Homeowners typically hire an architect before lining up a designer to select the interior finishes and furnishings. After all, the foundation, walls, and roof need to be built first. Interior designer Randy Patton’s clients diverged from that course for their custom home at The Reserve in Indian Wells.
“They felt we would be very much involved in all aspects,” says Patton, who worked as a design associate with the late Steve Chase and is now owner of Patton Design Studio in Rancho Mirage. “We were able to sit with them as they interviewed architects. We were there in the formative stages.”
The clients chose to work with Richard Holden of Holden & Johnson Architects in Palm Desert. Holden not only has designed other custom homes in The Reserve, but also has worked multiple times with Patton. Their connection dates back to the 1980s.
(Right) Book-matched Verde Karzai granite in the master bathroom complements the Lumiere chandelier resembling a sea urchin, by Jean de Merry.
“[Holden & Johnson] designed Steve Chase’s house and office,” Holden says.
For this project, the homeowners wanted a “warm, contemporary house that was horizontal in nature and took advantage of the views,” he reports, noting its site on The Reserve golf course and its grand vistas of surrounding and distant mountains.
“Another factor was the artwork,” he continues. “We needed wall spaces of certain sizes that would fit their collection.”
With a primary residence in Washington and a ski getaway in Idaho, the couple wanted “a relaxed home that they could come to and go from with ease — not a monumental machine that required constant maintenance and oversight,” Patton says.
To that end, the exterior is clad in thick, split-face limestone with roofline trim and trelliswork in bronze-anodized aluminum.
As for interiors, Patton echoes Holden on the importance of their clients’ artworks to design decisions.
“They are collectors to the core and have a very fine point of view,” he says. “They wanted to expand their collection for their desert home with different artists, as well as bring in pieces from their other properties.”
He says they were looking for an overall style that was timeless and classic, with simple shapes and planes, very light, and with a clean palette of materials so the art would be the primary focus.
Patton Design Studio aimed for “a quiet background” in the master bedroom. Appointments include a custom, upholstered bed; custom oak nightstands with crackled-linen drawer fronts; a vintage desk; and a Franco Albini rattan chair and ottoman.
Patton credits the wife for leading the aesthetics of the project, supplying a full “look book” that proved very helpful in selecting materials.
“She had a very clear idea where we should start the conversation,” he says. “Her husband was very involved, but deferred and delegated nicely to her.”
In particular, Patton mentions a series of Missoni textiles that intrigued her and became the theme for a pair of corresponding suites in the guesthouse — one with Missoni fabrics leaning toward jewel tones and the other toward hues of pumpkin and rust.
“The rooms were designed in the spirit of their son and daughter, the idea being the son would use the richer, more autumn suite when he visited and the daughter would use the other,” Patton says, adding that the look is “a colorful, playful, retro Palm Springs vibe but not literal.”
The palette for the main house, however, was kept minimal and in line with providing a neutral backdrop to display their artwork.
“This was not to be a decorative home,” the designer explains. “It was to be a serene place. So the materials repeat themselves.”
Bleached oak and blackened steel become a yin-yang element through their predominant use in built-ins and furnishings throughout the house.
James Rosenquist’s Mariner – Speed of Light (1999) from Gagosian Gallery in New York marks the kitchen entry. A blackened steel island cabinet provides separation from the dining area. Patton Design Studio conceived the correlating light fixture, hung over the granite-topped island.
In the kitchen, perimeter cabinets are crafted of corduroy-ribbed oak. Patton designed the blackened steel-and-glass lighting fixture above a waterfall-edge island in leather-finished granite. Separating the kitchen from the dining space, a longer second island is made entirely of blackened steel.
The gallery that runs along the front wall of the great room and extends down wide hallways at the kitchen and master-suite ends of the house features bronze-anodized aluminum trellises mounted into floating soffits.
Randy Patton designed this guesthouse sitting room around Missoni textiles; furniture and draperies wear the same pattern in different color palettes.
They serve as a way to bring pin spots down to the appropriate level for illuminating artworks without blocking the natural light tha t streams through the celestory windows.
Holden points out that these framed louvers not only define the hallway, but also mimic the patio trellis on the other side of the great room.
“The husband didn’t want the terrace so big that the house got dark inside,” he explains, also alluding to the clerestory windows between the lowered patio covering and the roofline, which brighten the space.
Antalya chaises from McGuire sit on a travertine pool deck.
Solid expanses of steel include the patinaed, 6-foot-by-10-foot, pivoting entry door crafted by an artisan the homeowners knew and the fireplace façade that spans from the living room to a smaller fireplace on the terrace.
Surrounding surfaces in the living room include a bleached walnut ceiling, split-face limestone walls flanking the fireplace, and long-plank travertine flooring. Club chairs are upholstered in leather, while sofas and cushions on a pair of rope-clad chairs are cotton and linen blends. The caramel-colored grouping sits on a hand-knotted, Tibetan wool and silk rug that suggests an intricate and organic crosscut-tree design.
Unembellished serenity continues in the study, master suite, and main-house guest quarters, all of which feature grasscloth wallcoverings and furnishings in various shades of tan.
Patton and his clients made two shopping trips to Los Angeles.
“We did an early inspiration trip and found some of the more special things,” he says. “Later we visited showrooms to focus on upholstery.
“Everything was selected from showrooms with fine pedigrees,” he adds. “We wanted pieces for comfort that provide a timeless vibe.”
Holden and Patton give the credit for the overall integrity of the project to the collaborative efforts among their firms, Palm Desert–based landscape architect Wayne Connor, and the homeowners.
“The setting is so special,” Patton says. “We all agreed the house had to be respectful of the serenity that the site offers.”
The owners commissioned this sculptural, rattan lounge chair from a Korean artisan during a European art fair. Patton Design Studio conceived the blackened-steel chandelier.
The gallery features “Tasmania” (1992) by Venetian glass artist Lino Tagliapietra and “Untitled” (2010) by Hurvin Anderson.