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For The Home

A Paradise in the Desert

Author: Roberta Landman
Issue: November, 2013, Page 78
Photos by Art Holeman

 A sculpture is one of many focal points in this lush residential setting created by landscape designers Peggy and Larry De La Garza. The elaborate water feature, with its gushing waterfall, is one element of a network of components added to the resort-like property.



Extraordinary Interiors and Resplendent Grounds Distinguish a Magnificent Estate Property

Located in Paradise Valley, Arizona, this sumptuous 3-acre estate lives up to the town’s name. The residential setting is, without hyperbole, a paradise in the desert. Its well-manicured grounds, lush with vegetation, are dotted with sculpture and naturalistic water features, and recreational amenities are worthy of top-resort status.

Phoenix Home & Garden featured the home’s expansive outdoor spaces during its Grand Tour of Gardens four years ago, and in an article in the November 2009 issue. The interiors, as remarkable as the botanic garden-like exterior, are showcased here.

With richly detailed millwork on walls and a rotunda ceiling clad in wood marquetry, the foyer offers an introduction to the elegance that is seen in finishes, furnishings and art throughout. Other ceilings, appointed with such elements as woodcarving or stenciling, and walls clad lavishly in walnut, contribute to an opulence reminiscent of times past.

However, the artistry and creature comforts that envelop this dream dwelling came about through the talents of design-industry professionals of today, including builder Bob Gurley, who coordinated the remodeling effort, interior designer April Lozevski, and a cadre of master craftsmen.

In today’s vernacular, this is a wow house. “When people walk into it for the first time their jaws drop,” remarks Lozevski. “They say they’ve never seen anything like it. The craftsmanship and attention to detail are extraordinary.”

Interior designer April Lozevski designed this black-painted and gilded chest—one of a pair—especially for the entry foyer. The homeowners’ love of birds, flowers and nature is reflected in accessories and oil paintings in gilded frames.
While the house is indeed a showplace, the homeowners, who love to entertain, planned it to be a welcoming and fun setting to be enjoyed by family and friends of all ages, according to Lozevski. “They wanted spaces to feel intimate enough for just the two of them and spacious enough to hold family gatherings and larger parties or charitable events. The home boasts a large dining room, game room, movie theater and multiple exterior spaces, all for the purpose of entertaining and making guests feel comfortable.”

Pointing out that the main exterior spaces are a complete extension of the interior rooms, the designer adds that these areas are as well decked out as their inside counterparts. And like the indoor rooms, she notes, they are places where the family enjoys Thanksgiving and other gatherings; they are “where memories will be made.”

The memory of a loved one, the recently deceased mother of the lady of the house, is expressed in artwork above a fireplace on one of those much-used patios—a tile mural that depicts a bird ascending into a swirling heaven of stars.

Of this unique home—a “rare gem” where fine art and cherished photos of family members compete for attention—Lozevski comments: “It has a luminous quality that will no doubt stand the test of time.”

The foyer’s custom elliptical domed ceiling—titled Beneath an Arizona Sky—salutes the state’s flora and fauna. It features 24 panels with inlaid veneers depicting birds, butterflies and blossoming branches on a background of gold anegre.

Grand in scale and appearance, the formal dining room lives up to its name. Curved walnut trim defines the room’s hand-stenciled barrel ceiling; the wood also appears in wainscoting and in the built-in buffet and its arched surround.
The living room ceiling takes walnut to new heights, literally. The crown molding is more than 3 feet tall and has a hand-carved vine-and-leaf motif, notes interior designer April Lozevski. “This elaborate crown frames a curved coffered ceiling with carved panels and rosettes at each intersection.” Another focal point is the room’s outsized carved-walnut and marble fireplace. Choosing pieces with a “grander scale” was important because of the high, decorative ceilings, explains Lozevski. “Smaller pieces would just get lost.” The living room’s facing mohair shelter sofas, for example, are of generous proportions, as is the studded leather and carved-wood coffee table. A sculpture by R.V. Greeves (foreground) sits upon an Asian chest that serves as a sofa-back table.


The family room, with its geometric coffered ceiling, is both a showcase for art and a setting for kicking back and relaxing. Furnishings came from the couple’s former residence, as did many items throughout the house, according to April Lozevski. “For this project, we combined existing pieces with new ones and antiques,” she elaborates. Overall, the furnishings are classic, and the color palette elegantly neutral. “Shades of chocolate, gold and cream carry through to every room, with accents of rust, sage and coral,” she explains. The painting over the credenza is by George Molnar. In the background, lighted niches in a hallway’s custom display unit hold an assortment of Native American pottery, vessels, beaded baskets, and bronze heads by sculptor R.V. Greeves.
Situated off the family room, this covered outdoor living room is as beautifully appointed as its indoor counterpart, and as well used, notes the interior designer. The mural above the fireplace, inspired by The Next Place­—a book by Warren Hanson—was created by tile artisan Joan Baron as a memorial to the homeowner’s mother.


Evoking Old World charm with a dash of drama, the range hood is made of carved limestone. Interior designer April Lozevski designed the range hood, adding an etched-stone-tiled backsplash above the stove and custom display cabinets on either side of the niche. “This added the necessary scale and drama—the wow factor the clients desired,” she remarks. The painting is by Donald Crowley.
Electrified candles in a custom iron screen and flickering sconces send shimmers of light across the powder room’s walls, which are upholstered in floral-embroidered silk. The vanity—a custom bombé chest—has hand-painted embellishments and holds an oil-rubbed bronze sink. A leather-topped stool and a figural sculpture (background) lend exotic flair.

Photos - Clock-wise from top left: Equipped with its own kitchen and dining peninsula, the game room is pure fun. The pool table, under an ornate chandelier suspended from a coffered ceiling, is its centerpiece. The painting (far left) is by Ray Swanson. • This elegant sitting room is part of the master suite. A gold-leaf-framed painting by Michael Coleman stands out against a mocha-hued Venetian plaster wall. Light from a wood orb-like chandelier brings out the sheen of the sofa fabric. • A stained-glass panel in the master bathroom’s columned tub niche adds color and reinforces the homeowners’ fondness for nature and bird motifs. • In the master bedroom, a wood chandelier with a distressed-gold finish is suspended from the coffered ceiling. A wide curving wood-framed niche upholstered with chenille damask holds the carved-wood bed. At its foot is a bench upholstered in cut velvet.

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