‘On The Set’ Design: “Practical Magic”


Ask yourself this: what movie do I always put on when I don’t want to think about what to watch? What movie do I draw inspiration from? If I could live on the set of any movie… what would it be? For me, it’s always been Practical Magic. Since it’s release in the fall of 1998 I always find myself popping that movie on when I want to feel at home. The movie is based on the book of the same name by Alice Hoffman. I do love the book far, far more than the movie, and the story is very different, but the movie has it’s charm as well. The east coast backdrop, the Victorian house, and small town feel make this my favorite movie to just watch in awe. The set was built on the grounds of a State park in Washington state, but takes place in New England. The house had to be built to be tailored exactly for the movie, and some indoor scenes were filmed on a set in Los Angeles. The resulting structure stunned the author. “When I visited the set,” remembers Hoffman, “it wasn’t really like wandering into my own imagination; it was like wandering into another person’s interpretation of my imaginary world. I was thrilled that it was so beautifully rendered; it gave me a sense of drifting through this magical world, but it was all so real.”

Here are some stills from the set that made me fall in love with this movie. (Courtesy of Amas Veritas, the most amazing Practical Magic site.)

The side view of the amazing house. With the overgrowth of plants, it’s hard to believe that this whole set was built just prior to the filming of the movie, and hasn’t been there for years.

The front view of the set house. I love the all white painted exterior and detail work that went into making this house look authentically victorian.

The set at night, during a Halloween scene. Note the pumpkins on the stairs.

The garden located on the side of the house.

The side garden that also shows the house.

Here’s an angle of the inside of the greenhouse. I love the hurricane lanterns and candles.

…and another one.

The front parlor of the house. It has many Victorian staples. Velvet drapes, thick window trim, old wood and leather furniture, plant printed wallpaper, fine detailed oriental rug, and candles. (Photo courtesy of the October 1998 issue of Victoria Magazine)

Another view of the parlor, taken from the October 1998 issue of Victoria magazine.

I LOVE this leather chair.

This is an actual set shot of the parlor. You can tell by the fluorescent lighting and open ceiling.

This is the kitchen of my dreams. In school I found myself designing a lot of my kitchen projects after this one.

This kitchen just exudes vintage charm. From the fixtures, to the tile backsplash, to the dark stained/painted wood floors, to the old wood island.

Another view of the kitchen.

The seating area in the kitchen. Theres a very funny scene where the ladies of the cast get drunk off tequila at this table.

This shot of the kitchen reminds me of a little craftsman style house, even though it’s in a victorian house. I think it’s because of the windows, with all of their panes of glass.

A shot of the big oven in the “witch’s kitchen”. Perfect for brewing potions.

This is a shot of “Sally’s” bedroom (played by Sandra Bullock.) I love the long flowing drapes, giant rug, fireplace, and leather side chair.

A shot of “Sally’s” botanical shop called Verbena.

There you have it! That’s my favorite movie set of all time. I’m sure another one will come along in the future, but until then, I’ll just bask in the beauty of this (now torn down) set in Washington. Maybe someday I’ll visit the cute little town of Friday Harbor in Washington where the movie was filmed, and I can pretend the house still exists on the coast somewhere.

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2 thoughts on “‘On The Set’ Design: “Practical Magic”

  1. I’ve been searching in google for some ideas and fortuitously found your practicalenrichment.wordpress.com website. I have to say that it’s a excellent blog! I admire how particular each of the entries are. They are well balanced – amusing and informatory – and the pictures are nice too.

  2. I visited there and popped into the store that was Verbena for the shoot! The town is precious and you can stand and look back and see the spot where the hubby died with the crate of fruit. Whidbey Island it was.

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