Expressive Interiors

A beautiful living room designed by Luca/Eilers in the book Expressive Interiors. Photo credit: Stephen Karlisch.
A beautiful living room designed by Lucas/Eilers in the book Expressive Interiors. Photo credit: Stephen Karlisch.

Continuing our reviews of our favorite new coffee table book releases, we delve into Expressive Interiors by Sandra Lucas and Sarah Eilers of Lucas/Eilers Design Associates. The subtitle to the book Designing an Inviting Home is apropos, as each luscious photograph of their projects coalesces to create an abundance of beauty that inspires and delights. In the introduction, Sarah writes, “Every waking hour, and often in our dreams, Sandy and I live and breathe design. We are passionate about creating memorable, unique, welcoming residences that express their owners’ personalities and suit their individual lifestyles.” 

The New Book Expressive Interiors

Sandy Luca (left) and Sarah Eilers (right) of Lucas/Eilers Design Associates.
Sandy Lucas (left) and Sarah Eilers (right) of Lucas/Eilers Design Associates. Photo credit Stephen Karlish.

Sandy writes, “Sarah and I founded our Houston, Texas-based firm in 1995. Since then, we believe we have developed a distinctive philosophy and aesthetic—a friendly, compelling, persuasive ‘third coast’ approach—that combines the entrepreneurial grit of the West, the charm and traditions of the South, and the diversity of a large metropolitan city.” The business partners believe what binds them is a respect for design, for each other’s distinctive aesthetic, and for their clients. 

A lovely bedroom designed by Lucas Eilers in their new book Expressive Interiors. Photo credit: Julie Soefer.
A lovely bedroom designed by Lucas Eilers in their new book Expressive Interiors. Photo credit: Julie Soefer.

“We like to think that everything we do is timeless,” they go on to say. “We also like to make things fun and relevant. But above all, we love balance, both asymmetrical and symmetrical.” They take a pragmatic, practical, and, they hope, poetic approach to space planning and interiors. “We are guided by the importance of context and suitability,” they add. “We know the power of scale and proportion.” The pair met as sorority sisters at the University of Texas at Austin. Sandy was already and design major and Sarah was planning to be. 

Light streams in through the windows to illuminate this room designed by Lucas Eilers. Photo credit: Stephen Karlisch.
Light streams in through the windows to illuminate this room designed by Lucas Eilers. Photo credit: Stephen Karlisch.

“From the beginning, we knew we had a lot in common,” they note. “This was even before we shared the experiences of staying up all night drafting projects by hand, interning for architectural firms, and seeking out and learning from wonderful mentors in design.” Surveying the projects in the book, these early activities paid big dividends. Expressive Interiors has been divided into three sections: Behind the Design, The Houses, and Design Laboratory. In the latter, they each showcase their own residences. 

Rich greens bring a vibrancy to this living room by Lucas Eilers. Photo credit: Stephen Karlisch.
Rich greens bring a vibrancy to this living room by Lucas Eilers. Photo credit: Stephen Karlisch.

They talk about planning, scale and proportion, color and light, and art and collecting in the book. The projects are diverse—from a period mix to western views; and all about art to sun, sand, sea, and sky. We asked them to share with the Currey & Company blog readers responses we knew would interest our avid design-o-philes and they didn’t disappoint.

Sarah and Sandy on Expressive Interiors

C&C: How did it feel to pick up the printed book the first time and see some of your best work between two covers? 

Sandy: It was like the best Christmas morning ever! 

Sarah: I was full of joy and had the biggest smile on my face. I think I even shouted out loud, “the book is here!”

This bedroom, included in Expressive Interiors, reads like a soft haven made for relaxation. Photo credit: Stephen Karlisch.
This bedroom, included in Expressive Interiors, reads like a soft haven made for relaxation. Photo credit: Stephen Karlisch.

C&C: How did you choose the subjects you covered in each section?

L/E: Selecting the topics we were going to cover was one of the most difficult parts of writing Expressive Interiors. Eventually, we decided to focus the beginning of the book on our design process, defining the principles and elements that are essential to our work. We have such affection for each of the projects we’ve worked on over the years and that made selecting images to illustrate each principle another difficult task! In the end, we made image suggestions for each section, but ultimately invited Doug Turshen, our very talented book designer, to make the final decision. The book was originally 280 pages, but Rizzoli thought it should only be 240, so unfortunately some of our favorites didn’t make the cut.

A kitchen designed by Lucas Eilers included in their new book Expressive Interiors. Photo credit: Stephen Karlisch.
A kitchen designed by Lucas Eilers included in their new book Expressive Interiors. Photo credit: Stephen Karlisch.

C&C: For each of you, what is your favorite thing about how this book turned out? 

Sandy: Although I love how the images speak to our work, I was more fascinated by the opportunity to articulate my passion for design. Outlining those thoughts and concepts on paper has been one of my greatest joys.

Sarah: I am so proud of the work Sandy and I have done over the past 25 years. Expressive Interiorsis a culmination and celebration of the energy we’ve dedicated to enhancing peoples’ lives through design. 

Our Leagrave Chairs in a Lucas Eilers project. Photo credit: Peter Molick.
Our Leagrave Chairs in a Lucas Eilers project. Photo credit: Peter Molick.

C&C: We love how you included your own homes in the Design Laboratory section. What inspired you to present your own spaces this way?

Sandy: Our editor, Sandy Gilbert, who has become a close friend though this project, was the one who suggested the Design Laboratory section. She joined us for several of the photo shoots around the country and, for the shoots in Houston, she was a guest at my home. Commenting on how much she enjoyed seeing the design details in each of our homes, she thought it might be helpful for readers who are not as familiar with our work and design philosophies to experience where we live. Sarah and I were against it at first; our houses are very simply designed and certainly not grand. But the idea was woven into the belief that everyone should express who they are through the design of their home, so we ultimately agreed. We’ve been delightfully surprised by the many comments we’ve received stating that the Design Laboratory is their favorite section of the book! 

The Perfect Holiday Gift!

The blues in this bedroom, included in Expressive Interiors, pop. Photo credit: Stephen Karlisch.
The blues in this bedroom, included in Expressive Interiors, pop. Photo credit: Stephen Karlisch.

It was wonderful to see the personalities expressed in their intimate spaces so we agree that it was a lovely idea. If you have friends who adore design and you are looking for that perfect holiday gift, we highly recommend this book that is indeed expressive and provides an intimate look at the design process.

Expressive Interiors by Lucas Eilers

You can buy it on Amazon and on bookshop.org, a platform that supports indie bookstores. If you missed our review of Matthew Patrick Smyth’s new book, click through to our post from several weeks ago.