When they’re not busy traveling to faraway locales, Shasta and Jen Scobie can almost always be found at the nearest (or furthest) thrift store, foraging for discarded studio pottery and other curious novelties. “I didn’t start traveling until my late 20s, but once I did, I made it a priority and collected many treasures over the years,” says Shasta, a strategic program manager for a tech company. And yet, the couple’s collection had little room to shine. “We had just three pieces of furniture: a bed, a couch, and a table. Everything else was relegated to the sidelines and the house was more or less empty,” adds Jen, an engineering manager for a tech company. That is until the pandemic, when months of being indoors exposed the home’s shortcomings—and left them longing for a redesign. Luckily, they knew just the person for the job: dear friend and interior designer Nick Spain of multidisciplinary design studio, Arthur’s.
The couple—who share two cats and a dog—didn’t really have a brief. What they did have were complaints (about the house, not each other): The home lacked feeling, the furniture was mismatched, and the surfaces were too few to give their beloved travel souvenirs pride of place. “We imagined the home to be like a well-designed hotel lobby with lots of little spaces for lounging,” shares Shasta. “But other than that, we didn’t have many expectations.” For Nick, objects from the couple’s voyages served as the point of departure. “There are ways you can travel without going anywhere at all, or at least that was the hypothesis we had for the design,” he reveals.
Jen was particularly keen on incorporating touches of Hollywood Regency throughout the space. “She loves over-the-top flourishes, which is how we landed on gold fixtures and some of the bold patterns,” says Shasta, who herself favored more sentimentality related to travel. The double brief was no big deal for the designer, who was excited to figure out a way to marry Hollywood Regency romanticism with a minimal, modernist vibe that would sync with the home’s midcentury architecture.
“We used the existing collection of objects and the memory of specific locales and travels to inform the project and its materials,” Nick explains. What he also did was ask (and answer) fantastically philosophical questions: How do the shapes of Meso-American pottery echo the modernist sculptures of a Barbara Hepworth–feeling vase? In what ways are works in the Hollywood Regency style evocative of Moroccan brass detailing? What vernacular cues does this very Joseph Eichler–seeming home share with the work of Barragán?
The philosophy lesson was worth it. Nick was able to create a cohesive aesthetic that drew from various corners of the world. In the living room, he clad the floor-to-ceiling fireplace in a dark tile evocative of lava rock, and then filled the space with a selection of classic items: a sky blue Anfibio sofa, Rrres rugs hand-crafted in Oaxaca, a Noguchi floor lamp, and Chandigarh chairs by Pierre Jeanneret.