Ddon’t worry honey is mandatory viewing for the star-studded cast (and the drama behind the making of the film) alone. But the film, directed by Olivia Wilde, is also a visual feast, offering a tour of some of the best mid-century architecture in Palm Springs and beyond. Not only does the psychological thriller feature encapsulated exteriors, it even takes you to the site of some places you can only watch from afar in reality. But don’t get me wrong: there are plenty of places in the film where you box visit. To make sure you have the full truth about every notable don’t worry darling filming location (including details on how a few spots were chosen!), we spoke with the film’s production designer, Katie Byron. After reading all the notable places, you can start planning your trip.
The Kaufmann Desert House
Chances are you know Kaufmann House. If not by name, you’ll recognize it from famous photos, including Slim Aarons’ iconic “Poolside Gossip” from 1970. The house, made of steel, glass and Utah stone, was built in 1946 by architect Richard Neutra as a desert getaway for Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr., Pittsburgh department store owner and architecture connoisseur. In Don’t worry darling, the structure plays the home of Victory Project leader Frank (Chris Pine) and his wife Shelly (Gemma Chan). “I didn’t expect we could shoot there,” Byron said. Beautiful house. “Although the infamous photo of Slim Aarons hangs in Olivia’s living room, Kaufmann House was originally in my head just as a reference for building the material world of Victory.”
Most of the interior sets had already been designed by the time the crew learned they could shoot at the Kaufmann house. It was “a perfect situation given that in [the] movie, Frank designed all these houses,” says Bryon. It is therefore logical that the other houses of the community seem to be inspired by his.
In May 2022, the Kaufmann House was sold to “a European businessman who has a ‘deep and rich appreciation of modernist architecture'” for a record $13.06 million, according to The Wall Street Journal. Although you can’t peek inside the house, the exterior of the building is a star stop on virtually every Architectural Tour of Palm Springs.
Canyon View Estates
While Frank’s home base is a grand mansion, the people of Victory live in much more quaint yet picture-perfect mansions. The mid-size condominium community is actually called Canyon View Estates, and it exists at the south end of Palm Springs. Developed by Roy Fey and built by architects Dan Palmer and William Krisel in the 1960s, the units sit in a park-like setting. Featuring geometric patterned concrete blocks and floor-to-ceiling windows, the villa-style homes certainly epitomize idyllic suburban living. (FYI, if you’re super curious and want to know what it’s like to live there, the community has a handful of juicy Yelp reviews.)
Palm Springs Visitor Center
Originally built by Albert Frey as a service station, the Palm Springs Visitor CenterThe exterior of was used in the film as Victory’s final stage. The historical monument has a soaring triangular roof. Inside, visitors will find all the information and assistance they need to find out where to stay, shop, dine, and explore Palm Springs.
The ladies of Victory love to shop, and the store they do it in is actually the lobby of The Stuart at the Sierra Madre Villa in Pasadena. The atrium and common area of the 1950s apartment complex fits so perfectly into the world of don’t worry darling that it almost feels like they were made especially for the movie.
Cicada Restaurant and Lounge
The cicada club in downtown Los Angeles was the Dollhouse location, aka where Frank threw this big formal party. The high ceilings and dimly lit interior with Art Deco geometric pendants and chandeliers will transport you to a Gatsby-era affair. The restaurant offers Italian dishes with a California twist, and you can buy tickets for dance parties, cabaret shows, and more.
The Palm Springs Museum of Art
Speaking of the dollhouse, the outside of the fictional place is played by the Palm Springs Art Museum. In 1974, architect E. Stewart Williams was commissioned to design the museum’s main building. With a focus on the visual and performing arts, the museum is a must-see for visitors and locals alike.
La Quinta Resort & Club
Depicting the Victory Clubhouse and the road leading downtown, La Quinta Resort & Club in La Quinta, California. The resort offers everything from suites and villas you can book to vacation rentals and even an on-site real estate team specializing in resort properties and custom homes in La Quinta and Greater Palm Springs. Plus, it has all the typical club luxuries, including golf, a spa, gym, fitness center, and restaurants.
The Hollywood Athletic Club
The Hollywood Athletic Club, which housed the ballet studio, is currently available for exclusive events, filming location reservations, and monthly office rental. The club has been used in other features, shows, and music videos, including Million dollar babyHBO Insecureand Brittany Spears’ “Piece of Me” music video.
The Volcano House
Sitting atop a 150-foot cinder cone outside the town of Newberry Springs, just beyond the Mojave Desert, this domed home was commissioned by designer Vard Wallace (who is also believed to have patented the first skateboard) and built by architect Harold James Bissner Jr. in 1968, according to the desert sun. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom home spans 2,206 square feet and boasts 360-degree views of the mountains. The house was previously owned by television host Huell Howser, who eventually donated it to Chapman University in Orange, California. The house would be back in private hands.
Volcano House was originally offered to Wilde and Byron by their legendary stage manager Chris Baugh as an option for Frank’s house. The original idea of what the house is in the film was simply a tunnel in a mountain, “a dark two-lane road that would eventually lead to the lab where Victory’s men worked,” Byron explains. “Volcano House was a radical departure from the original idea, but truly unique. We decided to spot it and when we drove down the road and saw it appear on the horizon, we all knew it was was the place.
For the film, the art department led by Erika Toth worked on the house. “We built a staircase and deck inspired by 1950s googie/atomic design and mirrored the entire exterior in glass,” says Byrons. The futuristic structure was certainly well suited for the role it plays in the don’t worry darling universe.
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Kelly Allen is the current associate editor of Beautiful house, where she covers design, pop culture and travel for digital and print magazines. She has been with the team for nearly three years, attending industry events and covering a range of topics. When she’s not watching all the new TV shows and movies, she’s browsing vintage home stores, admiring hotel interiors and walking around New York City. She previously worked for Delight and Cosmopolitan. Follow her on Instagram.