Josephine Anwhistle's House is the primary setting of The Wide Window, the third novel of A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. The house was owned by Josephine Anwhistle and her late husband Ike Anwhistle until its eventual destruction caused by Hurricane Herman.
The house is described as a small, boxy structure. The house, from the outside, appears to be several piles of boxy squares stuck together similar to ice cubes. They are attached to the hill by long metal stilts, similar to spider legs. Really only the front "square" is attached to the cliff, with a white door with peeling paint and a bit of a squeak when it opens and closes.
The inside includes a small pile of tin cans under every window as a makeshift burglar alarm. While each door has a doorknob, residents are instructed not to use them for fear they may explode. Due to her fears of electricity, the house tends to be incredibly cold and potentially drafty.
The dining room with a rarely-used telephone is beside the kitchen, which features an oven that is never turned on. There is mentioned to be a living room, with a sofa that Josephine is afraid would fall and crush her.
The guest room that was given to the Baudelaire children is a large, well-lit room with blank white walls and a plain blue carpet. Inside were placed two good-sized bed and one crib, each covered in a plain blue bedspread. At the foot of each bed is a large storage trunk. A large closet is opposite the beds, beside a small window.
Josephine's room is similarly decorated, with a small window looking out onto a hill, and a pile of new grammar books by the side of the bed. Beneath her bed are things she does not want to look at, such as pots and pans, socks "too ugly for human eyes," a framed photograph of Ike whistling, and a stack of books- The Tides of Lake Lachrymose, The Bottom of Lake Lachrymose, Lachrymose Trout, The History of the Damocles Dock Region, Ivan Lachrymose: Lake Explorer- which may have a hidden transcript of a Building Committee meeting inside of it- How Water Is Made, and A Lachrymose Atlas.
- Main article: Josephine Anwhistle's Library
The library is curved in the shape of an oval. One wall of it is made of bookshelves and glass bookcases, though every book is about grammar. In the middle of the room are comfortable chairs, each with its own footstool. The opposite wall of the oval is a floor-to-ceiling window, "an enormous curved pane of glass." Behind it is an amazing view of Lake Lachrymose.
In the film, nearly all of the house is over the cliff. Some of the stilts also survive the hurricane damage long enough to trap the Baudelaire children, where Violet Baudelaire had to invent a way for them to reach the cliff.
Unlike the film, the house is depicted as mainly on the cliff, with only the library hanging over.
While in the books it is unknown whether or not the house was built or purchased by the Anwhistle Family, the Netflix adaptation makes the claim that it was built by a more adventurous Josephine and Ike.
Josephine and Ike lived together in the house, but after Ike's death Josephine rarely left it. She opened her home to the Baudelaires, but it unfortunately collapsed during Hurricane Herman. Several books and files were saved by Captain Widdershins and Fiona during the storm.
The destruction of the house is presented differently in each adaptation. In the book canon, the wind knocks the house around roughly, and a piece of the ceiling comes off, causing it to flood. The children manage to rush out the front door in the freezing rain before the entire building falls into the lake.
In the film, the destruction of the house is framed in a way that shows all of Josephine's "irrational" fears coming true as the library collapses. For example, the refrigerator falls towards the children, almost crushing them flat, and the doorknobs explode after a lighter hits near it.
The Netflix series takes the opposite approach, where everything that Josephine considered safe ends up endangering the children. The library falls, pummeling the children with her grammar books, and the limes she purchased fall and push the house over the edge.
- In the film adaptation, there is a sign near it that asks, "DOES ANYONE KNOW YOU ARE GOING THIS WAY?"
- Violet Baudelaire mentions in The Miserable Mill that if she obtained the Baudelaire Fortune, she would like to build an inventing studio for herself, potentially over Lake Lachrymose where Aunt Josephine's house used to be so she could be remembered.