The house was owned by Josephine Anwhistle and her late husband Ike Anwhistle. With each adaptation, the house is always shown as different in design and size. In all adaptions, the structure is built off the edge of a cliff and held up by a series of metal or wooden stilts.
While every adaption depicts the house differently, it is almost always shown to have at least two bedrooms, a bathroom, a small kitchen, a dining room, a living room, and a formal library filled with books about grammar. The main feature of the house is the titular Wide Window located in Aunt Josephine's aforementioned library at the far end of the house, which provides a spectacular view of Lake Lachrymose and is the site where Aunt Josephine faked her suicide later in the book.
Although the building has electricity, gas, central heating and a telephone line, none of these are used due to Josephine's many phobias. It was almost always very cold inside because Aunt Josephine feared the radiator could explode, set the house on fire, and kill everyone inside. The Baudelaires were not allowed to use the doorknobs because Aunt Josephine feared that doorknobs may shatter into a million tiny pieces and one of them may hit her eye. There were also tin cans on the floor in case of burglars.
During Hurricane Herman, one of the many stilts holding the house up on the cliffside is struck by lightning and the house topples into the lake.
It is unknown as to whether Ike lived in the house or whether Josephine moved to this house after Ike died so as to be close to Lake Lachrymose to remember him. However, in the film, Josephine mentions one of the rooms being Ike's. It's possible Josephine and Ike built the house together.
Josephine was very courageous before Ike's death, and then became fearful after his death. It would seem that Josephine and possibly Ike decided to build/move into the house as a mark of their bravery. However, after Ike's death, it seems that due to living in the house for so long, as well as her fear of realtors, Josephine was reluctant to move. If the two of them built the house together, then the house would have held great meaning to Josephine as a memento of Ike she did not want to part with, which would explain her fear of realtors.
- It is mentioned in Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography that the second half of a V.F.D. meeting manuscript can be found within a book titled Ivan Lachrymose: Lake Explorer, hidden under someone's bed. In The Wide Window, when the Baudelaire orphans are looking for an atlas under Aunt Josephine's bed, one of the books they find is Ivan Lachrymose: Lake Explorer. This suggests that the manuscript is indeed hidden in Aunt Josephine's house. In The Grim Grotto, Captain Widdershins said he and the crew of the Queequeg saved several books from the house that were being destroyed in Lake Lachrymose.
- In The End, the Queequeg's books were used by Kit Snicket to create a Vaporetto of Favorite Detritus when the Queequeg was destroyed by the crash landing of Hector's self-sustaining hot air mobile home. The Vaporetto eventually washed up on the enormous coastal shelf of the The Island.
- 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.
- The Wide Window
- The Grim Grotto (Mentioned only)
- Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (film)
- Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (video game)
- A Series of Unfortunate Events (TV series)