Nearly every window in this airy Scottsdale penthouse affords mountain vistas designed to renew the spirit and calm the senses. The homeowners, a semi-retired couple whose primary residence is in Alberta, Canada, were already living in the building when the spacious top-floor unit became available, and they purchased it right away. “We were drawn to its openness,” the wife says. “It has much more living space than we had in our other place. Plus, we already knew we loved the location.”
The homeowners may be on the verge of retirement, but they’ve found that they are busier now than ever before, and for this reason, wanted their new condo’s interiors to be as restorative as its views. Although they appreciated the home’s original design, it wasn’t quite what they had in mind for their ideal getaway and they desired a livelier space that would accurately reflect their lifestyle. “In Canada, we see a lot of gray in the winter,” says the wife, “and sometimes you just crave some color.”
To that end, they turned to interior designer Robert Burg, who set out to create a whimsical interior imbued with splashes of vibrant hues. A bright striped fabric from Clarence House, which Burg used to cover throw pillows in the living room, inspired a palette spiked with pinks, reds and violets. “I used as much color as I could without making it too overpowering,” the designer says.
Because their home in Edmonton—which Burg also designed—is very formal, the owners also desired a more relaxed feel for their Scottsdale escape. “I wanted it to be sophisticated, but I also wanted to be able to feel free to just relax,” says the wife. Burg adds, “They entertain constantly, so we used beautiful things, but not so much that you’d want stanchions so people wouldn’t go into the rooms.”
With the help of a talented team that included residential designer Linda Eales and builder Don Buol—who both had worked with the designer on previous projects—Burg reconfigured spaces to better suit the homeowners’ needs and sense of style. A prime example of this is in the living room, where a small existing fireplace was removed and a new larger one was installed in a different, more central location.
In the kitchen, the team replaced the home’s original cabinetry, downsizing to make space for a breakfast area, and reutilized a large Viking range since the owners love to cook and entertain. “We redid the island with a big 6-inch butcher-block top,” Buol says. “We also added a custom handmade glass tile backsplash, and made a little bar area off to one side.” The facelift was a big hit with the homeowners. “I love the kitchen,” the wife says. “We just sort of gravitate to that space.”
When the couple sold their previous condo, they sold their furnishings along with it, so Burg had to start fresh. By pairing found treasures—such as a mirrored makeup table he bought at an antiques market, which once resided in a Paris apartment—with new custom-designed furnishings, Burg expertly blended old and new and artfully mixed European elegance with fun, fanciful pieces such as the living room’s eye-catching side chair clad in shaggy lamb fur. The couple also wanted to incorporate items from the three countries in which they spend the most time and where their adult children live. In response, Burg brought in artwork from Canada; furniture, fabrics, silver and china from France; and furnishings and fixtures from around the United States.
Although the couple had a general concept in mind for the condo’s redesign, the wife says they essentially handed the reins over to Burg—and they have no regrets. “My husband loves his office, our bedroom is soothing and relaxing, and I love to be out on the patio, even in the hot desert heat,” she says. “We’re just very happy with how everything turned out.”