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For The Home

Spanish Colonial Revival Home

Author: Terri Feder
Issue: October, 2013, Page 82
Photos by Chris Loomis

Straddling a ridge at the top of a mountain in Paradise Valley, Arizona, is this 2.5-acre property with panoramic views of nearby mountains and the Valley below. Among its amenities are a negative-edge pool with an ornately tiled wall fountain that is connected to a spa.

A Spanish Colonial Revival Home Exudes Style and Authenticity Inside and Out

Even in Paradise Valley, where homes with a view are somewhat de rigueur, there are properties that rise above the others—be it through an expansive, unobstructed vista or the ideal placement near the top of a mountain. It is on just such a rarefied lot that this property resides. Glimpses of Camelback and Mummy mountains, Piestewa Peak and more are readily within view. Thus, when its current owners purchased the land in 2005, along with its 1970s-era slump-block home, it was most certainly a worthy site for their dream house.

Conceived by residential designer Clay Scrivner, whose personal passion and professional specialty is Spanish architecture, in close collaboration with the homeowners, who share a deep interest in architecture and design, the 9,300 square-foot residence pays homage to Spanish Colonial Revival style. Think warm, rustic interiors; arched entryways; staircases with colorful hand-painted tile risers; red clay tile roofs; and a spate of decorative elements, including tower-like chimneys, patios and balconies, and ornamental iron work.

Scrivner counts American painter and architect George Washington Smith, a man many consider the “father of Spanish Colonial Revival style,” among those who have most influenced him. When asked why he’s drawn to this architecture, Scrivner replies, “It’s a romantic style that stems from southern Spain—a place that was for centuries a cultural melting pot.”

Two-hundred-year-old doors, sporting their original hardware, herald the entrance to the walled entry courtyard.
Remaining true to the style’s tenets was a must for both Scrivner and the homeowners, who had done their own share of research. As a result, charming and authentic details abound inside the home and out, starting with the entry rotunda, which boasts a wrought-iron grilled gate, built-in banco and tiled wall fountain.

The home’s interiors, which were devised by the lady of the home—a retired interior designer—include myriad fireplaces with gracefully curved mantels, trestle-beam ceilings, arched wood doors and windows, rift-cut white oak flooring, a cook’s kitchen with an island crafted from an antique display cabinet, and the list goes on. The ambience is warm and cozy. “It’s a big house, but it doesn’t live like a big house. It’s human scale and very comfortable,” remarks Scrivner.

The expansive entry courtyard, which acts as a large outdoor living room, is overlaid in hard-fired terra-cotta tiles from South America that had to be hand-cut into smaller shapes to achieve their classic design. An elaborate and colorful runnel, consisting of a rivulet of water streaming from one tiled basin down steps to another, adds to the space’s ubiquitous sensory delights. “My husband reads the morning paper out here, and we also like to entertain on the patio. It’s particularly beautiful at night,” notes the lady of the house.

For the owners, who have remodeled seven previous homes, and their two daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren, the comfortable residence and its spectacular setting represent something of a dream come true. States the man of the house, “This home was really a labor of love between my wife, myself, Clay, our contractor and all the people who worked on it over the three-year period that it took to build. For us, this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime house.”

Anchored by a tiered runnel clad in colorful ceramic tiles, the courtyard is a private sanctuary. On the lower portion, dichondra grows between flagstone pavers. Varied roof elevations create the feel of a village that has been added to over the years.

This staircase, one of several inside and outside the home, features decorative tile risers, wrought-iron railings, and potted red geraniums on its stepped ledges. The hue of the door and window frames nods to the Spanish Colonial Revival style and an ages-old superstition that the color blue at entrances keeps not-so-friendly spirits from entering the home.
A lantern-style wall sconce hangs from a metal bracket, imbuing the home’s exterior with the essence of Old Spain.

On this beamed patio just off the kitchen, the owners enjoy entertaining friends and family. With its cushioned seating and encompassing views, the outdoor living space offers much in the way of comfort and tranquility. Says the lady of the house, “Our friends love sitting out here because it’s so relaxing. I always have trouble getting them back inside.”
A water basin in the entry rotunda features an antique faucet and tiles in the classic Spanish colors of yellow, blue, white and green.

In the living room, wood beams ornament the ceiling, while multiple sets of French doors bring the outside in and vice versa. The lady of the house opted for a neutral palette to allow nature and colorful artwork—including the floral painting by Patricia Schilling Stewart above the piano and a cluster of glass vessels on the coffee table—to enjoy center stage.

Photos - Clock-wise from top left: In the formal dining room, a deeply set arched mullion window—one of many arches in the home and a key characteristic of Spanish Colonial Revival style—provides a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains. An antique medieval-style chandelier with an iron ring base hangs above a dining room set from the 1920s. The botanical fabric on the chairs is from Kravet. • Located just inside the foyer, this antique buffet speaks to the man of the house’s love of ornately carved furniture. A gesso mirror hangs on the wall above an array of classic blue-and-white vases and an antique Japanese platter. A pair of classic candlestick lamps makes for eye-pleasing symmetry. Hard-fired terra-cotta tiles clad the floor. • The kitchen features a range hood inspired by a Spanish Colonial Revival fireplace mantle that designer Clay Scrivner saw in a home in California. A store display cabinet from the 1920s was transformed into an expansive island and covered with Calacatta Borghini marble. This same marble clads the backsplash and countertops. Antique pendant lights hang above. The custom cabinetry was designed to appear as freestanding furniture and boasts ogee bracket feet. A view of Camelback Mountain looms just outside. • In the family room, a trestle-beam ceiling, clerestory windows and a gently curved fireplace speak to the detail that went into the home’s design. Says the lady of the house of the room’s color palette, “I knew that I wanted pops of red. Most designers say that every room needs a touch of black. I feel that way about red.”

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