Last weekend, the internet was set ablaze with musings about “The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window.” The new Netflix original series generated so much hype that BuzzFeed even dedicated an article to the many reactions blasted across social media, most of which had fans pondering if the show is even real. Well, rest assured, not only is it very real but very funny, though the premise might not sound so. The comedy/thriller explores the story of grief-stricken divorcée/ombrophobe Anna Whitaker (Kristen Bell), who believes she has witnessed a murder in the house across the street. When no one takes her seriously (due to her penchant for mixing red wine and Class 4 psychotropics), she decides to take matters into her own hands and solve the darn thing herself.
Considering the lengthy, circuitous title, the show obviously isn’t your traditional thriller but is instead a parody of overly-dramatic Lifetime Original Movies and the like, which just grows more and more utterly ridiculous as things unfold. Creators Rachel Ramras, Hugh Davidson and Larry Dorf also looked to the written word for inspiration. As Ramras told Collider, “I love these books, just like so many people – “Gone Girl,” “The Girl on the Train,” “The Woman in the Window,” “The Woman in Cabin 10,” and the list goes on. It just struck us as very funny that the plots of these books are almost always identical, but they’re bingey, and they’re fun, and they’re exciting, and I could read a hundred of them. There’s either ‘woman’ or ‘girl’ in the title of all of them, so it started with this absurd title. Then, it was deciding how overtly funny we were gonna make this. The tone we settled on, we hope and think is the most successful.”
If success can be measured in numbers, I’d say the trio met their goal. The delightful spoof promptly hit Netflix’s number one spot the day it debuted and is still holding strong to the position.
Set in a picturesque but fictional New Hampshire town where, unfortunately for Anna, it rains a lot, “The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window” was actually lensed in its entirety in Los Angeles, with the majority of filming taking place in the San Gabriel Valley. A few area spots utilized include (and be forewarned, there are some minor spoilers ahead!) Sierra Madre’s Lunch Salon, where Anna and her BFF Sloane (Mary Holland) get mani/pedis in episode six. Anna regularly visits the inexplicably changing grave of her daughter at Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena. She shops – and overhears her neighbor gossiping about her – at Howie’s Market in San Gabriel, the same spot where Neil Coleman (Tom Riley) later meets Lisa Maines (Shelley Hennig) in episode five. And the former Glendale Police Station at 140 N. Isabel St. (which also makes several appearances in “The Little Things”) stands in for Anna’s local police department.
The show’s central location, the two-story residence where our heroine lives – and bakes copious casseroles – is also a San Gabriel Valley locale. While several websites assert that scenes involving Anna’s house were filmed in Angelino Heights, one look at the pad’s charmingly traditional exterior and I knew it could only be found in Pasadena. Sure enough, after just a bit of sleuthing, I located it at 516 Vallombrosa Dr. in the city’s exclusive Chapman Woods neighborhood.
In real life, the picturesque 1940 dwelling, which sits on a large 0.51-acre parcel with a pool, boasts five bedrooms and three baths in 2,714 square feet. Unfortunately, MLS imagery is non-existent being that the place hasn’t changed hands in an incredible 50 years, last selling in September 1971 for $60,100. Today, Realtor.com estimates its worth at a little over $2 million, so not a bad ROI!
Prior to the filming of “The Woman in the House,” the property’s front door and shutters were painted a muted red. The production team revamped the detailing to its current cerulean hue as cool blues translate more beautifully to the screen and serve as a better backdrop for actors’ faces. The mailbox that handyman Buell (Cameron Britton) spent all eight episodes attempting to repair (when not busy taxiderming dead animals, that is!) was also set dressing brought in for the shoot. Unlike the blue paint, though, it was removed once filming wrapped.
(And yes, that is a peacock pictured atop the brick wall in the photo above. The San Gabriel Valley is rife with the colorful birds. Go out exploring and you’ll likely see them wandering residential streets, perched in trees, hanging out in front yards and sometimes, much like Anna, peering through windows.)
Only the exterior of the Pasadena abode is featured on the series. The inside of Anna’s home was an expansive set created by production designer Melanie Jones on a soundstage at Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood. Despite the fact that the house is continually referred to as “old” and “creaky” in episodes, the set, especially the kitchen and main bath, appears quite tastefully modernized. (That massive walk-in pantry that literally fits two people inside it is the stuff dreams are made of, amirite?)
The dwelling where the mysterious Neil lives with his daughter, Emma (Samsara Leela Yett), and where Anna believes she sees a murder take place, is exactly where the show purports it to be – directly across from the Whitaker residence at 515 Vallombrosa. The two properties are not the only ones on the idyllic street to cameo in “The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window,” though. The pad belogning to snooty, uber-judgy neighbor Carol (Brenda Koo) can also be found there, just east of Neil’s pad at 531 Vallombrosa. It’s quite the famous little enclave!
(Please remember these are all private homes. Do not trespass or bother the residents or the properties in any way.)