Designer Jamie Hedstrom hit the ground running when a couple from the Northeast hired her to help them with their new Scottsdale home. “At our very first meeting, the wife began diving into the design,” Hedstrom says. “And I was able to put rooms together quickly due to my familiarity with the house.” Her familiarity began six years earlier, when Hedstrom was with CSE & Associates, the construction firm that originally built the house, assisting the original owners with the interiors in the process. Now at Wiseman & Gale Interiors, Hedstrom says of her second time working on the property: “I knew most everything about the house, inside and out, so I was instantly comfortable. It was kind of like working with an old friend.”
The new owners, a couple in their 60s with a large family, were in search of a low-maintenance, warm-weather retreat when they were instantly taken with the two-story, rural Mediterranean-style structure. Originally designed by Aspen-based architect Jeffrey Berkus of Jeffrey Berkus Architects and built by Scott Edmunds and his team at CSE & Associates, the home’s open floor plan, lofty ceilings and walls of windows allow in copious amounts of natural light while taking full advantage of the majestic views. A great room, kitchen and master suite reside on the main floor with two guest rooms and a secondary gathering space upstairs. Outside, a casita with its own bedroom and bathroom sits near a negative-edge pool that appears to spill directly into the desert. “We really wanted a home whose size was manageable,” says the wife. “And we loved the house’s location with its city lights, views and proximity to everything. It was absolutely right for us.”
Although no structural changes were necessary, the entire house needed to be furnished, and the wife had a clear vision. “She has a very polished aesthetic,” Hedstrom says. “She wanted comfortable, clean lines and no clutter.” Adds the wife: “I wanted the home to be warm, friendly, whimsical and sophisticated. We sought something that was evocative of Arizona but in a subtle way.” An understated backdrop was also preferred to allow accent colors and the couple’s art collection to take center stage. Working closely with the owners, Hedstrom incorporated a design plan that would combine a variety of textures and finishes with both new furnishings and found pieces, creating relaxed yet refined spaces reflective of her clients’ personalities and lifestyle while also embracing their new Southwestern surroundings.
Hedstrom began her plan with a neutral backdrop: The wide-plank wood floors were stained a muted gray, and white Venetian plaster was applied to the walls and polished to a high sheen. “The plaster adds enough shadow and movement to make it interesting without being obvious,” Hedstrom says. The designer’s previous experience with the house had her anticipating the challenge of finding accent colors that would stand out against the neutral base. “The lighting in this area of Scottsdale can be tricky,” she says. “These houses have great outdoor living spaces with large overhangs that can make interior spaces appear dark.” In order to find just the right shades, Hedstrom says she packed her car with 12 bags of fabric and laid each sample out at the house. Ultimately, her clients chose a selection of taupes, reds, oranges, blues and yellows—colors that reminded Hedstrom of Arizona sunsets.
Stepping through the iron-and-glass front door, guests are greeted by the gracious entry’s simple yet stylish vignette—an apt representation of the aesthetic found throughout the rest of the home. Here, a Mexican-style mirror hangs above a clean-lined console that displays items discovered during the homeowners’ travels. Nearby lies the centrally situated great room—a generous open living-dining space with a stone fireplace and an 11-foot-high ceiling constructed of reclaimed barn wood. To balance the rustic nature of the existing architectural elements, Hedstrom was deliberate about incorporating finer materials and lighter finishes in her design, such as linen drapery fabric in the living area and a glamorous iron-and-glass chandelier for the dining area. “It’s such a fun juxtaposition,” she says about the dining area’s fixture. “It’s a simple iron circle with lots of sparkle against a gnarly wood ceiling. A space becomes instantly more interesting when you add something unexpected.”
Unexpected elements continue throughout. Although the master bedroom was previously dressed in grass cloth, Hedstrom had it removed and the walls refinished with a sunny yellow Venetian plaster. The new hue complements the adjoining bathroom, which features a zinc-and-porcelain tub surround and soft gold-colored marble. French doors lead to the backyard and offer views of the pool’s edge, the preserve and the twinkling city lights beyond.
Because the couple spends as much time outdoors as inside, the landscape, originally designed by Brandon LaCombe of Desert Springs Outdoor Environments, includes an ample grassy area, which adds color and softness to the hard surfaces and provides plenty of space for grandchildren to play. Whether the homeowners are hosting dinners or cocktails on the terrace, enjoying a dip in the pool, reading by the fireplace or simply watching the sunset, Hedstrom made sure the exterior spaces not only looked polished but were also furnished to accommodate any activity. “I tried to bring the couple’s sense of style to life,” she says. “The entire house is welcoming, modest and understated— very much like my clients.”