What happens when seven strangers are picked to live in a house, work together, and have their lives taped—when they stop being polite and start getting real? A ratings bonanza and network juggernaut, apparently. That is what occurred when producers Jonathan Murray and Mary-Ellis Bunim began production on The Real World in 1992. The series, one of the first reality shows ever, became an instant hit with viewers and is now entering its 31st season. Yes, its 31st season! In the latest installment, seven strangers abide in the penthouse suite of the Oasis at Gold Spike in downtown Las Vegas. It’s the third time the series has filmed in Sin City. Previous seasons were filmed in the Palms Casino Resort and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Fans of the show share a certain fascination with Real World houses. One of the most iconic is the beachside home where Aaron, Beth S., David, Dominic, Irene, Jon, and Tami (and later Glen and Beth A.) lived during Season 2, which was originally titled The Real World: California, but was later re-dubbed The Real World: Los Angeles. The pad is located just a few steps from the sand at 30 30th Avenue in Venice.
Though promos for the show said the cast would be living in a 6,000-square-foot house, per Zillow the 4-bedroom, 4-bath property actually measures 4,520 square feet. Production designer Naomi Slodki put together the home’s colorful décor and mural painter Ray Naylor was brought in to create two large interior murals.
Filming took place from February through June 1993. The crew captured 60 hours of footage each week and put out 21 drama-fueled episodes.
Amazingly, the house still looks very much the same today as it did 22 years ago when the series originally aired. At least the exterior does. The interior was repainted once filming wrapped. You can check out some photographs of the inside of the property here and here. While the mezzanine level boasts a pool table just as it did on the show, the living room fish tank and outdoor spa are nowhere to be found.
Still, The Real World: Los Angeles house remains a tourist attraction to this day. Super fans can even rent the 700-square-foot master bedroom, which was known as the Orange Room on the show, via Airbnb. A lease of the room includes access to the property’s 400-square-foot rooftop deck.
When MTV returned to L.A. in 2007 to shoot the show’s 20th season, they set up shop at CBS Columbia Square Studios, located at 6121 West Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Sadly, Studios B/C, the soundstage where the cast lived during the shoot, was torn down in 2013 as part of the Columbia Square development project.
In a June 1993 Los Angeles Times article about the premiere of The Real World’s second season, Lauren Corrao, MTV’s vice president of series development at the time, said she was “optimistic” that The Real World would progress beyond Season 2. Did it ever.
Lindsay Blake is an actress, writer, celebrity admirer and Los Angeles enthusiast who contributes to CityThink each Thursday. Her true love is filming locations, and she founded the Web site IAMNOTASTALKER in 2007 to document her vast findings on the subject. For more “stalking” fun, you can follow Lindsay on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.