Building a life-size version of an iconic cartoon home seemed like a terrific promotional idea back in 1997, but years later the Simpsons House in Henderson, Nevada, looks like just another pre-fab subdivision two-story, save for all of the fake animated flair built into the facade.
In 1997 a joint promotional contest saw Fox and Pepsi raffle off a fully-realized replica of the cartoon house that Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie Simpson call home. Constructed in an otherwise nondescript housing division, the builders watched over 100 episodes of the Simpsons cartoon to get every detail just right, and it shows. There is the large garage and the bay windows, arranged just as they are on the show, along with some strictly aesthetic flourishes that make the home stick out. There is the front door with its irregular arched top and the slightly popped out bricks on the chimney that evoke the show’s simple animation style. Even the chimney itself is completely for show since a fireplace is the last thing on the minds of the folks living in the sweltering Nevada desert.
When the home was unveiled, it was actually painted the same loud garish colors as are in the show. The interior was completely recreated as well, with the exact decorations that can be seen in the Simpson home in the show, right down to the front room couch and the pink walls. Simpsons creator Matt Groening even dropped by at the unveiling to draw an image of Homer into the cement path in front of the house and spray paint an image of Bart on the side of the garage. However fun this all sounds, it doesn’t make for the greatest place to actually live, a detail not lost on the contest winner, who opted to take a $75,000 cash prize in lieu of the home.
With no one to live in the house, it was repainted and resold as a private residence in 2001. Today the home is still there, although all of the cartoon colors have been covered over with a beige stucco, and the lawn has been turned into a rock xeriscape. But the basic shape and design of the home is still that of the Simpsons’ house, and the image of Homer in the concrete proves it. Still a private residence, it can be viewed from the street.