Speaking of House’s apartment, I did have the chance to ask Cassells about the look and feel of House’s house. Not having been with the show since the beginning, Cassells noted that the apartment is really the work of Katie Jacobs. Dark and masculine, “it’s House’s nest: his sanctuary.” However, many of the objects d’arte that decorate the apartment are Hugh Laurie’s doing.
I had always wondered about House's beautiful and fully stocked gourmet kitchen. It seems completely out of character for a guy who seems to live on a spare diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, beer and Vicodin. Cassells teased that maybe the kitchen is not so much out of character as we might think. He intimated that House might be more into cooking than expected and to look for him to explore that side of himself after he’s discharged from Mayfield. “Like everything else House does, he does this with some degree of obsession,” Cassells said. I wonder if a Vicodin soufflé might be on the menu this season, since House has tried practically every other delivery system for the drug, including chopping it up as a condiment in a Reuben sandwich.
House’s apartment suggests a man into history and culture. Cassells noted the many medical antiquities both in House’s home and in his office. House, who despite his rough-around-the-edges demeanor has clearly given a great deal of study to the history of medicine. And the trinkets scattered around his apartment speak of a life lived around the world.
Music is also an important part of House’s life, and his surroundings also reflect that. Of course, the largest piece of furniture in House’s apartment is the grand piano. The piano has changed over the years, from a wonderful old (and very mellow sounding) German piano to the shiny, modern Yamaha (let’s hear if for product placement), now sitting in the middle of the living room. The piano is more than a prop or bit of set dressing. When not doing a scene, Hugh Laurie often relaxes by playing it, and a tuner is available every day Laurie is on set to make sure the piano is tuned correctly. (I would imagine the piano is often moved and in changeable humidity conditions—making it detune rather easily.)
I also asked about the banjo always sitting by House’s bed. Cassells said that, to his knowledge, it’s not an instrument Laurie plays (or at least he hasn’t while working on House), but, he added, banjos are beautiful instruments and look nice dressing the set. And it’s not unlikely that House with his collection of vintage guitars might well have a banjo in his collection.