The house is an icon of a certain age in architecture and television. Because the exterior was used as an establishing shot every week in the much-loved sit-com The Brady Bunch, it can stir up nostalgia for millions who watched the show from 1969 to 1973 or in reruns since then.
Ironically, though, six people who weren’t so attached to the house are the actors who portrayed the Brady kids.
As the Brady kids worked on set, they had no connection to the exterior photos of the house shown to viewers. “I think one of the most interesting aspects of working on this project was learning just how connected the audience was to this house,” Christopher Knight, who played Peter, told NextTribe during the Television Press Critics Tour.
“But we had no recollection of it. It was placed as an establishing shot into the show. I didn’t know where it was, and nobody worked there. I don’t think anyone else during the period the show was being filmed knew where this house was either! So there was a disconnect that I didn’t even know existed between us or me and the audience.”
Rediscovering an Icon
The actors are now very familiar with the house, thanks to their work on the HGTV series A Very Brady Renovation. The show follows the actors as they work with renovation specialists to transform the interior into a copy of the studio set we all came to know. The timing of the show, which will have its finale on September 30th, is perfect—September 26th will be the 50th anniversary of the original show’s premiere.
To make this newest show a reality, HGTV paid $3.5 million last year for the famous ranch house at 11222 Dilling Street in Studio City, California.
“I think when they approached me, what resonated the most was that it was a different take on Brady,” noted Eve Plumb, who played Jan. “They weren’t asking us to come back and play Brady Bunch characters again. They wanted us to explore what the house would be like if we could make it in real life. I started watching all the HGTV shows and knew this was going to be good.”
McCormick is a “huge fan” of HGTV shows.”I felt like this would be a really good one to be involved with, and I was very excited in getting back together with everyone.”
Barry Williams, who played Greg, believed that it was only through immense cooperation that everything came together. “HGTV had the brilliance to add their own talent, because we don’t know how to remodel a house. … But we can pick up a sledgehammer, we can help out. And so then all of those things had to be coordinated. Then we had to have the actual people that were running it and had a vision for what this could be.”
Getting the Details Right
Many of the period items used in the renovation were donated by fans. “The network enlisted the support of our fans, people that have been watching the show for decades,” Williams said. “They had things at home that looked like items that happened to be right.”
The Brady home is now almost a perfect replication from fabrics to carpeting to furniture to decorating to artwork to the fake grass in the backyard. “Even Tiger’s doghouse is there!” Williams quipped.
Susan Olsen, who played Cindy, said her feelings about working on The Brady Bunch have evolved over the years. “Growing older and wiser, I don’t have any rebellious feelings towards the show anymore. When I was younger, I hated the goodie-two-shoes image. And as a little girl, I was a tomboy, I wasn’t really like Cindy. But now that I’ve been a mother, I think The Brady Bunch is such a wonderful show, because it helps teach your kids some really good values. So all those words that used to make me cringe like wholesome and family values—now I like those words.”