Most Iconic Pop Culture Homes
When you think of your dream home, you probably don’t envision a family already living inside. But when it comes to movies and TV, we may just want to move into a house filled with an entire cast of characters. Which homes from your favorite shows and movies would you pick? And which characters would be the best and worst roommates? Can you recognize some of the most iconic homes in pop culture? These are questions we posed to nearly 1,500 people about iconic homes, from cult classic movies to critically acclaimed TV series. Our results showcase which homes are the most recognizable as well as which pads respondents would move into first. To find out which fictional facades are ingrained most deeply in the American psyche, read on.

Movie memory

most-recognizable-movie-homes The house from the “Home Alone” franchise was the most recognizable movie home. A site of both abandonment and multiple robbery attempts, this house isn’t exactly filled with positive memories. Nevertheless, nearly the entire first movie takes place within the house’s walls, helping to make the home quite memorable. The megamansion, first introduced in 1990, has since become a millennial joke of sorts, with many wondering what exactly Kevin McCallister’s dad had to do to afford the giant house and round-trip flights to Paris for nine family members. The second most recognizable home was a two-way tie between the Avengers Tower and Forrest Gump’s house. Although the Avengers Tower still stands, Forrest Gump’s home was built just for the movie and torn down immediately afterward. Another 30 percent of respondents recognized Tony Stark’s high-tech Malibu mansion, which actually never structurally existed but was merely a digital rendering. The recognizability of these homes was particularly driven by younger respondents: Millennials were far more successful than baby boomers in naming Marvel Universe domains. less-recognizable-movie-homes Surprisingly, some of today’s most popular films, like the “Twilight” and Harry Potter franchises, had homes that were only recognizable to a scant 15 and 19 percent of respondents, respectively. This may, however, just be a reflection of those movies not having a primary focus on the household. Many scenes are shot in a school, in town, or the wilderness. However, for “The Notebook,” the house might be as important as its characters. Noah (played by Ryan Gosling) is deeply in love with Allie (played by Rachel McAdams) and spends many years rebuilding the home purely out of love and devotion to her. Nevertheless, only 6 percent of respondents recognized this abode.

Recognize this house?

most-recognizable-tv-homes Where TV shows were concerned, “Full House” was the clear front-runner in terms of recognizability. Sixty-two percent of respondents correctly identified this house, which was more than 20 percentage points ahead of any other TV home. In second place, “The Brady Bunch” house was recognized by 41 percent of respondents. This groovy, split-level ranch piece of Americana culture is the second most photographed home in the U.S. and was recently restored to its ’70s glory by HGTV. Albuquerque, New Mexico, hosts the third-ranked “Breaking Bad” house. Any fan of the AMC show would recall the symbolic scene in which Walter White angrily tossed a full, unsliced pizza pie on top of the roof of his suburban home. The scene, described by Bryan Cranston as one of his favorites, inspired fans to recreate Walt’s iconic actions, driving the real-life homeowners to install a 6-foot wrought iron fence around the premises. At one point, the pizza pranks became so extreme that showrunner Vince Gilligan implored fans to stop the antics. Although “The Sopranos” made household names out of actors like James Gandolfini, the household itself was hardly recognizable: Only 11 percent of people correctly identified the home. And the horrors portrayed in “American Horror Story: Murder House” may have been blocked out by those it scared—only 11 percent of respondents could recognize this home as well. less-recognizable-tv-homes Producer Matthew Weiner, who worked on “The Sopranos,” also went on to help create “Mad Men,” which must owe its success to something other than the home, as Don Draper’s abode was only recognizable to 8 percent of participants. That said, the setting for most “Mad Men” episodes was an advertising agency, focused primarily on office life and outdated gender roles. The least recognizable TV home, however, was the house from “Boy Meets World.” Interestingly, home life was a prominent feature of the popular show, and school life even bled into the home, as Mr. Feeny often conversed with Cory and his family from their neighboring backyards. In spite of this, the house was only recognized by 2 percent of participants.

Living the dream

movie-homes-people-want-and-dont-want-to-live-inmovie-home-quotes Stopping the ruthless crusade of the Mad Titan and warding off interdimensional beings is no simple task. But living like an Avenger is completely different than being one. Our survey found that respondents were eager to live in the advanced, modernized mansion of Tony Stark, otherwise known as Iron Man. The interior boasts a minimalistic design with high-tech amenities. Stark mansion is fully equipped with J.A.R.V.I.S., a voice-responsive computer system that serves as a virtual home assistant and security monitor. Next on the list of desirable movie homes was the gorgeous “Home Alone” mansion. Raised in the 1920s, this architectural wonder showcases a Georgian style. A survey taker cited spacious quarters and a soothing ambiance as some of the reasons to reside in the red brick house. The colonial-style home was an attractive option for respondents, as they also ranked Cher Horowitz’s LA pad from “Clueless” as the third most coveted movie home. When it came to the least desirable cinematic residences, houses of horror fell short. The eerie “Psycho” house has appeared in numerous movies, TV series, and documentaries, lending itself to the ranks of the most legendary homes in the genre. Although the Lego-style constructed house wasn’t up to par with our respondents’ livability standards, fans still petitioned to prevent decay and demolition of the Bates home.

“Yo, homes to Bel-Air”

tv-homes-people-want-and-dont-want-to-live-intv-home-quotes As far as livability was concerned, the Bel-Air mansion from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” came out on top. In the TV series, the Banks family resides in Bel-Air, but the manor is actually located in Brentwood area of California. Sizing up at around 6,438 square feet in less than an acre of land, the spacious floor plan boasts five bedrooms, five bathrooms, and a swimming pool. Between the luxurious layout and butler service, it’s no wonder respondents marked this as their most desired TV home. The effect of luxury was also observed for the second-ranked “Full House” home. Securing third place for the most livable TV home was the Greenwich Village building in “Friends.” Realistically, the apartments were far more expensive than the show ever insinuated. To live in an apartment that averaged the same size as Monica’s apartment, you’d be expected to dish out anywhere from $7,000 to $8,000 a month. But hey, at least there’d be a cafe right downstairs.

Ranking movie and TV roommates

most-preferred-movie-characters-to-have-as-roommates When asked about potential roommates, respondents made sure to cross off important characteristics on their checklist: wealthy, intelligent, and good-looking. As it so happens, Tony Starkalso known as Iron Maneffortlessly qualified as the most desired movie roommate. Mr. Stark is a billionaire genius who commands the world’s most advanced technology; need we explain further why he’s the obvious choice? Riding on the coattails of the most popular Avenger were two prominent Hogwarts alumni: Gryffindor’s very own Harry Potter and Hermione Granger secured the second and third most desired roommate slots, respectively. Dwelling among wizards naturally comes with benefits like casting the scouring charm to magically clean the house. Moreover, you would never have to worry about locking yourself out of the house with these seasoned spellcasters around. most-preferred-tv-characters-to-have-as-roommates The results found that respondents preferred a more relatable roommate when asked about TV characters. And apparently, the story about how Will Smith’s life got turned upside down was more than enough to entice respondents to live with the Fresh Prince: He was the No. 1 TV character participants wanted to share a home with.

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!

least-preferred-movie-characters-to-have-as-roommates As it turns out, not every character from the big screen is an ideal roommate. The least desirable roommate from the cinematic world was the mischievous Beetlejuice. Careful now, if you utter his name three times in a row, the freelance bio-exorcist may appear. It’s hard to imagine a renowned physicist trailing Tim Burton’s devious poltergeist on the unwanted roommate list, yet respondents were fully opposed to living with the second-ranked Bruce Banner. Now, this sentiment is warranted considering Banner’s complicated civilian life: The gamma ray-exposed scientist transforms into the Incredible Hulk when subject to immense stress or prolonged irritability. Although, you would think this hulking beast is preferable to a genocidal warlord like Thanos. If it comes as a surprise to see Hannibal Lecter, Freddy Krueger, or Michael Myers, then it’s safe to assume you’re no horror film aficionado. The results found that movie buffs were not very keen about dorming with the leads of the biggest cult classic horror movies. Between harboring a fear of being attacked in your dreams to keeping your appetizing skin covered at all times, it’s a no-brainer why respondents would opt for a more lighthearted housemate. least-preferred-tv-characters-to-have-as-roommates When it comes to finding a rent-paying companion in the TV universe, Roseanne Conner won the least desirable roommate award. Dissuaded respondents were probably turned off by her controlling tendencies and loud-mouthed actions. The one who knocks, or Walter White from AMC’s critically acclaimed series “Breaking Bad,” followed closely behind Roseanne as the worst roommate, perhaps due to his crystallization into the blue sky-slinging Heisenberg.

Fictional facades

America’s obsession with pop culture runs deep. So deep, in fact, that respondents not only recognized but also wanted to live in the homes of Hollywood’s creations. Respondents daydreamed of fiction’s crossing with reality, mentioning dream roommates like Tony Stark and dream homes like the Fresh Prince’s megamansion, among others. Although these homes and characters don’t all exist, there are nearly unlimited resources for improving, maintaining, and appreciating the home you do have. However, it’s important to know which resources to choose from. There are a host of tried and true professionals in your area for any home improvement project. You can find them on Porch, which offers help with everything from full remodels to landscape architecture and more. Maybe you can even remodel after your favorite TV and movie homes.

Methodology and limitations

We used Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to survey a total of 1,495 people. Responses were gathered from three separate surveys: one on a quiz for recognizability of homes from TV and movies (505 respondents); one on sentiments toward movie homes (495 respondents); and one on sentiments toward TV homes (495 respondents). To be considered in our data, respondents were required to a) complete all survey questions of the respective survey they took and b) pass that survey’s attention-check question in the middle of the survey. Participants who failed to do either of these were excluded from our study. For the quiz survey, 52 percent of respondents were female, and 48 percent were male. Sixty percent of respondents were millennials (born 1981 to 1997); 27 percent were from Generation X (born 1965 to 1980); 8 percent were baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964); 3 percent were from Generation Z (born 1928 to 1943); and 1 percent were from the silent generation (born 1928 to 1945). For the survey on sentiments toward movie homes, 52 percent of respondents were female; 47 percent were male; and 1 percent identified as nonbinary. Sixty percent of respondents were millennials (born 1981 to 1997); 24 percent were from Generation X (born 1965 to 1980); 12 percent were baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964); 3 percent were from Generation Z (born 1928 to 1943); and less than 1 percent were from the silent generation (born 1928 to 1945). For the survey on sentiments toward TV homes, 54 percent of respondents were female; 45 percent were male; and less than 1 percent identified as nonbinary. Fifty-eight percent of respondents were millennials (born 1981 to 1997); 29 percent were from Generation X (born 1965 to 1980); 9 percent were baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964); 3 percent were from Generation Z (born 1928 to 1943); and 1 percent were from the silent generation (born 1928 to 1945). To survey for recognizability of homes, we provided photos of the homes and had respondents write in their answers for which TV show or movie the house was from. We provided photos of 13 iconic movie homes and 13 iconic TV homes. We deemed movie and TV homes to be “iconic” if a) the movies were widely seen and b) the houses from them were widely known. We scored respondents’ answers to the quiz as either correct or incorrect. For visuals on the livability of homes from TV and movies, it’s important to note that respondents only rated the homes from TV and movies they had seen. Therefore, rankings take into account both a) the number of respondents who know what these houses looked like and b) their feelings toward wanting or not wanting to live in them. For visuals on roommates from TV and movies that respondents would want or not want to live with, we asked respondents to write in fictional characters from any and all TV shows and movies they had ever seen—not just TV shows and movies that had been mentioned in the survey.

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