When a couple from Canada were looking to raise the bar for their Paradise Valley retreat, they turned to the trusted team that designed their previous Arizona vacation home just a short distance away. The result is a massive indoor-outdoor complex that rivals any luxury resort. “This home is designed to a very high level,” says builder James J. Morgan. “Resort-style living had become an important part of the owners’ lifestyle and so the project became an extension of the places they have enjoyed around the world.”
Situated within prime viewing range of both Camelback and Mummy mountains, the 1-acre lot truly maximizes the outdoors and surrounding terrain, for which landscape architect Greg Trutza interspersed specimen plantings of cacti, agaves and Bismark palms to enhance the home’s blue limestone terraces, and added a textural palette of hopseed, sugar bush, foothill paloverde, germander and blackfoot daisies for compatibility with the mountainside vegetation that allows for a “sense of place.” Artificial turf was installed between plantings and pavers to reduce water use and add contrast.
The scheme for the interiors took its cues from the environment as well, integrating natural materials with modern fabrications. Despite its large size, the home manages to appear warm and welcoming with the use of stacked stone and ceilings clad in cedar wood, and is balanced by contemporary features such as stainless steel and a striking spiral staircase accessorized with a handblown light fixture. “What I enjoyed most about this client is that they wanted everything new and unique—the latest lighting, appliances and fixtures—so we got to work with a lot of materials that we hadn’t used before,” says architect Mark Fredstrom.
Though it has few interior walls, the open floor plan is made intimate in scale thanks to several defined gathering spaces, such as the living room’s quartet of swivel chairs. “It’s quite a big house, so our challenge was to give it the coziness of a smaller dwelling,” says designer Paul Lavoie, who helped carve out niche-like vignettes within more cavernous ones. Based in Calgary, Lavoie has decorated several homes for the couple and says the soft and soothing Arizona palette provided a great foil with accents of magenta and purple creating a contrast against calming tones of wasabi green and cream.
Local interior designer Kerri Foreman was brought on to devise a plan for all of the home’s finishes as well as interior architectural details and decorative lighting. “The client wanted a clean, contemporary look, yet it had to be user-friendly,” says Foreman, explaining how she and the team endeavored to make the home fairly indestructible for when the couple’s grandchildren visit. “But we also wanted to add a ‘wow’ factor.” A few of these elements include dramatic fireplaces with views from both sides and an industrial-style kitchen island.
Working with Foreman was kitchen designer Mary Fisher Knott, who created a professional-grade space featuring ergonomic appliances and workstations worthy of even the most skilled chef. “You alleviate a lot of stress on the body with the right elements like an elevated dishwasher and raised countertops,” says Fisher Knott. Among the other culinary conveniences she installed are a built-in steamer adjacent to the cooktop, a telescoping hood over the range and cabinets with sliding doors and interior and task lighting.
Luxurious amenities continue back outside with a 49-foot-long pool with a wading edge and lap lane, a rooftop viewing deck with room for 30, numerous fire pits and an outdoor kitchen replete with a smoker. Creating such an impressive space was definitely a team effort, yet Morgan describes the entire process as very fluid, with all team members playing their roles and making modifications to the plan well into the final stages. The result: a resort-style retreat that works for entertaining and relaxing in the desert sun.