By Lisa Marie Hart
Photographs by Lance Gerber
Styling by Michael Walters Custom Homes
Andalusia at Coral Mountain opened in 2006, bringing Old World-style homes to the country club scene. Built to resemble those in the Andalusia region of southern Spain, the residences, with their colorful tile work, brick accents, and curved archways, added a Moorish influence to the city of La Quinta. Most buyers were prompted to decorate with Tuscan furnishings in a warm, Mediterranean color palette.
Now, more than a decade into the country club's Spanish story, many homeowners are leaning modern. One of the latest to illustrate this is a four-bedroom residence that Nicholas Lawrence Design completed for clients. Having chosen a shapely home with a chalky white exterior and sparingly used but impactful tile, the couple from Toronto with three grown sons brought a modernist mindset and a nuanced art collection to the table. In turn, principal designers Nicholas Hertneck and Lawrence Lazzaro promised to achieve harmony between the classic Andalusian façade and what was to be a decidedly contemporary living space.
The firm designed the interior, courtyard, and land scaping of the 4,331-square-footnew-construction home. “A lot of the choices they could make with the builder they kept to a minimum,” Lazzaro says of the clients, “because they knew that we were going to come in and change a lot, which we did.”
The customizations included moving the living room fireplace outdoors and replacing it inside with a cantilevered model; installing marble slabs on the kitchen wall; using steel-framed, factory-style glass doors to enclose the media room and master bath; and putting 14-foot walls around the courtyard. The result, says Lazzaro, is “modern, ethereal, and playfully colorful, with spectacular views and spaces that showcase their magnificent art."
The entry point is a beamed-ceiling vestibule under a quartet of Moroccan lanterns. A doorway framed in decorative tile leads to the center courtyard. The home and its casita face inward, where textured porcelain pavers meet a lattice of Mexican beach pebbles. Inlaid with their edges up, the rocks evoke a current of rippling water – a detail the designers had admired in Spain.
Off the courtyard, an open living area makes the first modern power play. The massive hood over the new custom fire place is made of digitally printed stainless steel. Its purple ombré gradates up to silver, which complements the marble surround below. From a console table a domed brass lamp draws the eye, the jewel-toned acrylic orbs in its base picking up similar colors on the fireplace hood and refracting the natural light filtering in from the courtyard and patio. “Everyone seems to be wild for that Jonathan Adler lamp,” notes Lazzaro.
A dining area transitions the living space to the kitchen, where a wall of book-matched Calacatta Vagli Oro polished marble basks in the homeowners' choice to forego upper cabinets. With the hood and range pushed to the left, the kitchen has a refreshingly asymmetrical arrangement.
Across from the open great room, a private media room sits behind a hulking set of glass-paned steel doors. “They make quite a beautiful modern statement, which is also still a nod to the Spanish Revival, because these are the same doors you would see in an old Spanish Revival house,” Lazzaro remarks. A set of windows looking into the courtyard echoes the design. Eggplant-purple accent walls play off charter use velvet chairs and ottomans. The room has built-in millwork and 1960s-inspired window treatments, repeated throughout the house.
The main hall wraps around to the master suite, a neutral refuge with a writing desk and a fireside armchair. Small reading lights are incorporated into a framed headboard of tufted linen that reaches the ceiling. Past the steel door that opens to the master bath waits a feminine retreat, with walls washed in Dunn-Edwards' Soft Lavender, a pinkish lilac that feels sweet but not cloying.
Further along the hall, two guest suites welcome visits from the couple's boys. One boasts a white leather headboard; the other has a headboard wrapped in crewel embroidery, a piece the clients had been holding onto for years. Both ensuite bathrooms feature wallpaper based on the drawings of Piero Fornasetti.
Visiting families appreciate the self-contained casita off the courtyard. Inside, a double-sided fireplace edged in a zigzag of black-and-white tile warms both the front sitting area and the back bedroom.
On the back desk, a crane dropped in several enormous pots to enhance and break up the expanse of eating, dining, and swimming zones along the golf course. “As the olive trees we planted in them grow, they will create shade without blocking the view, just sort of layering and framing it. It makes the deck feel more intimate, too," he says, as well as introducing hints of a Mediterranean garden.
"This is a style we love working in because it's the best of both worlds,” Lazzaro adds. “Andalusia's homes offer enough Old World charm to play with silhouettes and shapes, but our big challenge and big fun was seamlessly connecting that to a modern lifestyle."
las Lawrence Design Showroom is the only residential dealer of Knoll furniture in the desert. The Andalusia clients tapped into the showroom as a resource for their Saarinen Tulip dining table with Executive chairs and for the Bertoia Diamond chairs with sunflower-yellow pads in the courtyard. Other lines the firm's showroom represents that found their way into the home include Della Robbia, Trica, Mr. Brown London, and Made Goods.
The sleek outcome begs the question: Why choose Old World new construction over a midcentury home Ora community filled with more contemporary estates? Andalusia’s Rees Jones golf course factored in, as did the couple's desire to join a newer club, one that would attract fellow transplants, providing an easy setting in which to make friends. They reasoned that, with the right design firm, their modern home could slip into any exterior in any club.
“We are very happy with the way the Spanish Revival architecture at Andalusia melds with our modern design in such a harmonious way,” Lazzaro notes. "Workingon this project has actually influenced our style and strengthened our design vocabulary for combining modern interiors in traditional architecture.”