It’s always a thrill when recognizable places turn up in popular culture. In October 2021, we took a closer look at some of the most popular Canadian filming locations. The reverse is also true, when you can visit a place you know from popular culture. 

That’s what we’ll discover today, a quintet of homes known for their famous associations in music, art, architecture, television, and history. These are by no means comprehensive or even representative of your options, but perhaps they’ll serve as inspiration to dream idly, consider future trips, or actively plan your next adventure.

Paisley Park

Chanhassen, Minnesota, about 26 kilometres southwest of Minneapolis, is the setting for Paisley Park, the sanctuary home and recording complex of the late musician, Prince. Incongruously set in an industrial park, Paisley Park boasts the city’s public works building and a General Mills factory as neighbours. 

However, when you consider the 65,000-square-foot facility is a full-featured multimedia arts creation centre as well as Prince’s one-time residence, its industrial setting makes sense. Built for $10 million in 1986, Paisley Park includes three recording studios, a 12,000-square-foot soundstage, rehearsal and dance halls, editing suites, and plenty of office space.

Image via Thomas on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0 " data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" data-recalc-dims="1" />
Image via Thomas on FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0

There are music, video and film post-production suites, a full-sized basketball court, and a live music venue—the New Power Generation (NPG) Music Club. Artists who have rehearsed and/or recorded in Prince’s space include Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Madonna, Stevie Wonder, and Patti LaBelle.

It was always Prince’s intention for Paisley Park to one day be a public space. It continues to function as a recording studio and concert venue and, after its patron’s untimely death in 2016, Paisley Park reopened as a museum. Three levels of onsite tours are available, and there are plenty of virtual video and 360-degree tours online.

Not interested in leaving your couch? Check out these virtual tours of homes around the world you can take!

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Image via Ralf Peter Reimann on FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0

Claude Monet’s house

Northwest of Paris, France, the 40-metre long home of artist Claude Monet makes a visually spectacular day trip destination to the village of Giverny. Though the house is long, it’s only five metres wide, starting its life as the much smaller House of the Cider Press. Monet added extensions to both sides of the original structure. 

His home for 43 years, the property housed Monet’s wife and eight children and step-children. The family entertained often and appointments such as the large kitchen were added by the painter, who himself resided in the left wing of the building. His studio was in the accompanying barn, which also had a bathroom and bedroom in the loft.

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Image via Anders Rosqvist on FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0

The real attraction of the house is the colours. They’re vibrant and bold—a stark contrast to the typical dark and heavy design trends of the era. The extensive gardens in front of the house and the water garden across the facing road give an intuitive setting for Monet’s artistic vision. The Fondation-Monet provides an equally spectacular virtual tour of the house and its grounds. 

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Image via Bernt Rostad on Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio

While Living Room has already offered up a tour listing of some of the American architect’s prominent home designs, we skipped Wright’s own home in Oak Park, where he lived for 20 years. With a $5,000 loan from his boss, architect Louis Sullivan, the 22-year-old Wright built the home in 1889, shortly after marrying his wife Catherine. Six years later, the original small home was remodelled and expanded, ostensibly required by their growing family. Four of their six children were born prior to the expansion. 

The house shows plenty of connections to the precepts of the Prairie school of architecture, and Wright incorporated his ideals of open living space, a change from the starkly formal idea of separate rooms that was the period norm. The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust offers a video virtual tour of the home and conducts on-site tours. 

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Image via Jeff Hitchcock on FlickrCC BY 2.0

Parkwood Estate

Fans of X-Men, Billy Madison, and Fever Pitch, Umbrella Academy, Murdoch Mysteries and more will likely recognize Parkwood Estate, the 15,000 square-foot mansion in Oshawa, Ontario with stunning Beaux-Arts design. The grounds are kept in immaculate condition, and as a National Historic Site, Parkwood Estate serves as a perfect backdrop for period pieces and historical dramas. The home has striking pillars right as you walk in, a rod-iron cantilever staircase, and a kitchen from 1917. 

In addition to its stunning architecture, Parkwood Estate is full of history. Built in 1915, the home was designed by Robert Samuel McLaughlin—a Canadian businessman and automobile industry pioneer—with the help of his wife Adelaide and the best designers, landscapers, and architects of the time. The numerous gardens were designed over the course of two decades, from the 1910s to the 1930s, and to this day remain one of the biggest draws of the estate. 

You can take a guided tour of the Parkwood National Historic Site, learning about the history, design, and lifestyle of its former inhabitants. 

Schitt’s Creek motel

Sure, it’s not a home, but you can visit the motel used for exterior shots of the beloved Rosebud Motel on Schitt’s Creek, CBC’s internationally successful comedy. Located in Orangeville, Ontario, about 80 kilometres from Toronto, the 10-bedroom building is really called The Hockley Motel after the street on which it sits–but you can also find it labelled as the Rosebud Motel on Google Maps! Built in the 1960s, the Hockley Motel is surrounded by 6.7 acres of land. Over the course of the show’s run, the Hockley—or Rosebud Motel—became an integral part of Schitt’s Creek’s heart and soul.

“Dan [Levy, co-creator of the show] had a very clear view of the show and a clear understanding of the characters within it—their tastes, their style, their history,” said production designer Brendan Smith further explained to the Location Managers Guild website. “The locations simply had to cater for this and work along with it. The motel was a good example. It just felt like the right one, almost as if it had the right ‘character.’”

You can’t go into the building, which is fine because only the exterior was used for the show, but you can see this small piece of Canadian television history if you happen to be passing through Orangeville!

Once again, this is only a shallow scratch on the surface of famous homes that you can find. Revisit the golden age of Hollywood stars through their homes in Palm Springs, or there are plenty of television and movie locations to discover worldwide. Whether travelling in person or from your sofa, there’s no end to the famous homes you can visit.


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