Literature: Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

A 1946 novel by Eric Hodgins.The story is was inspired by Hodgins's own experience building his home.

Adapted into a 1948 Cary Grant & Myrna Loy film of the same name.

The Tom Hanks film The Money Pit was intended to be a modern version, except the house doesn't get torn down and rebuilt.

The main character is James Blandings, a successful advertising executive. He and his wife Muriel grow tired of their Manhattan apartment and seek out a country estate. They fall in love with "the old Hackett place" an old farmstead with a dilapidated colonial farmhouse. They originally try to remodel the house but eventually decide to tear it down and build new. The rest of the story is a series of disasters as they overspend their budget and fight with contractors.


  • Ask a Stupid Question...: From the movie, "What in the world are shrunk mills?" "Probably mills that are shrunk."
  • Big Fancy House: Once it's finished.
  • Book Ends: See Breaking The Fourth Wall below.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The movie opens with narration by Bill Cole, who then addresses the camera directly. At the end, all three look at the camera, while James invites the viewer to "come over and see us some time."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Bill Cole
  • Eureka Moment: James finally gets the inspiration for the new WHAM jingle from a phrase his maids say.
  • George Washington Slept Here: One of the selling points of the house is that General Gates supposedly stopped to water his horses there during the Revolutionary War.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Muriel asks for the walls to be painted "a very gay yellow".
  • Recursive Canon: In the last scene of the movie, James is reading Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.
  • Shady Real Estate Agent: One sells a dilapidated old house to the Blandings. The agent is delighted; James and Muriel have to tear the house down and start over.
  • Shockingly Expensive Bill: The costs of construction and repairs gets worse and worse and worse. One highlight is when they find out that Muriel's offhand request for a sewing nook resulted in a bill of over a thousand dollars.

Alternative Title(s):

Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House