A Desert Get-Away

Isn’t this grand? Our long-time clients from Glenview, IL, purchased a second home in Paradise Valley in the Grand Canyon State of Arizona. They commissioned us to create a turn-key interior design from furnishings to lighting and more. We are thrilled to share our latest photos showing the complete transformation we accomplished from the existing heavy, Tuscan aesthetic to a soft traditional look that is bright and inviting. Working with a talented local builder, R. J. Gurley Construction, we also repainted walls, remodeled a bathroom, replaced and refinished flooring, refaced both fireplaces and much more. From Day 1, our clients were able to fly out and enjoy their home away from home.

Family Get-Away

Layers of beauty start at the front entry and continue to the exterior landscaping. All photos by Cole Horchler Photos

Unifying the Flooring

In some areas of the existing home, three different floorings came together, which looked busy and choppy. We unified the home by retaining the old-style brick flooring for the above foyer and the hallways. We installed or refinished wood floors in the remaining spaces. The terra cotta colored bricks in the foyer reference the Southwest location while the custom rug, table, accessories and chandelier breathe new life into the space with their updated, traditional style. Our clients enjoy the way the Navajo white walls give the home a spacious, inviting feeling.

curving stairway, terra cotta tile floor, bench, wall art, clay pot, bamboo branches, large ceiling fixture, wood ceiling, mullioned windows, white walls, wrought iron staircase railing, wood stairs

The front staircase leads to the second floor billiards and game room.

Going Local for Authenticity

We love sourcing local furnishings whether we are working close to home in the Chicago area or out of state. They bring a sense of place and authenticity to a home. In this case, our clients discovered local painters at an art fair and we commissioned them to create wall art throughout the home, including this front foyer piece. Proportion was another consideration for this soaring stairway. We selected tall, bamboo branches for the clay pot and a large, open chandelier to balance the two-story space.

living room, four wing back chairs, long bench, area rug, round cocktail table, wood beam eiling, stone fireplace, potted trees, floor lamp, large chest,

Blending new with existing yields a personalized style.

Repurposing, Replacing and Rejuvenating

With more than 40 years of combined experience, my team and I are experts at reusing, repurposing and rejuvenating existing furnishings. In this case, we opted to keep the large chest on the right from the previous owners and move it to the living room. We rejuvenated the fireplace with a new surround and left the windows uncovered so our clients could feast their eyes on the magnificent view of their backyard.

living room, wall art, chests, stone fireplace, tufted bench, wing-back chairs, pillows, oval cocktail table, accessories, rug

Nearly completed. We’re just waiting for final accessories to arrive for the space above the fireplace mantel.

Thoughtful Pillows

How do you make a chair comfortable for people of all heights? Pillows! Whether you are tall or short, pillows will give you a comfortable place to sit. Not incidentally, they provide another design element, which allows us to introduce a new pattern or color. As in the foyer, we chose artwork from a local artisan who custom painted the pieces flanking the fireplace to blend with our color schemes and the sizes needed. These two pieces are a perfect fit in their respective niches.

great room, wood ceiling, wood floor, white walls, white sofas, area rug, table lamps, side tables, accesories, wicker basket, sconces

The great room opens to the kitchen. The staircase leads to the second floor game room.

Warming Up a Great (Big) Room

In a room that is this large and tall, we have to perform a balancing act: make the space feel warm and inviting while retaining that luxurious feeling of spaciousness. We kept the wood floor and refinished it in a cozy brown tone to echo the ceiling. In between floor and ceiling, we continued the soft-cool color palette that gives the home its bright personality. Our clients love to gather family and friends here, so we opted for two long sofas, a pair of chairs shown in the photo below and a couple of ottomans tucked behind the sofas that can be moved wherever needed for extra seating. We selected all of the lighting, including the  large, open chandelier in black metal. It references the color and material of the upper stairway railings and the new sconces leading to the second floor.

great room, stone fireplace, swivel chairs, ottoman, rug, accessories, wall art, geometric window panels, wicker basket

Versatile swivel chairs were a great invention!

Who Invented the Swivel Chair?

We all know that Thomas Jefferson was one of our founding fathers. But did you know he is credited with inventing the swivel chair in 1776? He may have sat on it to draft the United States Declaration of Independence! These versatile pieces of furniture come in handy when we want to create a seating area with multiple views. In this case, the chairs can face the fireplace, the TV or the gorgeous backyard. Here’s another great idea to update a great room – reface the fireplace to reflect your style. The painting above the mantel is another piece of local artwork.

sofa, arm chairs, pillows, wood cocktail table, candles, geometric roman shade, wall art, throw, side tables

Ready to kick back? This second floor hang out is casual yet stylish.

Optimizing Seating

The second floor “hang out” is the area where our clients and their guests can watch the big game on TV, play billiards and other games. To accommodate as many people as possible, we added a console table and counter chairs behind the sofa. The elevated stools provide an unobstructed view of the TV and the chair backs are great support for cheering on the home team. I can imagine family and friends gathered here for long afternoons or evenings of comradery and fun!

dining room, dining room table, dining room chairs, area rug, bench, window panels, ornate chest, accessories, white walls, wood floor

Any meal would be festive with 10 people gathered around this table.

Dinner for 10

In the dining room, we opted to keep the prior owners’ ornate buffet and we balanced it with a cleaner lined table, chairs and a light fixture that is shown in more detail below. We also removed a scalloped  soffit, repainted the walls from terra cotta color to a quiet white and refinished the wood floor. The result is the soft, traditional look we envisioned for the whole home.

glass pendants, dining room, dining room chairs, dining room table, wood door, wood beamed ceiling, window treatments

How amazing is that?!

A Cleaner-Lined Version of Traditional

Who would envision a fixture like this in a traditional-esque setting? We did, and it looks right at home with the mix of ornate and clean-lined furnishings we selected! Working in an updated traditional style gives us the latitude to branch out and select something unexpected like this.

master bedroom, bedding, upholstered headboard, pillows, night stand, table lamp, wall art

Are you getting sleepy?

A Soft Landing

From the upholstered head board to the custom bedding and upholstered chairs, this master bedroom looks as comfortable and relaxing as it feels.  As throughout the house, the art work above the bed is from a local artisan.

guest bedroom, twin beds, bedding, pillows, night stand, table lmap, wall art, geometric window panels, benches, rug, wood floor

Choosing twins or a king – it depends.

Making Guests Feel Pampered

We typically recommend king-sized beds for guest rooms, but these clients requested twin beds in one of their guest rooms because it would work better for their frequent visitors. While king beds are luxuriously roomy, twins offer more flexibility for visitors, including platonic friends or young siblings. Benches at the end of each bed, whether twins or kings, are a must-have. It’s a thoughtful addition that gives visitors a place to set their suitcase or a perch when changing.

patio, exterior fireplace, sofas, wood cocktail table, landscaping

Picture yourself enjoying an outdoor siesta, socializing or serene moments just enjoying the view.

How to Enjoy Cool Desert Moments

Outdoor seating spaces are one of the best ways to encourage people to enjoy the weather and appreciate the landscaping outside their home. This fireplace area is one of many outdoor seating areas we created for our clients so they can enjoy a cup of coffee on cool Arizona mornings and a cocktail in the evenings.

outdoor pool, in-ground pool, brick pool deck, chaise lounges, patio umbrellas, landscaping, mountains, cactus

Take me there!

Sunset Over Paradise

It’s easy to see why my clients love this property in Paradise Valley, AZ. For pool parties and day-to-day unwinding, we selected comfortable chaises longues plus umbrellas for shade. The mountains are courtesy of Mother Nature.
Are you ready to buy or update a second home? Let’s get together and talk. You can contact me at 847-705-9569.