You could say that designer Jennifer DeMasseo had a little more leverage than usual with a commission for the interiors of a new home in Scottsdale’s exclusive Silverleaf neighborhood. “The owners are my parents,” says DeMasseo, who saw the job as an opportunity to grow as a designer while giving her clients a chance to expand their vision, as well. “We had a great time blending their ideas with my design expertise.”
For the architectural plan, builder Tom Argue and residential designer Ken Brown Jr. responded to the owners’ desires for clean lines all around with a very tailored, manicured look. “They had an idea in mind for the floor plan,” explains Brown. “They wanted it to be very open with usable space, no hallways and lots of outdoor living areas. So, we took their input and did elevations and iterations until they got what they wanted.” The home itself—part-Spanish Colonial and part-Mediterranean villa with clay tile rooflines, smooth stucco walls and faux-limestone sills and surrounds—was designed with those specifications in mind.
On board with that approach, Argue was sensitive to getting things exactly right. “When we got our hands on the plans, we made sure every detail met the expectations of the indoor-outdoor living concept,” he says. From an experiential standpoint, the concept begins at the front door. “There is not a definitive formal entry,” explains DeMasseo. “To draw people in, we designed a beautiful solid-panel wall with applied molding that carries through to the great room. Vaulted 22-foot-high ceilings and the expansive 16-foot-high opening of bifold doors fashion a seamless transition to one of the many outdoor living spaces.” In addition to creating a comfortable living place, the great room also sets the tone for the home’s neutral soft gray, cream and taupe palette, which allows for artwork collected during years of travels to provide accent colors here and in all the rooms.
Furthermore, DeMasseo customized many of the furnishings to complement existing pieces, designing them to be understated yet classic so they would never go out of style. The great room sofas are upholstered with a nubby charcoal fabric and are paired with gray leather side chairs. Details such as an assortment of custom Kravet and Lee Jofa throw pillows add layers of texture and pattern to the mix. “We utilized every inch of space and arranged things to allow for flow,” says DeMasseo. “It’s so warm and inviting.”
Off the great room, the classic kitchen is airy and bright and features Carrara marble-topped cabinetry, created by R&G Custom Crafting, that references the great room’s paneling. A central island, with a simple slab of Cambrian black satin-granite, functions both as a work space for caterers and seating for a casual meal. For relaxation, the owners retreat to their serene master suite, which offers the comfort of a custom-framed bed, as well as seating by one of the home’s five fireplaces. And thanks to French doors that open to a private courtyard and fountain, the master bathroom is filled with natural light.
The task of integrating the home into its surroundings while also adhering to local neighborhood covenants fell to landscape designer Jeff Berghoff. “The key was to create impactful curb appeal while buffering the backyard from neighbors,” he says. Working with the cadence of the native mesquite along the street, he added a paved walkway that traverses a garden and lawn to an intimate entry courtyard. A careful layering of native trees, plantings and pots adds a sense of visual interest and privacy to the backyard area, which includes a custom-designed swimming pool and water wall, as well as a seating area focused on a fireplace. The great room opens to the patio to enhance the indoor-outdoor flow. “It’s a really wonderful area to entertain,” notes Argue. “It feels like a little oasis that embraces you.”
Despite the fact that DeMasseo installed a 72-inchwide glass-topped table in the formal dining room, the owners often utilize an outdoor dining area, as well as a fully furnished ramada, for entertaining. Situated off the swimming pool, the latter is a covered structure that provides shade by day and the warmth of a fireplace come nightfall. There, furnishings sport indoor-outdoor fabrics that are durable enough to stand up to spills and the antics of the couple’s four dogs.
Throughout the process, the homeowners’ influence was felt everywhere and was highly welcomed. “The home is like a piece of artwork for them, and when you have the people who commissioned the artwork so excited and involved in the project, there’s no question it is easier to deliver exactly what is wanted,” Argue explains. DeMasseo heartily agrees, “Their home is a total reflection of their lifestyle, passions and special memories.”
— Linda Hayes