As interior designer Holly Ogden tells it, “Our client would often go online looking for a vacation house in Phoenix, but she never could seem to find the right one.” The time spent scouring real estate listings ultimately paid off when she finally found the perfect desert retreat. “The layout and location were great,” says the wife, who quickly sent her husband and son down from their home base in Canada to check it out. “We decided we loved it and bought it on the spot,” the husband adds.
After searching for so long, the couple were eager to get things moving. A mutual acquaintance—Carmen Brodeur of Trillium Properties—connected the new owners to Ogden and her colleague, fellow designer Patty Burdick, and the clients’ brief was simple: “We wanted something different from our home in Canada,” the wife explains. “There needed to be some color, and it had to take advantage of the Phoenix sunshine. We asked them to make it bright and livable. Then, we stepped back and let them work their magic.”
There was, however, one not-so-minor complication. “We started construction on the renovation in December and needed to be finished by spring break in April,” says Ogden, so she and Burdick turned to builder Greg Hunt. “We trusted his ability and expertise to get the job done without sacrificing quality,” says Burdick. Despite the breakneck pace, Hunt reports, “Working with good designers, good subcontractors and wonderful clients, we were able to meet our deadline and produce a beautiful product.”
Even with a daunting timeline, Ogden, Burdick and company had some major changes in mind, among them gutting and reconfiguring the guesthouse. Once used as a workout space for the previous owners, it now features a bedroom, bathroom, wet bar, and cozy reading loft. The main house’s bathrooms received updates, too, with Ogden and Burdick taking them back to the studs and slab flooring and redesigning them with brand-new finishes. The daughter’s bath, for example, now sports a fantastic plaid tile. (Quips Ogden, “Patty’s never met a plaid she didn’t like.”) The master bathroom experienced an even more extensive remodel to rework its former dysfunctional layout and happily acquired a sculptural soaking tub crowned with a crystal chandelier. Likewise, the kitchen got its own extreme makeover, defined particularly by the presence of zinc on the hood, shelving and cabinetry. The palette, a mix of gray, indigo and orange, “is the thread throughout the entire house,” says Burdick.
To furnish the house, Ogden and Burdick gravitated toward an eclectic mix, but tailored with clean lines. “It’s always a treat to work with clients who don’t typecast design as a whole,” Ogden says. “They were on board to blur the lines between traditional and contemporary. It’s an aesthetic that’s fun to design around.” Generous upholstered pieces with classic profiles, covered in subdued creams and vivid reds and oranges, scale nicely with the large proportions of the rooms. Antique Swedish pieces, such as a grayed-out oak map chest in the dining area, are balanced by a vibrant collection of bold contemporary art assembled by the designers.
In keeping with the Mediterranean vibe of the house, the landscape feels more California than Phoenix. “It’s in a former citrus-growing area and very lush, so we could do something more horticultural,” says landscape designer Jeff Berghoff, who mixed in date palms, rosemary, lavender, and boxwood in a palette of white, soft lavenders, blues, and a few pinks. He and his team also improved the circulation around the garden, framed views to Camelback Mountain and updated the pool. New focal points also appear, including a lawn for entertaining, revamped fountains in the front and new fountains in the back. “The look is tailored and elegant,” he says, “designed to be like a little resort.”
Marathon pace notwithstanding, the project was a great collaboration and everyone was extremely happy with the end results. “I always keep a design treasure trove of inspiring fabrics and ideas, many of which made it into this project,” says Ogden. And the owners couldn’t be happier. “When we went to see the reveal, I started to cry,” says the wife. “There wasn’t a thing that didn’t exceed my expectations.”