A look inside the 'Mrs. Doubtfire' house's recent redesign

Photo of Tessa McLean
The house where actor and comedian Robin Williams filmed the movie "Mrs. Doubtfire," pictured Aug. 12, 2014, in San Francisco. 

The house where actor and comedian Robin Williams filmed the movie "Mrs. Doubtfire," pictured Aug. 12, 2014, in San Francisco. 

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Fans of Robin Williams know the stately Victorian home at 2640 Steiner in San Francisco well. Featured in one of his most famous films, the “Mrs. Doubtfire” house is a frequent stop for tourists and anyone that’s a fan of the iconic movie about a divorced dad who dresses up as an elderly British nanny in order to see his kids more often. 

Most recently purchased in 2016, the corner home underwent a recent redesign and was featured in Elle Decor. Current owners Janet and Nick Bijur had seen a friend’s home that interior designer Josephine Fisher Freckmann redid, and tasked her with transforming five rooms in addition to the front garden.

“Hearing stories from longtime neighborhood residents about the film production, and how for an entire month there were goats and all kinds of animals on Broadway, just accentuated the challenge and joy in helping to create something fresh and new, while still honoring the role this house has in SF history,” Fisher Freckmann told SFGATE.

Janet told Elle Decor her husband didn’t know the film when they were searching for houses. “What really attracted us to the house were the architectural details,” Janet told the magazine. “My husband was like, ‘What movie?’”

She added that sometimes they have friends over to watch the movie, and while the house has been redecorated, it’s still a similar layout to what’s in the movie. 

Interior shots of a recent redesign of the Mrs. Doubtfire house at 2640 Steiner St. in San Francisco.

Interior shots of a recent redesign of the Mrs. Doubtfire house at 2640 Steiner St. in San Francisco.

Kathryn MacDonald

For Fisher Freckmann, the dining room was her favorite room to redesign. “Philosophically, I feel dining rooms should always be enjoyed, rather than be rooms in which we house and display fine china,” she said. “This dining room is designed to be used every day. … Architecturally, I wanted to highlight the simple beauty of the curved windows and by adding the relaxed Roman shades hopefully accent this unique and historic Victorian.”

The Bijurs purchased the home for $4.15 million after it came on the market in 2016 for $4.45 million. After Williams' death in 2014, it’s often been used as a memorial to the Bay Area-based actor, and flowers and remembrances honoring Williams were often left in front of the home.

“Because it's built on a wide corner lot, the public rooms are large scale and the home has an open feel,” listing agent Steven Gothelf of Pacific Union Christie's International told SFGATE in 2016.

The former owner, Douglas Ousterhout, a leading doctor in facial feminization surgery for transgender patients, purchased the 1893 home in 1997 for $1.395 million. He was known for being welcoming to the tourists outside his door and sold the home to retire in Wine Country.

Film crews shoot a scene for the movie "Mrs. Doubtfire" in the 1990s.

Film crews shoot a scene for the movie "Mrs. Doubtfire" in the 1990s.

San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst N/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Imag

Chris Columbus, the film’s director, told SFGATE in 2021 the lauded San Francisco film was partly a love letter to San Francisco and it will never have a sequel, despite a script that was started in the early 2000s.

“The last time I met with Robin before he passed away was about the ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ sequel,” Columbus said in 2021. “We had a script, and it was a great script. Robin was prepared to do it. And then, unfortunately, he passed away.”

Williams died by suicide in 2014. 

Even amid a redesign, the owners sought to honor the home’s history. “The joy of Robin Williams is alive and well at the ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ house,” Fisher Freckmann said. 

If you are in distress, call the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline 24 hours a day at 988, or visit 988lifeline.org for more resources.

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