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Frank and Claire’s Townhouse from “House of Cards”

Jul 19th, 2017 | By | Category: TV Locations

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It is a rare occasion for me to lay eyes on a Hollywood-designed set and not immediately want to move in.  But such was the case with the townhouse belonging to Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and his wife, Claire (Robin Wright), on the Netflix series House of Cards.  While I love the handsome brick exterior of the politico couple’s pad (who wouldn’t?), the inside is just a bit too cold and a bit too stark for my tastes.  Though undeniably beautiful, Frank and Claire’s décor and furnishings look like something straight out of a magazine – not lived in, very impersonal, and all sleek, shiny and straight lines.  The aura the home gives off is a huge testament to the talent of the House of Cards set designers because cold, stark, sleek and shiny are characteristics that perfectly describe Claire and Frank.  The townhouse is an exacting reflection of its occupants and, as such, is one of the series’ most notable locations, despite only being featured in two out of five seasons.  So it was, of course, on my list of spots to stalk while I was in Baltimore, where House of Cards is mainly lensed, last fall.

Said to be located at 1609 Far Street NW in Washington, D.C. on the series, in real life, Frank and Claire’s townhouse can be found at 1609 Park Avenue in Baltimore’s Bolton Hill neighborhood.

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The 4,600-square-foot, 4-level dwelling features 4 bedrooms, 5 fireplaces (though this article mentions 6 bedrooms and 7 fireplaces, so I am unsure which figures are correct), 3 baths, 12-foot-high ceilings, pine flooring, a rear patio, a 2-car garage with a rooftop deck, a 3-story lightwell, and dual staircases.

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Originally built in 1880, the 20-foot-wide townhouse had not only been transformed into a 3-unit apartment building, but had also fallen into serious disrepair by the time Jeff and Norma Epstein purchased it in 1995.  The couple spent the next two years restoring it back to its original grandeur, with Jeff, a licensed contractor, doing most of the work himself.

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Though the remodel was a labor of love for the couple, they recently decided to move out of state and put the residence up for auction last month with a starting price of $500,000.  There do not appear to have been any takers, though, and it looks like the home is now on the market for $824,900.

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The townhouse is located in a gorgeous neighborhood . . .

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. . . situated directly across from a median that has been fashioned into a park, complete with a sparkling fountain.

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The scenery looks like it was taken straight out of the opening credits of Friends.

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It took all I had not to jump in the fountain and start dancing.  Winking smile

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The townhouse was only utilized during the first and second seasons of House of Cards.  By the end of Season 2, Frank and Claire had upgraded their digs by (spoiler alert!) moving into the White House upon Frank taking over the presidency.  (When Season 3 began airing, HotPads humorously ran a fictional article about the Underwood residence being available for rent.)  Surprisingly, the townhouse’s exterior was rarely shown on the series . . .

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. . . and when it was, it was typically in dark, nighttime shots, so not much of it was ever seen onscreen.

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The interior, however, which was just a set located at the Joppa, Maryland warehouse where the series is lensed, was featured regularly.  Production designers are said to have modeled the set after the actual inside of the Bolton Hill townhome, but as the property’s MLS photos attest to, said interior is staggeringly different from its onscreen counterpart.  Most notably, the inside of the actual home is much smaller and much less ornate than Frank and Claire’s residence.  For this post, I thought it would be fun to do a little set vs. real life house tour, so here goes!  We’ll start with the entrance hall.  Though both boast wood embellishments, the Underwood’s hallway is more grand and quite a bit wider than the hallway of the actual home.

House of Cards House Hallway Collage

A view of the respective entrance halls from the opposite direction is pictured below.

House of Cards Townhouse Hallway 3

Aside from similar fireplaces, the two living rooms don’t resemble each other at all.

House of Cards Townhouse Living Room

As you can see below, the Underwood living room is much wider than that of the actual townhome.

House of Cards Townhouse Living Room 2

The same is true of the dining rooms – the set dining room is much wider than the real life residence’s dining room.

House of Cards House Living Room

Though both boast a white color scheme, the Underwoods’ kitchen is much larger and much more modern than that of the actual townhome.

House of Cards Townhouse Kitchen

Another major difference – while the Underwoods’ kitchen is located on the main level of their house, the kitchen of the real life property is, oddly, situated in the basement.

House of Cards Townhouse Kitchen 2

Though the Underwoods do have a basement, it is only semi-finished and, as you can see, looks nothing like the townhome’s actual basement.

House of Cards Townhouse Basement

Claire and Frank’s master bedroom is much more subdued than its real life counterpart, though, once again, the fireplaces are very similar.

House of Cards Townhouse Master Bedroom 2

The Underwoods’ patio, one of my favorite aspects of the property, is covered with picturesque foliage and enclosed by a large stucco wall.  The actual patio is much less lush and is instead enclosed by a wooden fence, giving it a very different look, though the window and door are similar to those of the set.

House of Cards Townhouse Patio

Sadly, Frank and Claire’s dining room “smoking window,” which was situated next to the fireplace in the set’s dining room, is nowhere to be found in real life.

House of Cards Townhouse Smoking Window

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

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Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: Frank and Claire’s townhouse from House of Cards is located at 1609 Park Avenue in Baltimore’s Bolton Hill neighborhood.

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6 comments

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  1. Nat says:

    That might we the worst staging I’ve ever seen for a real estate ad!


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