The location: The Cohen Poolhouse.

Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. The Cohen's pool, patio, pool house & garden.

Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. Behind the Cohen house In the Crystal Cove / Pelican Hill area of Newport Beach.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. The very first episode of "The O.C.", and most every episode thereafter. Ryan lives in the pool house.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. Originally, the pool/patio area of an actual home. Now, a re-creation of that area in the studio.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. Although the pool/patio area is supposed to be behind the Cohen house (which is really at 6205 Ocean Breeze Drive, in Malibu), a look at aerial photos reveals that the actual pool there does not resemble the pool in the TV series. On the other hand, the pool at the Marissa Cooper house next door looks much more like it. But don't jump to conclusions.

    It turns out that the Cohen pool was at neither house. It's actually at a third house on the same street, two houses farther down - the very first house on Ocean Breeze Drive (a small cul-de-sac in Malibu with only four homes on it) - at 6210 Ocean Breeze Drive.

    Close-ups from the aerial photos show that the features of the patio area behind this third home perfectly match the patio area shown on the series - with one obvious exception. There is no pool house. That, it seems, was a creation of the O.C. producers. It doesn't exist in real life.

    The photo to the right shows the patio area behind the home. The red lines mark where the pool house should be - but obviously isn't.

    During the first season, when filming the Pilot episode in that Malibu neighborhood, the show's construction crew temporarily put up a mock pool house next to the pool, and used it for filming the initial outdoor scenes for that episode, where we first see the area and its ocean view. When they left, they took down their make-shift pool house.

    After shooting those few establishing shots on the actual street in Malibu, the producers then returned home to Manhattan Beach Studios, where they built full-size replicas of the front of the Cooper house (the door and entrance way), and the pool/patio area behind this third Ocean Breeze house - complete with a pool house duplicating what they had temporarily put up in Malibu.

    So, beyond the first episode, virtually all of the shots you see of the pool and the pool house were really shot on a set, inside a sound stage at the studio. The actual home in Malibu never really had its own pool house - but it did have a studio-built one for a very short while...

    Compare the actual aerial photo to the right with the studio concept images of the pool house below .
    (Jaymes Hinkle © 2003) .

    ( Ironically, the TV audience finally got a look at the real pool behind the real Cohen house, in the show's very last episode. They used that pool & patio for the scene where the Cohens are out shopping for a new house in Newport. )

    Here is a photo map link of the entire street from Live Local, with red pushpins showing the location of all three houses (the Cohen house, the Cooper house, and the third house with the pool/patio area.)

    [WarningThis is a private home. Do not trespass on their property, knock on their door,
    or do anything else that might disturb the residents. And don't even think about going near their pool!

    Don't bother even trying to go there to take a quick look at the house.  One real estate listing tells us that the home is located inside a gated community (" one of Malibu’s prestigious gated enclaves") - so you'd be wasting your time trying to drive past to sight-see.

Alas, late 2018 brought bad news for OC location fans, as the raging fires that swept the Agoura/Malibu area claimed one of the OC homes in this Malibu neighborhood.

It appears that 6210 Ocean Breeze Drive, which was the location of the Cohen swimming pool shots (and the visual background for the faux poolhouse), burned to the ground during the fires.  Ironically, only the pool itself survived, and can be seen next to the smoking ruins of the house, in this aerial shot:

Fortunately, neither the actual Cohen house (at 6205) nor Marissa's house (at 6201) was lost - just this one home, at 6210,

I want to thank Steve Covington for providing us with this news.  Thanks, Steve!

Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?

    A. I had help on this one, from three different fans.

    I knew from aerial photos that the pool wasn't really behind the actual Cohen house, and I thought it might be the pool at the Cooper house, but it didn't look quite right either. I was using the lower-resolution Google aerial photos at the time and couldn't be sure. And it didn't occur to me to check out a house down the block. Fortunately, in 2006, a fan from Germany, Torben Eckel, had sharp eyes. He spotted the similarities between the first house on Ocean Drive and the one seen in The O.C., and was cool enough to email me about his discovery. A quick look at the higher resolution LiveLocal maps confirmed that the pool scenes had been shot behind the home at 6210 Ocean Breeze, and that there was no actual pool house on the property. Thanks (Danke schön), Torben!

    That let me know where the actual pool was, but I still assumed that the pool house had been nothing but a set at the studio.

    But in January of 2008, another German fan, Fabian Reinke, sent me links to photos that strongly suggested that the pool house was more than just a studio set. The comparison photos showed differences between the studio poolhouse set and the original poolhouse seen in the first episode, that led him to believe (correctly) that there had been more than one poolhouse. Thanks (Danke schön), Fabian!

    Finally, in April of 2008, another fan, Mark Heath, convinced that the pool house looked too real (in that first episode) to be just a studio set, went looking for evidence and came across production notes from the show that revealed there actually had been a pool house there in Malibu - albeit for a very brief time. He sent me the info about its ephemeral existence, and that completed the "pool house" picture. Thanks, Mark!


    In 2010, this Malibu home went up for sale (with an asking price of over $5 million), and a fan from New York, Dan Pods, sent me photos of the interior from the online real estate listing. He pointed out that the kitchen seen in the photos is a dead ringer for the Cohen's kitchen. And indeed, it is. It appears that while the exterior of the Cohen house was at 6205 Ocean Breeze, both the pool house and the original Cohen kitchen were here at 6210 Ocean Breeze.  As they did with the pool house, the OC producers quickly built a replica of the kitchen at their studio (with a few minor changes), and that is what you see most of the time.  But in the pilot episode, it appears we're looking at the actual kitchen at 6210. Thanks, Dan!

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