Glamour Meets Earthy Elegance at HH Prince Khalid Al Saud’s Villa
When it comes to nature-inspired interiors HH Prince Khalid Al Saud’s Riyadh villa designed by Robyn Jensen is an ultimate expression of indoors meets outdoors, glamour meets sophisticated earthy elegance and designer-client synergy.
Prince Khalid met Robyn Jensen, Principal Designer/Owner of LA-based Jensen Interior Design, through close family friends who Robyn had previously worked for. There was an instant collaborative synergy. Not only did the two share a sense of humor, according to Prince Khalid, who is an architect for the large architectural firm Dar Al Handasah, but “[Robyn] had this deep commitment to bringing my architectural vision to life in this unique sophisticated blend of sculptural shapes, textures and color—and lavish detail.”
As the daughter of a landscape architect and former manager of the Environmental Conservation Department of New York, Robyn grew up watching her father design parks and campgrounds in the Catskill & Adirondack Mountains and enjoying nature on family camping trips. “Environmental awareness and connecting to the beauty of nature is near and dear to my heart and essential to what informs my work as a designer”, said Robyn. So, when given the opportunity to play with the essence of “California indoor-outdoor living” for Prince Khalid’s home, Robyn was in her element!
“I wanted to design the space so no matter what room you enter you never lose your connection to the outdoors. From that first moment when you enter the house you are surrounded by cool slabs of Emperador marble flanking the walls, bringing in this earthy elegance with a waterfall of light flowing out of the void over the floating staircase and a modern geometric screen overhead in matte brass finish”, said Robyn.
She went on to further explain her drive and the personal nature of this stunning project, “Most importantly to me, the space tells the story of my client, who he is, his travels, what has resonance for his life. All architects have a visionary, artistic side of them that needs room to breathe.” Fueled by his overseas studies in Switzerland and London, and his international travels, Prince Khalid’s vision for his home was to “bring some of the positive design values from different societies back to Saudi Arabia—primarily simplicity, a minimalistic touch, but one that is steeped in elegance.”
So, tasked with bringing Prince Khalid’s vision to life Robyn tapped into her love for nature and her personalized design approach and created what she perfectly explains as “a luxurious environment where the spirit can soar, the heart is happy and he feels connected to the source…of life, of nature, or his own tremendous creativity.”
And Prince Khalid was beyond happy with the end result, “[Robyn] really got to the essence of who I was and created a design based on that knowledge so the end result is a totally customized home. She is also a stickler for supreme comfort (she made me sit on everything). She just has this knack for pared-back elegance…and she’s not afraid to let elements really breathe. All of which translates to an amazing ability to create arresting moments that stop the mind and really made my home a tranquil place…She was able to draw out what is most important for me to experience in the home, to articulate and elevate my own design sensibility and in the end create something stunning—that was, honestly more than I could have ever envisioned.”
Inside the Residence
“In the Family Living Area near the pool— I found this wonderful silvery sand-colored marble and let it flow from the floor all the way up the feature wall, so the entire wall feels alive with this subtle movement like the sands beneath the shallows, with inset alcoves of white marble that house our branch light installations…so nature takes center stage. The Liquid chandelier pours out of the void like a waterfall— mirroring the infinity waterfall of the adjacent pool,” said Robyn.
Making a statement on the right wall is a pair of curved Decadence etageres by our very own KOKET!
And in the foreground, we see the Family Dining Room, of which Robyn said, “We found this indigo lacquer tabletop in Milan bringing the water theme into the dining room directly opposite the blue of the Olympic size pool….Above, a Serip chandelier I dubbed, “The Gilded Bird’s Nest” completes the scene. So nature and wonderful natural materials flow inside the space with an understated representational elegance and a little bit of humor.
When asked what his favorite space was Prince Khalid replied,
“Hands down – it’s the mancave…. honestly, I never want to leave it!…We found so many pieces for this room, that Robyn dubbed the project MCV – Mancave Villa!”
Words by Anna Beck Bimba
This article originally appeared in Love Happens Volume 4, 2019/20.
Explore the full edition of Love Happens Volume 4 for more inspiring design and other intriguing content!