A Hospitable Home Welcomes Guests with Its Many Amenities
A North Scottsdale couple design a palatial dwelling with friends and family in mind.
By Rebecca L. Rhoades | Photography by Steven Meckler
For some empty-nesters, building a new home provides a perfect opportunity to downsize. Others prefer to create a welcoming abode, a place where friends can gather to celebrate the holidays and where family members always have a comfortable place to call their own. Such was the case for a pair of retirees who split their time between their main residence in Arizona and a second house in Nebraska.
Perched on a corner hillside overlooking the exclusive Silverleaf golf community, the home stretches across an elongated lot that is bordered to the west and south by the street and to the east and north by the steep incline of the the foothills of the McDowell Mountains. A winding driveway brings guests up to a rectangular courtyard that separates the rocky cliff from the house. At the far end of the property, a large multicar garage is carved into the mountainside.
“This was a very difficult site on which to build. We ran into some extremely hard rock, and we even had some cave-ins back by the garage area,” notes Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award-winning builder John Schultz. “We constructed the house in two halves. The volumes from the front door north to the garage were framed and built before we even had a foundation from the front door heading south. It was the only way we could keep the process moving along.”
Architect Mark Candelaria, also a Masters of the Southwest award winner, took advantage of the lot’s challenging configuration to devise the home’s approachable layout. Designed in a classic Spanish colonial style, with deep red window frames, a tile roof and stone balcony railings, the house is long and low-slung, with the majority of rooms on the main floor. “We had a few requirements that the house had to meet, including six bedrooms, large open spaces and very few steps,” says the wife. They also desired an attached guest wing instead of a separate casita and sightlines that maximized the view. “We wanted to make it more about the family,” adds the husband.
The home’s central volume encompasses the main living spaces, which separate the owners’ wing from the guest rooms. The master suite, complete with its own sitting lounge, a large master bath and his-and-hers walk-in closets, offers a calming place to retreat after long days spent entertaining four young grandkids. A stone-clad staircase leads to the husband’s office, an intimate sitting nook and a small balcony that opens to the hallway. On the opposite end of the house are five suites, three on the main level—ideal for elderly guests, such as the husband’s mother, who visits often—and two on a tucked-away second floor for added privacy.
The wife’s love of natural stone drove the look of the interiors. “We basically let the stone be the star and drew everything else back,” explains interior designer Isabel Dellinger Candelaria, a Masters of the Southwest award winner. “The wife picked out some pretty exotic pieces, but they work because we kept the other design elements around them simple.”
Large slabs of highly polished cream-colored Taj Mahal quartzite line the grand hallway that runs the length of the home. In the kitchen, more Taj Mahal on the counters and backsplash is offset by a darker stone on the center island. And each of the six en suite bathrooms is cloaked in a different granite or quartzite. The colors of the stone determined the themes of the attached bedrooms, all of which are named after destinations the homeowners have visited. For example, a pale green quartzite defines the elegant Paris bedroom, while the luscious caramel tones and prominent brown veining of Stonewood add drama and energy to the Cuba room.
To complement the multitude of surface materials, Dellinger Candelaria and her project manager Nikka Bochniak limited cabinetry to two shades throughout the entire house—a medium wood stain and a honey-colored paint that visually blends into the butter-hued Venetian plaster walls for a classic look that’s warm and soothing. “This shade is going to stand the test of time,” notes Dellinger Candelaria. “It’s not something we’re seeing trend-wise, but it’s a type of color that has been used throughout the history of design.”
Spacious rooms and high vaulted ceilings lend an open and airy feel to the home. Dark wood furnishings, iron accents, and plush upholstered seating, understated accessories and graphic area rugs all in variations of beige, red and blue underscore the structure’s overall neutral palette and ruby window frames “and tell a pretty great story,” Dellinger Candelaria notes.
In lieu of overly embellished decor, the design team incorporated some one-of-a-kind details that amp up the interior’s wow factor without being overbearing. Oak floors in the formal dining room showcase an elegant fleur-de-lis pattern crafted of inlaid polished pewter. “It gives the room a grand palazzo feel,” Dellinger Candelaria explains. The arabesque motif is echoed in the coved ceiling and a wall of mirrors. The breakfast room’s arched brick ceiling features alternating panels in a chevron pattern in a muted hue that adds subdued texture. But the pièce de résistance can be found above the kitchen islands, where Candelaria, who is known for his eye-catching ceiling designs, placed a large stained-glass panel that elevates the otherwise functional space into a work of art. “Mark and I saw something similar to the glasswork in a hotel in Florence, Italy,” Dellinger Candelaria explains. Adds the architect, “I love to cook, so the kitchen is always like a cathedral to me. This gives the effect of a skylight without being too glaring.”
Outside, a pool, spa, barbecue zone and multiple seating arrangements break up the lengthy patio. Landscape designer Jeff Berghoff added softness to the narrow setting by incorporating beds filled with boxwoods, roses and privet shrubs. Red and yellow annuals complement the custom Mexican tiles found on stair risers. And a variety of desert-friendly trees, including foothill palo verdes, Texas mountain laurels, native mesquites, desert willows and ironwoods, as well as barrel cacti and ocotillos, creates a lush park-like feel. “It was important to have plants outside every window to integrate the home with nature,” Berghoff says.
Adjacent to the pool is a large outdoor shower. “We got the idea from our travels in South Africa,” the wife explains. The enclosed room, which features a pergola-style roof, is clad in a rich blue quartzite, another of the wife’s selections. “This shower is probably one of the neatest spaces we’ve ever worked on,” says Dellinger Candelaria. “The cool shade of the stone combines with the sky above for an amazing experience.” The wife agrees, noting, “When you shower outside, it feels so good. We use it all the time.”
The couple moved into their new abode in 2018 and immediately put the large kitchen, with its two islands and five ovens, and multiple dining areas to use. “We love Thanksgiving, and we’ve celebrated two of them here. It’s such a joyful day,” says the wife. “We’ve had anywhere from 34 to 42 guests here at one time, and everyone has room to spread out.”
Adds Candelaria, “A home should reflect the personality and spirit of its owners. And this couple are just so much fun. When you walk into their house, it feels like them. It’s how they like to live in Arizona.”
Architect: Mark Candelaria, Candelaria Design Associates. Builder: John Schultz, Schultz Development. Interior Designers: Isabel Dellinger Candelaria and Nikka Bochniak, Earth and Images. Landscape Designer: Jeff Berghoff, Berghoff Design Group.
For more information, see Sources.