This New TV Series Explores the Fascinating History of Homes All Over the World

Mary Elizabeth Andriotis
Photo credit: Roller Coaster Road Productions

From House Beautiful

If you can never get enough of historic homes (many of which are still closed due to the pandemic), you’re in luck: A three-part series called The History of Home premieres on CuriosityStream on Thursday, June 18th, and we’re about to binge-watch every episode. Actor Nick Offerman (of Parks and Recreation fame) narrates the show, which allows viewers to learn about sites including Hearst Castle, Hampton Court Palace, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Highclere Castle (as seen in Downton Abbey), and the former homes of Virginia Woolf, Mark Twain, and Thomas Edison, and more. In total, the series explores sites and homes in 10 countries across four continents. Each of the three episodes is an hour long, so it’s like watching a movie marathon about some of the best houses in the world—perfect weekend plans, if you ask us!

Photo credit: Roller Coaster Road Productions

Of course, the show takes on added significance right now, at a time when we have been spending more time than ever at home. "A lot of love and hard labor went into this series, but we couldn't have known how prescient and timely of a story it would be," executive producer Sarah Burns tells House Beatuiful.

Burns's team spent over a year traveling the world to create the series. "Every person we met, whether they were a homeowner, museum curator, or architect, we asked them the age-old question 'what does home mean to you?' We were very amused by the fact that everyone had a different answer," Burns recalls. "Home is multifaceted. Its shape, as well as its meaning, is different to everyone. So in the end, our simple interview question turned into a big philosophical one.”

The History of Home also honors the people who built these remarkable homes—including Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, which was built by hundreds of enslaved people. In fact, as the show points out, you can still see fingerprints on some of the bricks to this day, which is tangible proof of the physical labor that went into constructing this home.

"We wanted the series to feel intimate, grounded and family-oriented,” explains producer Alex Sherratt. That means "pulling back the curtain on the interesting histories and mysteries hidden in their walls."

Photo credit: Roller Coaster Road Productions

There's more to see than just world-famous houses, castles, and mansions, too: "People can expect to see amazing homes of all shapes and sizes," says Sherratt. "From big beautiful castles to remote log-cabins, we traveled the globe to find the world's most interesting and captivating houses. We want people to understand every fun and interesting facet of the place we spend an ever-increasing amount of our time."

After all, he points out, "the average person in the US spends up to 23 hours a day indoors and that was before the pandemic, so our homes are a big deal. Home is where so much of our lives and our histories have [played] out. They're where we're raised, where we learn, and where we spend time with those we love.”

Every episode features a range of houses, and in the first episode alone, you can expect to see the Gamble House in Pasadena, California (which was used as Doc Brown’s house in Back to the Future), the Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado (where structures were made of adobe clay over 600 years ago), and a nearly 1,000-year-old log cabin that was home to Vikings living on the Faroe Islands, to name a few.

Photo credit: Roller Coaster Road Productions

Since it’s not the best time to travel and visit these impressive sites in person, the camerawork used for this show makes it feel like we’re actually there, in person. Burns tells House Beautiful, “Whether we were shooting in Hampton Court Palace, a humble Viking-era log cabin, or a super sleek sustainable home buried in a Dutch Hillside, there had to be a seamless glow and dynamic moves to every single shot. And thanks to our incredibly talented Director of Photography, Shane Geddes, and his use of the Sony Venice camera, a full sensor camera used by James Cameron on the newest Avatar [sequels], we were able to achieve a really dynamic and sleek look.”

We know what we’ll be watching this weekend!

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