The “It’s Complicated” HouseSep 17th, 2010 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
This past weekend, I dragged my new husband out to Westlake Village to see a home that I’ve been absolutely dying to stalk ever since I tracked down its location a little over two months ago – the adobe-style ranch where Jane Adler (aka Meryl Streep) lived in the 2009 Nancy Meyers-directed romantic comedy It’s Complicated. I have been absolutely obsessed with Jane’s little Spanish-style bungalow ever since first laying eyes upon it while watching the flick back in July. Nancy Meyers has a true gift for choosing only the most beautiful homes to showcase in her films – from Diane Keaton’s beachside abode in Something’s Gotta Give to Kate Winslet’s English cottage in The Holiday to Steve Martin and family’s iconic white colonial residence in the Father of the Bride movies. I don’t think there’s a director out there who is better at scouting movie homes and that talent is nowhere more apparent than in It’s Complicated. The movie’s production designer, Jon Hutman, is quoted in the production notes as saying, “Nancy, perhaps more than any director I’ve worked with, comes to the table with a clear and specific vision of the world in which the story takes place.” She ends up translating that world to the screen and it becomes a place that her audiences want to live in, too. Which is why I think I became so obsessed with the It’s Complicated house – it is exactly the type of place I’d love to own myself someday.
And I am not alone in my desire. Ask anyone if they’ve seen It’s Complicated and the conversation invariably turns to Jane’s wooded, Spanish-style residence. So, it’s no surprise that I began cyber-stalking the place immediately upon finishing the movie. Unfortunately though, I couldn’t find much information about the home anywhere. The only real clues I had to go on were from the movie’s production notes, which stated that in real life the property had been built in the late 1920’s, was located in Thousand Oaks, and had belonged to several celebrities over the years, most notably comedian W.C. Fields.
I had one other pretty big clue to go on, though – one that wasn’t mentioned in the film’s production notes. Throughout the movie, Jane’s house is shown to be surrounded by a long, white wooden fence. That type of fence pops up quite often in film and television productions and when it does, it is pretty much a dead giveaway that filming took place somewhere on Potrero Road.
Potrero Road is an extremely long, meandering street that cuts through numerous ranch-style properties in the Thousand Oaks, Hidden Valley, and Westlake Village areas and, as you can see in the above photographs, is bordered on each side by low, white wooden fences just like Jane’s. So, I decided to begin my search there. And sure enough, about ten minutes into the hunt, I located Jane’s house! As it turns out, it is situated less than half a mile east of JMJ Ranch, which was featured in fave movie Win A Date With Tad Hamilton and the more recent Back-Up Plan with Jennifer Lopez.
Before stalking the house, I was convinced that some part of it would be visible from the street. As you can see in the above photographs, though, that was not really the case. Sadly, the residence is set quite a ways back from the road and is surrounded by massive oak trees which hide the home from view. UGH!
But that’s why God created aerial images!
And while the aerial views of the home aren’t that great, as you can see in the above screen captures, the shape of the house and the shape of the pool match those of the real residence perfectly!
Only the exterior of the Potrero Road home was featured in the production. Sadly, the beautiful interior of Jane’s house was a set that existed solely on a soundstage at Brooklyn’s Broadway Stages. Nancy Meyers was so meticulously involved in the creation of the interior of Jane’s residence, though, that she even went so far as to hand pick the books that were stored on the character’s bookshelves. She says, “I’m very particular about what’s sitting on a table. I’ll walk around the set, saying, ‘Would she really be reading this book?’” It is that attention to detail that makes the home appear so warm and inviting. Sigh!
UPDATE – The It’s Complicated house is currently for sale. You can check out a YouTube video of it here.
On a side note – fellow stalker David from Spain recently alerted me to the fact that the Gene Autry Museum in Griffith Park is currently hosting an exhibit featuring clothing that once belonged to the King of Pop. The exhibit is entitled “How The West Was Worn, by Michael Jackson” and displays such iconic pieces as the silver-plated shoes he wore to the White House in 1990 and the guitar-clasp belt he wore on the “Beat It” album cover in 1982 (pictured above). You can find out more information about the exhibit here. Special thanks to David for telling me about this event, which I will, of course, be stalking!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The It’s Complicated house is located at 714 West Potrero Road in Westlake Village. JMJ Ranch, from Win A Date With Tad Hamilton and The Back-Up Plan, is located at 930 West Potrero Road in Thousand Oaks, just a half a mile west of the It’s Complicated house.