Mid-Century Design: Ferris Buellers Day Off Glass House Celebrates Long Before Movies

Each week in Screen Icons, we take you behind the doors of homes made famous by some of our favorite TV shows and movies.

He is best known for his appearance in one of John Hughes’ most iconic films. However, this mid-century modern property was famous long before the cameras were rolling.

The house at 370 Beech Street in Highland Park, Illinois, featured in Hughes’ 1986 coming-of-age film Ferris Bueller’s day off with Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck and Mia Sara.

In the film, Ruch’s character, Cameron Frye, sends his father’s famous 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder crashing from the Glass House garage into the ravine below.

Ruch, who later had roles in television series spin the townand more recently, Successiondistributed to Jimmy Kimmel in 2021, a real Ferrari was not used in the filming, but rather three kit cars.

He said the famous jump scene took 16 attempts to pull off because the car wouldn’t start.

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Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck and Mia Sara in a scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off filmed in the property’s automotive pavilion. (Paramount Pictures)

“And when we sent that one out the window, the crew cheered. They were jumping up and down,” he said.

The late Hughes is said to have chosen the glass-walled garage for the film after being told about it by Ned Tanen, a film executive and Ferrari collector.

The property, known as Ben Rose House, has its own famous history. For many it is an example of great modernist design.

Rose, who was a painter and textile designer, commissioned the construction of the private home with his wife Frances.

The four-bedroom, four-bathroom home and guesthouse are actually two separate box-like buildings made of steel and glass.

The first building was designed in 1953 by the late American modernist architect A James Speyer.

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One of the living rooms inside the main living quarters of the Ben Rose House.
One of the living rooms inside the main living quarters of the Ben Rose House. (Real estate agent)

In 1974, David Haid, a student from Speyer, added an automobile pavilion. Rose was an avid car collector, owning sports cars like a Bugatti, BMW and Porsche.

The pavilion is about 12 meters from the main house of almost 400 square meters.

Both Speyer and Haid were influenced by the late German-American architect Mies Van der Roche.

The property came on the market in 2009 after Rose’s death. It was listed with an asking price of $3.4 million (US$2.4 million).

There were no serious takers. It would take five years to finally sell.

“We have a very bad market in this price range,” the property’s realtor, Meladee Hughes, told CNBC in 2011. She is unrelated to writer/director John Hughes.

“It’s a mid-century modern house that’s not always what all young people want – it doesn’t have stainless steel bathrooms and kitchens – well, it has some of the original stainless steel – but young people want stone, they want this and that [updated features].”

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The spacious living room and outdoor area of ​​the Ben Rose glass-walled house.
The spacious living room and outdoor area of ​​the Ben Rose glass-walled house. (Real estate agent)

She said some interested buyers want to preserve the home, while others come in and say they’ll have to install a new bathroom or kitchen.

Another challenge for the house was its iconic movie status, with Ferris fans regularly stopping by the private residence for photos.

In August 2013, the home’s asking price dropped to $2.2 million (US$1.5 million).

The property was sold to a private buyer in 2014. The new owners then restored the property keeping in mind its original design.

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