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For The Home

Home for the Holidays

Author: Roberta Landman
Issue: December, 2012, Page 68
Photos by Michael Woodall

The living room is decorated for the season with magnolia leaves and pine cones on the mantel, and fresh red roses, gilt ornaments and more magnolia greenery on the Christmas tree. The room gained expanded views and additional daylight when red damask draperies were changed out for open-weave silk sheers. The leftover damask was used to re-cover the existing wing chairs.

There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Looking as if it could grace a greeting card of yesteryear, the elegant home on these pages is ready for the holidays.
   In the living room, the fireplace casts an inviting glow. Lights twinkle on a Christmas tree decorated with fresh red roses, gold ribbon, gleaming ornaments and magnolia leaves. And Traditional furnishings are dressed up in seasonal hues of red and gold.

One might imagine visitors of long ago—rosy-cheeked from caroling—dropping in for holiday cheer, while a Nor’easter churns up wind and snow outside, and the aroma of roasting turkey drifts in from the kitchen.

But this tableau exists in the desert of Arizona, in 21st-century Scottsdale, and any redness on cheeks will most likely come from the gentle warmth of the winter sun. And that turkey? “I do a lot of barbecuing for the holidays,” says homeowner John Pappas. “I’ll probably be grilling a turkey, and we’ll be eating outside on the patio.” Doors to the adjacent family room will be wide open, merging indoors and out, he relates.

In the hotel business, Pappas travels often to far-off locales. His idea of Arizona living is all about “seamlessly” blending the interior of a house with its outdoor spaces. This, plus comfort, a relaxing atmosphere, and space for entertaining family and friends—“from four to 40”— became important goals in planning the two-year-old home.

Designed by architect Lee Hutchison, AIA, a Phoenix Home & Garden Master of the Southwest, and constructed by builder Jim Manship, the residence benefited from the talents of two interior design teams: initially, Wiseman & Gale Interiors, for the fine finishes and primary furnishings; and later, for additional enhancements, Billi Springer & Associates.

Bidding one welcome in the entry courtyard are two live, beribboned Christmas trees set in clay pots. A holiday garland with tiny lights swags over the glass-and-iron door.
It is not unusual for clients to move into a new house and, after a time, embellish it further, says Billi Springer, also a Phoenix Home & Garden Master of the Southwest. “People are so busy at the beginning, and later they have the leisure of looking around and making a home more theirs.”

Under her watch, so to speak, the Rural European-style house was “reappointed and refreshed.” Accessories were added throughout the residence, new pieces of furniture brought in, fireplaces here and there refinished, and the guest casita refurbished.

Even bringing in live plants can warm up a room, according to the designer. Backlighting a new palm, as in the living room, creates dramatic shadow play and leads the eye upward, visually expanding a space. “All of a sudden the ceiling got taller,” she points out.

It was Springer who festooned the house with holiday decor. She says she had help from a man one could well call “Father Christmas”—designer Paul Folk, owner of Rustic Stuff. “He is so renowned in the Valley for his Christmas decorations. It was just natural to call him in to collaborate with us.” From his shop came ornaments, garlands and embellishments galore.

During the holiday season and throughout the year, Pappas finds his home “warm, inviting, comfortable and relaxing. Everything feels right. It’s like my own private resort.” Staying often in fine luxury hotels, he states, “Nothing is more comfortable than here.”

A tall stone fireplace and bubbling water feature are among amenities in the entry courtyard, which is decorated for the holidays with ribbons, candle-filled lanterns, and tiny potted Christmas trees on the hearth.

Under a plank-and-beam ceiling, the family room woos with the warmth of hardwood flooring and cozy furnishings. For added livability, interior designer Billi Springer engaged artisan Scottie Reid to create a TV media unit; he previously had crafted the room’s wet bar (far left). In back of the red sectional, the sofa table is topped with a small fresh Christmas tree in an antique clay pot. Next to it, a naturally shed elk antler, plus pine cones and ornaments in lidded Chinese hat baskets, add more holiday flair. The lamp bases were fashioned from antique piano legs.
At the staircase, the tall Christmas tree is topped with antlers and decorated with magnolia leaves, LED candles on pewter plates, ribbons, ornaments, family photos and favorite holiday cards. The painting is by Larisa Aukon.

Photos - Clock-wise from top left: Bold hues enliven the dining room. Surrounding the circular table are chairs with red leather seats and velvet backs. Red predominates as well in accessories in the scalloped niche and in the carpet. Holiday decor on the heavily carved custom buffet is reflected in the curvaceous mirror. Shedding soft light, the chandelier is made of wood. French doors open to the front courtyard. • The kitchen offers Old World appeal. Contrasting with light-colored cabinets, the large island has a black-painted base and red marble top; the generously proportioned unit has space for casual dining and food prep, as well as for storage. The pot-rack lighting fixture above the island holds a collection of baskets and copper pots. • Sheltered from the elements, the back patio’s covered outdoor living room fulfilled the homeowner’s desire to mesh indoors and out. Copper doors to the right of the fireplace hide a TV. Holiday touches can be seen on the mantel and in the trio of trees behind the arched opening, • Interior designer Billi Springer has called powder rooms “little jewels.” To hide plumbing and provide beauty, she dressed up this one’s custom scalloped limestone sink with a mohair skirt and added a decorative metal towel bar. The room’s curving walls have a Venetian plaster finish. Sconces are made of iron. A carved-wood cabinet is reflected in a mirror that is ensconced in a carved-wood frame with a cross motif.
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