Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
If you’ve seen the family comedy “Are We Done Yet?” then you’ll likely remember the stately mansion used in the film. The movie follows newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Nia Long) as they buy & fix their dream home for their family in the countryside. In the film the family purchase a 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom mansion which is said to have been built in 1889 by legendary architect & philanthropist H. Van Hackett, there is also a charming stone cottage complete with wood burning fireplace on the property. The film fooled me, watching it I believed it truly was an old mansion out in the countryside overlooking a lake. In reality this is nothing but a little bit of movie magic. The palatial “old mansion” was actually built in 2006-2007 in Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park overlooking Deer Lake. It was dismantled shortly after filming. Nina Ruscio, Production Designer for the film, says, “I designed the house for three phases.” (First Phase: When the family purchases the fixer upper. Second Phase: When the home is ripped apart during the remodel. Third Phase: The finished House). “The house was fully engineered to be peeled away like an onion including the roof.
The roof was a critical part of the story as the owner fixes up his house. I designed a rooftop deck for action, capable of a full camera crew with access from the third floor taking advantage of the views of Deer Lake.” The entire structure was built to be shot from every angle. Ruscio says, “We built the entire first floor in the interior of the set house that we built on location maximizing the excellent views.” The attention to detail throughout the entire mansion and the grounds will leave you believing it really is a 100 year old home and not just a film set built in 2006. The stone cottage & pond were built on location, the cottage walls were fully removable for interior shooting. Nina Ruscio designed the interior of the mansion to expose authenticity during the “deconstruction stage” including knob and tube wiring. While I was hoping to find an actual century-old mansion, I can’t say I’m not impressed with how detailed this “set house” was. An impressive job by everybody involved. Scroll down to see more screenshots from the film.