It wasn’t until 1998, some 25 years after the classic sitcom ended its run on ABC, that Knight sought out the 2,500-square-foot home in Studio City, Calif. that showed up (the front only, that is) in virtually every episode. “I was told where it was and I just drove by,” remembers Brady, shrugging. “And I lived really close by, too.”
Now Knight probably knows more than he ever wanted to about the house at 11222 Dilling Street: On Sept. 9, he will appear in A Very Brady Renovation, a limited series that follows the six Brady actors — Knight, Barry Williams (Greg), Maureen McCormick (Marcia), Eve Plumb (Jan), Mike Lookinland (Bobby), and Susan Olsen (Cindy) — as they fully renovate the home into an almost exact replica of the original TV set.
“When [they first contacted me], I said, ‘You can’t do what you want to do. But I’m happy to play!” recalls Knight. “It’s a one story house and there was a big staircase on the show. How do you put that staircase in and not violate the elevation from the street?”
Miraculously, the show managed to do just that — thanks to the massive size of the property that allowed the cast (and many construction workers) to dig up the backyard and create a second story. “I was really freaked out when we first saw the house,” recalls showrunner Bob Kirsch. “It was as different as different can be from the Brady house. But we could not touch the front of house. The lot size worked in our favor.”
Another 2,000 square feet of space was added to the home, along with lots of ’70s-style decor that was either crowd-sourced by fans or plucked from the sound stages of Paramount. “We found the original beds from girls bedroom,” Kirsch says. “We also found an urn from the original living room.”
HGTV is so pleased with the finished product (now reportedly appraised at $3.9 million) that it can’t wait to share it with fans — a far cry from the time Knight stood outside in 2002 and tried to get some video of what turned out to be the second-most photographed house behind the White House.
“I was doing a show for the Travel Channel about famous places in Los Angeles you can actually visit,” Knight recalls. “This woman who was living in the house devised a strategy. First, she put up a brick wall [around the front lawn]. And then she came out of the house while I was doing the stand-up, held a poster board in front of herself, turned the sprinkler on, and then went back in the house. That was her life. I had no idea there were that many people taking photos of the house.”
A Very Brady Renovation premieres Monday at 9 p.m. ET on HGTV.