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Where I want to live

Published May 14. 2011 09:02AM

By Karen Cimms

After 21 years, my favorite house is finally on the market.

It's going to need a lot of work. It's still beautiful, but it's been updated and redecorated since the last time I saw it. The outside of the stately red brick Georgian mansion is the same black shutters, Palladian window over the front door, paved horseshoe driveway and two-car garage but I don't even recognize the inside.

The large-scale red and green wallpaper in the foyer is gone and has been replaced with a neutral dove gray paint. The same is true in the office. Colonial-patterned window treatments have been replaced with bland tone-on-tone striped valances and drapes. The huge kitchen, with its dark, solid wood cabinets, hunter-green tiled island, and cheery wallpaper, not to mention the back entrance with the large doggie door? Gone! It's replacement is positively sterile white cabinets, black granite countertops, gray and black glass tile backsplash.

The red dining room is now white with an airy hand-painted mural of trees. And my favorite room the master bedroom has been stripped of its wallpaper and personality. The hardwood floors are covered in a white Berber carpet, the walls are papered in a neutral tone-on-tone stripe.

It's obvious the house has been staged for sale. There is no sign that someone lives there or that it once was the setting for one of the funniest Christmas movies ever made Home Alone!

Yes, the Home Alone house, located at 671 Lincoln Ave. in Winnetka, Illinois is for sale. Built in 1920, the 4,250-square-foot, three-story home is just blocks from Lake Michigan, and less than 20 minutes from downtown Chicago.

Every Christmas, whether I pop my copy of the movie in the VCR or watch a rerun on TV, I picture myself living in that gorgeous home, and now, I finally have the chance. The only problem is, I don't have $1.4 million.

Now that I think about it, Illinois is a bit too far to commute. There's another house I fell in love with a couple years ago, and it's actually only about two hours from here, plus it's close to my grandkids.

Built in 1830, this stone house has retained all of its character. With five bedrooms and 15.8 acres, it even has a six-stall barn and fenced-in pastures for the horses I don't have! It doesn't come with Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson or a badly-behaved yellow Lab, but it's a steal at $1.45 million.

Yes, the Marley and Me house is also for sale.

I just found out another of my dream houses is for sale the incredible 1854 Victorian home, located in Upper Nyack, N.Y., and featured in the movies Stepmom and Bounty Hunter, is currently on the market for $2.7 million. That's a lot of money, but it has "eight bedrooms and sweeping views of the Hudson River from every room!"

If I can't buy any of those, then maybe the house from Father of the Bride (I and II) or Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.

Do you see a pattern here? It seems I have been living vicariously through the movies, and yes, even the television shows, I have watched over the years. (As a kid I wanted to live in Darren and Samantha Stevens cozy starter home in Bewitched, and I also tried to talk my parents into letting me decorate my bedroom like the inside of the bottle from I Dream of Jeannie.)

I thought it was just some strange abomination of my imagination, but I recently discovered that I am not alone. There are actually other people out there who watch movies over and over because they too love the homes or the style of decorating.

Feeding into our dementia is a website entitled There you can find multiple photos of hundreds of houses featured on the big and small screen, interior shots from the shows and often, from real estate listings or even as supplied by the owners themselves.

I was thrilled when I learned of this site, and have happily fed my addiction.

So maybe I'll never have a $1.4 or $2.7 million to spend on a house, but at least I am welcome to stop by and visit whenever I please, and that will have to be just as good.

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