A Paradise Valley Hideaway Gets A Stylish Update


contemporary terrace sitting area

A top interior designer renovates his warm minimalist house on a stunning Paradise Valley hillside.

contemporary entry hall foyer glass...

Miller aimed to reconnect the structure, tonally and materially, to its natural surroundings. The entryway, decorated with a Berman Rosetti Tansu cabinet and art by Mark Pomilio, was formerly an outdoor walkway. The Fleetwood glass door is from Sienna Custom Window and Door; the hardware by Elmes Door Harware is from Clyde Hardware.

contemporary foyer paintings

In the renovated 1980s Paradise Valley home of interior designer David Michael Miller, a naturally illuminated foyer offers ideal spaces to hang art, including early paintings by artist Angela Ellsworth. "The house was beautifully teed up for me, because it was originally built for collectors," the homeowner says.

contemporary living room ottoman turned...

"The original architect, Ned Sawyer, had a minimalist international-style house in mind," Miller notes. "What's so compelling is how clean and restrained it is." In keeping with that ethos, the new owner decorated the living room with a streamlined A. Rudin sofa upholstered in Theo fabric from J.W. Harris Inc. and a Michael S. Smith Inc. armchair from John Brooks Incorporated. With the addition of trays, a Liaigre Galet ottoman, also from John Brooks Incorporated, becomes a cocktail table.

contemporary kitchen neutral sliding glass...

"The kitchen layout was substantially revised in the remodel," says Miller, who worked with builder Stephan Mackos and architect Susan Biegner on the overall renovation and Robert Moric, of Bulthaup Scottsdale, on the kitchen design. To maximize views of the city and the mountains, a solid wall of cabinetry was gutted and replaced with glazing. The range is Gaggenau.

contemporary barstools glass windows atrium...

100xBetter's RT stools pull up to a bar illuminated with lamps by Alison Berger for Holly Hunt purchased at John Brooks Incorporated. Visible through the glass of the atrium are a set of leather-upholstered Liaigre dining chairs from John Brooks Incorporated and a walnut-slab Cisco Home dining table and bench.

contemporary living room wood plank...

Associate designer Brian Weiberg converted Miller's sketches into formal design drawings for elements throughout the house, including the living room's wood-plank-clad fireplace. Superlite Block--which provided the original concrete blocks--fabricated identical blocks for repairs Pioneer Masonry made throughout the home. The room's rug is from Bellbridge in Benicia, California, while the striped pillow material is Ralph Lauren Home and the organic-form print is by Brenda Antin.

contemporary bedroom cantilevered floating shelves...

A bedroom's cantilevered "floating" shelves were designed by David Michael Miller Studio and built by Woodesign, which hollowed out plain-sliced fumed white oak to slide over steel supports. On them, Miller arranged his collection of birds and bronzes from his travels. The paintings of koi by David Kroll are from Lisa Sette Gallery.

contemporary bedroom brown accents floating...

Floating panels in the guesthouse bedroom hide insulation and provide another optimal place to hang art--in this case, paintings by Jake Fischer from the Bentley Gallery. A Blu Dot bed from Hive in Portland, Oregon, is flanked by a custom wall-mount headboard and nightstand designed by David Michael Miller Studio and fabricated by Rob Rubin of AK Studio.

contemporary living room rattan ottomans...

A photograph of a saguaro by Mark Klett from the Lisa Sette Gallery hangs over a walnut-and-black-lacquer credenza from Design Within Reach in the living room of the guesthouse. The LeavittWeaver floor lamp is from Design Alliance LA in Los Angeles, the upholstered chair is Dessin-Fournir, and the rattan ottomans are by Brenda Antin. The B&B Italia cocktail table is from Lumature.

contemporary bathroom white floor-to-glass ceiling

The north wall of the master bathroom was torn down and replaced with floor-to-ceiling glass to capitalize on natural sunlight and evoke an open-air setting. The Duravit tub and Vola faucets are all from Clyde Hardware

When Phoenix–based interior designer David Michael Miller purchased a house nestled in a Paradise Valley hillside, he knew that the sizable renovation task before him would entail bringing the home’s 1980s aesthetic into the 21st century.

But doing so would require coming to know the house on a foundational, architectural level. Fortunately, the house’s original architect, Edward “Ned” Sawyer, was still alive and practicing in the Phoenix area. “Early on in the process, I invited Ned to come up,” says Miller. “I wanted to understand what his thinking had been in designing the house so I didn’t betray his intentions–or wander too far from them–without at least knowing why he did things the way that he did them.”

Sawyer, who’s well known for a brand of desert-inflected minimalism that’s indebted to one of his architectural inspirations, Louis Kahn, told the designer that “the original language of the house is very Kahn-like in that it’s organized in 24-square-foot modules,” says Miller. “During the redesign, I tried to stick with that plan–at least as much as I could.”

That encounter helped Miller arrive at the fundamental logic of his plan, which emphasizes harmony and restraint, and reasserts the home’s essential connection to the landscape by maximizing views.