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A Paradise Valley Home Blends Two Eastern Cultures into One Stylish, Functional Abode

In Paradise Valley, a Mediterranean-influenced home wraps around a pool patio, scented with plantings of lavender and jasmine. The central core includes the dining room and formal living room.

Meticulous planning yields an elegant Paradise Valley home that reflects the style and cultures of a pair of physicians.

By Nora Burba Trulsson | Photography by Julianne Palmer

When Jas and Thuy Kahlon began thinking about a new abode in Paradise Valley, they didn’t just lead with their hearts. 

Instead, the husband and wife doctors (he’s a cardiologist, she’s in family practice) took a rational, scientific approach to how they wanted to live. On their list were needs such as having a home where their two teen boys could flourish, areas where they could entertain formally, work-from-home spaces and a traditional but airy ambiance. Above all, they wanted their new residence to reflect their cultures—Jas was born in India and Thuy’s family is from Vietnam.

“We spent almost three years looking for existing homes,” recalls Jas, who met Thuy when they were both doing their residencies in Detroit. “Even though the floor plans weren’t exactly fitting our needs, every single home we liked was done by Candelaria Design. We finally decided to build and hired Candelaria to do our house.”

The couple bought an empty, one-acre parcel in the heart of Paradise Valley and began the planning process with Candelaria Design, led by Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award-winning architect Mark Candelaria with Tim Mathewson serving as project manager. They, in turn, suggested April Lozevski to handle the interiors. 

“We start projects with a multiple-page questionnaire,” says Mathewson, “which asks about everything from style preferences to what side of the bed clients sleep on. From the questionnaire and our conversations, we knew that the Kahlons wanted a formal and symmetrical Mediterranean-influenced home that was also warm and light-filled.”

Mathewson also learned that the Kahlons had several special requests that honored their dual heritages. Among the asks was a welcoming bedroom suite for Jas’ mother, who lives with them. “In Indian culture,” Jas explains, “having my mother live in a separate guest house would be considered disrespectful. We wanted her in the main house because she is part of our family.” Thuy enjoys cooking Southeast Asian and Indian dishes but wasn’t fond of the lingering food smells. In addition to a main kitchen, she also wanted a smaller “spice kitchen,” where a separate HVAC system made the fragrances from traditional cooking disappear.

1. A tiled fountain in the auto court is aligned with the home’s art glass door, which is flanked by twin date palms. 2. Embroidery, rich fabrics with sheen and detailed carving are a nod to the homeowners’ cultures and love of elegance. In the dining room, an églomisé mirror forms the backdrop for the stately table and chairs. 3. A pair of cream-hued sofas form a conversation area in front of the living room’s carved fireplace. Pearlescent glazing on the ceiling adds a subtle shimmer to the setting. 4. Next to the main kitchen, a well-ventilated “spice kitchen” allows the owners to create their favorite Indian and Vietnamese dishes without cooking fragrances wafting through the house. 5. The fireplace at the end of the pool and spa serves to take the edge off a chilly night. The extended walls also provide privacy from neighbors.

The resulting design is anchored by a symmetrical front elevation with a central arched entryway, surrounded by subtle carvings and flanked on either side by tall, mullioned windows. Clay tile roofing, wrought iron details and copper downspouts add rustic touches to the smooth plastered exterior walls. Inside, the entry hall is on axis to a raised water feature, the pool and outdoor fireplace, all visible through a tall window. A formal living room and dining room balance the hall. The master suite and boys’ rooms are on one side of the house, while the kitchen, family room, bar, game room and mother-in-law suite are on the opposite side. In between, the Candelaria team tucked in the spice kitchen, a butler’s pantry and a wine room.

Constructing the Kahlons’ dream house, though, was no walk in the park. Before a single carved stone fireplace or delicate chandelier could be installed, builder Jeremy Felstead had to address the property itself. “There was a major wash that ran down the hill right through Jas and Thuy’s lot,” explains Felstead. “It had to be mitigated. We basically installed a concrete canal system under the home to move rainwater from east to west. That made for a lot of site work before the house itself could be built.”

For the interiors, Lozevski also took inspiration from the Kahlons’ unique heritages. “They love beautiful carvings and tapestries,” the designer explains. “Thuy also has a collection of traditional Indian saris, which are all about embroidery, beadwork, shimmer and other embellishments. I used all of that as an inspiration for the fabrics and millwork.”

“Everything about this house is above and beyond, from the subtle details to the way the floor plan moves you through the space. ”

—Jeremy Fesltead, builder

1. Low walls define intimate patios off the living and dining rooms at the front of the house. 2. Just off the main kitchen, the family room is where the owners, the husband’s mother and their children gather for meals, homework and relaxing. Throughout the interior, lush draperies with trim, sheers and antique-style hardware create a polished look. 3. A coffered ceiling frames the main kitchen, where an ample island is often used as a buffet for parties and shelves display objects gathered during the family’s travels.

Lozevski suggested weathered travertine flooring with marble mosaic borders for hallways and other spaces, and marked areas such as the living and dining rooms with hand-hewn walnut flooring. Crown molding and ceiling treatments with pearlescent glazing also give the backdrops a formal air, as does the rich carving on custom cabinetry and millwork. Working with a palette of cream and blue, Lozevski reused pieces from the Kahlons’ previous home, reupholstering a pair of ivory-hued sofas to flank the living room fireplace, and added in new furnishings, such as chairs with tapestry-upholstered backs for the dining room. As a nod to family life, the interior designer suggested performance fabrics for areas such as the family and game rooms.

Details throughout the interior add a glamorous effect. “I do like my bling,” says Thuy with a laugh. In the master bathroom, a vintage-style smoked mirror vanity table has a Hollywood vibe, while the cabinetry features a washed silver leaf finish and crystal hardware. Lush window coverings frame the windows with layers of silk sheers and draperies featuring beaded and embroidered trim work. The powder room vanity is an ornate chest, inset with a mother-of-pearl-lined sink.

1. The ornately carved bed is juxtaposed with shimmering bedding in the master bedroom, which overlooks the pool patio. 2. The master bathroom’s soaking tub is framed by a low wall surrounding the walk-in shower. The mirrored vanity and curvaceous chair create an inviting spot for everything from makeup to checking emails. 3. The tiled trough fountain, surrounded by clipped hedges, is aligned with the home’s entry hall and pool, and provides a soothing sound when doors are open.

Outdoors, the elegance continues. “The Kahlons wanted a lush, Mediterranean look for the garden,” recalls landscape designer Cory Ingram. “We included a lot of jasmine for fragrance, which is Thuy’s favorite.” In front, two date palms flank the entry, while a riot of colorful annuals encircles the auto court’s tiled fountain. Italian cypress, bougainvillea and roses add additional structure and color. In back, dwarf ollies, lavender, iceberg roses and holly flank the water feature and lead the eye to the pool and fireplace, softened by a scrim of elms, yellow bells and more bougainvillea.

“Everything about this house is above and beyond,” remarks builder Felstead, “from the subtle details to the way the floor plan moves you through the space. Each room is unique.”

Once the project was completed Lozevski knew everything had come together perfectly when the Kahlons hosted a housewarming party. “The glass walls of the family room were open to the outdoors so everyone could circulate throughout the house, and the fire pit was lit. Many women were wearing saris, and the shimmer of the fire was bouncing off their fabric. It was so beautiful, and it was the perfect reflection of what we were trying to accomplish.”

Architect: Mark Candelaria, Candelaria Design Associates. Builder: Jeremy Felstead, Allen Companies. Interior designer: April Lozevski, Avril Interiors. Landscape designer: Cory Ingram, Desert Springs Outdoor Environments.

For more information, see Sources.

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