Movie Real Estate: The Holiday

Once again, Production designer Jon Hutman teams with Nancy Meyers to capture the lived-in feel her sets are known for. From researching the cottage in the film, which just about every friend I have fell in love with, I found out it was actually a fake.

{Insert diappointed sigh here.}

Once again, we were dazzled by the deep blue eyes and fake abs of the movie set versus the real thing – but that is a compliment to those who really pay attention to the details. Apparently the whole house was a fiberglass set built in a field in Shere (or Sheire or Shire), a village on the river Tillngbourn in Surrey, England. The interior of the house was actually constructed on a sound stage in Los Angeles.

What makes this film set special are the details: Ticking runners up the stairs, chintz fabrics mixed with plush velvet, and a tasteful, eclectic, beautiful incorporation of found objects. It is believable that Kate Winslet’s character acquired those pieces over time on what a copy writer might make (had she inherited the house from a dying relative), and that she didn’t just show up on set to read her lines.

One thing I home in on when watching a film is: on learning the career of the character, can they afford the home they are in given what their income is supposed to be? For me, it is the answer to this question that illustrates the authenticity of the set. If they are a struggling bookshop owner in a West End brownstone – I am not able to suspend my disbelief.

Here, the interior of the home looks affordable for the career the character has. The actual house is probably outside of her reach…a home with land outside of London – not bloody likely – but a shabby tea kettle, red wooden beads on the fireplace, books, comfy chairs…yes, she can afford that.

RoseHill Cottage; Photo credt: Spaceball
Rosehill Cottage

Rosehill Cottage, complete with cozy, sagging roof.

It seems hoardes of women (and men) didn’t know it was a fake, and called the town’s phone number asking about the house. The film caused such a to-do in the little village, they posted information for individuals wishing to visit the area and walk in Iris’s & Amanda’s footsteps on their website. (Gotta love something that creates surprise income for someone.)

The cottage in the movie appears to be patterned after this cottage in Cotswold, 95 miles, from Surrey, for about $1000, you too can live the fantasy.

Some interior shots courtesy of a German site I can’t understand…I’m partial to the cottage over the California house…


Nostalgic Elegance: Aristocratic plush with faded floral patterns



Proof positive that long bath tubs are appreciated.

Proof positive that long bath tubs are appreciated.



Saving a seat for you,



14 Responses to “Movie Real Estate: The Holiday”

  1. I just found a picture of Rosehill Cottage in Google maps. It shows the back of the house which was not shown in the movie. It appears to have an extention in the back too. If this was not a real house why would they have bothered with this added on room to a box shaped house that was only shown from the front?

    • Christine Haskell Says:

      I’m not sure…but I do know that there is a structure that was used for outside photos and that there was also a set. Either way, it’s certainly captured people’s interest bc it’s the most searched on post I’ve done to date (next to The Proposal and Gull Cottage).

      I’ll try to research more and add in the Spring.

  2. Marlene Dickey Says:

    So are you saying that the house is just a facade? that the interior was only on the set in CA? Is it still standing there for tourists to see? Is the stone fence fake too? After touring Hollywood’s sets some years ago and seeing how the cowboy town was just facades I was so disappointed.

  3. I think I might have found the ACTUAL house that the set was fashioned from. It’s very similar, and almost too identical to be true, but I did, indeed, do my research, and this house is, in fact, real. It is a self-catering home in Saintbury, England, about forty miles the opposite direction from London that Rosehill Cottage was in the Holiday. In the movie, Rosehill cottage was about forty miles west of London, but this one is forty miles east. Here’s the link. So, don’t be upset that it isn’t real. It is. 🙂

    • And, notice, that the ceilings are very similar, and the set up of the living room, right down to the large window and the carpet. And, the stairs. I think we found a winner. 😀

  4. I just watched the final episode of the tv show Burn Notice and was delighted to see they used Rose Cottage or footage of the cottage as the hiding place of 2 of the leading characters. Just an interesting bit of info to add to this beloved exteriors filmography

  5. Very nice post. I simply stumbled upon your
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  6. Janice pierce Says:

    Iris’ s kitchen cabinets
    Benjamin Moore
    Gray Owl

  7. Wendy Blackmon Says:

    Does anyone have the exact location of where the cottage shell used to stand? We are planning a trip to England and wanted to add Shere and the filming locations to our agenda! Thanks!

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