It’s not uncommon to find yourself watching a television show and wishing for the main character’s good locks, hot boyfriend, fabulous clothes — or even her house. So many TV shows use a twisted version of reality where a character who works only very occasional hours at a fabulous job somehow has enough money to wear high-end couture and live in incredible luxury.
Every ’80s kid worth his salt remembers watching Silver Spoons. An entire generation of children believed for many years that the height of success meant having a scale model freight train running through the house, arcade games in all the bedrooms, and, of course, a remote control to open the front door.
But what makes a television house stand out? Sometimes it’s the way they let our imaginations run wild.
“I always liked Monica’s apartment on Friends because it was a total fantasy,” says Tara Swords, a 32-year-old freelance writer. “The idea that a few early-20-somethings — one working as a waitress at a coffee shop — could afford something of that size in New York is hilarious. The décor was really cute, too. But I was a college student when I watched that show and couldn’t afford any of that stuff either, so it was fun to pretend.”
It’s true that television is a form of escapism for many, but some standout houses make the cut not so much because of the physical space, but rather the atmosphere and ambiance they provide.
The Cosby Show
For example, “The Huxtables on The Cosby Show had a great house. It wasn’t enormous, and it wasn’t fancy (except for the two staircases they had) — it was a pretty nondescript brownstone,” says 33-year-old IT project manager Jenelle Garner.” But it was so inviting. It had warm furnishings and an intimate feel. The house was kept up neatly and when you walked in, unless you were there to date one of the daughters, you felt like you belonged there, right along with that amazing family.”
At the end of the day, it seems that family and warmth means more than cool digs. “The Keatons’ house on Family Ties was a place you could hang out,” says 32-year-old Atara Graubard Segal. “Everyone gathered at that round table in the kitchen, and that door was always opening so that someone else could come in. You could tell that the kids and their friends loved being in that house because the parents were so great.”
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
In other words, you don’t need to worry if you don’t have a house that looks like it’s straight off the set of Desperate Housewives or The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Make it comfortable and welcoming, and it’ll be in a class all its own.