It’s a Wonderful Life (and a DIY Home Makeover)

5 Dec

Ahh, Bedford Falls.

Bedford Falls

It may be my favorite movie town. Snowy streets, twinkle lights and frosty windows – who wouldn’t want to live there? Well, George Bailey, at least at first, but that’s kind of the whole point of the movie…

Anyway, in addition to the classic charm of It’s a Wonderful Life, it’s also one of the best DIY home makeover stories of all time.

Don’t believe me? Read on…

Bailey house

Here’s the old Granville house, the house everyone but young Mary thinks is uninhabitable. It’s even become a neighborhood game to throw rocks through the windows.

The home has been vacant for at least 20 years (seems to have been a rough 20 years from the looks of the place, but just go with it.). Mary sees its potential and she wants to live there one day.

That’s a girl with vision.

Mary gets her wish when she marries George and they move into the dilapidated house. At first, it’s a wreck. Leaking ceilings, broken windows, creaking staircases…but Mary knows it has good bones, as they say, and gets to work.

Mary Wallpaper

As her family grows, she makes the house into a home, one room at a time.

And, she wears cute little dresses and hats while doing it!

I think part of the reason I love this movie so much is because I secretly want to be Mary.

Bailey Bedroom

She makes a romantic honeymoon suite for herself and George and later creates a cozy master bedroom. In the movie, you can see the room is filled with what is clearly an eclectic mix of furniture, like this beautiful wrought iron bed.

It's a Wonderful Life Zhu Zhu room

Later, Mary creates a whimsical little bedroom upstairs for her children. Even though the kids are bunking together, the room feels warm and playful.

It's a Wonderful Life Stairs

There are still quirks to the old house, but it’s all part of the charm. The loose part of the bannister plays a key role in the movie. When George is frustrated, he sees it as one more thing in his life that isn’t perfect. But once he realizes that it really is a wonderful life (c’mon, you knew that was coming) the broken old banister makes him happy to be home.

It's a Wonderful Life Living Room

This is the ultimate reveal.

The Bailey’s living room went from having a caved-in ceiling and rotting floor boards to being the setting of the ultimate Christmas scene. The Merry Christmas banner and tinsel covered tree, along with the toys scattered about, complete the transformation of the old Granville house into the Bailey home.

What are your favorite Christmas movies? Any other great home transformations caught on film?

4 Responses to “It’s a Wonderful Life (and a DIY Home Makeover)”

  1. melissa*320 sycamore December 6, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

    This is just awesome. I never thought of it as the ultimate reveal, but it IS! I wanted to be Mary too. 🙂

  2. Sarah @ Freestyle Home/Life December 12, 2011 at 1:36 am #

    Interesting post! The holiday classic we make sure to watch every year is “A Christmas Carol,” which is kind of a tradition in our family, but I really enjoyed reading your take on the house from “It’s a Wonderful Life.” It’s been such a long time since I’ve seen that movie — I’ll have to watch it again this season. 🙂

    • Katie December 12, 2011 at 10:54 am #

      Thanks for the comment, Sarah! I love “A Christmas Carol” too.

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