There’s an undeniable romance to the open road, horizons beckoning with the promise of novel experiences. Such travels led one East Coast couple to a new winter abode in Paradise Valley following a cross-country trip via Airstream. Arizona was supposed to be just one more stop on their adventurous itinerary, “but when we got here, I said, ‘I think we have to look for a house,’ ” recalls the husband. “We fell in love with the warm weather and the architecture. And I’d never seen a more beautiful sky. When the sun sets behind Camelback Mountain, the sky lights up in these stunning oranges and purples.”
This vision became concrete when the couple found a modern Paradise Valley residence created by architect Susan Biegner and brought to life with general contractor Luke Wilson as well as landscape designer Jeff Berghoff. The rectilinear structure featured an H-shaped layout and broad expanses of glass that strategically framed mountain views, especially the marquee Camelback Mountain vista that unfolds through the great room’s sliding doors. Interior finishes brought in by designer Katy Schuman of Bohemy Houz created a rich canvas of warm oak floors and built-in cabinetry alongside concrete brick in a creamy sun-bleached hue. “This home serves as a backdrop for living within the landscape,” Biegner explains. “When the sunlight travels throughout the day, you experience the changing tones and textures.”
For the interiors, “they really wanted to embrace Arizona,” says designer Jillian Bader, whom the couple brought on to flesh out the furnishings and decor. The wife was already a fan of Bader’s distinctly organic approach to contemporary desert living, which captured what the couple hoped for in their future abode. “Southwest design and culture are really important to us, so it was fun to have a client who wanted to lean into that,” Bader adds.
Taking the reins as the project’s lead designer, Misha West embraced this atmospheric quality, favoring patinated additions that would reflect the desert’s warmth. “The Southwest is all about natural materials, blending different wood tones with unlacquered brass and earthenware,” West notes. “All of those elements tell the story of the desert landscape without being so literal.” This tonal palette filters through every corner of the dwelling, from the diverse ceramic collection to the burnished accent walls plastered in Roman clay that “give this subtle bit of movement,” Bader explains.
Honoring Biegner’s streamlined architectural envelope, West opted for furnishings with simplified forms, like the elongated dining table and the living area’s high-back armchairs. But she selected silhouettes that leaned toward a gentle curve—a sloped armrest, a tapered leg. “In a more modern home, we always want to find pieces that round out the space for warmth and livability,” West says. White oak, walnut and rattan further soften any sharp edges, alongside decadent upholstery of supple leather, natural linen, chenille and shearling. Couched in comfort, these pieces carve out dynamic areas in the open-concept great room—shifting from the sprawling living area ideal for large parties to the more meditative morning-coffee alcove encircled by snowy bouclé chairs.
Alongside these contemporary designs, West brought in vintage finds marked by textures that could only be produced by the passage of time. “Misha travels all over throughout the year to source unique pieces,” Bader explains. As such, rooms are layered with a trove of vintage rugs, antique pottery, throw pillows made from reclaimed textiles, and salvaged furniture, including the dining room’s hutch with its authentically chipped and weathered wooden surface marking generations of use. “For every modern item, we believe that you need to bring something warm, and it’s easy to do that with vintage pieces,” West says. Nostalgic photographs of local landmarks and landscapes are also peppered throughout, “paying homage to an earlier Arizona, back to a time when it was cowboy country,” Bader notes.
These details quickly made the abode a beloved destination for the couple’s family and friends seeking their own desert escape. “We get a lot of calls from people wanting to come visit,” the husband chuckles. “This home has become a landing spot.” Indeed, it’s hard to resist a place so infused with the desert and, as the husband notes, “waking every morning to the crisp, fresh sunshine and that breathtaking view of Camelback.”
Warm interiors and communion with nature ground this modern home conceived by architect Susan Biegner. Designers Jillian Bader and Misha West outfitted an alcove overlooking the landscape with a Townsend Leather-upholstered daybed and throw pillows from Market by Modern Nest.