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An Open-Plan Paradise Valley House with Mountain Views

An Open-Plan Paradise Valley House with Mountain Views

PHOTOGRAPHY BY GREY CRAWFORD

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With homes already in Montana and North Dakota, a Midwesterner and her husband decided also to put some roots down in Arizona, where they often visited, “but we weren’t finding the right fit,” she says. That is until they came across a newly listed house in Paradise Valley. “We walked through the doors, turned the corner, saw Camelback Mountain and that was is it,” she says. “My husband was sold. We just love those mountain views.”

The house checked other boxes on the couple’s wish list, as well, boasting a fabulous kitchen, large great room and generous outdoor spaces that blend with the indoor living areas, important for the wife, an avid entertainer who is also a classically trained French chef and restaurateur. The couple, however, desired a softer design with a vibe more in keeping with its desert surroundings. Enter designer Jill Anderson.

“We sat down with Jill in the great room and kept looking out at the pool, the backyard, the bougainvillea, and then Camelback with the corals, browns and greens,” recalls the wife. “That dictated how we wanted to start. We took the beauty of the outside and warmed up the inside with a lot of the same tones, but with more playful pops of color.”

To help get things moving, Anderson introduced her clients to architect and builder Richard Bistany, who made subtle adjustments inside and out. “The house had wonderful bones,” Bistany notes. “It just needed some tailoring to meet the owners’ desires.” Chief among them was a reconceived master bathroom, where Bistany swapped out a spa tub for a more graceful, curved soaking model.

In a departure from a typical design project, however, Anderson and Bistany tackled the outside areas first, so the owners, who were bunking in one of the home’s two guesthouses, could enjoy their beloved views immediately. Once the outdoor spaces were finished (featuring a mix of bright patterns and varied textures for the furnishings), Anderson turned to the inside. There, her biggest challenge was finessing the great room’s layout. “We decided on an unconventional floor plan that included a dining table, a game table that is also used for informal dining, and a seating arrangement that has two groupings of furniture,” she says.

As they strategized the furnishings, “We focused on taking the edge off what could be a very contemporary home,” says Anderson, opting for fabrics in vivid florals and stripes, generously proportioned furniture and distressed finishes to temper the harder elements of the architecture, along with some antique textiles and rugs for a bit of character.

In a departure from a typical design project, however, Anderson and Bistany tackled the outside areas first, so the owners, who were bunking in one of the home’s two guesthouses, could enjoy their beloved views immediately. Once the outdoor spaces were finished (featuring a mix of bright patterns and varied textures for the furnishings), Anderson turned to the inside. There, her biggest challenge was finessing the great room’s layout. “We decided on an unconventional floor plan that included a dining table, a game table that is also used for informal dining, and a seating arrangement that has two groupings of furniture,” she says.

As they strategized the furnishings, “We focused on taking the edge off what could be a very contemporary home,” says Anderson, opting for fabrics in vivid florals and stripes, generously proportioned furniture and distressed finishes to temper the harder elements of the architecture, along with some antique textiles and rugs for a bit of character.

Other unexpected details also pop up around the house, adding yet another dimension. For example, with the sweep of the front door so low to the ground, a rug was a no-go. Instead, the wife suggested painting one on the floor. “I envisioned a Navajo chief’s blanket,” Anderson says, and so she enlisted a local artist to create it. Elsewhere, the designer upholstered niches and shelving, such as in the master bedroom and bath, and filled them with unique items, lending touches of pattern and color to spaces that might otherwise recede into the background.

When it came to selecting art for the house, “I didn’t want to fill every inch of wall space,” says Anderson, “so each piece had to be worthy in Nicholas Wilton that commands the great room, an abstract work by Chuck Johnson that splashes color to the master bedroom, and a series of sculptures by John Geldersma that line the wall of a hallway. “The wife is a gem—she has a very whimsical and playful side—and I wanted to reflect that in the artwork,” says Anderson.

In the end, the project fulfilled the clients’ primary design brief. “We wanted to surround ourselves with beauty,” the wife says. And Anderson gave them exactly that, fashioning a welcoming space that reflects the warm desert hues found right outside. Adds the designer, “I believe that you just can’t underestimate the value of placing sublime art and antique patina in a home.”

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