shannon wollack

A Fresh Take

Looking for a change of pace, an L.A. family creates a sophisticated yet relaxed retreat in La Quinta.

Jessica Ritz Current Digital, Home & Design, Real Estate

shannon wollack


The relaxed atmosphere of the Coachella Valley offers an opportunity to take risks when it comes to interior design. Such was the case with a Los Angeles family who tapped West Hollywood-based Studio Life/Style to design their vacation home in La Quinta.

For the desert escape, the clients wanted “something cool and unique, modern but still approachable,” explains Shannon Wollack, cofounder of the firm known for its celebrity clientele and sophisticated, SoCal-inflected design. Before breaking ground, Wollack and business partner Brittany Zwickl were already connected to the homeowners through social circles; they were the right team to craft the interiors of a ground-up project at The Madison Club.


The approximately 6,400-square-foot main house would be a departure from the owners’ primary L.A. residence, which skews more traditional. Their directive for this home balanced laid back contemporary glamour with the needs of a family who have three young children, and who regularly entertain. They also envisioned hosting guests in the spare bedrooms and casita.

Achieving the right visual language began with the architecture. Stephen R. Nieto, architectural designer at  South West Concepts based in La Quinta, notes how when designing Spanish Colonial Revival style buildings, “Generally, we add a certain amount of detail on the outside, but here we wanted a more modern style.”

Planning an indoor-outdoor connection was key.
ShannonWollackBrittany Zwickl

A deep L-shaped sofa from Cisco Home, a nesting coffee table from Sabin in Los Angeles, and custom chairs form a gathering area for socializing and relaxing.


The rear patio outfitted with custom swings by PSS Design Cult is an irresistible draw to the homeowners and guests.

This meant the removal of components that typically would embellish similar Mediterranean-inspired homes, such as decorative moldings. “We cleaned up a lot of the lines and kept everything crisp,” Nieto adds. The home’s overall massing and touches — such as the elegant archways, entry courtyard with a water feature, and terra cotta tile roofing — serve as nods to the style.

Given that this is first and foremost a family home, the team devised an effortless flow among the rooms and a generous scale. The carefully edited color palette and eclectic textures represent a shift from the occupants’ environments in L.A. When designing a vacation home,” Wollack observes, “it’s fun to bring in something different that the client isn’t used to or doesn’t already have.”

What Wollack dubs “the great room” combines cooking and socializing with an open kitchen featuring gray washed oak cabinetry, a marble island, and Elite Living’s Soho stools. Other selections in the expansive area reflect the designers’ goal to “mix and match materials without getting too busy.”

The primary bedroom is a truly restful refuge, thanks to a custom canopy bed frame and neutral-tone rug sourced from Woven in West Hollywood. The corresponding marble-clad bathroom houses a freestanding tub and a jaw-dropping double shower boasting stunning views outside. Waterworks plumbing fixtures and steel doors complete its look. “It’s clean but exquisitely beautiful,” Wollack says. For the younger crowd, an elaborate custom bunk bed that sleeps six is a kids’ fantasyland where they can have the run of this designated domain, complete with a colorful and location-appropriate cactus-patterned wallpaper. 


The anteroom is sheltered but open to the entrance courtyard. Harbour Outdoor seating sits under natural fiber pendant lights from Design Mix Gallery.


The round dining table surrounded by handmade leather chairs custom-made at Casamidy in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, paired with the Triad collection chandelier and corresponding sconces by in-demand lighting brand Apparatus, are earthy and contemporary.

To maximize the site and its captivating vistas of the golf course and landscape beyond, planning a seamless indoor-outdoor connection was key. This dynamic begins with the welcoming anteroom. It’s sheltered by a roof but open to the elements facing the walled-off entry courtyard, and is one of the multiple spots graciously configured for the family to enjoy time alfresco together.

The backyard and pool area contains the real show-stopping moment in the form of a deluxe patio with two oversized swings custom fabricated by PSS Design Cult in L.A. Fully retractable pocket doors both in front and back help accentuate the flow and dramatic impact. “Literally, you can walk in the courtyard and the glass is open all the way through the house,” Nieto says. “That’s the money shot.”

It’s a family home with effortless flow and generous scale.

The kitchen is open to the great room for a casual flow. The photograph titled Happy Donkey by Anne Menke adds a fun touch.

The swings are large enough to accommodate two people on each, and make for a particularly swoon-worthy napping spot — especially when the fireplace is roaring during chillier days and evenings. Porcelain flooring surfaces outside establish continuity with the home’s interior. Wollack says “a bunch of kids and adults” can gather around the sunken fire pit seating area, which is accessorized with ample comfortable cushions and throw pillows.

While this home is a getaway where the occupants can immerse themselves in a fresh aesthetic, The Madison Club house makes for an ideal spot anytime. “It was a great collaboration and they put a lot of trust in us,” Wollack reflects. “They were fully on board with getting out of their comfort zone,” and into a comfortable, contemporary vacation home.

The primary bedroom is a truly restful refuge.

A minimalist, geometric chandelier from Brendan Ravenhill’s Church lighting series is installed in the primary bedroom’s cathedral ceiling over a custom contemporary canopy bed.


A double shower affords views of the golf course and vistas beyond.

For the primary bathroom, Wollack and Zwickl chose floor mosaics from Kelly Wearstler’s Ann Sacks line. The Brendan Ravenhill brass chandelier echoes one in the bedroom; steel sconces from Studio Dunn flank custom vanities.