My Favorite Room: Robert Patrick’s focus on the visuals makes for a great room

"Wherever you look, there are interesting things happening with light fixtures and angles,” Robert Patrick says of his great room.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

A custom three-bedroom contemporary was just a dream when actor Robert Patrick landed in Los Angeles from Cleveland in 1984. Back then, the budding star didn’t even have a room.

“I lived in my car,” he said. “But I had a goal to build a house in the Hollywood Hills.”

He lucked out. That very year, he met his wife, Barbara, who shared the same real estate dream.


“Once I started making some money and getting some success in the mid-1990s, Barbara found a piece of land with an old house on it, and we bought it,” said Patrick, 57, known for his work on the “X-Files,” “True Blood” and “Scorpion.”

With help from architect Michael Maltzen, the couple tore down most of the original house in the early 2000s, remodeled it and added a second building with a two-car garage and an attached office.

Now, when Patrick looks out from his 2,800-square-foot home, he can watch the sunrise over his garden while an impressive 25-foot-high American flag flutters in the wind. The flag is a nod to his support for the USO and the nation’s veterans; he has gone on several overseas trips to visit troops.

Patrick will return to CBS as Special Agent Cabe Gallo when “Scorpion” premieres its third season Monday.

What is your favorite room?

We call it the great room because the house is designed in such a way that there’s no family room. There is one great room: a living room and attached dining room. It’s about 540 square feet.

What makes it special?

This is a safety zone. The doors and walls open, so the room becomes this big pavilion-style space, and you feel like you’re outside, even when you’re inside. It has floor-to-ceiling glass French doors that open up on both sides of the house, a beautiful Douglas fir ceiling with exposed beams and metalwork, and a cement floor and beautiful millwork.

It’s concrete and steel and metal and masculine. But it’s warm. Wherever you look, there are interesting things happening with light fixtures and angles. Nothing is traditional. Everything is custom.

What do you do in the room?

It’s a place where the entire family gathers. The TV comes up out of the floor on a hydraulic lift, so you can watch a movie.

But I like to sit and look outside at the beautiful, lush gardens, the trees and the birds and the shadows and light. The room takes on a different feeling at different times of the day. So I would spend all day here if I could.

Do you have a favorite piece of furniture or art in the room?

I have a well-worn Le Corbusier grand comfort chair and a custom chesterfield leather couch. I have three pieces of art in this room — two of them are photographs of people flipping the bird. I also have a beautiful Michael Muller photograph from 2007 of the French Riviera that is about 5 feet by 3½ feet and worth about $7,000 to $9,000. It’s colorful and looks like an Impressionistic painting because it is not in focus.

Anything funny happen when you started using the redesigned space?

We had a water balloon fight with the cast of “Ladder 49.” The place was flooded. Stuff was getting knocked over. I didn’t want to wreck the house, but it was hilarious. It was quite spectacular to see grown men and kids winging water balloons at each other.