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For The Home

Into the Blue

Author: Linda J. Barkman
Issue: May, 2017, Page 67
Photo by Michael Woodall

A quartet of wing chairs anchors the cozy living room, which is situated just beyond the entry. French doors open to a patio with a wall fountain that sends water through a runnel and into a small circular pool with a fire ring that can be enjoyed from indoors as well as out.
A Couple’s Penchant for the Royal Hue Drives Design Decisions in Their New Home

New Jersey Residents Carolyn and Bill Shine had long dreamed of finding a second home in Arizona where they could enjoy entertaining family and friends once their two children were out of high school. During a preliminary search of properties for sale in the North Scottsdale area, they were thrilled to find one rather quickly that won them over hook, line and sinker. But, alas, the coveted Spanish colonial-style residence with a center courtyard, inviting patio spaces and colorful tilework sold before they could make an offer.

A zinc-topped wet bar and a wall clad in riveted grasscloth add visual interest to the game room.
When another two years of searching brought only disappointment, with house after boxy, brown-on-brown house lacking the look and feel they desired, the couple decided to build a custom home. Anxious to begin, they called architectural designer Clay Scrivner, the Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award winner who had created the memorable abode that got away.

“When we finally met Clay, we clicked immediately,” recalls Carolyn. “I knew there was nothing he could do that I wouldn’t love.”

Describing their New Jersey abode as “typical East Coast style” with traditional furnishings and lots of pastels, the Shines wanted their Arizona residence to reflect its surroundings. Spanish in design, it incorporates vibrant tiles like those the Shines adored on the first house. Custom-colorized by Scrivner, the tiles can be found on everything from bancos and backsplashes to water features, fireplaces and stair risers. They also drove the palette used for fabrics and furnishings.

An arched door inset with hand-made copper and blue glass rondelles makes a memorable entrance to a centrally situated wine room.
Although unusual for a home in the desert Southwest, the vivid hues used inside and out create the joyful ambience the homeowners desired. “Bill and I have always liked bold and cheery colors. I call them ‘happy colors’,” Carolyn explains. “This is why we are drawn to the beautiful Spanish tile. We’re especially fond of the combination of the blue and white tiles and wanted them to be a focal point.”

With the main priorities and design parameters established for the new home and its interiors, a series of meetings and shopping excursions ensued. “It was one of the easiest projects I’ve done from a design standpoint,” says interior designer Terese Messina. “We just agreed on everything. When something looked cheery and uplifting, that was it for her.” An example—one that the designer says speaks volumes about her client’s taste and color sense—was a light turquoise fabric that Carolyn had purchased with the intent of using it in her daughter’s bedroom. “It really told me that she loves clean, fresh color,” Messina says. “So aquas, cobalts and royal blues with pops of yellow and lots of bright white became the palette very early on.”

To keep the family room feeling light and airy, sofas are slipcovered in white denim, while custom accent pillows and striped curtains pull in the fresh blues the homeowners love. A catwalk on the upper level is supported by wooden corbels—a signature of architectural designer Clay Scrivner—that were hand-carved on site.
To keep the look cohesive without being overwhelming, Messina selected simple, transitional furnishings that are pared down yet bold. A striking starburst-framed mirror adorns a wall of the living room, for example, while draperies in the family room boast a wide blue-and-white stripe.

The designer also skillfully incorporated items from the Shines’ home in New Jersey, including the table, side chairs, rug and sideboard in the dining room. A cabinet that was embellished with a mural was painted black and given new life as a powder room vanity, and a traditional side table coated with pale blue chalk paint serves as a nightstand in the master bedroom.

In addition, some existing artwork was freshened up with new frames painted a crisp white, and several vessels, including a Talavera pot and a pair of antique ginger jars, were transformed into lamps.

The blue-and-white color scheme established in the family room is echoed on an adjacent covered patio. Comfy and inviting with cushioned bancos and wicker seating, the outdoor space is connected to the indoors by pocket doors that are flanked by horizontal-striped draperies.
With 5,600 square feet of livable space, including a detached guest casita, and more than 2,000 square feet of covered patio and balcony space, the sprawling house maintains a cozy feel. “It’s great when you have guests,” Carolyn says. It’s private but you have a central area in which to congregate.”

In the short time that the Shines have owned the house, all but two of Carolyn’s siblings have been out for a visit at least once. “This has definitely become the party destination very quickly,” says Messina. “Carolyn comes from a large family—she is one of nine kids—and I think her and her husband’s greatest pleasure is surrounding themselves with their family as much as possible, enjoying good wine, sunny weather and the outdoors. This is the perfect place to do that.”

The Shines may have missed out on their first home choice, but their new house not only meets their expectations, it also exceeds their wildest desires. For this couple, there are nothing but blue skies ahead.

The eat-in kitchen is anchored by a large walnut-topped island and blue-upholstered counter chairs. White cabinets, plaster range hood and arabesque-tiled backsplash balance the touches of azure.


Breakfast is pure pleasure at a zinc-topped pedestal table that’s accompanied by chairs of rattan and natural seagrass. The iron chandelier is custom.

In the home’s circular dining room, family pieces, including a sideboard, antique needlepoint rug, table and fretwork side chairs, mingle with newly added upholstered wing chairs and ceramic table lamps. A round clerestory window adds architectural interest.
High-gloss turquoise cabinets enliven the pantry, which is tucked along one side of the kitchen. The tile backsplash is done in a medley of complementary hues.


It is no surprise that blue also plays a starring role in the detached guest casita, inside and out. Bladed arches lead to steel blue doors, which hint at the palette to come.
Flanked by cushioned bancos, the fireplace on the covered patio off the family room features a mortar-washed brick interior, a tile surround and a TV above the mantel. Comfy wicker seating maximizes enjoyment of the area.


The laundry room incorporates a gift-wrap station that doubles as a place to fold clothes. Flooring here is concrete tile, as is the black-and-white checked backsplash.
Custom-colorized diamond-shaped tiles in gradient blues create waves of color on the arched back of this wall fountain, which is accented with Spanish tiles.
Photos - Clock-wise from top left:In the casita’s bedroom, the fresh color scheme begins with a striped cotton rug and continues with a denim bedskirt and an existing wood headboard painted to match. Blue ceramic table lamps, a two-tone blue quilt and throw pillows, and artwork over the bed reinforce the theme.

Turquoise grasscloth brightens the walls of the powder room, giving it a Southwest spin.

Custom-colored tile in four different designs decorate stair risers while celebrating the home’s blue palette.

A covered terrace off the guest room is a favorite place to enjoy the sunset. Openings feature bladed arches inspired by a castle Scrivner saw in Spain. The bistro set is made of durable, easy-care cast aluminum.

Scrivner designed the shapely pool and raised tiled spa. He says his rule of thumb is to have outdoor space equal about 40 percent of the amount of a home’s indoor space. The pool deck is old San Miguel stone.

An aqua-and-white print fabric found online by the homeowner is used for the draperies, bed skirt and headboard in a guest room. The metal chandelier was painted to match; flower prints are a botanical touch.

A backyard sitting area features a centerpiece fireplace flanked by curved bancos clad in turquoise and white tile set in a graphic checkerboard pattern.
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