Some of the gritty realism in the new CBS drama "Numb3rs" comes not from the crime and death but the shadow-filled California Craftsman that the main characters call home.
Alan Eppes (Judd Hirsch) lives in the stately house with Charlie (David Krumholtz), his math-genius son who never moved out. The other son, FBI agent Don (Rob Morrow), has his own apartment but seems to spend all of his angst-filled off time at his father's. And it's no wonder: The family home exudes a comfortable, inviting and lived-in quality.
And that might be because it is lived in. The Eppes home is a beautifully restored, 1909 Arthur and Alfred Heinemann-designed house in the West Adams District, which places it about 20 miles from its more upscale Pasadena address on the show. When Alan and Charlie aren't lounging in the Gustav Stickley reclining chairs or breaking bread at the antique burl-wood dining table, homeowners David Raposa and Edward Trosper are.
Since math whiz Charlie works at a Pasadena college, it seemed logical that the Eppes home would be one of that city's ubiquitous Craftsmans, says Cheryl Heuton, a creator and co-executive producer of the show. "Numb3rs" is the latest in a growing list of credits for the West Adams house, which has appeared in commercials, made-for-TV movies and films including "The Craft" and "My First Mister."
How, exactly, does Hirsch's retired city planner afford a California palace that most of us could only long for? Well, he's owned it a long time, the story goes -- long enough to consider profiting from its sale in a future episode.
Raposa, who has owned the home for about 20 years, is an Arts and Crafts aficionado who over time filled the house with vintage furniture and American art pottery including Roseville and Weller. Although the collection may be worth a small fortune, he and Trosper agreed to let the crew shoot in the house, furnishings and all.
"They've been very respectful," Raposa says. "We've told them they can use any of our pottery or lighting or furniture as long as they're aware of the value." (Though a few delicate -- and expensive -- Handel lights have been closeted.)
The "Numb3rs" team says the risk of having to replace a valuable piece is worth it. When using an actual home instead of a set, "you get extra texture and a real sense of place," Heuton says. "A certain feeling of age and grace comes through. You feel it."
Heuton, who writes for the show, finds the house inspiring in ways a set never could be. When Charlie needed to calm down, the garden's koi pond was a convenient backdrop, and when he tried to solve a complicated equation he ended up in the garage. At some point, Heuton says she's going to have to explain Raposa's 1918 player piano, which has already popped up in several episodes. In doing so, another layer of Alan Eppes' character will emerge.
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Where to get period pieces
Here are some of Raposa's favorite sources:
Circa 1910 Antiques, 7206 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 965-1910, www .circa1910antiques .com. Furniture, period metalwork, pottery, paintings and accessories.
Detelich Arts and Crafts Gallery, 1654 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 260-9667, www.detelich gallery.com. Deep inventory of Arts and Crafts furniture and lighting, including Stickley, Limbert, Handel.
Jack Moore Craftsman Furniture, 1419 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena, (626) 577-7746. Gallery has been in business for more than 20 years.
Lifetime Gallery, 7506 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 939-7441, www.lifetime gallery.com. A favorite of serious collectors.
Voorhees Craftsman Workshop, 1415 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena, (626) 798-4249. Authentic Arts and Crafts furniture. Can't afford or find the real thing? They'll reproduce it.