At home with Mark Harmon

The actor talks trailers, boats, and remodeling with his wife, and reveals his favorite escape

On his Airstream trailer. It's a 1972, 24-footer. I got it off a horse ranch in Arizona. I originally figured I'd just replace the cabinet fronts. But it got more expensive. I put in a custom bird's-eye maple and white-birch interior and the painted checkerboard floor. By film-set standards, the trailer is actually pretty small. But it's completely practical.

On carpentry. I used to hang out in my dad's workshop on weekends. Later, when I was starting out as an actor, I became a roofer and a framer to make money. But what I really enjoyed was finish work. I like the longevity of it: If you do it right, it will be around a lot longer than you are.

On renovating houses. I rebuilt my own house before I was married. It had 3-foot stone walls―it had been a toolshed in the 1930s. It took about two years. Our current house was a complete redo. Probably everybody except us would have torn it down. But if you give a house a chance to talk to you, you learn things.

On renovating with wife Pam Dawber. My wife and I do this well together because we have similar tastes.

On the boat his NCIS character, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, is building. It's actually a real boat, with real plans. In past shows, we learned he built other boats. I doubt he will ever finish this one.

Mark Harmon lives near Santa Monica, California and stars as special agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS. Past television roles include Dr. Jack McNeil on Chicago Hope and Dr. Robert Caldwell on St. Elsewhere. His films include Freaky Friday and Chasing Liberty.

More actors at home in the West: On the ranch with Anjelica Huston »

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