Designers to Watch

In Seattle, Three Designing Siblings Create Homes That Are Relaxing Havens

Portrait of siblings Rachel, David, and Suzie of Lucas
Together, these siblings — (from left) Rachel, David and Suzie — run the Seattle design outfit Lucas, which shares their last name (photo by Talitha Bullock). Top: In the living room of a Palm Springs hacienda, a Finn Juhl Pelican chair faces a custom velvet sofa. Charles Kalpakian Dot side tables echo the polka-dot rug (photo by Douglas Friedman).

David, Suzie and Rachel are the talented trio of siblings behind the 10-year-old Seattle design firm Lucas, which aptly shares their last name. All three of the Long Island, New York, natives — who make up half their family’s six kids — hold bachelor’s degrees in artistic disciplines: Suzie in painting and illustration, from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan; David in architecture, from the nearby Parsons School of Design; and Rachel in furniture design, also from Parsons.  

After college, David eventually settled in Seattle, soon followed by younger sister Suzie. The duo worked for noted interior designer Terry Hunziker for more than a decade before taking the plunge and opening their eponymous firm, convincing Rachel to relocate from New York and join them in the venture. 

“We’re known for our holistic approach to interiors,” says David, “focusing on both the interior architecture and furnishings.” This careful consideration of the space itself as well as the objects that go in it produces a very personal result, says Suzie, adding, “Our style is modern and warm, handcrafted and bespoke.”

Here, David and Suzie — the firm’s creative director and principal designer, respectively (Rachel handles the business matters) — chat with Introspective about their aesthetic, which includes a love of natural materials; discuss the strange appeal of the Memphis movement; and talk about an unconventional style icon. 

Family room in Palm Springs designed by Lucas
Verve, a 2019 still life by Curtis Speer, hangs over the custom sectional in the family room in Palms Springs. The Nickey Kehoe coffee table rests on a vintage Moroccan rug. Photo by Douglas Friedman

Where do you find inspiration?

David: I’m inspired by watching someone perform a task in their home. Then, I try to consider more efficient or elegant solutions for them through design. I can make small modifications to their interior that will have a huge impact on how their home will function and feel for them personally.

Suzie: This might be cliché, but I find inspiration in nature and natural materials. I’m always drawn to colors found in nature. 

Who is your favorite artist?

Suzie: I’m a huge fan of the Dansaekhwa monochrome painting movement, specifically the work of Ha Chong-Hyun. What’s interesting about the 1stDibs experience is that it introduced me to artists and works inspired by this style that I might never have found otherwise — for instance, pieces by textile artist Chang Yeonsoon.

David: If I could own a piece from any artist, it would probably be a Rembrandt. His ability to convey so much emotion through light is otherworldly. I would also consider living in a Richard Serra sculpture.

Bedroom in the Palm Springs house designed by Lucas
Nightstands by Dos Gallos flank a custom platform bed in the Palm Springs house, while Luc Bernard’s Open No. 5, 2015, hangs overhead. Allied Maker’s Angular floor lamp in white oak complements the oak, leather and steel bed frame. Photo by Douglas Friedman

Who is your favorite furniture designer?

Suzie: I love George Nakashima, because of his use of natural materials, and Charlotte Perriand, for her well-proportioned, classic pieces. We also enjoy working and collaborating with Jeff Martin Joinery

David: I love Phillip Lloyd Powell’s work because it feels so free — as if he were just daydreaming and started carving wood. I also love the work of Casey McCafferty, for his craftsmanship, innovation and quality. 

What are your favorite design periods or styles? 

Suzie: I would say International Style and modernism. In terms of a building’s shell, I don’t like a lot of extras. I’ve always been drawn to a very pure aesthetic without a lot of ornament. Whenever I go on 1stDibs, I always look at mid-century furniture.

David: I’m a sucker for gorgeous brutalist buildings. I love the severe cleanliness of the lines. And to add to what Suzie said, we have a book in the office called Ornament is Crime!

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with furniture from the Memphis design movement, probably because of a book I found at the library. I was so drawn to how colorful the furniture was and how crazy the shapes were. I am still waiting for the opportunity to create my Ruthless People design moment.

Who is your personal style icon? 

Suzie: Animal from the Muppets. He’s kind of unhinged but also kind of cute.

David: As far as a living person, it would be actor and writer George Hahn — I just like his vibe. Otherwise, I would say Paul Newman. Who doesn’t want to look effortlessly cool?

Living room of a vacation home in Sun Valley, Idaho designed by Lucas
For the living room of a vacation home in Sun Valley, Idaho, the firm custom designed a curved oak console to fit against the Vladimir Kagan Serpentine sofa. The Foscarini Rituals lamps on the console add to the room’s organic feel. Photo by Gabe Border

What is your favorite historic house? 

Suzie: The Schindler House, in Los Angeles, which was built in 1922. I love the use of natural and industrial materials. I also love that it breaks the mold of traditional residential design. The spaces are designed to be flexible — bedrooms can become living rooms, dining rooms, etcetera. 

David: Katsura Palace, in Japan, or the Alhambra, for specific buildings. In terms of a historic building style, I would say the layout of the homes of Pompeii. I love a house designed around courtyards.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be? 

Suzie: Tokyo! It’s such a vibrant, active city. It’s so futuristic, but then you’ll turn down a little side street and wind up in a quiet little temple garden. 

David: Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where I lived at one point. When I lived there things weren’t about making money — it was about being creative. People opened pop-up shops before they were even called pop-ups. They just took over a garage and sold food or art! 

What would your dream project be? 

Suzie: We’ve had plenty of opportunities to remodel outdated twentieth-century designs. I would love the experience of restoring and reimagining an older creation, honoring the story and character of the original building and giving it a new life. Maybe a castle? Maybe in Italy? Know of any in need?

David: I feel like we’re living the dream. It’s not about a specific project but the people we get to create with. We recently completed a project where the artist David Wiseman was brought on to create a piece — a large branch sculpture that we mounted above a sofa in the TV room of our client’s house in Beverly Hills. Getting to work with him was so much fun. 

A study in a Sun Valley home designed by Lucas
The serene study in Sun Valley is simply furnished with a tatami mat, a bent-plywood desk and a Ty Best for Caste Design chair. Photo by Gabe Border

What’s one thing you’ve done that shouldn’t have worked in a project but did? 

Suzie: We mixed and matched several different bold tiles with bright colors and patterns in a residence in Palm Springs. At first, our clients thought we were totally crazy, but the finished product is really striking.

What’s it like to work with your siblings?

David: Working together is a lot of fun! My sisters are great collaborators, and we can be very candid with one another about what works and what doesn’t. We have different opinions, but there’s a great deal that we don’t need to explain when communicating, because so much is inherently understood. It’s what makes our finished spaces so successful.

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