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Elegant Holiday Home

Author: Susan Regan
Issue: December, 2012, Page 78
Photos by Michael Woodall

Simple seasonal decorations on the family room fireplace mantel include a parade of antique candlesticks and a cascading garland. Matching custom armoires made of whitewashed reclaimed wood accentuate the room’s height, notes interior designer Dana Lyon. A TV is housed in one of the cabinets. The painting is by Sam Pratt.

A Gracious Home Offers a Serene and Welcoming Ambience During the Holidays and Beyond

While some parts of the country might have cold weather and snowfall for the holidays, December in Arizona means celebrating the season with the doors and windows flung open to the outdoors. This remodeled home in Paradise Valley seems particularly well-suited to the occasion, thanks to light-filled rooms, beautiful mountain views and spaces that invite the outdoors in.
    But this wasn’t always the case.

The homeowners purchased the house in the late-’80s, after moving to Phoenix from Chicago with their children. Southwest in style, its design was typical of the period—rooms were closed-in and ceilings were low. So, a few years back, with their children grown, the couple decided it was time for a change. “We made the decision to remodel because our home—which was built in the ’70s—was outdated,” recalls the lady of the house. “We love our neighborhood and didn’t want to move.”

Interior designer Dana Lyon and architect Mark Candelaria oversaw the project, which transformed both indoor and outdoor living spaces. “Our main goal was to have a more open floor plan with higher ceilings,” says the homeowner. Also at the top of the wish list were a serene ambience and outdoor rooms for entertaining.

To meet the homeowners’ desires, walls were removed and ceilings raised; patios and a pool ramada were built; and a neutral color palette was choosen. The designer used mainly cream and beige hues with touches of gold, incorporating textures to create subtle distinctions.

Lyon also mixed Contemporary furnishings and artwork with antiques. For example, in the family room, velvet sofas are paired with ottomans upholstered in a subtle floral print, and two custom armoires that flank the fireplace have a weathered, whitewashed finish. To help bring the outdoors in, windows were eliminated and replaced with floor-to-ceiling motorized glass doors that span the back wall.

“The whole project really was a simplification to create more continuity and flow,” says Candelaria.  “They wanted an easy elegance,” Lyon adds. “They were ready to make it their own.”

A wreath dotted with pine cones adorns the front door, while in the foyer, packages wrapped in silver and gold paper and ribbon stand ready for gift-giving. On the wall is an antique European door with panes of old mirror.

Standing between the dining and living rooms, a large Christmas tree is decorated with glowing lights, ornaments and ribbons in silver and gold. The tree’s pine cones and magnolia leaves were hand-dipped in metallic paint. A garland of greenery and crystals dresses up the dining room chandelier, and beneath it, the stone-based table is festive with an antique silver punch bowl and individual mercury glass pots filled with red roses and white hydrangeas. Adding a Contemporary note is a large painting containing lines of old French writing.
Among greenery and mercury glass ornaments, a line of unadorned nutcrackers stands guard on the dining room buffet.

Photos - Clock-wise from top left: A large old clock face creates drama in this living room tabletop vignette, where gleaming Christmas ornaments and silvered vases filled with Casa Blanca lilies could be subjects for an artist’s canvas. • Before remodeling, the living room was a closed-off space, says interior designer Dana Lyon. Now open to the dining room and kitchen, it is often the setting for large family gatherings. With both a European feel and Contemporary flair, the area is casual enough to include all generations, she adds. • A pine cone-studded wreath, candelabras that once graced a church, naturally shed antlers, and candles in hurricanes carry the holiday mood into the backyard ramada. Cushions on the metal furniture have weather-resistant fabric. Iron-accented wall cut-outs allow airflow. • Set on the kitchen island, tiny faux trees decorated with antique silver spoons add a merry note. The interior designer drilled holes in the spoons and ran wire through them for hanging. “It’s fun in a kitchen to use some food-inspired elements,” she comments.

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