Photo by AP
This Utah house was built as a full scale rendition of the home featured in the Pixar’s Academy Award- winning animated feature ‘Up.’ On weekends the house will be decorated with balloons, but will remain on the ground.
HERRIMAN, Utah — The stenciled mailbox in front of the vibrant green-and-pink house reads "Carl & Ellie." Over the fireplace mantle is a picture of Paradise Falls, the dream vacation never realized. In an upstairs bedroom, a mural for the children the couple will never have is freshly painted.
In a suburban development south of Salt Lake City, a highly detailed recreation of the house from the Academy Award winning movie "Up" has become a curious visitor attraction. And for an asking price of $399,000, it could become the dream house for a family hoping to live a real-life Disney fantasy.
Throughout Friday afternoon, a steady stream of people — mostly families with children — stopped in front of the house to gawk, snap pictures and ask workers questions about the house. They also ask about the balloons that Carl uses to launch his house into the sky, which are not currently on the house but will be attached to the chimney when the house opens for tours July 29.
For Tami Acord-Nelson, however, the house underscores the bittersweet nature of life that is a dominant theme of the movie. The movie’s release three years ago coincided with open heart surgery on her then 7-month-old youngest son, Thatcher, who is now a precocious 3-year-old more interested in kung-fu fighting, Panda-style, with his brother
"We had balloons all over his room, so the movie seemed appropriate," Acord-Nelson said about the surgery in 2008. "It was a cute movie, and this house is darling. I’m a big Disney fan."
The house is modeled on its appearance early in the movie, when Carl and Ellie Frederickson are flush with the optimism of newlyweds. That was before infertility undid their hopes for a family and Ellie’s death left Carl a curmudgeonly recluse who refuses to succumb to developers and sell his house.
Homebuilder Adam Bangerter said he and his brothers — who collectively own Bangerter Homes — wanted to replicate the house because it’s iconic and plays an important role in the movie.
"It illustrates what homeownership really is, and it’s not an investment. It’s part of the American dream to have a house to care for, to improve and to make part of your family," Bangerter said during a tour of the house.
After getting permission from Disney to use the movie to promote the house, the brothers began crafting plans for the house. Details like the mailbox and house color were obvious, but others needed tweaking, such as a shingles on the roof that have a unique scalloped pattern or a front door that is not a standard size.
"The design was done entirely by watching the movie and noticing every detail, then matching it," Bangerter said.
Their precision bordered on fanatical, as everyone involved scoured the movie for the smallest detail. They hired a woodcarver who could craft a wooden bird that matches one Carl repeatedly saves in the movie, and the furniture, fireplace, stairs, moulding and appliances were all custom-designed because they simply don’t exist in the real world.
While it’s a house based on a cartoon, Bangerter said they also had to make it livable because "this isn’t Disneyland, and people need a house that actually works to live in." To accomplish that, they took liberties with areas of the house not seen in the movie, such as the kitchen and master bedroom, by building them to modern standards with retro flourishes.
The 2,800-square-foot, 4-bedroom home also has modern amenities, such as cable outlets in every room and a tankless water heater.
There is a basement that he movie house didn’t have, with a family room and two bedrooms. The bedrooms were designed through a partnership with the Make-A-Wish foundation to recognize a sick child who has realized their dream. One is a tribute to Disney princesses and the other is a recreation of Andy’s room from the "Toy Story" movies.
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