Home Away From Home: Michelle Nussbaumer Unveils This Coastal Retreat She Designed for a Family, Aptly Named Laguna

Passionate about setting the stage for adventurous lives to be lived, Michelle Nussbaumer is an award winning, pioneering interior and product designer, who has transformed this multi-family vacation home into a luxurious retreat

Known for her eclectic and maximalist style, Michelle Nussbaumer’s designs are exotic and filled with inspirations from her travels. From a young age, she was introduced to treasures from her parents’ travels across the globe, notably the ornaments brought back from Japan and Africa. With a house in New Mexico, she would frequent the Native American reservations, which induced a thirst for travel and a love of tribal. Her signature style combines a fearless use of colour whilst reflecting an eclectic yet timeless mix of bold patterns and influences from around the world.

Interiors expert Michelle Nussbaumer

Having collaborated with this client for many years, Nussbaumer embarked on her fourth project for this particular family, which spanned several years. The task at hand was to transform their multi-family vacation home into a luxurious retreat that exudes comfort suitable for young children, all while accommodating the interests of three sports-minded generations.

One of the family members, a sports agent with boxing stars frequently visiting, led to the inclusion of a boxing gym in the design. The house had to cater to the needs of teenage boys, toddlers, and staff, requiring carefully planned spaces for privacy and functionality. A significant influence in the design process came from the family's daughter, the sole woman in the family, who acted as the creative force behind all the projects. As a jewellery designer herself, she collaborated seamlessly with Nussbaumer, understanding the family's preferences and shared a passion for design.

An intriguing aspect of this project was the incorporation of furniture pieces from the family's grandmother, who was also a designer in her time. For example, the de Sede sofa in the living room was a precious heirloom with historical significance. Given the family's love for patterns, Nussbaumer’s expertise in incorporating patterns and creating unique designs made her the go-to designer for this project. The approach taken was to infuse modern elements while still respecting their love for color pattern and worldly influences. To achieve this, Nussbaumer custom-made most of the furniture and fabrics for the project.

Noteworthy pieces in the home included furniture from JF Chen, custom ottomans by Kanye West, and pieces from Blackman Cruz and Ralph Pucci. Nussbaumer's own custom furniture, such as the “Uno” chairs in the kitchen, the “Tekelote” wall console, and the “Otel” ottoman in the entry, showcase her talent and expertise and bring the aesthetic of the house to unparalleled heights.

Words: Emily Leung & Nikey Cheng
Photos: Douglas Friedman (Architecture and interiors)
Published on April 19, 2024