Being the owner of a real lifeThe Simpsons house has its drawbacks after its initial appeal.
The home – modeled after the colorful Springfield residents' abode on 742 Evergreen Terrace – was constructed on Red Bark Lane in Henderson, Nevada, as a gimmick to boost the show's waning ratings in 1997.
The quirky house served its purpose then, thanks to the marketing ploy, but the functional home isn't exactly appealing according to an interesting Mental Floss article.
Danielle, the current owner of the house, shared an example of a disturbance while at home with her twin boys and her former husband.
We'll be sitting watching a movie and someone will be yanking on the door. We're vigilant about keeping the doors locked.
As part of an urban sprawl of tract homes, The Simpsons house wasn't just slapped with a vibrant paint job to distinguish itself apart from neighboring homes.
Working on a short schedule, architects and builders de-fictionalized the home featured in The Simpsons for a 1997 giveaway that was intended to leave one lucky fan with the ultimate in cartoon memorabilia. No detail was spared, from a food dish for their cat, Snowball II, to Duff beer cans in the fridge.
As a solution to the show's rating lag and merchandise slump in 1997, Jeff Woodley – a marketing expert for the home builder company Kaufman and Broad – pitched the outlandish idea of building a replica of The Simpsons home to Fox.
The network ate it up.
Woodley recalls of the ambitious plan:
It was a big deal for Kaufman and Broad because it meant all kinds of exposure. The house itself was a pretty simple box-on-box design with a garage. I think I sketched it out in a day.
The interior dimensions were exaggerated to suggest the world of The Simpsons, but still offer real-life functionality.
The team's goal was to be 90 percent normal, with occasional lapses into cartoon continuity. Door frames were widened and lengthened to accommodate Marge's hair and Homer's girth. The stairs leading to the second floor were slightly steeper than normal. The downstairs floor was poured and painted concrete rather than hardwood or carpet, the better to mimic the show's flat colors. Bart's treehouse was erected in the backyard.
When the winner was announced, they never claimed the prize. As a result, in December 1997, Barbara Howard, a 63-year-old worker from Richmond, Kentucky was designated as the back-up winner.
However, due to her lack of motivation for relocating, Howard turned down the grand prize in favor of $75,000 cash, which was significantly lower than the house valued at $150,000.
Danielle became the house's first and only owner in 2001 after perusing through the real estate listings of her former employer, Kaufman and Broad. The house fit her budget, but she had no idea it was the Simpsons house.
She recalled the time employees of the building company were offered tours in August 1997, four months after the house completed construction.
Honestly, I declined to go in, because I wasn't a fan of the show and it was too hot.
Now, she's the owner and resident of the very house she scoffed at.
She is now remarried and sometimes receives letters addressed to The Simpsons family.
I once got a letter addressed to Homer from the Salvation Army. There have been shampoo samples for Marge and a flyer from PetSmart for Santa's Little Helper.
While the exterior of the house had been repainted, the interior remains in its colorful state. But the different facade color doesn't deter random visitors.
Despite not being a fan of the show, she doesn't mind the occasional disturbances that come with living in the unusual home. As long as people don't stare through her window.
I didn't realize how big a thing it is for some people. I looked at it as a design challenge. I didn't think of it in terms of the grandness of it. When people today hear I designed The Simpsons house, it's like, 'Really, oh, my God.'
If Danielle ever wants to sell her property, the future looks optimistic for her based on all the avid Simpsons fans wanting a piece of Springfield in their lives.