Set Pieces: ‘No Ordinary Family,’ no ordinary house


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When “No Ordinary Family” premieres Tuesday on ABC, design fans may fall in love with the Powell family home. The story revolves around a typical California family that survives a plane crash and emerges with superpowers, but the show’s sets have their own back story: The pilot was filmed in a classic Hollywood Hills midcentury post-and-beam, which was since replaced with a fictional house influenced by what production designer Maria Caso called “Bay Area modernism.”

Here in the living room, minimalist Italian-style furniture includes apple-green leather chairs from Crate & Barrel. A side table made from reclaimed wood was purchased at Fusion Home in Ventura. To the right, an Asian-style armchair and carnival horse sit underneath the winding staircase that Caso says threads its way through the center of the fictional house, envisioned as a 2,600-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom home whose ‘openness and flow scream 2010.’


“As far as the look being sleeker and more modern, that’s simply evolution,” show co-creator Jon Feldman said. “People want to see new and comfortable, sure, but they also want to see identifiable. We find looks that satisfy wish fulfillment while still creating a relatable environment for viewers.”

Rooms in the Powell home are painted in a rich, warm palette of persimmon, apple green, goldenrod and cranberry. Exposed beams and windows in unusual places set the tone in the family room, right.

The dining room, meanwhile, floats in the open plan. In the photo below, mom Stephanie (Julie Benz) sits in an X-back bistro chair, and dad Jim (Michael Chiklis) occupies one of the upholstered chairs with nailhead trim -- $129 at Urban Home -- at the ends of the table.

The children sit on an armless banquette, $750, from Rapport International.

“I don’t think I’ve seen that on TV before. There were a few raised eyebrows about having a sofa at the dining table,’ production designer Caso said, ‘but it’s a great way to keep the kids at the table, and I think that might catch on.’

The dining table was $735 at Restoration Hardware; the light fixture above it was less than $200 at the Great Indoors.


Caso incorporated another design trend — using recycled and salvaged materials in décor. She also used a banquette detached from a wall as dinner-table seating.

You can click through a photo gallery on the sets of ‘No Ordinary Family,’ ‘Modern Family’ and ‘Parenthood’ and learn where designers shopped and how they got the looks.

-- David A. Keeps

Note: An earlier version of this story had the show’s premiere date wrong. The show premieres Tuesday, September 28.


The houses of ‘Parenthood’

The three houses of ‘Modern Family’


The L.A. look in ‘The Kids Are All Right’

The vegetable garden in ‘It’s Complicated’