The Model Home.
Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?
A. In Season
one, a model home, under construction. In Season 3, the finished home.
Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?
in Newport Beach.
Q. When did we see it on the show?
A. In Season one, Episode 2, "The Model Home", where Ryan (having run away from the Cohen's house) temporarily hid out in a model home which was still under construction by Kirsten's Newport Group. Luke discovered him there with Marissa, the two got into a fight there, and during the fight they knocked over some candles and accidentally set fire to the house. (The incident, ironically, ended up bringing Ryan and Luke together as friends.)
We also see a small scale model of the actual home (you can see a photo of it directly below), early on in the same episode 2. Ryan sees it in the Cohen house and asks Kirsten what it is. She tells him that her company builds houses, and that it is a scale model of a 'model home' that is under construction.
Later, in the third season, we see the model home once again, in Episode 17, "The Journey", where Marissa tracks down Volchok and finds him working on a construction site: rebuilding the very same model home that Ryan burned down in the first season. Marissa is overcome by old memories of she & Ryan at the model home, and faints.
Finally, the model home plays a key role in the tragic final Episode 23, "The Graduates".
After graduation (from the Harbor School), the quartet are heading in different directions. Marissa is planning to sail around the world with her dad, Ryan is going to Berkeley, and Seth & Summer are going to Brown. Before they head off to their respective fates, Marissa takes the Ryan, Seth & Summer back to the model home, which has now been "rebuilt", after being burned down. (And, yes, it is the same home seen in the first season.) Marissa tells them that "it is for sale - and completely deserted", so they scale the fence and have one last pool party there. Volchok spies on them, and when Ryan & Marissa drive off, he attempts to force them to stop. Instead, he runs them off the road, the car tumbles down an embankment, flips over several times, and Marissa is killed in the crash.
Below are two photos from Episode 23 (of season 3), showing how the home looks now that it is finished:
Q. What is it actually in real life?
A. It is actually
a private home (which was under construction at the time the early episode
was filmed, but is now finished).
Q. Where can I find it in real life?
A. The 9,400 square foot home is located at 1701 Lower Paseo La Cresta, in Palos Verdes Estates, just west of where Paseo La Cresta and Lower Paseo La Cresta meet, just north of the corner of Monero Drive and Hazelridge Drive.
But at that corner, you'll find a row of residential homes which does not include the model home. As you can see from this aerial photo of the home under construction, the new home was built just behind (north of) that row of homes, on what was then an empty lot. And here is an aerial photo of the home once its construction was finished. Here is a map link.
From the map,
it appears that there is no way to actually drive past the house for a
quick look. It is too far away from Paseo La Cresta to see from a
passing car on that street; an approach from the south is blocked by the
existing residential homes; and the only road leading to the house appears
to be a gated private driveway.
that this is a private home. Do not trespass on their property,
(The aerial photo below is from Live Local, taken while construction was underway.)
locations in the Palos Verde's area include the country
club, the golf course, the restaurant
where Seth first met Summer's father, the Suriak
rehab center, Julie's engagement shower
garden, and the bus stop where Ryan met
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
A. I didn't. With this one, I was completely stumped, and had no idea even where to begin looking.
Fortunately, Paolo and a group of O.C. fans from Italy managed to find it, by scanning aerial maps of Palos Verdes and looking for the same architecture. They emailed me (in June 2006) to let me know where it was. And as you can see, the aerial photos of the house perfectly match the small scale model seen on the show. Thanks, guys. (Grazie!)
When the third
season became available on DVD, I compared the "model home" shown
in the final episode ("The Graduates") with the aerial
photos of the finished home to see if it was actually the same house
used in the first season - and it was. A perfect match.
O.C. screenshots from the show and all related characters & elements
are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.