did not specify exactly when the site will be open to visitors.

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Food
Cook Your Next Out-of-This-World Meal in a Cosmic Le Creuset Dutch Oven
Le Creuset
Le Creuset

Le Creuset, one of the most coveted names in cookware, has given its classic Dutch oven a stellar makeover. As delish reports, the updated item is decorated with the image of a starry night sky.

The pot’s midnight blue exterior is scattered with white and yellow stars. The print, which is known as “cosmos,” is one of the brand’s boldest looks yet.

Le Creuset Dutch ovens have gained a cult following for their durable cast iron hardware and iconic design. The enameled equipment comes in several vibrant colors, including pink, turquoise, and the company’s signature orange.

While Le Creuset has produced patterned pots in the past, they’re usually hard to come by. Earlier this year, it released limited-edition soup pots inspired by Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. This latest product appears to be sticking around for the foreseeable future, but shoppers are still limited in their options. The cosmos look is only available as a 4.5-quart round oven and it's exclusively sold by Bloomingdale's. If you’re looking to gift this to a heavenly home cook in your life, it will cost you $380—about $80 more than a regular Le Creuset oven of the same size.

Space-printed cookware.

Space-printed cookware.

[h/t delish]

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25 Holiday Hacks to Make Your Life a Little Easier This Season
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iStock

Chances are you’re already stressed out by the holidays. That’s no good. It feels like you don’t have enough time, enough money, or enough of a break during the break, which is why it’s important to take care of yourself and find shortcuts for making the holidays less tense.

Whether it’s decorating, wearing an ugly sweater to your office party, or finding the perfect gift, here are some holiday hacks to take the stress out of the season.

1. USE SANTA’S BAG TO ORGANIZE YOUR GIFTS.

Santa's Bag app screenshots
Santa's Bag

Santa's Bag, an excellent shopping list manager app, lets you keep tabs on your budget, your gift ideas, and your recipients so that no one leaves empty-handed—and you don’t end up with an empty wallet.

2. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FREE SHIPPING DAY ON DECEMBER 15TH.

Person delivering package to woman at house
iStock

If you’re planning to purchase gifts online, you can shave a bit off the bottom line by doing it on December 15th, a.k.a. Free Shipping Day. As of this writing, more than 400 retailers are participating, including Kohl’s, Target, and Barnes & Noble.

3. FIND STORES THAT HONOR ONLINE PRICES.

woman looking at smartphone in clothing store
iStock

Stores like Macy’s, Home Depot, and Bed Bath & Beyond will price match that perfect gift with the price on their website, and those savings can stack up quickly. Be careful to check for small print like blackout dates and be sure to have your phone with you to show the sales clerk.

4. PICK UP COOPERATIVE BOARD GAMES.

Photo of a family playing a board game
iStock

While you’re price-matching and enjoying free shipping, check out board games like Pandemic, Castle Panic, and Forbidden Island to bring out the cooperative spirit while passing the time with your family. Games like TableTopics can also be a great way to launch some fun conversations.

5. TURN YOUR PUMPKINS INTO SNOWMEN.

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Just as there's always that one neighbor whose holiday lights are still twinkling come Valentine's Day, there's a good chance that there are still some pumpkins hanging around your neighborhood, even though we're more than a month past Halloween. If that's you, turn your laziness into a craft by piling your leftover pumpkins up and turning them into a snowman. It's simple to do, fun for the whole family, and gives you an Earth-friendly excuse for still having a jack o' lantern in December.

6. LET SANTA IN WITHOUT A CHIMNEY.

Santa
iStock

If your child is worried about how Santa will visit the house without a chimney to climb down, pick up a Magic Key and hang it on the door Christmas Eve. You can also build a DIY chimney out of cardboard boxes.

7. LET APPS BE YOUR GUIDE.

Honey app
Honey

Try using an app like Hopper to help you optimize your flight or an app like Honey to automatically apply promo codes to online shopping trips. You can also use apps from stores you like to get special rewards and coupons.

8. INVITE YOUR CROCK POT TO PARTIES.

Crock-Pot
Amazon

Utilizing your slow cooker can be a big help for family dinners and parties. Recipes are usually simple and delicious, there’s enough for everyone, and you don’t have to be stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is having fun. When dinner’s done, make a big batch of hot cocoa or mulled wine.

9. SET UP A SECONDARY FRIDGE WHEN ENTERTAINING.

food in fridge
iStock

Parties take up a lot of room in your refrigerator, so organize a cooler with condiments and extra ingredients you’ll need access to while cooking, or use it to stow random items you won’t need so you can use that valuable refrigerator real estate for drinks or party food essentials.

10. COOK AND BAKE AHEAD AS MUCH AS YOU CAN.

A photo of gingerbread cookies being iced
iStock

Instead of cramming your cooking into a single day, reduce the stress of getting it all done on time by prepping foods in advance. Items like mashed sweet potatoes, beet soups, and veggie salads can be made up to a few days prior to the party. The same goes for several pies, dough-based deserts, and cookies. All you’ll have to do is bake and chat with your friends.

11. ENHANCE YOUR OVEN SPACE.

Betty Crocker 3-tier Oven Rack
Amazon

Just like with your precious refrigerator space, there’s never enough room in the oven for everything you want to cram in there. You can expand that space with a tiered oven rack; perfect for dishes like pies and casseroles.

12. STOCK UP ON BUTTER.

stack of butter
iStock

Seriously. Almost every recipe uses it. You’re going to run out (and have to run to the crowded grocery store at the worst possible time).

13. USE SQUEEZE BOTTLES FOR KID-FRIENDLY ICING PROJECTS.

Girl and woman decorating cupcakes
iStock

If you’re looking for a fun way to bring the little ones in on the baking without the Jackson Pollock-style messy aftermath, use condiment bottles to make it easier for small (and big) hands to apply that royal icing.

14. PICK UP BROKEN GLASS ... WITH SANDWICH BREAD.

Photo of a broken red wine glass on the floor
iStock

These things happen (especially where there’s hot mulled wine available), but it’s annoying to need to pick up broken glass shards while you’ve got dozens of feet shuffling around the floor. The easiest, safest way to handle the situation is to grab a slice of sandwich bread (yes, really); press it on the ground to grab big and tiny bits of glass, then toss it in the trash.

15. MOVE THE CROWD TO AVOID DIRTY DISHES.

adults drinking wine in the living room
iStock

The curse of hosting a party is that you don’t get to enjoy your own gathering. Clean-up can be a major culprit because you don’t want people chatting around a pile of dirty dishes, but people will start saying their goodbyes as soon as you rinse the last dish. To avoid both, have your guests move into a different area to visit after dinner and leave the dishes for the morning.

16. DE-STALE YOUR LEFTOVER CHIPS.

Bag of potato chips
iStock

When you have five half-emptied bags of chips following a party, and you’re looking at eating nothing but chips for the next week, you can either feed the birds or take the inevitable staleness out of the chips by tossing them into your oven for a few minutes.

17. MAKE BOWS OUT OF TAPE.

holiday pattern Scotch Duct Tape
Amazon

Duck Brand makes duct tape in festive patterns, which you can use to make sturdy, attractive bows for presents and decorating. They have snowmen, penguins, and candy canes, and if you need to do some quick air conditioner repair work, you can always undo the bows.

18. TURN A MASON JAR INTO A SNOW GLOBE.

mason jar snow globe
Mashable Watercooler, YouTube

Looking for a unique, inexpensive keepsake for each holiday season? This mason jar snow globe is ingenious. It’s simple to make, and since it’s customizable, you can make one every year with craft-sized versions of Christmas trees, menorahs, or whatever your imagination invents.

19. USE A LASER PROJECTOR FOR YOUR OUTDOOR LIGHTS.

holiday lights projected onto a house
Amazon

If you don’t have the time, inclination, or a large enough ladder to string up lights all around the outside of your house, consider buying a laser projector to create an incredible design without all the hassle.

20. TAKE THE TANGLE OUT OF YOUR HOLIDAY LIGHTS.

holiday string lights
iStock

If you find yourself wrestling with the tangled, Christmas light Kraken, it’s time to set your future self up with an organized solution by cutting your own cardboard holders for plastic bins, wrapping them on plastic coat hangers, or wrap them around tension rods before stowing them away.

21. GET YOUR WRAPPING PAPER SAFELY SORTED.

gift wrapping materials
iStock

Like lights, you can buy an expensive wrapping paper-specific storage container if you’d like. You can also use a wire wastepaper bin, a wine crate, clip them to plastic rings to hang on hooks on the back of a door, or keep them in a hanging garment bag. (Plus, ribbon rolls stays obedient when you keep them on a paper towel holder.)

22. IMPROVISE IF YOU RUN OUT OF WRAPPING PAPER.

wrapped gift
iStock

Instead of yet another trip to the store, you can use brown bags, map pages from an old atlas, newspaper pages, scrap fabric pieces, or your ugly Christmas sweater to creatively wrap a gift.

23. GET RID OF GIFT CARDS YOU DON’T WANT.

gift card
iStock

Maybe you wanted Home Depot but they got you Starbucks. Or maybe you wanted Target but they got you Jiffy Lube. Either way, Gift Card Granny offers a way to sell unwanted gift cards and buy discounted ones from tons of stores.

24. GET RID OF YOUR TREE WITHOUT DROPPING THE NEEDLES.

iStock

The beauty of a live Christmas tree is only rivaled by the metric ton of pine needles that fall off as you drag it out of your house. To avoid leaving a needle trail, wrap the tree in trash bags (or a special tree removal bag) before carrying it out. Just remember to remove the trash bags once you get it to the curb (or else your tree will end up at the garbage dump instead of being mulched).

25. REMEMBER TO TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF.

woman meditating on bed
iStock

The holidays are demanding, and hacks can only trim your time and budget down so much. With so much extra duties on our plates, it’s important to actively plan some low-key relaxation time for yourself. Prepping a big family dinner or party? Maybe plan to get a quiet coffee with a friend the day before. Struggling to come up with activities for all your visiting relatives? Even five minutes of solo meditation can make a big difference.

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