manolo langis langoworks photography

Let’s Get Comfortable

The show is over in a home designed to drop pretense at the door and enjoy together time on every scale.

Lisa Marie Hart Current Digital, Home & Design, Real Estate

manolo langis langoworks photography

The private nature of country club life affords scarce opportunities for sneak peeks at new builds and the au courant choices within. At Bighorn Golf Club, a team that has worked together for a decade has documented its latest collaboration: a home that intrigues on the exterior and soothes once inside. Their client wishes to remain unnamed, but the photogenic tour alludes to where architecture and design appear headed behind the gates.

Amid a natural desertscape, the 9,800-square-foot home fans across a mountainside lot. Its simple geometric forms and linear steel rooflines nearly graze a mountain outcropping that tumbles in a rocky silhouette down to the property’s edge. A sliver of Palm Desert air moves between the ancient land and one of the community’s latest homes.

Easing past the gate into the private entry courtyard, one has been greeted by four specimen palm trees and one magnificent sight, encompassing the architecture and design of this contemporary home, its fine art, and the vast nature beyond the back pool.
“It is all about the way the house connects to the site,” says interior designer David Lucas of Lucas Design. Many of the decisions the team made stemmed from the siting of the structure and the opportunities that presented.
“We wanted to create a really comfortable place to relax and recharge.”
Celestial by Gino Miles from Imago Galleries anchors the first impression, placed prominently off the entry. “Clerestory windows give the roof forms a floating effect in the great room,” says architect Bill Hayer. Sofas are from Room & Board.
Yet, where more timid homes have tiptoed their way into a rugged landscape, blending with the hillside in a cloak of sandy beige, this one is cool, creamy, and self-assured. It connects through subtler choices: door and window placement to the views, refined materials in understated hues, and moments for artwork that enhance the home without detracting from the setting. “It feels so refreshing in the context of other desert homes,” Lucas says. “It’s a home that is both sophisticated and warm and inviting at the same time.”
Starting its arc from the mountainside bedroom suite, the pool curves across the back of the home. Fountains pouring in from the far side make a soothing soundtrack. Sun loungers are from RH.
“It is all about the way the house connects to the site.”
Founded by David, Suzie, and Rachel Lucas, native New Yorkers now based in the Pacific Northwest, the firm gladly embraces a design project in the Coachella Valley, where their workspaces (which become living spaces) are more apt to fill with sunlight. On this luminous residence, David and Suzie worked closely with Bill Hayer of Hayer Architecture and San Diego-based Hill Construction Company to complete the second-home sanctuary on Bighorn’s Canyons Golf Course.
The movement of lines in the Montclair Danby Vein Cut Marble from Stone Source grounds the open kitchen within the context of the great room and emphasizes the horizontality of the rift white oak cabinets and clerestory windows.
“The relationship of the living spaces creates privacy where you want it.”
Dining and lounging areas on the lanai invite ways to savor the Bighorn views.
“Overall, it has a very soft, contemporary feel,” Hayer says. “The roof kicks up on one side and the resulting angle and triangular forms create dynamic effects on both the interior and the exterior.” Where the roof projects upward, a row of clerestory windows brings in a measure of natural light. “The house becomes a very light, bright, comfortable, and happy place to be. There is a casual elegance to the design that I don’t believe is overdone, and that too makes it a very comfortable home.”
Integrated lighting on the wood ceiling inset warms the well-defined dining area.  
As a welcoming entry point, a trio of large palm trees rustles above the front courtyard. (Another meets you at the gate before you enter). Indoor-outdoor living begins at the threshold. From the first step into the courtyard, where bedroom wings wrap on both sides, views through the home and past the pool grab hold, leading the experience of what it means to feel at home here. Push open the glass door and you are at once part of the living area, the outdoor lounge and dining areas, and a prime spot for sunning by the pool. Whomever said “everything in moderation” needs to reconsider. More views, more glass, and more light calm the spirit organically throughout the home.
A rustic wooden bench and custom bed in the main bedroom introduce organic elements, appropriate for a space that transitions to the outdoors.

Colossal picture windows and walls of floor-to-ceiling glass leave limited real estate for paintings traditionally curated to introduce energy, texture, and color. In their place? Area rugs scatter their patterns in a striking resemblance to the many veined and marbled surfaces. A mix of modern woods stretch across the ceilings and cabinetry. And statement sculptures create the first of three layers when viewed against the glass and the framed scenery outdoors.

Those ubiquitous pops of color are relegated to the spine of a book or the flames flickering across the length of a fireplace. “In a departure from the usual material palette you see in the desert, the materials are quieter with subtle shifts of color and lights and darks,” Lucas says. This technique leaves a clean-lined, modern cocoon of neutral tones. Steel gray, charcoal, taupe, and ivories are in harmony with the basalt brick installed vertically on the fireplace wall.

When only a soak will do, a freestanding tub ensures a serene outlook through its picture window facing the mountain.

The experiential focal point of the central gathering space is a wine bar and its glass vault, safe-keeping bottles in repose. Defined but not confined, the kitchen, dining, and living areas revolve in a social semicircle around it.

“The relationship of the living spaces creates privacy where you want it,” Hayer says. Clustering the areas while keeping them open “is all about family; it just flows. The floor plan is just as comfortable for a family of four as it is for a party of 40, and that’s always a challenge.”

In the kitchen, a popped-up ceiling and a bank of clerestory windows emphasize the drop of the pendant lamps above the island. A solid walnut slab over its honed marble mass warms elbows and ambiance for those who pull up a tawny leather stool. Upper cabinets in rift white oak hopscotch over two windows and the marble-slab backsplash.

Tucked behind the great room, a theater room off the main entry is scaled down to cozy proportions and an office faces the pool and the mountains as part of the main bedroom wing.

“We wanted to create an inviting home that feels like a really comfortable place to relax and recharge,” David notes. “It was a requirement that it feel high-quality without feeling pretentious. A true luxury experience doesn’t need to hit you over the head.”

A dark marble wall slicing through the main bathroom accommodates a glass-enclosed double shower room on one side. The marble is “Silver Wave” in leathered texture from Stoneland in North Hollywood. Its built-in bench is “Gascogne Blue” limestone tile from Stoneland.

Off the main bedroom, a patio calls for a first cup of coffee or a last sip of wine, facing one of the stone walls along the perimeter. The hand-placed stones lend a soft touch to this personal retreat, diffusing the predominantly modern mindset. Wander a few steps to the right and the spa will bubble the day’s cares away.

The spa adjoins the pool, whose arc follows the same sweeping line of the covered lanai. Feet away, a row of sun loungers wait for another unfettered Bighorn sunset. “The water feature spilling into the pool creates a lot of movement in the water especially at night when the lighting moves all over the house,” Hayer says. “It’s a dramatic look” that entices more indoor-outdoor living after dark.

The art collection, curated by Leisa Austin of Imago Galleries, “offers a dynamic, eclectic mix of sculpture and paintings, both small and large in scale” to complement the furnishings, says Suzie Lucas, as well as the strong bones of the home.

A projector screen and custom lighting by a theater consultant bring authentic drama to the theater room for the full cinematic experience when hosting movie nights. Pillow-strewn sofas offer the cozy seating of home. Gander sculpture in bronze by Guy Dill from Imago Galleries.

A self-contained two-bedroom guesthouse finishes the five-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bath estate. Nestled among the natural rock hillside, guests find a luxe living area, their own media room, a secluded patio, and two fully appointed guest rooms linked to private courtyard access.

With homes completed and in progress at Bighorn, The Vintage Club, and The Madison Club, Ryan Hill, president of Hill Construction Company, holds this residence up as a “stunning desert masterpiece.” “Previously partnering with the Hayer-Lucas team on multiple projects has allowed us to know each other on both a personal and professional level,” he says. “This type of synergy always ensures a fantastic project.”

Especially, as Hayer adds, when “We all have a similar aesthetic and just build on each other.” Even if few people other than the client ever glimpse the end product, such original designs advance a club’s yen for fresh new builds and propel the imaginations of design teams to come.

• READ NEXT: Horticultural Holiday Brings Colorful Landscape to Siva House.