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The Gilmore Mansion from “Gilmore Girls”

Jun 28th, 2017 | By | Category: TV Locations

The Gilmore Mansion from Gilmore Girls-7900

While I realize this may be considered blasphemy in some circles, I have never really watched Gilmore Girls.  On paper, the show definitely looks like something that would appeal to me, but for whatever reason, I failed to tune in when it originally started airing in 2000.  At the behest of fellow stalker/Gilmore Girls aficionado Chas, from the It’s Filmed There website, I finally viewed six or so episodes early last year, but the series just didn’t hook me.  Don’t get me wrong – GG is not bad or unentertaining by any means.  I just can’t seem to get into it – which I think is largely due to the fact that the show boasts 7 seasons, 153 episodes, and a 4-part reboot.  That’s a lot of binge-watching to get through.  It’s kind of overwhelming to even think about.  Despite my viewing neglect, I do know quite a bit about the series’ locations, thanks both to Chas and the fact that I’ve gone on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood, where GG was mainly lensed, countless times.  One locale I did not know about – heck, not even Chas knew about it – was the home used for establishing shots of the Gilmore mansion, aka the stately pad where Richard (Edward Herrmann) and Emily Gilmore (Kelly Bishop) lived.

It is pretty common knowledge among Gilmore Girls fans – and regular Warner Bros. tourgoers such as myself – that the exterior of the Gilmore mansion was a façade built inside of a soundstage on the studio lot.   So imagine Chas’ surprise when he received an email from Thomas Pucher, of the Falcon Crest website, a couple of months back informing him that said façade was modeled after the exterior of an actual house – a handsome 1924 French Provincial Revival-style manse located in Pasadena.  Not only that, but actual footage of the dwelling was used in establishing shots of the Gilmore residence during Season 1.

The Gilmore Mansion from Gilmore Girls-7889

The Gilmore Mansion from Gilmore Girls-7891

In real life, the massive 5-bedroom, 7-bath, 8,124-square-foot property, which sits on a 0.74-acre lot, is known as the William R. Staats House.

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The Gilmore Mansion from Gilmore Girls-7893

It was designed by the Marston, Van Pelt & Maybury architecture firm for real estate developer William Staats, who worked with Henry Huntington in developing Pasadena.

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The Gilmore Mansion from Gilmore Girls-7895

The William R. Staats House was not the only mansion utilized as the Gilmore home on Gilmore Girls.  In fact, the tale of Richard and Emily’s residence is a bit of a long one.  The GG pilot was lensed largely in Toronto, Canada and its environs, with a few re-shoots done on the Warner Bros. Studio backlot.  In the pilot, a dwelling at 61 Binscarth Road masked as the Gilmore mansion.

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The interior of the Binscarth Road pad was also utilized in the pilot.

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Once Gilmore Girls got picked up, production moved to Los Angeles.  Virtually all series filming took place at Warner Bros.  GG is not a show that left the lot very often.  One of the few non-studio locales utilized was the William R. Staats House.  The exterior of the residence was first featured in the Season 1 episode titled “Kill Me Now.”

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The exterior also appeared in “Star-Crossed Lovers and Other Strangers.”

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While I knew that the studio-built façade was also utilized during Season 1, because I don’t watch the show, I was unsure of which bits were shot at the real house and which were shot on set.  Enter my friend/guest poster extraordinaire Michael (you can read his many IAMNOTASTALKER articles here).  Michael is a big fan of GG, so I passed the information about the Staats House along to him.  He wound up reviewing several Season 1 episodes and came to the conclusion that the Pasadena pad only appeared in establishing shots a couple of times on the series and that all of the scenes that took place in front of the Gilmore mansion involving actors were lensed at the set re-creation.  It was easy for him to distinguish between the real home and the façade based on three factors – the façade bricks are much whiter and flatter than those of the real house, the studio re-creation bushes are much taller than those of the real home, and, most telling of all, the set mansion does not have a threshold, while the real house does.

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As Michael further explained, “In the first season they keep pretty close to the door.  I assume they hadn’t built much of the exterior at that point.  Then in the second season, the front driveway set is expanded, ivy is added to the facade, and a second light is added next to the door, all deviating from the Pasadena location.”

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Though some commenters on this recent Reddit post about the Gilmore mansion speculate that the actual interior of the Staats House was utilized during Season 1, that is incorrect.  Once the series was picked up, a set replica of the interior of the Toronto residence used in the pilot was constructed.  Said set was featured from the second episode, titled “The Lorelais’ First Day at Chilton” (pictured below), through the end of the series – though it was altered a bit over the years.  As creator Amy Sherman-Palladino explained during Entertainment Weekly’s PopFest in October 2016, “We always had this issue with the Gilmore house where we didn’t have a lot of money that first season, so it was a little tiny, and it kinda looked like Ed [Herrmann] was in a doll house.  He was a very tall man, and the next year we had a little bit more money, so we could make a room a little bigger every year.”

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The enlarged Gilmore mansion interior from Season 2 is pictured below.

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As Thomas informed Chas, the Staats House also popped up in two Season 5 episodes of Falcon Crest as the Monte Carlo chateau where Peter Stavros (Cesar Romero) was held prisoner.  It first appeared in “Gambit Exposed.”

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The interior of the property was also shown in the episode and, as you can see, it does not look anything like the Gilmore mansion.

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The Staats House then appeared in the subsequent Falcon Crest episode, titled “Finders and Losers.”

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Thanks to Chas, I also learned that the Staats House masked as the home of Richard Montana (Balthazar Getty) in the Season 6 episode of Charmed titled “Love’s a Witch.”

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The episode affords us a fabulous look at the interior of the residence.

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For more stalking fun, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Los Angeles magazine and Discover Los Angeles.

Big THANK YOU to Thomas Pucher, from the Falcon Crest website, for finding this location and to Chas, from It’s Filmed There, for telling me about it.  Smile

The Gilmore Mansion from Gilmore Girls-7890

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: Richard and Emily Gilmore’s mansion from Gilmore Girls is located at 293 South Grand Avenue in Pasadena.

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One comment

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  1. Steffi says:

    Love the show, love the post!


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