Some views demand your undivided attention, like the ones surrounding this family abode in Paradise Valley. On clear Arizona mornings, the homeowners awake to vistas of Camelback Mountain’s copper ridges cutting across the sky—a precious sight for these California transplants who fell in love with the state’s landscape.
Flanked by such natural beauty, the couple wanted the scenery to take center stage in their home by creating more pared-down, restrained spaces. “It’s such an attractive setting, so we kept it very simple,” says designer Dana Lyon. “We opened up the rooms and added more light.” Achieving this sense of openness required dissolving some of the residence’s original Santa Barbara-inspired structure in favor of sharp, crisp interiors with no ornate distractions. Lyon collaborated with architect Joanna McBride to incorporate leaner finishes that would emphasize the dwelling’s viewpoints. This approach was informed by home stylist Nicole Zeff, who worked side by side with the design team to achieve her vision. “The wife likes clean, simple lines,” notes McBride. “So we wanted to update the interiors with a more contemporary look.”
Though the warm terra-cotta tile roof remains, window and door openings were widened and filled with new sleek black frames that maximize views. McBride also unbuttoned the main gathering areas by expanding the kitchen’s footprint and removing a gallery hallway to broaden the living room. That central living area now pivots toward the outside thanks to new French doors and the addition of a patio, generously covered to “mitigate all that sunlight coming into the house,” notes McBride. The softer light pouring through the open layout creates “this transition to a beautiful view of the pool and Camelback Mountain,” the architect adds. More intimate spaces also filter outwards, like the couple’s bedroom, reformatted to lead to a private lounge area. Now throughout the home, “you get to see outside from all different vantages,” says Lyon of the new configuration.
Landscape designer Jeremy McVicars complemented the existing olive trees with layered plantings. Iceberg roses alongside dwarf ollie and myrtle compose a romantic, yet simple palette of white flora and verdant foliage. Peeking in from every window, the lush greenery stands out against Lyon’s precisely tailored interiors. With the exception of the reclaimed oak flooring, each room maintains restrained hues oscillating in “variations between black and white,” notes the designer, who loves “the drama of some dark spaces mixed in with light rooms.” To that effect, she cloaked entire spaces in a single color, melding the boundaries between the walls and ceilings to convey a cathedral-like atmosphere. Lighting in contrasting hues helps punctuate the elevated look, like the black minimalist hoop pendants in the living and dining areas and the study’s antler chandelier, its organic forms made more pronounced against the dark ceilings.
Any additional details remained minimalist and monochromatic: see the crisp white kitchen cabinetry with quartz countertops, and the cubist black marble fireplaces in the living room and study. This sensibility carried through to Lyon’s approach when curating new furnishings, which echoed “a desert modern idea, with clean, organic lines.” For the gathering areas—both indoors and out—she favored oversized seating with deep-set armchairs and generous nine-and-a-half-foot-long sofas made for curling up together. “They’re very family-oriented,” says Lyon of the couple. “These spaces are really made for comfort.”
With that in mind, the designer also utilized durable indoor-outdoor fabrics throughout the home. The textiles themselves range in “beautiful shades of off-white and gray, with some richer materials on the pillows to give it more texture,” she adds. Yet the restrained palette still makes room for some light-catching sparkle, taking advantage of the luminous spaces. “There’s a little piece of jewelry in many of the rooms, whether it be the faucet, the lighting or the wallpaper,” notes Lyon. Reflective details glimmer throughout, from antiqued twin mirrors in the main bedroom to a silver-leafed painting commissioned for the entry.
Now, the couple never feels disconnected from the views that have come to feel like home. Everything has “great light and use of the environment,” says Lyon. No matter where you look, she adds, “you get a strong sense of being outdoors, even when you’re inside.”