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For The Home

Personal Touch

Author: Katherine Adomaitis
Issue: October, 2017, Page 86
Photos by Denise Rufer

Interior designer Raegan Ford’s family room is artfully comfortable: Danish modern-style armchairs join a pair of sofas around a custom two-level coffee table that displays a collection of art books.
In Renovating Her Own Home, an Interior Designer Gives Well-Loved Art and Collections Center Stage

Visit interior designer Raegan Ford’s home in Scottsdale and you’ll see lots of art—some by masters, some found in vintage stores—adorning the walls. In the kitchen, glass shelves display a collection of shiny chrome toasters, small pieces of industrial art created between the 1920s and ’40s. An old post office safe box has new life as a bar, tucked into a niche in the dining room. Shelves and coffee tables exhibit stacks of art books.

The glass and wood front door illuminates the home’s entry.
“Our home has a lot of pieces we’ve collected over the years,” says Raegan of the 4,500-square-foot home she shares with her husband, Luke. “Everything is a mix of old and new.”

The designer’s affinity for collecting and creating a personal, eclectic setting developed during her childhood, during which time she lived in seven different countries due to her father’s overseas work. “I was exposed to other cultures and styles,” recalls Raegan, who studied fashion merchandising and design at the University of Arizona. “I also always helped my mother set up our households, so I’m used to moving things around.” After she and Luke married, they lived in Mexico City and Dallas before settling in Scottsdale in 2004 with their three then-young sons.

When they first bought their territorial-style house, it wasn’t exactly to Raegan’s taste. “Except for the vaulted ceiling, the Arizona slate fireplace and the big backyard, it didn’t have much in the way of aesthetics,” she remembers. “It was built in 1981, and the interior was dark and compartmentalized.”

Raegan and Luke Ford in the back yard of their Scottsdale home.
Raegan, who had her interior design firm by then, supervised the home’s initial remodeling, tearing down walls separating the kitchen, family, dining and living rooms; replacing carpet with wood flooring; and bringing more light indoors through French doors, larger windows and skylights. “My husband kept asking me, ‘How many more holes are you going to put in the house?’” Raegan laughs. “But it did make the interiors brighter.”

Last year, Raegan supervised another major renovation to the home, this time adding a bedroom and a Jack-and-Jill bathroom, moving her design office to the front of the house where it could have its own entry, redoing the kitchen and updating the home’s millwork and finishes to better showcase the couple’s collections.

The renovation was spurred in part by an attempt to downsize. “We recently became empty nesters, and we started looking for something smaller,” Raegan explains. “But we realized we liked this house, and it was just easier to update it to include guest space for our sons and their future families when they come to visit.

An old cabinet, updated with Lucite handles, hides the television in the family room. It is surrounded with artwork collected when the couple lived in Mexico City.
“We also decided to upgrade the finishes,” she adds with a smile, “because our three kids aren’t here to ruin them.”

The couple lived on-site during the remodel, which, Raegan recalls, was stressful but also helpful in that she could be hands-on in the construction and design details.

During the recent renovation, the kitchen received a major update, inspired by a Moroccan-influenced pale gray tile that Raegan chose for the backsplash. New custom cabinetry in a simplified Shaker style and topped with light quartz countertops adds to the home’s transitional background style that Raegan believes best works with their eclectic furnishings and colorful artwork. She also mixed in gold plumbing fixtures and lighting accents to echo the gold frames on most of the artwork and used the new island to display an antique Argentine meat scale.

A mesquite tree shades the circular drive at the front of the house.  New French doors to the left of the entrance lead to Raegan’s interior design office.
In her new design office, custom white millwork in a simple, traditional motif adds a bit of gravitas to the setting, which includes a metallic hide rug and a silver cow skull mounted on painted barn wood. She also indulged in her love of wallpaper, giving the room depth with a patterned muted gray wallcovering.

While the main living areas were only lightly enhanced with soft gray paint on the tongue-in-groove ceilings, the new bathroom and guest bedroom received Raegan’s touch with transitional cabinetry and pops of color and pattern thanks to tile and wallpaper. A full bath off a hallway was transformed into a powder room, with a new vanity, custom cabinetry and stone-patterned wallpaper.

Once the renovations were done, Raegan further refreshed the interior by moving furniture, collections and artwork around the house, and mixing in a few new pieces, as well as newly acquired vintage finds. In her office, a Victorian-style armchair—one of the designer’s first antique finds in Phoenix—was updated with new velvet upholstery. “This chair has been in the living room, the bedroom and now here,” she explains.

Silvery wallpaper and a mirrored wall pull light into the dining room, where an old post office safe box has been transformed into a bar and an art deco buffet adds a sinuous touch. The Lucite chairs give the setting a ‘70s edge.
In the kitchen’s breakfast area, Raegan added a modernist Eero Saarinen Tulip table, encircled with vintage Italian cane-back chairs with cream-colored seating. The family room’s transitional setting received a jolt with two new Danish modern-style armchairs and a collection of colorful paintings arranged around an armoire that houses the television. In the dining room, 1970s Lucite chairs share space with an art deco buffet. For the master bedroom, a midcentury canary yellow leather daybed offers just the right vibrant accent across from a wall filled with etchings, portraits and family heirloom icons.

Now completed, the interior is stylish and comfortable for the couple and welcoming for visits from their young adult sons. “My husband is very flexible,” says Raegan of Luke’s response to the renovations. “I can do the design, but he does the ‘sit’ test. He has the final say on the seating.”

Most important, the house is personal. It doesn’t follow trends. “I believe a house should reflect who you are,” says Raegan. “I like to think you see that in our home.”

In the living room, a mix of new and vintage furnishings provides ample seating by the home’s original stone fireplace. A custom live-edge coffee table adds an organic touch. Art is visible from every vantage point.

Custom shelving displays art books, sculpture and curios. The marble-topped table and chairs are vintage. The contemporary painting is by Marjorie Moran.

An Eero Saarinen Tulip table adds midcentury flair to the breakfast area, softened by vintage cane-back Italian chairs.
The patterned tile backsplash in the kitchen determined the room’s soft gray color scheme. For contrast, Raegan mixed in gold and pewter metals. On the island, an old Argentine meat scale now displays retro glass art.

Glass shelves in the kitchen display
a collection of chrome toasters designed from the 1920s to the 1940s. The wood tray holds glass and metal spritzer bottles from Argentina.

In her master bedroom, Raegan added a soffit to create architectural detail and warmed the space with a heavily textured jute rug. The matching chest and bed are family heirlooms.

A yellow midcentury daybed imparts a pop of color in the master bedroom. Raegan had the legs cut off an old side table to create a platform for the sculpture on the right. The painting is by Marjorie Moran.

The headboard is framed with a montage
of portraits, icons and etchings that are family pieces. A mirrored nightstand adds sparkle.
The simple lines and understated shades of the custom cabinetry, silver-framed mirrors and soft white walls allow the patterned floor tile to take center stage in the guest bathroom.

A peacock chair and a Korean chest in a new guest bedroom reflect the years Raegan spent living in Asia during her youth.
Custom cabinetry with mirrored doors keeps files and samples organized in the designer’s studio. The chair is vintage.

A custom partners desk is Raegan’s work space. She created the skull art herself.
Paired gold mirrors and classic marble lamps, as well as boldly patterned wallpaper and sumptuous bedding in rich hues of blues, golds and bronzes create a luxe retreat for the new guest bedroom.

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