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For The Home

Spanish Territorial Style

Author: Maria Matson
Issue: July, 2013, Page 74
Photos by Chris Loomis

Architect Tom Mooney fulfilled the homeowners’ vision of a classic Territorial-style home with details such as lintels over doors and windows, and vigas protruding near the roofline. The custom gate is red cedar. Landscape architect Michael Rockwell says, “A lot of natural desert comes up to the house, so one of our goals was to understand that and specify appropriate desert plant material.”



Ideas Borrowed From a Cherished Family Home Inform a New Family Getaway

Sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands.

“We looked at real estate for years but didn’t find anything that moved us the same way my in-laws’ house did,” say the owners of this north Scottsdale residence. “So we decided, if we can’t find one, we’ll build one.”

The goal was to replicate the architectural style of the other Scottsdale house the couple had been visiting for 30 years and create “a really wonderful vacation home” for themselves in the Southwest, the wife says. And that’s just what they did.

“They told me, if we were to take the same exact house and enlarge it for a family, it would be just perfect,” says architect Tom Mooney of Mooney Design Group. “The parents’ home was a Spanish Territorial built in the early ’80s and was very accurate as far as its architecture. Everything had a soft feel to it; there’s not a sharp corner in the house. We took that same character and put it into this new home.”

Mooney and the rest of the team—including designers Marieann Green Ciummo, ASID, a Phoenix Home & Garden Master of the Southwest, and Colette Kettering Parish, both of Marieann Green Interior Design, builder Richard Sinagoga of RS Homes, and landscape architect Michael Rockwell of Azul-Verde Design Group, who is also a Phoenix Home & Garden Master of the Southwest—made many a trip back and forth from the in-laws’ house to the new site to get the details just right. And they took pictures, a lot of pictures. Mooney alone estimates he has some 500 photos of the inspiration house.

A tile-lined stone fountain and lush desert plant material create a “cooler feeling” for the entry courtyard, according to landscape architect Michael Rockwell. The series of doors along the portal was inspired by an older family home in north Scottsdale. “The other house had a lot of French doors surrounding the courtyard,” says builder Richard Sinagoga. “We were able to replicate that.”
Their efforts resulted in a new build that has all the rich architectural flavor of the older home: hand-formed plaster walls, kiva fireplaces, built-in niches, rough-sawn wood lintels, viga and latilla ceiling treatments, 18-inch-thick walls, and 9- to 10-foot-high ceilings. “The ceilings are lower than in most homes we build today,” notes Sinagoga. “Before we started building, I took them to see some of the Pueblo-style homes we’ve built recently so that they could see the difference in ceiling height. But they kept gravitating back to the parents’ home, saying they really liked the cozy feeling the lower ceilings created. I have to say, now that it’s done, there really is a different feeling when you walk in.”

Green Ciummo and Kettering Parish were charged with replicating the inspiration home’s floors. “The floors are a combination of traditional Saltillo and manganese,” Green Ciummo points out. “We worked hard to get the blend of colors and the finish just right.” They also helped source and select furnishings and accessories. “We started the furnishings before the house was even framed. So when the house was ready, the furniture was ready,” she says. “They wanted a pale palette with punches of color in pillows and artwork; simple, but interesting.”

Part of the interest comes from old wood pieces from Guatemala, Peru and India, as well as bed linens, dishware, pottery and folk art the homeowners brought back from a trip to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

“The architecture is really so lovely that we didn’t feel like we needed to embellish it too much,” Green Ciummo comments. “They have very specific tastes and wanted to keep the accessories pared down. What they were really looking for was warmth and coziness and authenticity.”

Mission accomplished.

A deep archway leading into the kitchen offers an up-close look at the home’s plaster walls. “All the corners have a 3- to 6-inch radius, so you don’t see any sharp lines throughout the entire house. You can’t manufacture that; it has to be handformed.” The island top is walnut; perimeter countertops are granite.

The Saltillo-manganese floors found in the old family home were painstakingly replicated here, with one exception: The individual tiles in this residence are twice the size of those in the inspiration house. “Otherwise, given the size of the rooms, it would have looked really busy,” Tom Mooney says. The custom iron chandelier over the dining room table was inspired by lighting in the other house. The artwork in the niche is by Kathleen Waterloo.
Traditional Southwest architectural details abound in the family room, including vigas and latillas on the ceiling, lintels over windows, bancos and a beehive fireplace. Interior designer Marieann Green Ciummo punched up neutral furnishings with color in rugs, artwork and accessories. “I wanted this house to feel happy and sunny, but we decided to keep our walls white,” the homeowner says. “It’s such a wonderful backdrop for our artwork and Mexican pottery.” An old suitcase retrofitted with iron legs serves as a side table near the couch. The painting is by Scottie Parsons.


The living room is the only space where ceilings soar to some 14 feet. “They didn’t want the ceiling that high,” architect Tom Mooney says. “But if it wasn’t, we would have had to drop the patio down and that would have blocked the mountain views. So we raised the ceiling and added the clerestory windows, and everything fell into place.” Built-in, plastered shelves display some of the accessories the homeowners picked up during a trip to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The designers turned an old wood trough upside down for use as extra seating in front of the fireplace.

Photos - Clock-wise from top left: A hand-pierced tin headboard from Mexico shines bright in one of three guest bedrooms. Rich, hand-carved furniture and colorful, patterned bed accessories help create a space that interior designer Marieann Green Ciummo calls “simple but interesting.” Adds the designer, “Most of the furnishings in the house are rustic, and most of them also are antiques.” • A hallway vignette oozes Southwest charm with a Navajo rug, elaborately carved wood cabinet and a santo retrofitted as a lamp. • “We found an old kilim and had a headboard made for the master bedroom,” reports Marieann Green Ciummo. She added color with pillows and a throw over the white bedspread the homeowners purchased in Mexico. The bride’s chest at the foot of the bed is from Peru and is made of inlaid cedar and boxwood. Over the fireplace is an antique waterbag. Flooring is wall-to-wall sisal. • Cream tiles pave an arched vanity niche in the master bathroom. “The tile work in this house is laudable,” interior designer Marieann Green Ciummo comments. “We had some of the tiles hand-painted to replicate those used in the old family home.”

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