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The Remarkable Home Makeover from the Iconic Film “Dad Forever” starring Robin Williams

The iconic San Francisco Victorian home that served as the setting for the beloved 1993 comedy “Dad Forever” (Mrs. Doubtfire in the United States and Papá por siempre in Spain), starring Robin Williams has once again captured the attention of both film and interior design fans.

After its acquisition in 2016 for a price close to 4.15 million dollars, the current owners, Janet and Nick Bijur, undertook a series of renovations under the direction of the designer Josephine Fisher Freckmann.

The project included updating five rooms and the front garden, while preserving the original layout that fans of the film can still instantly recognize. Despite the changes, the house continues to evoke the spirit of the film and brings back memories of the late Williams’ peculiar performance.

The house, built in 1893, is located in the Pacific Heights neighborhood, within walking distance of San Francisco’s famous Gold Coast. With more than 3,300 square feet of living space, this residence is notable for its hardwood floors, intricate molding work, and turret-lining windows.

Over the years, this home has not only attracted tourists and fans of the feature film, but also became a memory point for Robin Williams after his death in 2014, where fans have left flowers and memories.

Josephine Fisher Freckmann approached the renovation of this home by trying to emphasize everyday use and architectural beauty, particularly in the dining room, his favorite part of the project. “Philosophically, I feel that dining rooms should always be enjoyed, rather than being rooms in which we store and display fine china,” Freckmann shared with SFGATE.

Dad Forever is a family comedy that tells the story of Daniel Hillard played by Robin Williams, a voice actor who loves his children very much, but who is considered irresponsible by his wife Miranda, with whom he is going through a divorce process that restricts custody of his three descendants.

In a desperate attempt to be close to them, Daniel transforms into Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire, a loving nanny of Scottish origin. Through disguise, Daniel manages not only to reintegrate into his children’s daily lives in a very original and emotional way, but also to improve the relationship and family dynamic.

Apart from Williams, the film featured the participation of Sally Field in the role of Miranda Hillard, Daniel’s strategist wife. The Hillard children were played by Add Jakub as Lydia, Matthew Lawrence as Chris, and Mara Wilson as Natalie.

The feature film was filmed mainly in San Francisco after relocating from Chicago due to scheduling conflicts. The production took advantage of different famous locations in the city and left several curiosities such as that Robin Williams’ makeup as Mrs. Doubtfire required four hours of application.

After Williams’ death, the house in 2640 Steiner Street became a fan monument. The film was a box office success in 1993, grossing more than 441 million dollars worldwide having a budget of only 25 million.

Chris Columbus, the director of the film, shared reflections on the possibility of a second delivery of Dad Forever, a project that, unfortunately, never came to fruition due to the tragic death of Robin Williams in 2014. “The last time I met with Robin before he passed away was to talk about the sequel to Potato forever,” Columbus said in 2021. “We had a script, and it was a great script. Robin was willing to do it. And then, unfortunately, he passed away,” he said.

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