Interior Design Report: By Phyllis Van Doren • Photography by Martin Mann
Spanish Revival Now
A dream team creates a new/old home...
If we could look into the future several decades, we might see affixed to the front of this La Jolla home, perched high atop a Mount Soledad ridge, a plaque for historical significance. A newly built home, it has already been mistaken as a remodel of a great vintage residence done with integrity. Names that come to mind are the late George Washington Smith, Wallace Neff and Richard Requa.
The home is remarkable for the architect Andrew Wright's interpretation of the vocabulary of 1920s Spanish Revival Mediterranean style with elements of Italy and Moorish North Africa, but as it should be, it's classic timelessness is tempered by the family dynamics of the clients. It's old in a new creative way, accomplished by the symbiosis of the interior designer and architect.
There are many ways of furnishing a new home like this. For this one, the homeowners looked at buying the new art and furniture and rugs as collections they were gathering that would be passed down to future generations.
They have taken their time to layer acquisitions in a slow accumulation that is totally in tune with the attention to historic detail provided by architect Wright. As a result, they chose an interior design firm, Interior Design Imports, headed by Paul Schatz, who is known for his collecting abilities and affinity for design. Schatz has become recognized for his signature hand-painted Talavera tile from the Sta. Catarina Studio in Puebla, Mexico, including what he had specially made for this home. The appropriate application of tile contributes to creating a period feel in this house, from stair risers to courtyards, to the kitchen and pool decoration.
The attention to period lighting, utilizing local craftsmen, is another of Schatz's talents. For all the Requa-style exterior lighting, he bought an original Richard Requa vintage fixture and had it reproduced by Jim Gibson, (one of San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles' "Stars of San Diego 2010"). Some pendant fixtures were brought from Fez and adapted by Gibson, adding the right Moorish touch of exoticism.
Vintage and antique furniture from Mexico, Morocco and Tunisia was gathered with some local reproductions of 19th-century Latin Colonial stylization blended into the collection. Italian pieces are primarily 18th and 19th century; Chinese pieces are from Shangshi. In addition to every thing else, Schatz was the shopping consultant.
Trompe l'oeil and stenciling on ceiling beams was specified by Schatz and carried out by Mark Holmes and Lisa Albert ("Stars of San Diego 2012"), in addition to custom wall finishes.
Custom cabinets with furniture finishes, carried out by various local artists, were important to capturing the needed patina to the interiors.
Schatz chose bleached walnut flooring that was hand distressed and Mission quarry tile where that was more functional.
In what could be called a dream team of client, architect, interior designer and contractor, the desire for a Spanish Revival home for today and tomorrow, has been focused on details that would revitalize the nostalgia for "the old La Jolla" architecture of the 1920s where both architect and homeowner grew up. Imagery brought from the courtyards, gardens and tiled roofs of Italy also were an influence, as the homeowners traveled to the Italy of Tuscany and Florence, an area where the architect had worked, which created even more dialogue of how the final design should unfold. This translates into sheltered courtyard estancia living, views out second-story windows onto textured tiled roofs, ironwork balconies, and the complex puzzle of spaces and places in a 6,500-square-foot, three-bedroom family residence, which includes a private guest suite.
What has been achieved is a timeless gem of comfort, intimacy, scale and enduring charm.