In the design world, there’s nothing better than clients knowing what they want—provided, of course, that those clients have a keen eye for design. Luckily, that was the case with architect Milos Minic and general contractor Austin King’s clients, Katie and Brian Stoll. “I remember Katie brought in a rough sketch of her thoughts on how the floor plan might lay out for the spaces they wanted,” recalls Minic of his first meeting with the couple. “The sketch became the driver of the design concept.”
The Stolls wanted what King, who also built their previous residence, sums up as a “modern farmhouse.” The Arizona neighborhood of Arcadia, where they built, is flush with farmhouse-style homes, so taking that direction meant there were no worries that it would stick out like a sore thumb. They wanted it to be eye-catching, but in a good way. “We were trying to achieve clean, crisp, modern lines, but still really fit the context of Arcadia,” says King.
To that end, Minic’s design nods simultaneously to the past (a shake roof, the use of dormers and white exterior brick) and the present (vertical siding, metal accents), infusing the house with character. “The wood shake roof grounds the home in tradition while the standing-seam metal roof accents suggest a streamlined, modern look,” notes the architect. “And the white surfaces provide a pure, clean backdrop for the natural wood accents.” Adds King, “It feels fresh for the neighborhood. It’s slightly progressive, but it doesn’t stand out because it’s gone too far. It stands out for the right reasons.”
For the interiors, Katie, who oversaw the furnishings, knew she wanted an open concept and something with a coastal sensibility, including lots of natural wood and rattan. “We definitely wanted it to feel like a home for entertaining,” she says. A great room where everyone could converge and easy indoor-outdoor flow were also key. Consisting of the kitchen, dining and family areas, that great room is encompassed by a soaring cupola lined with windows at the top. “It floods the space with natural light,” says King. “Certain times of the year, when the sun hits those windows just right, it almost illuminates from the interior and the cupola glows. It’s absolutely beautiful.” Katie decided to run two parallel rows of rattan pendant lights along the entire length of the great room, rather than just over the kitchen island, bringing the entire space together. “That sets the tone,” says Katie. “They gave it that beachy vibe that I wanted. Then I added in a lot of whites, grays, muted blues and greens to keep it kind of warm, but not too traditional.”
To continue the contemporary-classic vibe, the team designed a funky metal hood for the kitchen and hung open wooden shelves on either side. And in the adjoining breakfast nook, rattan and natural light once again play a starring role. “We’ve never had a true breakfast nook,” says Katie. “I just wanted that to feel comfortable and pretty. I kept it very white and very bright, and added in some rattan chairs and pillows.”
Comfort, in fact, is the overriding theme throughout. Even in rooms that would traditionally be used in a more formal way, such as the front living room, relaxation rules. With its muted gray and blue furnishings, crisp white walls and white-oak floors, the room maintains the casual vibe that permeates the home. “It’s a family space,” says Katie. “It’s modern but yet it’s still a place for everyone to sit in and watch movies together.”
And true to Katie’s original goal of easy indoor-outdoor flow, the outside is another family draw. Landscape designers Jeremy McVicars and Ryan Sawdey created multiple outdoor areas catering to whatever mood people may be in. “Acting as the backyard centerpiece, the pool and its surrounding patio allow for the ultimate alfresco living experience,” notes Sawdey, who lined the perimeters of the area with Dwarf Ollie and Iceberg roses. A side courtyard was conceived to be what Katie calls “a secret garden,” complete with a fireplace and a carved-stone water feature. Reclaimed Chicago brick maintains the traditional element underfoot. “Reclaimed materials mixed with antique garden elements provide the detailing needed to give this home its timeless character,” observes Sawdey.
And timeless it is, with a design that allows the entire family to relax, swim and just enjoy each other for many years to come. “This is why we built the house,” Katie says, “to have those moments.