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The “Hand That Rocks The Cradle” House

Nov 9th, 2010 | By | Category: Movie Locations

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Another location that I stalked while visiting the Pacific Northwest this past May was the gorgeous Victorian-style residence where the Bartel family – Claire (aka Annabella Sciorra), Michael (aka Matt McCoy), Emma (aka an absolutely adorable pre-Californication Madeline Zima), and baby Joey (aka Eric, Jennifer, and Ashley Melander)  – and their nanny, Peyton Flanders (aka Rebecca De Mornay), lived in the 1992 thriller The Hand That Rocks the Cradle.  Even though I had actually only seen the movie once – almost two decades ago when it was first released in theatres – the Bartel home made such an impression on me that an image of it has been imprinted on my mind ever since.  It is absolutely amazing to me how iconic the dwelling still is all these years later.  Even more amazing to me is the fact that the home pictured above wasn’t actually the producer’s first choice for the filming of The Hand That Rocks the Cradle.  They originally approached the owners of a different Tacoma-area Victorian residence – one that was chosen seven years later to stand in for the Stratford family home in the 1999 teen comedy 10 Things I Hate About You.  But because The Hand filmmakers wanted to paint over some interior woodwork, cut holes in several walls, and temporarily remove all of the real life furnishings and decor, the 10 Things homeowners turned down the offer and a different property located just over a mile to the west was chosen instead.  And the rest, as they say, is history.  There’s a quote from the now-defunct Movieline Magazine that I’ve had pinned up on my bulletin board for over twenty years now which reads, “It is always fascinating to learn how an actress came to play a role in which she is so perfect for the part that you can’t imagine anyone else ever having been considered.”  Well, the same can be said for houses, and it especially holds true for The Hand That Rocks the Cradle house – I honestly can’t imagine any other residence ever having been considered for the Bartel home.

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I am very happy to report that The Hand That Rocks the Cradle house looks remarkably the same today as it did eighteen years ago when it appeared in the movie.  The residence has been painted a different color since that time and there is a quite a bit more foliage surrounding the property now, but otherwise it is still completely recognizable.

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Even the light post/address marker located near the front porch is still there in real life, although the top of it is shaped a bit differently now.

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The backside of the house and the garage area also appeared in the flick . . .

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. . . although both have been remodeled quite a bit since filming took place.

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The real life interior of the home was also used extensively in the filming.

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Amazingly enough, the owners of the house decided to leave the famous Hand That Rocks the Cradle greenhouse, which played a pivotal role in the movie and which was built solely for the filming, intact after the flick had wrapped, which I think is just about the coolest thing ever!  Even cooler still is the fact that there is a scene in the movie in which Michael calls 911 and says to the police, “We live at 808 Yakima”, which is the home’s actual address.  I love it when real life details like that are included in a script!

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In real life, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle house, which was originally built in 1891, boasts 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and a whopping 6,105 square feet of living space.  And while the residence is absolutely beautiful in person, I prefer the white color it was painted in the movie, as opposed to the yellow color it is currently painted today.

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On a celebrity-sighting side-note – While doing some grocery shopping this past Sunday afternoon, I happened to run into actress Kimmy Robertson, who played Cathy in fave movie Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead.  I just about died when I realized who she was and, despite the Grim Cheaper’s objections, followed her outside to ask if she wouldn’t mind taking a photograph with me.  Kimmy was SUPER, SUPER nice and even chatted with us about Don’t Tell Mom for a bit.  I think she found me a bit odd when I told her how upset I was that the All American Burger on Sunset Boulevard – which stood in for Clown Dog restaurant in the movie – had recently been torn down, but she and her dog Cleo happily posed for a pic with me nonetheless.  So incredibly cool!

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  :)

Stalk It: The Hand That Rocks the Cradle house is located at 808 North Yakima Avenue in Tacoma, Washington.

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12 comments

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  1. Richard says:

    I was reminiscing about the old days and decided to look things up about this house. I lived there for four years (1994-1998) and it was a great house. My favorite place was definatley the little cubby under the grand staircase in the front room. There were a couple tunnels in the basement that we turned into a shooting range for bows and such which were fun too but I was too scared to go down there alone. My dad was telling me about how cool it was to watch the do the greenhouse scene and replacing all the real glass with movie glass. Unless its been repainted (which it probably has by now) there is still someovie blood on the fence between the backyard and the parking lot. I revisited when I was about 12 and we saw the new owners had painted it yellow which was disappointing to me. But it will always be the big white house of my childhood and I’ll miss it.

    • Richard says:

      Side note: I didn’t even notice Sarah’s post until after I wrote mine. Ive never been to this site before but I could leave some pictures from the old days if you want.

  2. anny says:

    it sure looks different today than when it was in the movie. I just saw it today when a friend and me were looking at old houses on Yakima St. its hard to get a good look at it. even from in back of the alley it hard to see a lot. but I could see the green house.

  3. Sarah in Tacoma says:

    One fun note I learned on a tour of the house a few years ago… The owners kept the painted red blood from Peyton’s fall from the attic on the white picket fence, an original detail from the movie. I saw it in person, a cool touch, but a spooky one!

  4. Jean says:

    There was another movie called ‘Hit And Run’ that starred Margaret Colin. It was filmed in the Seattle area, and the house her family lived in looked very much like the Bartel house. Do you have any idea if these two homes were the same one?

  5. Jean says:

    I visited that house in September of 1994 and took pictures of it as well. It was a beautiful neighborhood, and I loved the “Bartel” house! Thanks for sharing those pictures with us. I posted two of the pictures I took on Madeline Zima’s Facebook page. It’s nice that the house is very much the same. I felt a little funny taking pictures, but no one seemed to mind. I’m sure the owners are used to it, anyway.

  6. Jenny says:

    Great post today!!!!!!!!!!! The house is very beautiful and big. The movie was a good thiller and keep you on the edge of your seat. Did you find the house that was used as DR.Mott’s aka Payton’s house?

  7. Bethany Foster says:

    Great post! Love this movie!


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  1. [...] visit with loads of before and after pictures. If you love this house we strongly recommend you check out his post.  If you’re ever out for a walk on North Yakima, you’ll find the house in the 800 [...]

  2. [...] you can see in the above screen capture, and as was the case with the Bartel home which I blogged about yesterday, the property’s real life address was referred to in the movie in the scene in which Marlene [...]

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