luxe. - Design Showhouse


It was just the two of them now, an empty-nester couple ready for a new address in Paradise Valley. But the modern home they envisioned building on the unassuming lot with fantastic mountain views would be a place they anticipated many besides themselves would enjoy. “These clients are deeply hospitable people,” says C.P. Drewett, the architect hired to construct the couple’s residence. “The manner in which a group of friends would enjoy the space was nearly as important to them as how they would live there individually.” This meant the structure would be designed in a way that made it as comfortable for two as for a houseful of guests, and a key to this was enabling seamless movement between indoor and outdoor entertaining spaces.

The shape of the parcel, a flag lot—much like a rectangular flag on a pole—is an unusual configuration but one builder Rich Brock considers an advantage. “It allows for a longer driveway,” he explains, “so we could set the house farther back from the street.” Camelback Mountain rises a short distance away, offering a foreshortened perspective on the area’s signature geologic feature.

“We wanted to maximize views of Camelback Mountain,” the wife says, so Drewett oriented the back of the house, where most entertaining would take place, to take in these spectacular sights. He also created two covered open spaces—a living room and a dining room—to entice the couple, and their guests, outside. The exterior living room was designed with 25-foot-tall glazed pocket walls that retract, joining it to the interior’s great room and opening much of the rear façade to the elements, literally bringing the outside in.

Further connecting the house to the landscape, Drewett chose Cantera Negra stone for select dramatic vertical elements, such as exterior columns and interior accent walls. “We paid homage to early territorial architecture while applying modernist principles,” he says. To reinforce the stone’s organic feel, each piece was hand-cut and installed one by one in a seemingly random sequence à la Frank Lloyd Wright. Horizontal planes of stucco traverse these vertical stone stacks, creating what the architect calls a bridging effect—not an easy feat, Brock insists. “It was a laborious install,” he recalls. “The Cantera had to look like it was going through the glass, so there are U-channels buried in the stone. And because of all the cantilevered overhangs, we installed a lot of steel I-beams and posts. They will never sag.”

For the interiors as well, “the driving force was the undulating Cantera,” says interior designer Claire Ownby. “We all fell in love with the color and wanted to bring it into the decor.” To complement the stone’s tobacco shade, the team selected walnut for the doors and fireplace surround. This warmed the expanses of hard surfaces, such as the faux-limestone porcelain tile floors, and satisfied the couple’s individual aesthetics. “It helped balance his more traditional tastes and her more contemporary ones,” Ownby says. The stone’s dusky color shows up as one end of a neutral spectrum that proceeds from darker shades—as in the living room rug—to lighter hues, like the flooring. “Embracing the neutral palette let the outside views and the architecture be the shining stars,” Ownby says. “The palette is calming and easy to live with. Even the patterns we used were small-scale and subtle, so they almost read as solids.”

The interior designer also paid detailed attention to the kitchen layout, an important entertaining space. “It’s open to everything,” she notes. “We placed the sink so it’s out of view of the dining room. That way, people can prep or clean without being seen.” Nearby, a bar faces the outdoor living room, generating a hub of activity. “Bars can feel wasteful to clients,” Drewett says. “But this is so central, it takes on a lot of life.” Even when not mixing drinks for guests, the couple enjoy the space to themselves, having breakfast there most mornings. But whether it’s just the two of them or a larger gathering of friends and family, the residents are now comfortably at home in their new contemporary abode that’s full of life—inside and outside.

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Phoenix Home & Garden - Design Showhouse

Charlie Surrano had just about given up on finding the physical representation of the contemporary house that frequented his thoughts. After years spent living in an English Country-style estate complete with dark wood floors and mouldings, heavy stone chimneys and a verdant, lush garden in Phoenix’s Arcadia neighborhood, the lawyer was ready for a change—a drastic one.

“I was fed up with the green look,” he says. “I wanted a desert-friendly house. But I couldn’t find one to my liking, and I didn’t want to go through the time, energy and cost of building from scratch. I wanted something that I could just buy and walk into.”

While driving through Paradise Valley one day, Charlie noticed a vacant lot with a builder’s sign on it. Next to the sign was a large rendering of a spec house—in exactly the style he had been looking for. “The architecture caught me. I knew that if it was done right, and being on this lot with these views, it was going to be a really nice place.”

He called builder Rich Brock, and the pair came up with a hybrid agreement that would allow Charlie to purchase the lot and home from Brock, but let Brock build the house he envisioned, designed by architect C.P. Drewett, with minimal changes from Charlie.

The home is located on a corner lot, with views of Camelback Mountain to the south and Mummy Mountain to the north. “It’s seldom that we get a site that’s two-sided. It was a blessing but also a difficulty because we essentially wanted to have a one-room-deep home that maximized the views from each side,” says Drewett. “That was the genesis for this design—how to handle the views and how to take advantage of the southern exposure and get all of the southern light. What we ended up with, and what the intention was, was less of a traditional enclosed housing structure and more of a big pavilion.

Embodying the clean lines and minimalist vibe of the Modernist era, the house amplifies the indoor-outdoor lifestyle so coveted by Valley homeowners. Oversized pocketed glass doors on both the south-facing frontage and north-facing rear facade open the main living space to the outdoors, creating a seamless flow from the front deck through to the the backyard patio. White porcelain floor tiles throughout tie the areas together. “I wanted to make sure that the back patio was an outdoor living area,” notes Brock. “It has the same flooring, and I even used drywall on the ceiling. It feels like an indoor space but outside.” Additional materials, including hand-cut sandstone-quartz facings and wood paneling, also flow from exterior to interior surfaces, adding organic texture and softening the home’s graphic angles.

“This house was a series of panels and groupings of materials,” says Drewett. “The glass is the connective tissue that bridges the different materials and how they’re incorporated. I love to penetrate architecture with materials. It’s really dynamic. Once the doors are pocketed, having those materials pass through really emphasizes the desert pavilion feel.”

Such bold design gestures require subtle and elegant decor that complements the architecture and defines spaces without being obtrusive or detracting from the views. Interior designer Elaine Alexander drew inspiration from the midcentury Modern movement, choosing simple, sleek furnishings with organic textures and soft, nature-inspired colors. Iconic pieces, such as a Platner Easy Chair in the living room, Saarinen Tulip chairs and table in the kitchen and a mod ball chair in the upstairs game room, mingle with modern-day elements and artwork, adding sophistication that matches the style of the home without looking dated or clichéd.

“I tried to pick pieces that were typical of the time period but that had longevity,” says Alexander. For example, the chartreuse Platner chair; a low-
profile, linear orange sofa; and a pair of simple taupe-colored side chairs with wood frames are indicative of the era when post-and-beam construction gave way to open spaces and pops of color were highlights of interiors. And while the dining table isn’t a Nakashima piece, its undulating top and base are reminiscent of the renowned furniture-maker’s work. “I think these pieces will still be in style 20 years from now,” she adds.

Besides the views, a focal point of the main living space is a glass-enclosed wine room that separates the dining area from the living area. Visible from outside the front entry, the eye-catching element defines the spaces without blocking light or enclosing rooms. “Because you want all of the primary spaces to take in the big views, you need to find certain vehicles to give you degrees of separation,” says Drewett. “The wine room provides maybe a 70 percent degree of separation. You can still see through it, but it gives the dining room and great room autonomy.”

For Charlie, the room is a piece of art. “At night, it lights up and is kind of dramatic,” he says, adding with a laugh, “It also screams, ‘Come on in, I’m a drunk and proud of it.’”

One thing Charlie doesn’t joke about, however, is something that’s not visible to the casual visitor: the home’s automation and security systems. “While it may be referred to as midcentury in design, this is a 21st-century home,” he says. “Why shouldn’t it be automated? Why shouldn’t it by run by a computer?”

Every item in the house that runs on electricity—from the interior and exterior lights to those in the pool, from the HVAC system to the window coverings to the multiple 4D TVs—can be controlled from an iPad at home or remotely. The system is one of the few upgrades Charlie required during the building process. “When building a spec house, we usually don’t automate everything,” explains Brock. “I prewire for everything, and if the buyer wants to add something later, it’s already set up.”

Charlie also wanted a top-of-the-line yet discrete security system that covered both the home’s interiors and exterior. Outdoor infrared cameras enable him to see the property at night, while portable indoor cameras allow him to monitor different areas based on need, without guests focusing on obvious fixed cameras. “The indoor cameras are only for when I’m not here. When I’m not using them, I can pick them up and hide them in a cabinet,” he says. “This house is monitored, and if someone tries to get in, alarms will go off.

“I don’t use all of the features of the automated system,” he adds. “Who would, right? But it’s nice to know that I can.”

He continues: “This all goes back to the labeling of the house. When I first saw the rendering, it said ‘midcentury Modern.’ Well, you can refer to it that way—I prefer to call it desert contemporary—and you can reminisce about the way things were in the ‘50s. Here, though, you’re remembering it in a state-of-the-art 6,200-square-foot home. If you think this is midcentury, you’re living in a different century.”

Desert Cool

Author: Rebecca L. Rhoades
Issue: May, 2016, Page 112

Article on Web: Desert Cool

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Arizona Foothills - Design Showhouse


  • Imported Honed Italian Travertine Flooring
  • Distressed Hickory Hardwood Flooring
  • 18ft. Ceilings w/ Groin Vaults Throughout
  • 18in. Thick Timber Beams
  • Venetian Plaster Walls
  • Custom Hand Carved Cabinetry
  • Distressed, Antiqued, Stained Interior Doors
  • Antique Stone Columns
  • Sandstone Fireplace Mantels
  • Built-in Home Theater System and Multiple Plasma Televisions throughout
  • Double Sub Zero Refrigerator & Freezer
  • Kids Activity Room
  • Central Entertainment Bar
  • Sub Zero Drawers
  • Viking 60” Gas stove
  • Viking Warming Drawer & Microwave
  • Soapstone & Granite Counters
  • A Formal Master Wing with a Home Office/Library, Bedroom, Bathroom/with Copula Dome, Exercise Room, Master closet
  • Wine Cellar
  • Rubble Stone Exterior
  • Reclaimed Italian Clay Roof Tile Blend
  • Pool/Spa w/ Italian Water Features
  • Four Car Garage

Design Showhouse

This incredible 7400 s.f. home in Paradise Valley, with its wealth of special features, is representative of what you can expect from Bedbrock Developers. It is built out of solid rock with ultra high-end finishes, creating a sumptuous living environment, which will endure for generations.

This home was named the sixth-annual Arizona Foothills Magazine Design Showhouse 2005. As the selected Showhouse, 51 designers were invited to decorate 26 of the home's magnificent rooms.

The 2005 Arizona Foothills Magazine Design Showcase, an elegant $4.5 million estate tucked into the hills of Paradise Valley, married modern-day luxury to Old World sophistication. Modeled after an authentic 17th Century Italian Villa, the home was given a glamorous makeover by 26 of the Valley's most prestigious design firms, resulting in dozens of sumptous spaces taht include a palatial master suite, a soothing massage and meditation garden and a stunning open kitchen. And from April 9 to 17, you can see what "la bella vita" (the good life) is all about. You'll take away hundreds of ideas for your own decorating project, and contribute to a worthy cause, as all ticket proceeds benefit Phoenix Children's Hospital.

Arizona Foothills Magazine