Designer Crush: Jules Wilson Design


As the principal and founder of San Diego-based interior design studio, Jules Wilson Design, Jules Wilson brings a unique vision to multi-family and hospitality projects. Wilson’s latest project, the Fit Plunge, is an art deco public swimming pool that she and her team have transformed from a corroded Spanish Renaissance building into a modern glass structure that reflects and reframes the panoramic views of the ocean.
Learn more in our Q+A below.

How did you get your start in design?

While I was in design school, my parents encouraged me to get a summer job. Fortunately, I landed an internship with an interior designer who ended up being a great mentor. She helped jump start my working career.

Tell us all about Fit Plunge and how you helped transform the space.

The client needed to demolish the portion of the building that was structurally failing, and build a new building that could endure the harsh, albeit beautiful, beach environment. The client wanted to showcase the largest historic pool in Southern California, and create a monumental fitness facility and destination that would draw people near and far to enjoy for years to come. 

The first thing we did was remove the elevator core that was blocking the prime view to the pool, and demolish the northern 3/4 of the combined two buildings where the steel structure was failing. We built a new building out of aluminum, complete with full height glass, retractable roof, mega ocean views with vertical hinging windows, and three levels of defined fitness experiences. In addition, we relocated the elevator and created an entrance tunnel from the south side to open up the view to the pool, offering an immediate dynamic experience of the grand historic pool as the centerpiece. 

Another challenge was the low height ceiling perception of the south building, and its limited 30 feet building height and programmatic three floors (2 interior + roof). By puncturing the building everywhere (horizontally and vertically; and the use of full building height glass, skylights, floor openings and white out ceilings), we were able to reverse the low height ceiling perception and create a room that flows with light and air. 

From a historical point of view, we had one more big challenge. We had to recreate the historic “tri arch” that had been demolished. Instead of fighting it, or hiding it, we decided to celebrate the arches as the grand entrance to the north building titled “Plunge,” and make it a marquee to the project. 

Our unique approach to master planning from the inside out, including visioning and schematic architecture allowed us to make major design moves that sparked a major redevelopment effort around surrounding Mission Beach, driven by local community members. It’s a testament to the power of design and how design can shape how people feel about their environments and communities. We’re so proud to have had a part in not only changing the space aesthetically, but instilling a sense of pride and community in Mission Beach.

What’s your process for getting to know a new client?

Every client is different but I always start the process the same way – I do a dive deep into what is important to them and what excites them. I delve into a client’s dreams for his/her space so that I can deliver something beyond their expectations.

How do you define California style?  

Light, airy, fresh, and soft. Californians tend to be very sensitive to climate and air. Central to California style are the blending of indoor spaces and outdoor spaces, making the demarcation between the two spaces porous and seamless.

What are some of your favorite design trends that never go out of style (and any you’d prefer to never see again)?  

Style and trends are very different. If something is stylish, well designed, well proportioned, it will endure the test of time. I lean towards using natural materials in my own work as they tend to stay on-trend longer than synthetic ones. And although I believe all styles can be done well, I would hate to see Post-Modern architecture come back to fashion.

Describe your dream vacation.

One of my most prized possessions is a vintage Donzi, a gift from my father. I love its streamlined body and pared-down proportions. It’s a dream of mine to take it for a ride around the Mediterranean with loved ones.

Lightning round!

Favorite holiday?

I have three favorite holidays – Halloween (I love to dress up), Thanksgiving (I love to cook), and New Year’s Eve.

Go-to comfort food? 

Bruno’s pizza.

Current celebrity crush?  

Tim Walker.

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