A Scottsdale House Takes Cues From its Desert Surroundings

Details

Contemporary Stone Exterior

Organic materials—fluted split-face masonry blocks, a standing seam metal roof and polished black concrete pavers—allow the house to blend into its surroundings. Builder Jeff Lupien used a custom shot-blasting process to better expose the beauty of the blocks’ natural aggregate.

Brown Contemporary Kitchen with Copper Casts

Quartersawn walnut cabinetry and a bar topped with Red Dragon granite from Picasso Tile & Design anchor the kitchen; its stepped cloud-like soffits fashion sculpture-like intrigue. Chocolate leather barstools from Crate & Barrel and a series of copper casts from Gerald Peters Gallery add warmth.

Modern Neutral Guest Bathroom

A wall of sea grass limestone featuring a large architectural rib is flanked by obscured glass to create an ethereal bathing spot in the guest bath. The inset Kohler tub boasts fixtures from Ferguson and a Dornbracht waterfall spout.

Gray Porcelain Tile Entrance

Oxido Carbone porcelain tiles from Facings of America are a cool option for the foyer floor and tie in the masonry of the home’s fireplace. An Asian-style red lacquer console separates the living room from the entry space.

Brown and Gray Living Room

The muted tones of a custom Asher-Cole sofa, covered in basket-weave Highland Court chenille, works in harmony with the architectural elements of the living room. Custom chairs upholstered in a reversible patterned Robert Allen fabric pair with an ebony-finished cocktail table.

Gray Porcelain Tile Entrance

Oxido Carbone porcelain tiles from Facings of America are a cool option for the foyer floor and tie in the masonry of the home’s fireplace. An Asian-style red lacquer console separates the living room from the entry space.

Brown and Gray Living Room

The muted tones of a custom Asher-Cole sofa, covered in basket-weave Highland Court chenille, works in harmony with the architectural elements of the living room. Custom chairs upholstered in a reversible patterned Robert Allen fabric pair with an ebony-finished cocktail table.

Gray Contemporary Dining Room

A turquoise punch is repeated in a mixed media on reclaimed wood by Brad Huck in the dining room, where a chandelier explodes from the ceiling in a fluted spiral of acrylic leaves.

Brown Contemporary Kitchen with Copper Casts

Quartersawn walnut cabinetry and a bar topped with Red Dragon granite from Picasso Tile & Design anchor the kitchen; its stepped cloud-like soffits fashion sculpture-like intrigue. Chocolate leather barstools from Crate & Barrel and a series of copper casts from Gerald Peters Gallery add warmth.

Desert Rear Elevations with Pool

The red hue of the Perennials fabric found on stylish outdoor furnishings from Inside/ Out—set in intimate lounge groupings, and a bar and dining area—echo the color of the tensile awnings connected to the home by custom architectural supports.

Neutral Eclectic Master Bedroom

An impressive fireplace of quartersawn walnut and Frank Lloyd Wright-reminiscent corner stone blocks divide the master bedroom, which features floor-to-ceiling windows that dissolve the indoor-outdoor barrier. Club chairs and a bench, both covered in Glant chenille from Dean-Warren, provide a pop of color.

Modern Neutral Guest Bathroom

A wall of sea grass limestone featuring a large architectural rib is flanked by obscured glass to create an ethereal bathing spot in the guest bath. The inset Kohler tub boasts fixtures from Ferguson and a Dornbracht waterfall spout.

“When working with a piece of architecture that is as dramatic and commanding as this house, there is a choice to be made,” says interior designer Maika Winter. “Does one defer to that or does one make the interior powerful in its own right?” Winter chose the latter—and created an interior that speaks for itself while still respecting the whole as the sum of its parts.

Built as a primary home for a retiring couple in Scottsdale’s DC Ranch, the house is a study in angular details, natural elements and unmatched site integration with endless views of the desert and the adjacent golf course. “It’s not something that just fades into the background,” says architect Vernon D. Swaback, “yet it is still compatible with the land.”

Swaback, an admirer of Frank Lloyd Wright, worked alongside project architect Mike Wetzel and builder Jeff Lupien to incorporate some of the renowned architect’s most fundamental principles—echoing the landscape, the use of local resources and open, light-filled spaces—all of which effectively blur the line between indoors and outside. “We wanted to create a strong textural home that would meld the exterior with the interior and combine warm contemporary colors with a little surprise now and then,” says the wife.

“The challenge always lies in the execution of the fine details,” says Lupien. “Fully understanding the vision for the end product is critical, and we were very fortunate to have dedicated owners that could thoroughly articulate their ideas to the entire team.”

Upon entering the residence, the eye is immediately drawn to the living room’s multifaceted fireplace of quartersawn walnut flanked by corner stones reminiscent of Wright’s design, all set in sandblasted split-faced fluted masonry blocks with a polished concrete mantel that is repeated at a higher elevation. Deep red pillows accent a sofa and a pair of chairs covered in muted shades of tan and gray, while an ivory lampshade picks up the desert hues beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows.

The living room is part of the home’s main structure, a large open space that also comprises the kitchen, dining room, breakfast area and bar. “It was a challenge to create intimacy within each space,” says Winter, who began the project alongside Studio V Interior Design and completed it after starting her own firm, Wintercreative. “Features like the ‘floating clouds’ on the kitchen ceiling and geometrically shaped countertops offer a spatial alternative to walls,” adds Swaback.

“The landscape directly influenced the palette of the home, which is fairly toned-down and neutral, with color brought in as hints of drama in each space,” notes Winter. Bright turquoise, earthy reds and butter tones, with warm gray walls as a backdrop, are repeated throughout the home and are given varying levels of prominence in each room. In the master bedroom, a pop of blue is provided by two armchairs and a bench covered in Glant’s Deep Lagoon.

A similar turquoise punch is repeated in a mixed media on reclaimed wood by Brad Huck in the dining room, where a chandelier explodes from the ceiling in a fluted spiral of acrylic leaves. Lighting was carefully addressed throughout the house to optimally showcase both the architecture and the art. “The challenge was the complicated ceiling design, composed of sloping and flat planes at various heights,” says lighting designer Nikki Holt, who, along with principal Walter Spitz, tackled the issue head-on. “Linear cove lighting highlights the intersections between ceiling planes, and carefully placed spotlights illuminate furniture and the owners’ extensive art collection.”

For all of the incredible moments of the house, the owners carry a soft spot for one in particular. “This project was born from the opportunity to work with Vernon, who I had been following for several years,” says the wife, “and it grew into an incredible symbiotic blending of teams that is evident by the end result.”

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