Years ago, people wanted a rustic Southwest look, but now clients want light, fresh Los Angeles-inspired styles,” general contractor Anthony Salcito observes. It’s a trend reflected in a Silverleaf house he recently constructed for Bill and Ann Barker, both semi-retired business executives. The structure met the community’s strict requirements for a traditional Spanish Colonial-style exterior, but inside its spirit takes a decidedly different turn, outfitted with white oak flooring, beachy colors and glass walls. “Design here in the valley is going more modern,” agrees Salcito’s wife, designer Rebecca Salcito. “This is the first home I’ve done that has white marble floors, andÂ it’s such a refreshing look.”
The Barkers knew exactly what they wanted for their new residence. After years of moving around the world, it was time for a forever home tailored to their interests in entertaining and cooking. “This is about how we want to live our lives,” explains Ann, an adjunct professor at Arizona State University‘s W.P. Carey School of Business. As such, architect Erik B. Peterson and project manager Scott Carson placed a double kitchen at the core of the 8,800-square-foot structure. The primary space opens to the family room, while a back kitchen allows Ann, a baker, to keep appliances handy without worry of clutter. “I’m like a mad scientist back there,” she laughs. Next to the kitchen is a theater, perfect for movie nights with guests, while the dining room contains a wine cellar behind glass-and-iron doors–a welcome change from the basement cellar in the couple’s previous home.
Throughout the house, Rebecca Salcito injected a coastal feel with a palette of gray-blues, white and caramel, adding black accents for an urban edge. “I wanted the walls to be fresh and white, like a museum,” she says. “My go-to paint color is Farrow & Ball’s All White, which doesn’t feel stark.” It’s the perfect backdrop for the couple’s art collection, which includes works by Nikolai Blokhin, Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso as well as original Peanuts cartoon strips drawn by Charles Schulz, a gift from the artist to Ann’s father, on display in the hallway leading to the theater.
Furnishings were chosen for their sculptural quality, and the designer incorporated a mix of styles that suits the transitional nature of the residence. In the living room, for instance, she paired an abstract rug with an antique-style mirror, while in the wife’s office, hand-painted blue-gray wallpaper sets off a white lacquer desk. Although several of the home’s furnishings came from local shops, much of the scouting was accomplished while the Barkers were on a multi-legged trip that took them from New York across the Midwest, visiting showrooms along the way. And as the looks came together, the general contractor helped accommodate the plans to fit the final design. “Rebecca and Anthony fed off each other,” Ann says. “He even moved one wall three inches so she didn’t have to break up a tile pattern.”
The interior takes in gorgeous views of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve thanks to floor-to-ceilings windows and a plan by the architects to saw-tooth the home across a ridge. “We spent a lot of time outside staking,” Peterson recalls of positioning the structure. “We followed the community’s rules but pushed the limits with glass walls. Traditional homes can sometimes feel closed in, but we achieved a transitional feeling with this house because there’s a direct connection with the landscape.” A ground-floor master suite offered the chance to create a secluded patio, and terraced gardens provide additional living areas. “We nestled spaces up to the house to relate to the rooms,” explains landscape architect Jeff Berghoff. One of these has a kitchen garden for Ann, and another contains a courtyard displaying a boulder carved with petroglyphs, an exciting discovery during the project.
Situated on what Anthony Salcito calls “one of the nicest lots in the area,” the Barker’s California-inspired residence reflects the lifestyle of its homeowners–and many other clients, the general contractor says. “I’ve done dozens of houses up here over the years, but this one is something special,” he says. “People are asking for what we did here.”