The work of Lucas Interior, a Seattle-based studio helmed by siblings Suzie and David Lucas, has been characterized by serene hues and sweeping yet spare architectural lines. If there is ever a sense of drama, it’s typically achieved purely through volume and geometry. But that’s not how the Lucases approached their latest project, a Spanish Mission Revival home in Palm Springs that packs a colorful punch. “Our clients told us to go crazy and that’s just what we did,” says Suzie Lucas, half-jokingly. “We even had to dial it back at one point.”
The clients, real estate developer Jim John and his husband, Craig Hartzman, an art collector and philanthropist, already owned two homes in the Pacific Northwest that were rather sober and minimalist. At their new California retreat, they wanted to embrace the artistic spirit and carefree ethos of Palm Springs, exploring color, pattern, and the art of mismatching.
“My husband wanted to preserve the old Spanish style of the house, but I grew up in Santa Barbara surrounded by terra-cotta and I really needed something different from that,” quips Hartzman. “Eventually, we said, ‘Let’s make it Spanish but on steroids.’”
Together with Suzie and David Lucas, who had designed their other homes, John and Hartzman decided to take certain classic elements of Mission Revival interiors—things like hand-painted tiles and wooden beams—and emphasize them in modern ways, as if reinterpreted through the lens of a pop artist.
After completing a top-to-bottom renovation of the low-slung, red tile–roofed property—which was originally built in 1929—the designers began sourcing an array of patterned tiles from Mexico and Morocco. Some have bright yellow details, others have different shades of blue, and still others are simply black-and-white. Along with a series of checkerboard tiles laid throughout common areas of the five-bedroom property, these floor and wall tiles are the foundation of the home’s youthful, buoyant atmosphere.
“The materials and colors took center stage,” says David Lucas, referring not just to the salmagundi of tiles but also to the polished wooden beams and iron-framed glass doors added during construction. “We were not really focused on particular pieces of furniture or artworks.”
That’s not to say that the home’s decorative objects were an afterthought. David and Suzie Lucas commissioned most of the furniture from trusted makers in the Pacific Northwest, pairing bespoke items with a few favorites from Design Within Reach and Holly Hunt. In the main living room, for example, they placed an oversized circular sofa upholstered in a luminous ochre velvet, balancing its strength with two electric blue side tables from Christophe Delcourt and a cobalt “Pelican” chair by Finn Juhl.
Lucas Interior Embraces Color to Modernize Palm Springs Spanish Revival Home
Then there’s the powerful art collection put together by Hartzman, most notably a large-scale painting by Kehinde Wiley (who famously oversaw Barack Obama’s official portrait in the National Portrait Gallery) showing a young man wearing a Nike T-shirt against a fanciful red background. “I’ve been following Wiley’s career since he first came on the scene,” says Hartzman, who collects works by mostly emerging artists. “We’re from Portland, so this particular portrait with the ‘Just Do It’ slogan really spoke to us.”
While John and Hartzman say they are over the moon about the interiors of their vacation home, they spend most of their time in the garden, enjoying the Palm Springs weather and a gorgeously appointed outdoor lounge, complete with a massive standalone fireplace.
In the end, the Lucas siblings did not create a full maximalist house—indeed, even amid all the color, there is still an eye for restraint and a thoughtful use of negative space. But they came pretty close to a certain sort of maximalism. “We would do this again in a heartbeat,” says David Lucas. “It’s a bit boring now to think of going back to our more purist style.” lucasinterior.com
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest