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For The Home

Art Lovers’ Home

Author: Roberta Landman
Issue: November, 2013, Page 90
Photos by David B. Moore

A backyard redo created multiple seating and dining areas and a landscape refreshed with a broader plant palette. Palo blanco trees remind the lady of the house of her Australian roots; various yuccas add a sculptural note; and potted succulents at the bar provide textural interest. The patio overhang is approximately three times the size of its predecessor. Also new are the fire pit, acid-washed concrete pool decking, outdoor kitchen and steel surrounds that give the arched windows a Modern feel.



The Redo of a Gallery Owners’ Home Skillfully Reconciles Past and Present

While some artists know the instant their paintings can be called complete, others find themselves revisiting a canvas and working on it again and again until achieving perfection.

Like a fine painting that has gone through a number of changes, the Arizona dream home featured here had seen a variety of people making modifications to it before current owners—fine artist Daryl Childs and wife Michelle St. Baker-Childs—bought it about seven years ago and embarked upon a journey to give it and its landscape their personal stamp. The two are partners with Michael Costello in Scottsdale’s Costello-Childs Contemporary fine arts gallery; and, not surprisingly, their  Paradise Valley residence is a virtual kaleidoscope of art.

A goal for their own remodeling, aside from updating the property, was to reconcile the leftover elements of its past: “As this home has seen many owners in its lifetime, along with multiple additions and changes to the shape and size of the structure, we wanted to bring all of the disparate features together into a unified whole,” notes Daryl.

The couple credits their design team with doing just that and making the home more livable and aesthetically pleasing both indoors and out. The Tucson professionals include architectural and interior designer Janis Van Wyck and her husband, landscape architect Philip Van Wyck.  

Serenity reigns in the art-filled foyer. Displayed above an antique Tibetan bench is a mixed-media painting by Tom Judd. Ceramic pieces atop the bench include a shallow bowl by Jeremy Briddell and a vessel by Nicholas Bernard. In the background is a late-19th-century carved-basalt Chinese Buddha. The steel chair hanging on the wall is by artist Tom Tuberty.
Alterations to the home began with converting a two-car garage into a home art studio. But over time, “one idea led to another,” recalls the designer, and more projects “evolved.” Outside, for example, patio areas and much of the landscaping, front and back, were redesigned. Says the lady of the house: “The main patio area, with its covering roof, has proven to be just the best place to sit any time of the year and at virtually any time of the day.” By contrast, the backyard’s previously scant vegetation and awkward layout had rendered the area uninviting, notes the designer.

Indoors, a new master bath was constructed; a library area gained clean-lined custom millwork; and other rooms—including a central indoor atrium—reaped the benefits of cosmetic improvements. The result is a home that is more organic, cleaner, stripped down and refined, the designer explains. One sees evidence of this immediately upon entering the foyer, where a gallery-like hall is resplendent with artworks. Indeed, it was the couple’s love of art that guided the interior transformation. “Art was first and foremost the focal point and the biggest design element,” the designer states.

Blending the home’s various existing architectural elements—“remnants” others had left behind—was a challenge, but one successfully met, she reflects. With some alterations, these became part and parcel of the home’s eclectic spirit. Instead of seeming incongruous against the more streamlined interiors, the facade bids a charming welcome to the artistic “adventure” that lies beyond.
 
With its dramatic glass-ceiling, the light-filled atrium is a magnet for guests. Motorized retractable solar shades allow the homeowners to control light and heat. Interior designer Janis Van Wyck designed the daybed. Mounted on a wall in the hallway beyond the atrium is a mixed-media work by Erik Gonzales.

Collectibles from the homeowners’ extensive travels enliven this area, dubbed the Conversation Room by their friends. Above the fireplace is a painting by Kevin Sloan, while carved-wood granary doors from Mali hang as art above the glass-doored display cabinet. The coffee table was made by Arizona craftsman Tom Tuberty; on it is an antique box from Mali.
The dining room is a study in understated simplicity. Interior designer Janis Van Wyck placed a rectilinear light fixture above the homeowners’ existing table and chairs, and chose draperies in an open-weave linen to bring in filtered light. When the drapes are drawn, views of the yard are revealed. Hardwood flooring in a dark stain offers contrast to white walls.


Fitted with custom bookshelves of bleached white oak, this library/sitting area is part of the master suite. The bedroom, seen beyond a wide opening framed in white-painted millwork, features an upholstered bed and granite-topped bedside tables, all custom-designed. Acrylic works by David Kidd hang on the far wall.
Beyond the outdoor kitchen is a patio shaded by an African sumac tree.


A window in the quartz-clad tub niche of the master bath offers a view of a night-blooming Cereus cacti, preserved during construction. The wall-hung angel is by artist Elizabeth Frank.

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