For some people, the allure of home is just too strong. After being based in New York City and vacationing in Cape Cod for years, one couple began to feel the pull of their Arizona roots. Wanting to close the distance from their elderly family members, they decided they needed an abode in their home state.
They found that roost—a charming dwelling designed by revered Arizona architect Bennie Gonzales with irresistible views of Camelback Mountain—in Paradise Valley. “We fell in love with the house because of its perfect location, beautiful architectural style and the unbelievable views of the mountain,” the wife says. Also appealing was that it felt like a blend of their two lives. “It was probably an older residence by local standards, but we loved that because it reminded us of the Arizona we had left,” the wife explains. “But it also had very modern touches, and, because of our life in New York, we appreciated that.”
Fortunately, the structure was already in good shape architecturally, so the couple enlisted designer Jennifer Ferrandi to make it feel like home and imbue the dwelling with a sense of place that embodied the desert the owners had missed so much. “I wanted to create a space where we could convene with our family,” the wife says. “And have beautiful pieces that are comfortable, beautiful and transitional that reflect Arizona style but also our modern life.”
That meant finding pieces that would make the residence just as welcoming to the couple’s beloved dogs as to their family and friends. “She didn’t want anything that required extra care or could break easily,” Ferrandi says of the wife. “She wanted guests to be able to enjoy themselves and kick their feet up on the table without worrying.” As the owners preferred a light, white color palette, Ferrandi brought in a wealth of performance fabrics and durable surfaces that could be easily cleaned. To evoke a calm, serene ambience, the designer turned to creams, taupes and tans with black and brown accents as well as varied textures, like nubby linen, to add visual interest. “It was pretty easy to keep things quiet and neutral because the wife didn’t want any loud patterns,” Ferrandi says. “She was looking for something peaceful, so we just tried to make it very organic and let the mountain shine in the background.”
Most of the public spaces are tucked into a long great room on one side of the house, so the designer looked for ways to break it up into individual sections. She moved the dining area from its original location at one end to the center, where it now delineates between the casual family space and the more “adult” living zone around the fireplace. But wherever guests choose to mingle, windows running the length of the room ensure no one is deprived of the view. “I think that the long room is stunning from every angle,” Ferrandi says. “It lets the landscape just be front and center without taking attention away from it.”
In the corner of the primary bedroom, a small fireplace that was part of the original structure turned out to be the perfect touch. Not only does it serve as the ideal spot for the couple to sit together drinking their morning coffee, but it also feels quite nostalgic. “I grew up with little fireplaces like that—they’re found in a lot of Southwestern homes,” the wife says.
Given that the couple didn’t see the house in person until it was almost finished, it’s only natural that the designer might have felt a little nervous at the reveal, but there was nothing to worry about. “I think it turned out exactly how they were envisioning,” Ferrandi says. “Just a quiet oasis in the desert.”