John Wooden updated a villa at The Madison Club.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LANCE GERBER
To take a dark, decade-old villa at The Madison Club in La Quinta through a renovation journey reflecting his client’s tastes and lifestyle, John Wooden had to think well beyond any particular style or trend. “We put together an eclectic mix of things that looks like the house evolved over time,” the interior designer says. “That helps it look timeless.” Working with RuckerMuth Luxury Homebuilders ensured he accomplished this goal over the course of a year. “John had a long history with the homeowner and has done a lot of work for her,” says co-owner Nate Rucker. “He was able to make quick decisions” and expedite the process.
The client is an equestrian with grown children who frequently visit. To enhance the allure of her desert getaway, “We tried to play off the architecture, but update and make it feel more modern,” Wooden says of the 4,000-square-foot, Mediterranean Revival home built in 2013. They brightened surfaces throughout and refinished woods with a velvet-sheen finish to complement the existing limestone. Here are highlights from their collaboration.
The Objective: Adjust the overall tone, scale, and lighting and curate compelling furnishings and accessories.
The Outcome: A rug in grounding earth tones from Jamal’s in West Hollywood adds a warm foundation, while the rest of the room is cool and calm. Custom plaster chandeliers fabricated by Bourgeois Boheme and inspired by Swiss sculptor Diego Giacometti’s designs for the Picasso Museum in Paris mitigate the scale and make the volume feel intimate. Wooden describes the piece over the fireplace from Spaces in Cathedral City as “a medieval-modern touch.” New rift oak flooring was installed in select downstairs areas.
The Objective: Wooden says his first task as a designer is “to correct the background before we fill in.” In the dining room, he sought to establish a “neutral, soothing” environment and devise interventions to manage the large scale.
The Outcome: Throughout the residence, Wooden opted for China White by Benjamin Moore. “[The hue is] a nicely balanced white that is my go-to. It’s a chameleon that works everywhere,” he says. A 10-foot-tall painting by Renée Fleur West, elongated 48-inch sconces by Timothy Oulton, and multiple custom furnishings strike the right balance. French designer Charles Dudouyt inspired Wooden’s design for a custom pickled-oak credenza with a flared base and vintage hardware from Liz’s Antique Hardware in Los Angeles. The custom table can seat up to 12 with its mix of Restoration Hardware, Timothy Oulton, and vintage chairs for a “loose and casual” vibe.
The Objective: Create a distinct style in each bedroom. “I believe bedrooms should be soft with soothing colors and then accentuated with artwork,” Wooden says. “This room has a bit of feminine quality.”
The Outcome: A custom four-poster bed made of twisted Portuguese walnut contrasts with the ethereal quality of the Visual Comfort Talia chandelier, while the Moroccan mohair rug incorporates a subtle print. An Art Deco–inspired screen from Wilshire Fireplace; a contemporary chrome desk lamp; a vintage waterfall-edge, burled desk and ribbon-back chair; and a mix of artwork keep things a little funky.
The Objective: “I always want a house to speak to who lives in it,” Wooden says. “I want people to say, ‘Wow, it really feels like your home.’” The warm, welcoming media room provided the opportunity to incorporate elements of the homeowner’s passions and wood elements to promote a natural transition between indoor and outdoor spaces.
The Outcome: While most furnishings are newly purchased, the client brought
a dramatic burled wood and molded glass coffee table from a previous home. Here, the pièce de résistance is a custom macramé work by Laguna Beach fiber artist Jim Olarte that incorporates her equestrian gear. “It’s a fun way to embellish the space and make it about her and her life,” Wooden says. The firebox height was lowered to accommodate the television, and Wooden added blue-gray limestone detail.
Outdoor Patio and Pool Deck
The Objective: Establish indoor-outdoor flow and appropriate use, facilitated by large openings with sliding pocket doors and a consistency of materials.
The Outcome: The exterior zone outfitted with vintage ceramic garden stools befits quiet early mornings, while friends and family gather in the alfresco areas that are protected beneath the deep balcony overhang. Furniture includes pieces from Restoration Hardware that withstand the elements and are exceedingly comfortable. Scalloped, two-toned outdoor umbrellas by Tuuci slyly evoke a Slim Aarons image of poolside gossip amid views of the green and mountains beyond.