A Long Island house shines in ‘Leave The World Behind’

Georgie Mihaila
5 Min Read
Photo courtesy of Netflix

Netflix’s latest bid for the upcoming Oscars season brings together stellar acting from both well-established and emerging stars, an eerie atmosphere, unsettling sound effects, and a story that’s immensely captivating — even when not much is happening.

And at the center of the action (or lack of, at times) is a perfectly appointed house that perfectly contrasts the chaos the characters are surrounded with.

The postapocalyptic thriller, directed by Mr. Robot’s Sam Esmail, tells the tale of a family that rents a luxurious home for a weekend away with their kids, with their vacation cut short by the appearance of the house’s owners, who are seeking refuge in the middle of the night following an apparent cyberattack.

LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND (2023) Julia Roberts as Amanda, Ethan Hawke as Clay opening the door to Mahershala Ali as G.H. and Myha’la as Ruth.
LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND (2023) Julia Roberts as Amanda, Ethan Hawke as Clay, Mahershala Ali as G.H. and Myha’la as Ruth. Photo Courtesy of NETFLIX

Starring big screen darlings like Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke, Mahershala Ali, and Myha’la, the movie is based on the National Book Award-nominated novel Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam.

And while we don’t want to spoil the movie for those who haven’t had a chance to watch yet, the plot sees the two families “reckon with a looming disaster that grows more terrifying by the minute, forcing everyone to come to terms with their places in a collapsing world.”

The ‘Leave The World Behind’ house in Old Westbury

While most postapocalyptic movies build elaborate sets to serve as a backdrop for the production, Sam Esmail’s movie was filmed on location at a real-life house in Long Island.

You’ll find the Leave The World Behind house in Old Westbury, a charming village in Nassau County, on the North Shore of Long Island in New York.

Known as the Open Corner House, the Long Island residence is a striking modern farmhouse that was completely rebuilt in recent years, after the former French-style home on the property burned down.

Farrah Mackenzie as Rose next to the pool of the Leave The World Behind house. Photo credit: JoJo Whilden/NETFLIX
Farrah Mackenzie as Rose next to the pool of the Leave The World Behind house. Photo credit: JoJo Whilden/NETFLIX

So owners Roula and Fotis hired award-winning New York-based The Up Studio to design the 5,200-square-foot contemporary farmhouse as a home for their family.

From the layout — which was restructured to better fit the L-shaped lot and maximize nature views — to the addition of floor-to-ceiling windows, dark steel accents, and warm wood floors, THE UP STUDIO created a bright, light-filled, and modern home for the couple, one they didn’t necessarily expect the entire world to see.

Talking to CURBED Magazine, John Patrick Winberry, a partner at The Up Studio, admitted that he “didn’t know he was designing for a movie apocalypse when he started the project with his team, but the house has a cinematic quality all the same.”

Julia Roberts as Amanda, Ethan Hawke as Clay, Myha’la as Ruth and Mahershala Ali as G.H. inside the Leave The World Behind Airbnb. Photo Courtesy of NETFLIX
Julia Roberts as Amanda, Ethan Hawke as Clay, Myha’la as Ruth and Mahershala Ali as G.H. inside the Leave The World Behind Airbnb. Photo Courtesy of NETFLIX

The house’s beauty didn’t go unnoticed.

Well before it was a glam Airbnb rented by Julia Roberts, the Old Westbury house received plenty of accolades for its stellar design — and was featured in quite a few home design magazines, including Home Adore and Dwell.

You can take a full tour of the Leave The World Behind house and get a better understanding of the design concepts it was based on by watching the full Dwell interview with both the home’s designers and its owners.

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With a decade-long career as a digital content creator, Georgie started out as a real estate journalist for Multi-Housing News & CPExecutive. She later transitioned into digital marketing, working with leading real estate websites like PropertyShark, RENTCafé and Point2Homes. After a brief but impactful stint in the start-up world, where she led the marketing divisions of fintech company NestReady and media publisher Goalcast, Georgie returned to her first passion, real estate, and founded FancyPantsHomes.com