How An Ornate Arizona Home Transformed Into A Spa-Like Sanctuary


A living room with a...

Taking advantage of this Arcadia home’s double-height living room, designer Jess Diab installed a large-scale vintage serpentine sofa recovered in mohair. A bouclé-covered accent chair and sheepskin ottomans—both from CB2—and a custom textile wall hanging add the layered texture that Diab desired.

An entryway with a black-and-white...

Designed Diab and assembled by Princeton Construction, the console in the foyer of this Arcadia home is crafted with French limestone from Antiquities Imports. It adds a rustic quality to the marble checkerboard flooring and traditional wall moldings.

A black-and-white marble bar with...

Barstools from CB2 covered in a white performance linen and a whimsical tassel lamp by TOV complement the thick black-and-white stone countertop in the posh bar.

A black dining table and...

Illuminated by a modern chandelier from Circa Lighting, sculptural vintage chairs reupholstered in beige performance velvet surround an oak table from 1stdibs atop a custom rug from Atacama in the formal dining room.

A dining area with a...

A linen dining sofa by TOV and leather chairs from Holly Hunt are paired with a contemporary dining table from Lulu and Georgia in the breakfast nook. The wood veneer pendant is by Weplight.

A white kitchen with brass-and-white...

Why mess with perfection? That was the philosophy in the kitchen, where the team made just a few small additions—a linear metal chandelier from Schwung Home, a custom plaster hood and brass-framed stools by Kelly Wearstler—to enliven the classic white cabinetry.

A bedroom with raninbow drapes.

Diab printed black-and-white renderings of the daughter’s bedroom and asked her to color them with markers and paint. Her drawings inspired the rainbow sheers by Everhem and custom backlit neon mirror.

A platform bed with rainbow...

Diab also considered the daughter’s color preferences as inspiration for the upholstery on the custom platform bed. The designer selected a purple Belgian velvet, providing the desired princess vibes.

A outdoor patio with a...

Paired with black concrete side tables from CB2 and a concrete coffee table from West Elm, a quartet of rounded wicker chairs by Crate & Barrel create a convivial spot for cocktails and conversation in front of the outdoor fireplace.

An outdoor dining table with...

A fun and stylish place to break bread or just enjoy the landscaping by Steve Pine, the covered alfresco dining area is furnished with a Rove Concepts outdoor sectional and a solid travertine double pedestal table from 1stdibs.

Sometimes, the key to standout interiors is not adding elements, but rather subtracting those that detract from the design. Such was the case with an Arcadia dwelling purchased by a family who had recently uprooted themselves from Los Angeles. “The wife wanted to revamp her life, get out of the city and have more space for her kids,” designer Jess Diab says. “They wanted a different way of living.”

The community-oriented neighborhood drew the couple to the residence, as did the pool, grassy area perfect for a bocce ball court and the potential for a home theater. “They liked the opulence and expansiveness of the house,” Diab says. But, to achieve the wife’s desire for a sleek and earthy vibe—“like a spa sanctuary,” the designer explains—the home’s over-the-top ornate features needed to be pared down. 

Thanks to her previous work on the clients’ California beach house—a project that they loved so much that they wept tears of joy the first time they saw the finished interiors—the family trusted Diab to take the reins. “The beach house was kind of the first step, like dipping their toes in,” the designer notes. 

Although they took a hands-off approach, the couple had one big ask: Their new home needed to be ready in time for their children to start school just three months later. “The timeline was intense,” Diab admits, “but a fun hoop to jump through.” While the tight schedule didn’t allow for extensive architectural changes, Diab, her colleague Kaley Wilson, site superintendent Ryan Tyner and project manager Jessica Lien did away with overly formal design details, such as the coffered ceiling in the dining room. “When we started this project, the home was very glam—think crystal chandeliers, lots of mirrors and decorative trim,” explains Lien. “We were trying to scale it back.” Adds Tyner, “It was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle every day.” 

Coating the walls, moldings and window trim in warm white helped to tone down the ornate milieu, creating a serene backdrop for curvaceous furnishings—like a massive serpentine mohair sofa and ottomans upholstered in shaggy Mongolian sheepskin—that soften the linear architecture. “Texture is so important in making the space feel grounded and cozy,” Diab explains, pointing to a large textile wall hanging next to the living room’s marble fireplace. Likewise, a cream linen-covered dining bench with a rounded back complements a ribbed pedestal table in the breakfast room. And in the formal dining area, sculptural velvet-upholstered chairs surround an oak table atop a handwoven wool rug, creating a warm counterpoint to the black-and-white checkerboard flooring in the adjacent foyer. 

But the interior’s neutral palette is not without its exceptions. Inspired by their clients’ daughter’s sense of color, the designers upholstered her custom platform canopy bed in deep purple Belgian velvet accented with sheer rainbow drapery. “I’m always trying to push clients to go a little edgier,” Diab says. She also went bold in the powder room, convincing the homeowners to install a black-and-white floral wallpaper that she balanced by painting the vanity, millwork and ceiling in a complementary black hue. “I told them, ‘Just do it,’” she says. “It’s a jewel box moment.” 

Considering the expansive outdoor space was a driving factor in the purchase of the home, Diab brought in landscape designer Steve Pine to refresh the site. He added a travertine fence with a custom steel gate inspired by the existing doors and windows and installed olive trees, trailing rose vines, desert grasses and live oaks to soften the look. Hedges and a citrus garden in the backyard create privacy and muffle traffic sounds. “The result fits within the Arcadian style, while also providing a unique transitional character to the house,” Pine explains. 

To meet the aggressive deadline, the crew pulled multiple all-nighters, the paint still drying as the furniture arrived. To ease their stress, Diab, Wilson and Tyner did yoga together on the marble floor in the front foyer, the sound of gongs streaming in the background. “It seemed to typify our collective delirium,” Diab laughs.

It was all worthwhile when the clients arrived from their rental in Santa Barbara to see their new home for the first time, sparking tears of joy once again. “It’s always a huge reveal with them,” Diab says. “That’s what’s so fun about having a carte blanche scenario.”