Curbed Appeal

One local home’s brush with fame transforms its owner into a residential stage mom.

I love my house. After 32 years of ownership and a couple of renovations, we’ve finally gotten it to where I want it—just as the nest has emptied and we’re thinking of downsizing, naturally. Yes, I think my house is lovely, but I never realized just how alluring it was until last year, when it was “discovered.”

A white piece of paper with the word “HOSTAGES” in all caps appeared in my mailbox one day. Turns out that location scouts for a new TV show of that name were looking for a house in Harrison in which to film the series, and mine might be just what they were looking for. I don’t want to brag, but I’d secretly felt that my house had tremendous curb appeal, with its gracefully curving driveway and low stone wall, and now here was a professional who agreed that, yes, it did indeed have that special something, that indescribable spark that would make it fly off the screen and into the hearts and minds of the viewing public. A star—could be—born! 

It’s not like I’m a stage mom or anything, I told myself as I dialed the phone number on the flyer. I didn’t go and seek this out. Could I help it if my house was just so darn captivating? The location scout explained that the show was about a surgeon for the President of the United States being held hostage with her family in her home. My residence would be playing the supporting role of The House in the upscale suburbs of Maryland. “Piece of cake,” I thought to myself. “My house could totally do that.” The scout went on to explain that he’d come by to take some photographs and would keep in touch.

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Months passed with no news but as ads started to appear promoting the series debut, it seemed as if my house had indeed been passed over for the role. The night of the premiere I happened to be with three other women from Harrison. When I mentioned that I had to be home in time to watch it because I was insanely curious as to what house beat out mine, it turns out all three of my pals had received the same flyer in their mailbox. Ouch. 

The show went on—and on. Forget the characters and the plot—which was a misguided, semi-ridiculous mishmash of intrigue and counter-espionage. I wanted clues about the house—wait, was that a circular drive? It was! And the two-story façade was a blue color! As I watched, I got semi-hooked, and soon I, too, was being held hostage to Hostages. I surmised that The House had to be in Purchase, a section of Harrison known for its multi-acre McMansions. And with a little journalistic finagling, I was able to get an exact address, which I immediately plugged into my GPS. 

Once there, I was stunned. Yes, it was a blue two-story with a circular drive but the house on TV looked so beautifully manicured and perfectly maintained and this house was—dare I say it—looking a little shabby around the edges. The wonders of lighting? Home staging? Wait—do they use make-up on houses?

Not long after I was released from Hostages, I went to see The Wolf of Wall Street.  A pivotal scene in the movie was shot in the entranceway to a golf club a mile from my home, also in Harrison. I’ve been in this exact spot countless times entering community, charitable, and private events. And I can assure you that it looks exactly like it does in the movie–this location pro didn’t need any cosmetic enhancement for its close-up. 

As for my home’s brush with fame? Let’s just say that I’m checking out the idea of headshots. I might consider some artful lighting. And a little retouching, maybe. But I’m absolutely drawing the line at Botox. 

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