In America's collective psyche, actress Patricia Heaton could call only one place home: the cozy but modest Cape Cod she shared with her TV husband, Ray Romano, in the beloved and critically acclaimed sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. For nine seasons we watched her play the beleaguered Long Island housewife Debra Barone, nobly trying to maintain some semblance of order amid the daily havoc wreaked by a husband, three kids and several high-strung in-laws. She forever seemed to be in search of just a little peace and quiet.
In her new sitcom, The Middle , which debuted on ABC this fall, she plays the small-town matriarch of a family not without its own dramas. It can be a bit strange, then, to walk into the actual house that the two-time Emmy winner shares in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles with her husband, actor-producer-director David Hunt, and their four sons and see just how peaceful things are.
There's nary a screaming father-in-law to be found—just the warm and welcoming feeling that naturally arises when a close-knit family has the perfect house in which to relax, play and grow closer.
Begun in the early s, the 8,square-foot house designed by architect Elmer Grey was once the city home of Merritt Adamson and his wife, Rhoda Rindge Adamson, whose Mediterranean-style beach estate in Malibu is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Hancock Park house shares with the Malibu house many details, in addition to its basic architectural style, most notably the liberal use of remarkable ceramic tiles from Malibu Potteries, established by Mrs.
Adamson's mother, May Knight Rindge, in and, during its short run, an example of American tile-making art at its finest. We could really see living there for a long time. I immediately started picturing my boys getting married in the backyard. Despite its esteemed pedigree, the house needed real attention. The couple's designers, Bebe Johnson and Ellen Geerer, had worked with them on two other homes; now they were enlisting them for a third. They all worked tirelessly to peel back the layers of ill-advised renovations that had taken place in the decades since the Adamsons sold it, and to restore its original character as faithfully as possible.
Hunt, especially, relished bringing distinctive architectural elements back to life and creating copies of the original hardware, those details that tied it definitively to its historic sister property in Malibu. The designers and their clients consulted contemporaneous sources—including a copy of a Architectural Digest article found hiding behind a shelf—to help guide them in their decision making. The water-damaged floor of the loggia, a masterpiece of Malibu Potteries tile, was painstakingly restored. Rather than cutting into the library's original cabinetry to install new lighting, the four agreed that lamps, a candle lantern and the fireplace could get the job done.
One space, however, required modern triage. Outdoor spaces are designed to allow the couple's four sons to play freely—except for one oasis where soccer balls dare not roll. On the northern side of the property, an idyllic parterre overflows with roses and citrus.
Benches and a burbling fountain make this an ideal spot for reflection and quietude. Or just going back there, even if it's only for a few minutes, and relaxing. Thanks to syndication, poor Debra Barone will likely forever be searching for just a little peace and quiet. Patricia Heaton, on the other hand, need only step outside. This article originally appeared in the December issue of Architectural Digest In America's collective psyche, actress Patricia Heaton could call only one place home: the cozy but modest Cape Cod she shared with her TV husband, Ray Romano, in the beloved and critically acclaimed sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond.
The paintings above the Biedermeier chest are by Karolina Larusdottir.