2024 Residential Architecture Desgin: Studio AR&D Architects

A hanging sculpture by Joanna Poag and a Turkish kilim rug fill the home’s entryway. The ceramic stool, created from cedar wood, is by Dan Pollock. Photos by Lance Gerber.

“Our aim was to create a house where the interior and exterior spaces not only read as one but were experienced as one,” says Studio AR&D Architects’ principal Sean Lockyer of the home he conceived of for a couple in Palm Springs. “And I think that we were successful in achieving that, with the landscape coming right up and even coming right into it at times.”

Glimpsed over the fireplace in the great room is a vivid triptych by Ko Kirk Yamahira. The dining chairs are by Mario Bellini. Photos by Lance Gerber.
The kitchen’s teak island is paired with stools from Blackman Cruz. A de Sede sofa sits atop a rug from Erik Lindstrom. Shou sugi ban, a Japanese process that consists of burning and then treating the wood, ensures the Douglas fir ceiling that runs throughout the home is mold-, bug- and fire-resistant. Photos by Lance Gerber.
The oval black stone Shift table, discovered at MASS Beverly, swivels from coffee table to dining level. Francois Champsaur’s Origami for Pouenat arches over the cozy tableau. Photos by Lance Gerber.

The home, located in the Indian Canyons neighborhood, was built on a formerly vacant lot. “There had never been a house here before,” says Lockyer who, anticipating the neighbors’ concerns, substantially lowered the house and the roofline, nestling the home into the site. “That way we would be sure not to block any views.” While that decision translated into a space with modest ceilings—“We’re not really a firm that designs homes that have these 14-foot-high ceilings,” Lockyer notes. “The height should relate to the space and the floor plan”—the result is far from oppressive. Instead, the low-slung house, with its floor-to-ceiling windows, its grand pivot doors and its expansive openings with their deep overhangs, reads as open and welcoming. Rich hues, charred Douglas fir ceilings and rugged finishes color the space cozy rather than cavernous, despite its substantial—even sprawling—7,000 square feet. “The consequence of these tweaks, adjustments and accommodations was that, instead of being a hindrance, what we ended up with turned out to be a much better house,” says Lockyer.

The triptych over the fireplace in the great room is by Ko Kirk Yamahira. The dining chairs are by Mario Bellini; the armchairs are by Gerrit Rietveld. Photos by Lance Gerber.
Board-formed concrete was chosen not only for its durability but for the organic qualities its texture would bring to the interior. Photos by Lance Gerber.

“We start with siting the house, so we’re thinking about the landscape and the layout simultaneously right from the beginning,” says Lockyer, explaining the firm’s approach. Bubble drawings capture the ideas for the different spaces and finesse the flow. “Then, from there, we’ll generate a floor plan and a site plan.” While bubble drawings may seem rudimentary, the provenance of first-year architecture students, Lockyer appreciates them for their flexibility. “It allows you to think much more abstractly about how the rooms will connect, how big they need to be, the relationships between them, how tall the ceilings should be, how everything will connect with the exterior, even about the best materials to use,” he shares.

In the primary bedroom, a hammock by Jim Zivic, discovered at Ralph Pucci, shares space with artwork by Eric Zener.
Photos by Lance Gerber.
The primary bedroom’s custom suspended teak bed is paired with artwork by Ali Silverstein. The Zadeh rug is from Woven. The bright blue dog sculpture is by artist William Sweetlove. Photos by Lance Gerber.
Thoughtfully considered landscaping screens the primary bathroom’s shower, which looks out over the backyard. Photos by Lance Gerber.
The sheepskin stool in the primary bathroom was discovered at Galleria. The vintage flat-weave rug was found on Chairish; the bird sculpture at Mix Furniture. David Curt Morris’ Dusk/Dawn City 2013 hangs on the wall. Photos by Lance Gerber.

Ironically, despite the client’s insistence that they didn’t want to use any concrete, “they got a hell of a lot of concrete. I mean, there’s three major walls of this house that are all board-formed concrete,” Lockyer laughs. He champions both the material and the process, which patterns the concrete with the texture of the grain of the wood slabs used in its creation, admiring the depth it imparts to a home’s interiors. “They wanted the home to feel relaxing and restful, so we were looking for something that would feel organic and calm and earthy,” he says. “We’re very exacting about the entire process—carefully choosing the wood and thinking about the nuances of the texture it’s going to produce, the width of the boards, their grain, the color of the concrete, how we placed them—so that it really becomes the backbone for the interior design more than just something structural.” Plus he notes, it eliminates the need for insulation or painting. “Once it’s done, it’s done.”

A piece by Jay Mark Johnson hangs over a bed by B&B Italia in the guest room. The rug was found at Mansour. Photos by Lance Gerber.

That approach also underlines the simple, sculptural beauty of the backyard, anchored by a pool which, courtesy of its zero edges, disappears into the landscape, morphing into a black mirror that reflects the sky. “It becomes its own piece of art,” Lockyer notes, balancing interiors that, created in partnership with Sam Cardella, showcase the clients’ extensive art collection. “We met two and three times a week, with calls and discussions in between that, to go over materials and ideas and photographs before we presented our ideas to the client,” Lockyer remembers. Everything, from the hints of brass and bronze that wend their way through the house to the floor plan and the placement of the furniture, was a collaborative effort. “We were very aligned, which enhanced everything and made the house feel very cohesive.” In fact, he notes, “from the level of finish to the craft to the customization, it changed how we have approached our projects moving forward, ” says Lockyer. “It was an unusual situation that worked out really well.”

Gloster Archi Teak Lounge chairs in fabric sourced from Opuzen Fabrics cluster around a white marble table from Restoration Hardware. Photos by Lance Gerber.
Merging with the ground, the zero-edge pool is transformed into a black mirror reflecting the sky. The white lounge chairs are by Richard Schultz for Knoll. The sculpture is by Jun Kaneko. Photos by Lance Gerber.