Two designers celebrate their opposing aethetics in one harmonious home
We’ve all been there. One member of the household wants layered and lived-in while another prefers spare and conceptual. Los Angeles designer Joe Lucas, co-owner of the West Hollywood design shop Harbinger, and partner David Heikka, senior manager of international store design and visual concept at Juicy Couture, are no exception. When they moved into their 1920s French Normandy-style apartment 21/2 years ago, each had his own ideas for rehabilitating the top-floor unit with its views of the Hollywood Hills. Laughs Joe, “We had vision, just different visions. David loves spare and calm. I tend to like more layers and some pattern.”
But, as often happens with cooking, music, and many other creative pursuits, Joe and David managed to use their differing viewpoints to create a fresh synergy. They focused on their shared love of artwork in quirky yet calm colorways, defining, in a way, the spirit of “new traditional.”
Starting with the sizable sunlit living room, the two agreed they could reconcile their ideas using a calming color. They chose a chalky gray hue paired with clean white trim that would highlight not only the collections displayed in the room’s original built-in niches but the views through the large-paned -windows.
The enveloping gray provides a fresh yet neutral backdrop for a jaunty mix of bold artwork and furnishings spanning all eras. Setting the tone is a big abstract painting of bold black-and-white brushstrokes by fellow designer Jamie Bush. Notes Joe, “Our most important pieces are the massive Franz Kline-style painting by Jamie over our sofa and the very organic painting by Alex Mason over the bar in the dining room. Both artists are great friends of ours,” he adds, “and it’s nice to be surrounded by work from people you love and respect.”
Above the fireplace mantel just opposite the Jamie Bush abstract is another hanging—an all-white piece of plasterwork that David kept from his retail merchandising days. Both Joe and David love its interesting texture. On the once bright-orange store prop, David decided to lay a thick layer of white paint to bring out the piece’s sculptural forms. “It’s as though someone has run their fingers through thick white frosting,” he says. Chimes in Joe, “Actually, white plaster is kind of a through-line for our apartment.” Shapely white pottery is not only found atop a pair of industrial étagères flanking the large living room window but is also scattered throughout the living quarters.
Sure-handed hits of color and character enliven the gray of the living room. There are the acid-yellow cushion and interesting legs of the square vintage coffee table, the oversized tangerine lamp, the shiny leather upholstery, and, tossed about, a few Brandolini pillows in primitive patterns.
But the dining room is where the pair went all-out with color and pattern. Amid the zigzag stripes of muted lilac and gray-blue wallpaper sits a roomy dining table surrounded by chic French armchairs from the 1940s with sea-grass seats and backs. The ceiling is a dusky lavender trimmed in high-gloss black and punctuated with a white gesso-coated wave chandelier. “The dining room sits in the middle of the house and is a throughway,” notes Joe, “so we wanted it to really have its own personality. Thus the wild herringbone Idarica Gazzoni wallpaper.”
To calm the huge horizontal zigs and zags yet add to dining drama, Joe brought in a massive custom Swedish-style carved mirror that leans against the wall from floor to almost ceiling height, attracts light, and reflects more color-saturated art on the opposite wall.
Dramatic color and texture continue into the master bedroom. Both Joe and David wanted a dark wall color and chose black chalkboard paint counterpointed with acidic mustard linen curtains and salon-style walls slung with artwork collected together over time. Says Joe of their growing art collection: “That is one thing we agree on most of the time. We have a real mix of stuff—etchings of sailboats, moody portraits of crazy old ladies and serious old men, colorful abstracts in oil and pastels, and some personal pieces mixed in. A pastel of a paper bag in our bedroom was done by my über-talented niece. I begged her to sell it to me so I could give it to David for Christmas. There are also a few of my grandfather’s paintings.”
Fitting for a Jazz Age French-style salon in the heart of Hollywood, the apartment reflects a sense of joie de vivre. Here is a new traditional style that celebrates the harmony of contrasts and complements. Vive la différence!
Photography: Karyn R. Millet
A sofa by Bunny Williams Home upholstered in an outdoor velvet is tough enough to welcome Joe and David’s dog Fred, yet stately enough for their many guests. The antique French butcher’s table that now holds a vivid orange lamp is one of Joe’s favorite finds.
Living Room Details
The David Rattan and Brass Armchair with navy leather cushions is a custom design of Joe’s (available through Harbinger) and adds a touch of Joe’s sailing roots to the room. Joe found the old orange needlepoint, “David David David” cushion at auction, “and I just had to get it for him!” he laughs.
Living Room Mantel
A white-painted store prop and a collection of pottery add visual interest on the mantel.
Living Room Desk
An antique writing desk and chair add retro appeal to a quiet corner of the living room.
Living Room Details
Tufted armchairs in a lavender Holland & Sherry wool from Harbinger flank a slatted console table placed in front of the living room window.
Joe Lucas (left) and David Heikka with Fred, their rescued Australian Cattle-Korean Jindo mix.
The large dining room is all about high drama and fun. Using overscaled elements—a herringbone wallpaper by Idarica Gazzoni, a Swedish-style carved mirror, and a large antique dining table—sets an uplifting, over-the-top mood for parties. The gesso-painted wood wave chandelier is from Joe’s shop, Harbinger.
Dining Room Details
A stocked bar sits against one wall of the dining room, always ready for cocktail parties and get-togethers. “We are lucky we have a great garden area for guests to ramble out back,” says Joe.
Joe and David built a lighthearted vignette with a pair of vintage Shaker-style rush chairs from Harbinger, a collection of mirrors and art, and a papier-mâché zebra head.
Antiqued glass on the mirror, dried coral, and geometric curiosities add to the personality of the hallway vignette.
Joe and David’s apartment is one of many designer homes featured in Ronda Rice Carman’s new book Designers at Home: Personal Reflections on Stylish Living  (Rizzoli, $27). In her book, Carman, founder of the lifestyle blog All the Best, offers readers a sneak peek inside the homes of top interior designers—among them, Charlotte Moss, Madeline Stuart, and Nicky Haslam.
Of Joe and David, she says, “They just have amazing style. Their apartment is whimsical, traditional, and lighthearted yet very current. It completely reflects their personalities.”
Encased in Benjamin Moore chalkboard paint, the master bedroom is a study in contrasts. The seagrass headboard from West Elm, the burlap side table from Noir Furnishings, and the mustard linen curtains add texture, while the varied paintings and drawings quietly emit more color and emotion. “We fell in love with the kooky green and the old gold frame in the abstract above the bed,” says Joe.
Master Bedroom Details
The bedroom’s chalkboard paint provides the perfect backdrop for the room’s more neutral elements, and lets the gold drapery from Pindler & Pindler pop.
Master Bedroom Details
Joe and David’s love for artwork spans the past and future, and Joe will commission pieces from family and friends. The brown paper bag pastel is by Joe’s niece, and the pencil drawing of their dog, Fred, is by Ian Dingman, who Joe commissioned to draw from a photo just days after they rescued Fred from the pound. Says David, “I tend to like the more abstract and conceptual, and Joe, the representational.”
Subway tile in the master bath keeps things simple and relaxing. “Pigeon Gray” wall and ceiling paint ground the tiles’ airy white hue.