Monday, June 9, 2014

TV/Movie Set: The Parent Trap Ranch

It's that time of year again....when summer begins to peak its head around the corner then our brains start to buzz with new ideas. One of them you're seeing right now : a new series featuring the houses, apartments, cabins and cottages from our favorite movies and television shows. We're not to going to limit it to just our favorites though, we'd love to hear your suggestions on houses we should feature in the new future. 

Actually, this idea isn't all that new. Diana and I have been huge fans of architecture ever since we were kindergarten age, when we use to draw out plans for our dream house, vacation cabin, tree-house or that ideal ice cream stand. Today, we're still sketching house plans whenever an idea crops up ( usually in the middle of the night ) or, more frequently, when we see a perfect house on screen. Instead of hoarding all these designs to ourselves, we just decided to share them! O you lucky people you. 

Over the weekend we were watching The Parent Trap ( 1961 ) and so we picked it to be our very first house in the series. And what a house it is. 

In order to put the place in perspective, it's always best to see a floor plan. Here's my sloppy sketch of the place along with a few mistakes thrown in. If anyone knows where we can get a hold of the original set design plans, let us know! 

Before we get started on the picture tour, I'd like to give special mention to Julia who runs the very entertaining blog Hooked on Houses. She took most of these fab screenshots and - since we're lazy - we snitched them ( don't shake your head just yet, her website stated that people are more than welcome to borrow her images ). Anyway, she has a great selection of TV/Movie houses in her own series, with some classics scattered among the lot, but I think she stopped posting and so we're taking up where she left off...only with Silver Scenes you'll see strictly classic film sets and nothing else. 

Let's get together now and start the tour:  


Walt Disney's The Parent Trap tells the story of twin sisters, separated at birth, who meet accidentally at summer camp and decide to switch places in order to meet the parent they've never seen before and reunite them both. 

The lovable Hayley Mills plays duel roles in the part of Sharon/Susan, with Maureen O'Hara and Brian Keith playing their divorced parents, Maggie and Mitch. 

The film opens up with the girls at Camp Inch where they first discover that they are the spitting image of each other. Later this summer we'll post images of the cabin that they share, as well as the Boston house that Sharon lives in, but for now we want to focus strictly on the ranch that Susan's dad, Mitch, owns. 


Mitch's house is decorated in this beautiful old Spanish missionary style with lots of interior stonework, heavy wood furniture, ornate carvings, and stained glass windows. The entrance door features beautiful decorative wood engravings, especially on the front side. 


Once inside, this massive living room greets you. Just get a load of the fireplace on the far left side of the room. Two sets of french doors lead out to the courtyard while the steps take you to the upstairs bedrooms. 

We couldn't figure out where Hecky and Verbena live but it's probably in that separate section of the house just past the thru-way. You can see it in the top shot behind the white Thunderbird. If you were to take a right turn when you enter through the front door, you'd be in a short hallway that leads to the dining room. We pasted two screenshots together so a broader view could be seen. 

Mitch was wondering where his dinner was, when he was told that he will be eating out in the courtyard for a change. Nice as the courtyard is, it wasn't prepared for a dining table and so the gals got Hecky to move one in for them while they set up their "Let's Get Together" routine to entertain their parents. 


If we grew up in this house I'd be throwing pennies down that old well every day making wishes on the future. Although with a life like Sharon had there really wouldn't be many wishes for a better future to make.... 

....unless you wanted a sister and a mother of course. And Maureen O'Hara makes one stunning mother! Here she is making her grand entrance to the courtyard and finds the set-up as amusing as Mitch does. We weren't able to figure out where that backdoor leads to, so we'll leave that up to your imagination. 

Let's take a look at the courtyard in these daytime shots before we move on to the upstairs bedroom. It looks like there is a little stone man with his legs crossed in the background. One thing this house certainly doesn't have a shortage of is flora and stonework.

The art directors who created the fantastic sets of The Parent Trap were Disney legend Carroll Clark ( stay tuned for a re-post about this talented man ) and Robert Clatworthy. Send Me No Flowers, Lover Come Back, That Touch of Mink, Psycho and Midnight Lace were just a few of the films that Robert Clatworthy was the art director on. 

Set decorators, Emile Kuri and Hal Gausman deserve as much credit for creating such a wonderful atmosphere with their decor. The second sheet of our floor plan features the upstairs rooms. Since most of the film took place in the lower level, we weren't able to take note of all of the bedrooms. Sharon and Susan shared a bed, so there must have been only one guest room but I would have loved to see Mitch's bedroom.


The entire Evers residence has this nice subtle light-tone color palette that carries over from the interior decor popular in the late 1950s. Parts of the house also foreshadow the style of the late 1960s, particularly the yellow glass windows in the living room. You just got to love those wide doors and hallways in this shot of Mitch's dressing room, and look at those horse watercolors. 

Walk through that doorway on the right and you'll end up right smack in the middle of Cleopatra's spa, complete with golden dolphin faucet handles. This bathroom connects with Sharon's bedroom, but oddly enough we see Maureen O'Hara using the bathroom instead. Her guest room did not have a one? Odd, for a ranch this size. But then again, that was probably just so the audience could enjoy that little scene where Mitch finds Maggie's bra hanging on the shower stall and thinks it belongs to Sharon. 

Maureen O'Hara was 41 years old when she made The Parent Trap, one year older than Brian Keith, but you'd never guess it from the way she looks. Maureen is one of the few actresses that really reached her prime ( as Miss Broooodie would say ) in her 40s. 

Here is Sharon looking inquiringly at her dad. This bedroom scheme reminds me of a great set from another Hayley Mills film, The Moon-Spinners ( 1964 ), with it's blue walls and thick white trim ( all stucco ). 

That's about all we get to see of the upstairs except for this brief scene of Verbena putting away the laundry. Anybody want to take a guess at what kind of room that back one could be? A dressing room? Guest room? the piece de resistance...the kitchen! 


This is one posh kitchen. The stonework is what really makes it stand out. That door in the back looks like it leads to the courtyard but actually it opens to a passageway ( carport? ) which enters into the courtyard. 

And see those great windows that look out to the wishing well? Well..they're not windows. They are just wooden frames. The summers in California are so warm, who needs windows? But in winter, I imagine they would put in the glass panes. 

The Parent Trap features several beautiful sets, but the Evers ranch is the best of them all. To this day, the Disney Archives still receive requests for the blueprints to the house, with other asking for directions to the house so they could see it in person. In truth however, there never was an Evers ranch. 

The exterior of the house was just a shell. The exterior walls and roof were erected on the Golden Oak ranch, a large piece of property that Walt Disney owned in Placerita Canyon Road, in Santa Clarita Valley. The interior was all constructed on sound stages, which is hard to believe considering all the "sunlight" that streams in. 

Well, that about wraps up our first TV/Movie Set post. Hope you enjoyed it and stay tuned for more to come! 


  1. I love your idea for a series of posts built around houses and, of course, THE PARENT TRAP is one of my favorite movies. I was always intrigued by Richard Egan's house in A SUMMER PLACE. I believe it's a real home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

    1. That is indeed a great home ( and yes, it was built by FLW ). I'll certainly cover it in the near's been years since I've seen A Summer Place, that makes a good excuse to watch the film again!

  2. Golden Oaks is no where near Carmel! It's all the way down in So. Cali by Newhall, just north of the Disney Studios in the Valley. Carmel is more than 6 hrs north by today's roads and when they made Parent Trap, it was more like a 10 or 12 hr drive. They did use some outdoor locations around Carmel for this movie - the golf course was here at Pebble Beach. The set house is very cool -- looked like Doris Day could have lived there! Always a fun movie to watch. Haley was VERY big at that time. Few caught Pollyanna but when she made Parent Trap, she was deemed to be the 'new' Sandra Dee for Hollywood!

    1. Oh shucks, that's what I get for snitching info from another website. I was too lazy to look up a map of the Golden Oaks location. I'll fix that soon, thanks for letting me know. :-)

  3. A nice house to look at for a blog if you go with that theme would be the Beach house in Mildred Pierce - that was a real house. It's not around any longer (the 1983 Pacific storm got it) - it was in a spectacular location at the time they made that film -only second to that house on Latigo Rd for Mildred Pierce would have been to use Merle Oberon's real home up on Leo Carrillo Beach which was one of the most spectacular spots on the coast at that time. Go for it - do some blogs on your love of architecture. There's lots of good ones out there.

    1. We'll keep that idea in mind Beachgal. Another "Joan Crawford house" that I really loved was the cottage in Daisy Kenyon. So cute! And thanks for the breezeway tip...we'll be doing more California homes soon and they sure are a popular architectural feature!

    2. Glad to help-- as I get into my later years here, it's important I finally realized, to share all the nuts and bolts of 'stuff' I've stored way in the gray cells! I grew up around the industry and lived in an enclave just west of Beverly Hills, Pacific Palisades - I know a lot but certainly not what I wish

  4. Oh - one other thing - those covered exterior areas like the one out from the kitchen here to the central courtyard, in CA we call those breezeways. They were very common in 50s and early 60s CA architecture.

  5. Not that I ever really would swing one of my cats, but it sure would be nice to have room to do so. I don't know if I'm more enamored of the decorations or the space.

  6. This is definitely too cool!!!! The insight of one of my favorite Walt's movies!! I just love everything about this movie!! Thanks again for this posts!!

  7. Cool website... Just a quick note that Susan was the one who lived in California with her dad and Sharon lived in Boston. Your map says Sharon's room... It's suzy's room.

  8. Dear Lord of the Universe,Now that I have the floor plans, my dream house is ready for construction!

    Thank you,
    Savina Shanette Lafaye' GJ

  9. I was wondering about the water in the backyard of the parent trap house. Lord like a pond or lake, but one side of it looked like the side of a swimming pool

    1. I meant it looked like a pond or lake,,,,

    2. I meant it looked like a pond or lake,,,,

  10. I was wondering about the water in the backyard of the parent trap house. Lord like a pond or lake, but one side of it looked like the side of a swimming pool

  11. I'm watching now. This house is insane. I had to know if it was real.


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