By David A. Keeps
21 Images

<b>Photos</b>: Three television shows interpret the modern family home

For a good look inside the ever-evolving family home, just watch some TV this fall. Several new or sophomore-season shows are set in California and present their visions of West Coast style, be it vintage Craftsman or art-gallery modern. Tune in to “Modern Family,” “No Ordinary Family” or “Parenthood,” and you’ll see interiors that not only express character but also reflect trends in home décor. We’ll start with ABC’s “Modern Family,” which follows the comic foibles of related Los Angeles households. “There are three multigenerational, multicultural families,” production designer Richard Berg says, referring to sets of relatives that include a retired white patriarch with a much younger Latina wife and a gay couple with an adopted daughter from Vietnam. “You need to be able to tell whose house you are in at a glance.”

He describes the hectic Dunphy home of dad Phil (played by Ty Burrell) and mom Claire (Julie Bowen) as “Pottery Barn-Restoration Hardware traditional modern.” (The sofa is actually from Sofu U Love in Burbank, and the pillow are Pottery Barn.)  (ABC)
Based on a home in Cheviot Hills, the Dunphy house is catalog conservative, defined by farm-style tables and comfy classics, including roll-arm sofas. “There is still a formal living room,” production designer Berg says. “The kids don’t go in there unless it’s for a family meeting.” The wall by the stairs -- often seen when Claire and Phil are interviewed in the show’s faux-documentary style -- is painted in a serene shade called Labrador Blue by Benjamin Moore.  (ABC)
The action at the Dunphy house centers on the great room -- a kitchen, dining area and family lounge where, Berg says, “a mom who has 20 minutes to make dinner can interact with her kids who are watching TV.” The medallion rug is from HomeGoods, and the coffee table from Crate & Barrel. “The kitchen is now truly the center of the house,” series creator Steve Levitan says. “We couldn’t do a show called ‘Modern Family’ if we didn’t see the kitchen as part of the dining and family room in one flowing space.” (ABC)
In “Modern Family,” the world-traveler duplex of Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson, here battling a bird) and Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) is a tasteful Benjamin Moore shade called Louisburg Green. Wood windows, crown moldings and old-fashioned tile kitchen counters are meant to evoke the kind of home you’d find in the Hancock Park area, production designer Berg says. The decorative hearth is an antiqued plaster mantel from Edmon’s on Melrose Avenue. (ABC)
In Cameron and Mitchell’s living room, the sofa was purchased at H.D. Buttercup. The tufted and piped armchairs chairs came from Room Service, and the coffee table and rug were from from CB2.

Asian furniture and accessories are part of the visual vocabulary, says “Modern Family” set decorator Amber Haley. “We like to joke that they went to China to get a baby that would match their décor,” says Eric Stonestreet, who won an Emmy for his portrayal of Cameron. (ABC)
Most of Cameron and Mitchell’s rooms may be done in sedate neutrals, but daughter Lily’s room is a riot of pink and flowers. The Wildflowers rug is part of the Kathy Ireland Home Innovations collection, and striped curtains are made from fabric purchased at Diamond Foam & Fabric in L.A. Lily sleeps in a modern crib from La Bella Cosa, though how restfully we can only guess: Above it is a delightfully absurd mural in which her two dads are painted like Greek gods, winged guardians floating on clouds. (ABC)
Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill), the patriarch of “Modern Family,” conducts a memorial for his family’s turtle in what production designer Berg calls “his man cave,” where a modern arc light inspired by the Castiglioni classic clashes with tufted leather roll arm furniture. “Jay doesn’t know,” Berg says, adding that the character would look at an ad from Cigar Aficionado magazine and say, “That’s what I want my room to look like.” (ABC)
Steve Levitan, co-creator of the 2010 Emmy-winning comedy, didn’t have to look far to find the home of the series’ Brentwood patriarch. “It actually is the house down the street from where I live,” Levitan says. “I would drive past it every day, and it looked like the modern house that so many rich divorced older guys seem to end up in.”

Part of the look: a front door with an abstract geometric mosaic of windows and an off-center diagonal handle. (ABC)
The entry of the Pritchett home in “Modern Family” has a rug from Crate & Barrel and a circular table from Mortise & Tenon. The accent and staircase wall are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Currant red. “It started out as a white on white on white,” Berg says, so the story called for Jay’s wife, Gloria, to bring in red and zebra patterns on lampshades and counter stools. (ABC)
Production designer Berg designed the sleek white sideboard in the Pritchett dining room, surrounding it with leather chairs with cube-like steel bases. The large painting of a red bell pepper is by the artist Gus Harper(ABC)
In the case of “No Ordinary Family,” the ABC show about a family that survives a plane crash and emerges with super powers, the pilot was filmed in a classic Hollywood Hills Midcentury post-and-beam but has since been replaced by a set that is influenced by what production designer Maria Caso calls “Bay Area modernism.” When the show premieres Sept. 28, design fans may fall in love with the open plan home, which flows around a central fireplace with a winding staircase to the second story.

Here in the living room, minimalist Italian-style furniture include 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 production designer Maria Caso says threads its way up through the center of the fictional house, envisioned as 2,600 square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath home whose “openness and flow screams 2010.”  (ABC)
The Powell family dining room floats in the open plan and reflects the current craze for mix-and-match seats. The children sit on an armless banquette, $750, from Rapport International. Their mother (Julie Benz) sits in an X-back bistro chair, and their father ( Michael Chiklis) occupies an upholstered chair with nailhead trim, one of a pair that sit at the ends of the table. “There were a few raised eyebrows about having a sofa at the dining table,” production designer Maria Caso says, “but it’s a great way to keep the kids at the table, and I think that might catch on.” (ABC)
The kitchen and dining area, shown here with stars Julie Benz, right, and Michael Chilkis, center, flow seamlessly into the living room. The dining table was $735 at Restoration Hardware; the light fixture above it was under $200 at the Great Indoors. The upholstered blue Zara chair was $129 at Urban Home. (ABC)
The kitchen island in the Powell home for “No Ordinary Family” features a semicircular countertop made from reclaimed wood for casual dining. The cabinetry is painted a warm green that complements reclaimed gray tile from Trikeenan, giving the room a cozy Northern California feel. But there are also modern touches including seats in the style of Hans Wegner’s Wishbone chair and glass mosaic pendant lights, sold at the Great Indoors(ABC)
Rooms in the Powell home are painted in a rich, warm palette of persimmon, apple green, cranberry and goldenrod. “As far as the look being sleeker and more modern, that’s simply evolution,” show co-creator Jon Feldman says. “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.” (ABC)
Set in and around Berkeley, “Parenthood” unfolds principally in three family residences that vary in architectural style. The first is the house of Zeek and Camille Braverman (Craig T. Nelson and Bonnie Bedelia, shown here in their kitchen). “They have lived there 30 years, filled it with heirlooms and haven’t redecorated much,” set decorator Julieann Getman says. “It’s well worn and comfortable.”

Despite clutter and “visible scouring pads,” Getman says, the Bravermans’ woodsy kitchen has an old-fashioned, welcoming feel. Its island is “where everyone goes to talk about their problems.” She achieved that feeling with a wainscot backsplash, paneled kitchen cabinets in a shade of Farrow & Ball paint called Calke Green and walls in Benjamin Moore’s Rockport Gray. Hanging lamps like the kind you might have seen in an old schoolhouse are from Practical Props in North Hollywood, and the curtains came from Jet Rag, a vintage clothing store in West Hollywood.  (NBC Universal)
Zeek and Camille’s successful attorney daughter, Julia (Erika Christensen), lives in a more contemporary environment. “We wanted to reflect her taste in art and Midcentury Modernism and her ability to purchase it,” Getman says. The decorator pulled off the look on a tight budget, finding a coffee table and chairs that looked similar to Mies van der Rohe‘s classic 1929 Barcelona design at Blueprint in Los Angeles, as well as tables at Crate & Barrel, rugs and pillows at West Elm and lighting from Lamps Plus and Ikea.  (NBC Universal)
Adam Braverman (Peter Krause) and wife Kristina (Monica Potter) live in a house based on a Craftsman in Pasadena. “Their style is Pottery Barn, right off the shelf,” Getman says. “Not everything matches, but it’s easier when it’s done that way.” Indeed, the red counter seats and pendant lights in the kitchen (painted in Benjamin Moore’s green-gray Saybrook Sage) are from Pottery Barn. Though the sofa and chaise sectional in the family area of the great room were custom made from a striped material found at F&S Fabrics in L.A., many of the accessories are from discount stores such as Cost Plus World Market and HomeGoods. The wooden desk with barley twist legs, seen at left, was purchased at Wertz Bros. for $399. (NBC Universal)
The chrome pulley lights above the kitchen are $129 each at Pottery Barn. The cabinets are from the Kitchen Store in Culver City. The glass-front farmhouse hutch was purchased at Down Home American Country Antiques in Orange.  (NBC Universal)
The front entry of the Adam Braverman residence has a wide door with sidelights, a striped rug from World Market and a suzani-covered chair from Mortise & Tenon(NBC Universal)
“Parenthood” set decorator Julieann Getman describes Adam and Kristina’s bedroom as a “refuge from their fast-paced family life.” It is painted in soothing Van Courtland Blue, a color in the Benjamin Moore Historical Collection. The headboard and bench were custom made. The rug, nightstands and dresser are by Pottery Barn; the lamps are from Restoration Hardware. The stool and floor mirror were purchased at Upstairs Downstairs in Culver City. The linens come from Bed Bath Beyond. “I shop a lot at Living Spaces,” says Getman, who strives for realism rather than perfection. “It’s much more what people can truly afford as opposed to what they see in magazines.”  (NBC Universal)