An Eclectic Scottsdale Home with a Studio-Like Feel

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When interior designer John G. Martin describes his own Scottsdale home, it is clear that each and every element within was inspired by a deeply creative impulse.“I have an instinct to create what can only be called ‘the unusual,’” says Martin. “My home is a ‘studio think tank’— a trial and error for many of the things I design.” 

The level of experimentation Martin maintains has birthed a warm mosaic of spaces within the designer’s unique abode—a two-bedroom residence featuring one large great room separated into a studio, and living and dining areas. Here, juxtaposition infuses the interiors with intrigue and organic influences, such as in the living area, where Martin pairs an eye-catching, rustic cowhide-and-steer-horn chair with Bernhardt’s sleek, contemporary sofa. Black-and-white photographs by Paula J. Warrender celebrate nature with bold compositions of rock formations. Images of a similar personality are seen in the nearby studio with Martin’s own photography of desert vegetation displayed on vertical, stepped shelving under the watchful eye of a primitive sculpture from Africa.

Down to the smallest detail, the textural qualities of the elements that Martin has chosen—basket weaves, wood grains, animal hides and patinated furnishings—work in concert with an ever-changing furniture plan that defies any set patterning. “My home is always shifting,” the designer says. “I call it a studio because I don’t have attachments to the things I gather or create, so the interiors are in continual flux, bringing an ever-flowing freshness to my surroundings.”

For Martin, this singular point of view means around-the-clock inspiration, where ideas may just as easily come to mind at three in the morning as at midday. The comfort level he has achieved with the ebb and flow of his creative mind makes him bold in his choices. “I’m not afraid of scale,” he says, referring to the large urn—a food vessel created by the Tarahumara Indian tribe of Mexico—that sits on the coffee table in the living area. “I’m always looking for that unexpected shape that will add drama to a space,” says the designer, “and I’m not afraid to repeat it as often as it takes to make a statement.”

Treated to Martin’s fascination with shapes and to his tone-on-tone playfulness, the guest bedroom features an artistic execution consisting of six shades of paint—each in a natural desert color—that creates a Mondrian effect on the walls. The block pattern continues on the bed’s black-suede-and-leather pillows.

It is this level of vivacious artistry that plays a role throughout the entire residence. “I like to describe my home as more of an installation, where sometimes I am unknowingly creating for a future project and my works on paper, paintings on canvas, sculpture and even product design are all connected,” Martin says. “My life has always been a bit off course from the normal, and this has helped me to fashion a unique lifestyle.”

—Saxon Henry