Podcast, Ep. 360: Timeless Modern Interiors with Lucien Rees-Roberts

Architect and Designer Lucien Rees-Roberts

We are joined this week by award-winning architect and designer Lucien Rees-Roberts. He discusses his new book published with Rizzoli, Timeless Modern Interiors, showcasing many of his iconic projects through photographs. Lucien shares insights into his design process, including collaborating with architects to understand client needs and editing down designs.

In his work, Lucien emphasizes using color, light, and art placement to create beautiful, comfortable modern spaces. We also welcome Erin Fredrickson, a Partner at Rees Roberts + Partners, who shares great advice  for selecting unique, well-made pieces that stand the test of time in both form and function.


Timeless Modern Interiors Book Cover

Timeless Modern Interiors by Lucien Rees-Roberts + Partners. Order your copy here.

What You’ll Hear This Episode:

  • Lucien talks about how growing up in a family of painters influenced his work.
  • More about Lucien’s design process including collaborating with architects, understanding client needs, and where he starts when editing down designs.
  • Tips on designing comfortable yet modern spaces, using unique and special furniture pieces, and balancing creativity with practicality.
  • More about furniture design and prioritizing comfort, including ideal seat heights and depths.
  • How to create intimacy in large spaces through design elements such as double-sided sectionals.
  • A few of the projects highlighted in Timeless Modern Interiors, including a gorgeous home in Croatia and stunning oceanfront retreat in St. Lucia.
  • Lucien’s experience collaborating with landscape designers on interior and exterior projects to create immersive spaces that connect to natural surroundings.
  • Modern architecture doesn’t have to mean cold! It can also be warm and inviting.
Excerpt from Timeless Modern Interiors

Excerpt from Timeless Modern Interiors by Lucien Rees-Roberts + Partners.

Decorating Dilemma:

Hello Ballard Team & Guest Designer(s),

As intimidating as this is, I am writing to you in desperate need of your design wisdom! My husband and I bought our 1914 vernacular craftsman farmhouse 3 years ago, and I’ve struggled with the living room from day 1. Overall, I want my home to feel happy and quirky and cozy with lots of color and pattern. Unfortunately, I don’t think my current look is achieving that. I would love to hear your thoughts on some specific issues I’m struggling with:
  1. I want to highlight the beautiful windows we have, but I don’t know if the current window treatments look right. How would you dress these windows? (Note: I hung these striped drapes the day before I listened to the Eric Ross episode in which he instructed NO striped curtains. Forgive me, Eric!)
  2. I inherited this fabulous sofa from my grandmother and can’t decide how to reupholster it! What would you do? I am not afraid of a funky sofa, but whatever I go with must stand the test of time. The sofa weighs at least 5,000 pounds and my husband is only going to take it to the upholstery lady once and then I’ll have to live with it for a very long time. Also, this is a real working farmhouse with lots of dirt and manure and grease. White is a no-go.
  3. If you were my friends in real life and came over to visit, what would you zhuzh while I was making cocktails in the kitchen?
  4. Any other glaring issues that need to be discussed?
I have a million more questions, but I’ll cut myself off here. I appreciate any feedback you have! And thank you so much for consistently releasing quality interviews and introducing me to so many wonderful designers over the years – my coffee table books are sick! You ladies are doing a great job.
– Ashley

Thank you, Ashley!

Okay, so first, Lucien recommends keeping the striped drapes but also consider a lighter color like white to highlight the windows. Remove the roller shade if possible for a less commercial look.

For the sofa, consider upholstering it in a durable outdoor fabric in a fun color or pattern that will stand the test of time. Consider adding throw pillows in coordinating colors. Adding an oriental rug can soften the room and hide dirt/grease from the outside world.

The angled placement of the chest is not ideal, so we are thinking it could go behind the sofa. Otherwise, no other glaring issues, and your space is nicely styled overall!

Minor tweaks like a rug will make a huge difference.

How to Decorate

Also Mentioned in This Episode

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Happy Decorating!

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Kelley Bostian

Kelley enjoys a light and livable home and is always searching for that perfect finishing touch. Here on How to Decorate, it's his goal to help you bring your own unique design vision to life.