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For The Home

Ranch Home Redo

Author: Terri Feder
Issue: November, 2013, Page 114
Photos by Karen Shell

Above the dining room’s custom-made rosewood table is a chandelier filled with strands of frosted rock crystals. Matching mahogany pedestals  display large porcelain vases and artfully flank a colorful painting by artist Jack Roberts.



A 1960s Ranch Home Is Transformed Into an Inviting Transitional Stunner

Experiencing the sophisticated, seamlessly flowing interiors of this 6,700 square-foot home in Paradise Valley, Arizona, and its mature landscape, it’s hard to believe that it didn’t always look like this. Back in the mid 1970s, when the man of the house first purchased the 1-acre property, the land was wild and woolly and the house on it—a three-bedroom Ranch—had no outstanding features. “When I first saw it, I said, ‘You may as well just shoot me,’” notes the lady of the house. Although they had the home remodeled at that time, the couple decided it needed a fresh look again in early 2008. Enter interior designer Heidi Leuning.

Leuning had just completed the interiors of the couple’s vacation home in the mountains when she received a call from them asking her to take on their new project—an extensive remodel in the desert. “They had originally asked me to look at the floor plan of their soon-to-be-built log home. I made some changes to the plan, which they liked, and ended up furnishing their interiors as well. So when they purchased this new property, they called me again,” explains the designer.

Having grown up in the construction industry, with a father who worked as a luxury home contractor, Leuning has been cultivating an understanding of space and proportion all her life. This, coupled with a degree in interior design from Northern Arizona University, makes her particularly well suited for extensive remodels such as this one, where much more than furnishings were required. “In the original Ranch house, everything was pretty much blond. There were slatted wood cabinets with that pinky whitewash finish that was popular back in the ’70s. It needed a lot of work,” recalls Leuning.

A painting by Jack Roberts is displayed above the living room’s polished marble fireplace, which is flanked by twin walnut armoires. Custom sofas, upholstered armchairs and a set of wood accent chairs with a circle motif provide ample seating. Satiny throw pillows and floor lamps with branch-like gold bases add color and sparkle to the room’s mostly neutral palette. Ivory drapes are banded in a darker hue.
The only parameters guiding the designer were the owners’ requests that there be ample storage to ensure a clutter-free home, that the house and landscape be as maintenance-free and as durable as possible, and that she complete the project in a mere 12 months. To meet the deadline, Leuning had to jump right in without a finalized plan mapped out. “I basically designed as I went, allowing the home to tell me what it needed and where,” she recalls.

Leuning concentrated on making interior spaces cozy and comfortable. “The homeowners are such warm people. I wanted the interiors to reflect that. Though the house is quite large, it doesn’t feel that way because there are a lot of comfortable, intimate areas,” she notes.

To achieve the warm, yet sophisticated feel she was after, the designer incorporated rich mahogany wood throughout the home in the way of cabinetry, doors and flooring, as well as sumptuous, cozy fabrics, including chenille, wool, linen, leather and velvet. She also lowered soaring ceilings to 9 and 10 feet to further enhance the sense of intimacy, and added high-functioning new spaces, including a large walk-in pantry, gym area, powder room, media room, and a “cool room” in which foodstuffs and wines are stored.

Leuning even made significant changes to the property’s landscape and hardscape, including the removal of a tennis court, the alteration of a kidney-shaped pool into a classic rectangular one, and the replacement of delicate flora with more hardy varieties.

The result is a highly efficient, well-ordered and sophisticated-looking residence that the homeowners consider a dream come true.

A lacquered-wood sculpture dresses the wall on the opposite side of the living room. Pops of fuchsia and teal make a strong statement against the muted tones of the sofa and the rug below.

Situated adjacent to the breakfast nook and kitchen, the family room is dressed in shades of rust and mahogany. A polka-dot rug and red accent pillows add energy to the scene. A wet bar behind the breakfast table features leaded-glass cabinet doors and a backsplash of glazed tiles in a silvery-gray hue. Above the table and its matching wood and leather chairs is a classic drum pendant.
The kitchen offers both counter and dining space, thanks to an expansive island and raised glass snack bar. Hand-blown pendants hang above. The countertops are honed limestone, and the backsplash boasts cognac-colored subway tile. An abundance of mahogany cabinetry ensures the clutter-free look the owners desired.


Rosa Verona marble clads the powder room walls. The mirror is composed of smoky platinum tiles. The sink and countertop are onyx.

Photos - Clock-wise from top left: The “cool room,” as designer Heidi Leuning calls this temperature-controlled space, provides wine storage for in excess of 175 bottles. Says the designer, “The lady of the house uses it as a staging area for salads and other foods that require refrigeration when she entertains.” • Says interior designer Heidi Leuning of the master bedroom, “We upholstered the walls with a tan linen fabric to create a sense of warmth and texture.” The floors are covered in solid, darkly stained mahogany planks. • Marble mosaic tile clads the floor of the master bathroom. Of the beveled-glass mirrors Leuning notes, “I needed something that projected here.” A freestanding tub is set in front of floor-to-ceiling windows that look out to a private patio. The chandelier over the tub is composed of glittering strands of silver beads. • With its etched-glass design, this two-toned mahogany pocket door, which opens to a home office, offers an influx of light, a modicum of privacy and an artful view from both sides. The walls are upholstered in linen.

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