Years ago, a Texas couple constructed their ideal abode. But sometimes what is perfect at the time isn’t as ideal down the road. “When we built that house, we went with what was current then—Tuscan, Italian,” says the wife. “But we noticed how quickly it became out of date.” So, when they decided to retire to a mountainside plot of land in Arizona, they knew they still wanted a Mediterranean estate-like aesthetic, but made more contemporary with timeless finishes.
“You could refer to it as a modern Mediterranean,” says general contractor Anthony Salcito. “There are a lot of traditional characteristics for the superstructure of the house, and then we made it contemporary in the details.” While aspects of the home lean more classic—curved archways, hipped roofs, symmetrical rooms—he and architect Dale Gardon found ways to riff on the style. In lieu of terra-cotta roofing tiles, they used sleek, black concrete versions; instead of ornate carved architectural stone details, they opted for clean, straight-line carved stone.
The dwelling’s open-plan layout—designed for the couple’s love of hosting and entertaining—also keeps things feeling fresh. “The house is a formal Mediterranean, but it’s actually informal in how it lives,” Gardon explains. “You’ve got the great room with the kitchen, dining, living area, bar, piano and wine collection all together making this beautiful social space the priority.”
The owners were also adamant that the residence feel bright and serene, which meant swaths of white paint and Venetian plaster along with tasteful moldings and cornices for elevated elegance. “In our previous home, everything was iron, heavy and dark,” the wife explains. “This time, being that we were on the mountain, we wanted something light with touches of color and gold for a glamorous and feminine feel.”
When Anthony heard the clients’ plan for their new abode, he knew exactly the interior designer to embrace that vision: his wife, Rebecca Salcito. “Rebecca’s style is very chic and warm at the same time,” he explains. “When people ask me to describe my wife’s interiors, I tell them they’re like a glamorous hug.” His instincts were right—Rebecca and the wife found an instant synergy. “We were looking to create a very classic and timeless interior,” Rebecca says of the aesthetic they conjured together. “But we took it up a notch and made everything that could have been really traditional more modern.”
To balance the classic feel of the old European oak hardwood floors and the Italian carved-marble fireplaces, the designer brought in a fresh, playful vibe with vibrant splashes of color and layers of texture. Each room has its own defining tonal palette or characteristic. In the great room and adjoining kitchen, luxurious gold and brass tones pop against a black-and-white color scheme. The wife’s craft studio features a botanical wallpaper alive with turquoise and teal alongside a luxurious chaise upholstered in a rich, royal blue that complements the peacock-esque tones of the rug. Up in the primary bathroom, teal green cabinetry harmonizes with brass-framed mirrors and Arabescato Carrara marble, but for the main bedroom, Rebecca kept things slightly more restrained. “We wanted to use wallpaper while staying away from anything too heavy or patterned,” she explains. “So we decided on a wallcovering that had more of a textural look to it, and we based everything off of the fireplace—shades of white and gray that are soothing and relaxing.”
Outdoors, landscape designer Jeff Berghoff sought to match the Mediterranean glamour using crisp materials and symmetrical shapes for the pool and patio along with vegetation that enhanced the architectural style. “We played a lot on textures with layers of hedges, understory foliage and the occasional succulent accent,” Berghoff says.
Heartbreakingly, the husband passed away before the couple had the chance to move into the dwelling. But for the wife, it’s already filled with cherished memories of all the time they spent envisioning their new dream home together: It’s in the touches of yellow (his favorite color), the decor and furniture they chose in tandem, and the landscape they had the chance to enjoy side-by-side during construction.