For many homes, the jumping off point for the design is a showstopping piece of furniture or a masterful artwork. Not at this residence. For designer Lexi Lundberg it was the breathtaking views of Camelback Mountain, visible from all along the rear of the house. “Our goal was to bring the outside in,” she says. “We played with natural texture and neutrals, so the interiors really complement the views.” An earthy palette sets the tone, while wood ceiling beams lend warmth, and leather, linen and textured upholstery mixes with tactile accessories. “Nothing competes with the exterior,” Lundberg says.
Her clients, Jeff and Marie Seaman, a newly married couple with a baby living in Arcadia, needed more space for their growing family— ideally in their current neighborhood. When they found a rare, nearly 2-acre property at the base of Camelback on the market for just one day, they snapped it up. “I immediately cried when I stepped in the backyard, because the lot is really special,” says Marie, who grew up in a Tucson abode with Santa Catalina Mountains views. “Mountains have always been calming for me.”
Jeff’s work in commercial real estate led them to general contractor Thomas D.L. Carlson and residential designer Steve Simpson. Meanwhile, Marie, who describes the design style she shares with her husband as favoring “clean lines but traditional,” found Lundberg on Instagram. “I was blown away,” Marie says of Lexi’s work, and when they met, they “just clicked.”
The main objective, of course, was to maximize views, but the Seamans also sought a smart layout with distinct areas where they could entertain friends and give the kids space—they welcomed a second child during this project. Simpson’s split floor plan organized the children’s rooms and a playroom to the west, the primary suite to the east and the great room and open kitchen at the center. Upstairs features an indoor-outdoor bar with a spacious covered deck, plus a game area. “It was really about designing the house to be more functional,” Simpson says, “so when the residents are with their friends in the great room, it’s a divided space without a lot of commotion.”
Lundberg chose an abundance of natural and neutral materials for the interior finishes to emphasize the connection between indoors and outdoors: three limestone fireplaces, engineered wire-brushed oak floors, rustic wood ceiling beams, tongue-and-groove ceiling paneling in the primary bedroom and a warm palette of putty, greige and white. “Materials feel elevated throughout, but they’re family friendly and low-maintenance, except in spaces that could handle them,” says the designer, pointing to the primary bath, where Carrara marble is plentiful, and the pantry, which features a custom oak-and-glass door and hand-painted terra-cotta tile on the backsplash.
“Traditional is their default design,” Lundberg says of the owners. “They wanted something timeless that they wouldn’t want to change after a little while, and where they could just continue to grow their family.” As such, Lundberg opted for classic elements with simpler, cleaner lines, as seen in the kitchen’s white Shaker inset cabinetry, chandeliers and lighting, and the higher, detailed baseboards. Furnishings feel contemporary with their inviting scale and simple lines, such as in the great room, where an L-shaped sectional in a performance fabric pairs with the rectilinear shapes of leather armchairs and a wood coffee table. A sleek system of sliding glass-door panels centers on mountain views and opens onto the covered patio and pool. Pottery, ceramic and woven planters balance any modern elements, as do the kitchen’s bar stools and the breakfast nook’s dining chairs, which feature cozy woven seats.
Settled into their new house, Jeff and Marie say everyone has a favorite spot: Their little ones make a beeline for their playroom, while the two of them often gravitate to the kitchen island or the big white sofa on the patio off the great room, where they can enjoy the outdoor oasis created by landscape designer Dustin Walker. “Having those sliding doors open is one of my favorite things about the house,” Marie says. “I knew that we could create something really special with this lot, because to get a Camelback view is so rare on two acres—it’s just unheard of.” On top of that, from their backyard, they can see the ficus tree under which they got married, in a garden at the nearby Royal Palms Resort and Spa.
A rare find, indeed, but for this family, meant to be.