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For The Home

Eclectic Mediterranean home

Author: Roberta Landman
Issue: November, 2012, Page 84
Photos by Michael Woodall

Water from a quatrefoil-shaped stone fountain gushes outside this stunning Mediterranean-inspired residence, which was designed by architect Mark Candelaria and built by Danny Pham. Iron balconies add a romantic touch to the home’s facade, as does the entry’s fanciful cantera stonework surround. Landscaping is by Jeff Berghoff.



A Gracious Estate-Like Home Becomes a Sanctuary for Family and Friends

This is not your typical retire-then-downsize story. On the contrary, it has a bigger-is-better aspect to it—and a very happy ending, according to homeowner Janis Merrill.

When she and husband Bruce wed, they created a blended family of five adult children and 11 grandkids—an army of loved ones who love to visit. Her patio home in Phoenix’s Biltmore Estates had served her well for 20-some years, she says. In fact, she had remodeled it twice to her liking during that period. But things began to get tight when the couple kept her place as their primary residence, and especially so when the expanded family gathered there.

Retired now from practicing law, she remembers the day she finally had the time to go out and look at larger homes, which her husband, a former Arizona State University professor, already had been doing. A Realtor’s question lingers in her mind: “If you had your wish, what kind of house would you want?”

Looking up at that very moment, Merrill saw a house that was for sale, and, charmed by it, announced, “I’d like a home that looks like that.” Touring the estate-like Phoenix residence convinced her it was a perfect place to live. With her husband loving it as well, she states: “Long story short—six days later it was ours.”

Framed by an arched portal, a vestibule’s curving staircase, high-back chair, walnut table and tall floral arrangement become a painterly vignette. Marble flooring is banded in wood, creating a grid effect.
Coincidentally—in fairy-tale fashion—the person who designed the home was the same man who had planned both remodels of her patio home, architect Mark Candelaria, AIA, a Phoenix Home & Garden Master of the Southwest. He describes the new residence’s architectural style as Eclectic Formal Mediterranean, one that encompasses “details and elements I have gathered from my various trips along the Mediterranean, from Spain to Southern France to Italy.”

The all-solar home, built by Danny Pham, had stunning cantera elements, including a fabulous entry surround, marble floors here and there, and luxuriously tiled baths. But it was empty, the homeowner remembers. “We didn’t have one curtain in the house.” The question was how to furnish a 14,000-square-foot setting after living for so long in 3,000 square feet.

Enter the interior design team of Kim Barnum and Teresa Nelson, who turned what Candelaria had begun into its anticipated conclusion, a comfortable home graced with the “natural” sort of elegance the Merrills desired. “They wanted a sanctuary in which to entertain friends and family,” Barnum says. “What we did was embellish it.”

The words “simple, fresh and easy” became hallmarks of the decor. For instance, draperies and many seating options wear simple, serviceable linen, as does the headboard in the master bedroom. “My favorite place is the master bedroom,” remarks Merrill. “Kim and Teresa did a wonderful job. It’s not feminine. It’s not masculine. It’s neutral—a soothing place.”

Using a soft palette, interior designers Kim Barnum and Teresa Nelson imbued the living room with a comfortable elegance. The room’s focal point is a high carved-cantera fireplace. French doors lead to a patio.
The entire house is, above all, comfortable, she comments. Although it is quite large, “You feel like you are in a little oasis in every room you’re in.” And for all who enter, she notes, “I wanted people to come in and say, ‘This is still the kind of house Janis and Bruce would live in.’”

It has become, as expected, a haven for their combined family. The pool has a wading area, and the pool house a special view deck. The grandchildren love the lower-level home theater and the room they have for roaming around, says the lady of the house. And the adult kids are always asking her, “‘Mom, can we come over more often now?’”

Diners can seat themselves at the bar of this well-decked-out kitchen. A crystal chandelier is surrounded by a decorative ceiling motif. Cabinetry, with the look of fine furniture, is in a mix of dark and painted-ivory finishes. The range hood, a cousin to the center island in its embellishment, has intricate carving and corbels.

The powder room displays Traditional elegance. Topped with marble, the vanity was carved by a Vietnamese artisan. The mirror is ensconced in a mosaic of stone and reflects light from delicate crystal fixtures. Light also shimmers on the soft glazed finish of the ceiling and walls.
A domed barrel ceiling lends architectural drama in the master bath. At the far end of the long room, a step-up tub under an arched window provides a fine garden view. The arch motif continues in deep mosaic-tiled recesses that are fitted with
his-and-hers vanities. The marble floor has mosaic glass tile insets.


Understated and light-filled, the master bedroom is a tranquil sanctuary for sleeping or snuggling up in a cozy chair in the windowed reading nook. A pale, cool tone of sage green sets the mood for relaxation and is seen in the cotton-linen fabric of the upholstered headboard, bedskirt, bench  at the foot of the bed, and draperies. Above the bed is a work by Italian artist Pino. Lamps atop bombé chest nightstands have polished-nickel bases.

Photos - From left:  Located between the living room and family room, this patio is surrounded by beauty—both natural and man-made. Wispy plantings delight with their scents and visual appeal; a wooden ramada is set upon carved cantera columns; and the alternating massing of tiled rooftops summons visions of Mediterranean coastal villas. This patio is but one of several inviting outdoor areas, according to architect Mark Candelaria. “Every indoor space opens onto and relates to a courtyard or patio,” he says. “We really wanted to connect the inside to the outside.” • Adjacent to the pool house, the cobalt blue glass mosaic-tiled swimming pool glistens in sunlight. Water from its double-negative edges flows over the sides of the pool into a basin and is recirculated.

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