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A Spanish Modern Remodel in Troon North Takes Design Cues from the Surrounding Desert Landscape

“We wanted to make sure you were seeing old mixed with new throughout the entire home,” explains interior designer Lori Clarke. “There needed to be the warmth of the rustic elements mixed with the soothing clean lines of the modern aesthetic.” In the kitchen, various textures, patterns and colors swirl together in an unforgettable scene.

A freshly remodeled Spanish Modern vacation home takes inspiration from the surrounding desert vistas.

By Carly Scholl | Photography by Kevin Brost

Ask any Arizona transplant and they’ll tell you it only takes a visit or two to become enchanted by the Southwest. Canada-based couple Fulvia and Ronald Walton are no exception, having been drawn to the desert of North Scottsdale after a stay at Four Seasons Resort at Troon North. “We first experienced the area when we visited the hotel and saw how it is completely built into the terrain,” recalls Fulvia. “We loved how the landscape was the star of the show.”

The couple purchased a 20-year-old home in proximity to the resort and, while its dated style hinted at Spanish influence, they decided it needed a major upgrade. “We were new to Arizona and this house is a completely different style from what I am used to, so I definitely wanted help,” Fulvia notes. “I follow a variety of designers and magazines on social media, but I find that many designer accounts consistently post the same look and style. When I came across Lori Clarke’s page, I loved how her work was varied.”

From the beginning, Clarke knew how to translate the Waltons’ vision into a stunning remodeled residence. “Their dream for the new home was a place where they could host and entertain family and friends for a sweet escape,” the interior designer remembers. “They wanted to capture the aesthetic of the Southwest but elevate the style to accommodate modern living.”

Though most of the home’s original footprint remains, the design team made some major renovations in the direction of Spanish Modern style. “The kitchen, living room and outdoor space were definitely our top priority,” Fulvia explains. “Having a lovely flow between these interior and exterior areas to entertain and to enjoy on our own was important. Most of the remodeling was simply updating materials and replacing outdated design features, such as deep hollow curved walls that projected into the rooms. We gained a lot of space pushing the walls back. Lori had a wonderful vision and it resulted in a dramatic before-and-after.”

Originally, the kitchen and living room were closed off from each another, which prevented an easy flow between these high-traffic areas. “We decided it would be best to knock out the butler’s pantry and move the air conditioning return in the wall in order to merge the rooms,” Clarke explains. Now the open-concept kitchen sports sleek white cabinetry, moody gray tile flooring and pop of color behind the range. “I love this kitchen,” raves Fulvia, “especially the gorgeous custom wood island, but also the floor tiles and blue backsplash.”

1. ”Probably the two most unique elements of this project are the checkerboard paving and the zero-edge tiled ‘spool,’” notes landscape designer David Creech. “The Waltons and I worked closely with the pool contractor to come up with a look that would work with the yard and accent the amazing view.” Specimen cacti and plants were salvaged during the renovation and reinstalled around the backyard to create a natural desert scene. 2. A vibrant backsplash of deep blue tile acts as a focal point in the bright and airy kitchen. 3. “The Waltons love blue and green, so we knew those were two colors we were going to incorporate,” Clarke says. “They also wanted a presence of the calming neutral textures that characterize Southwest design. We made sure that each space’s color palette played well with the next while intriguing you to see what unfolds into the next room.” 4. The curved walls in the living room presented a challenge for Clarke when designing the built-in shelves and the bishop’s hat fireplace. “We spent hours making sure it was just right,” she recalls. The designer’s work paid off, as the freshly remodeled room is a favorite of both the homeowners and guests. 5. Punctuated by colorful books and striking black-and-white photography, this entryway vignette is a perfect example of the contemporary and traditional styles blended throughout the house. 6. In the formal dining room, curved walls and an expansive wall of windows bring a sense of both coziness and freshness to this gathering space.

One of the most beloved outcomes of this modern makeover is the focal point of the cozy living room. A small arched cutout in the shape of a bishop’s hat is set into a hearth of smooth Venetian plaster. Above it, a circular wood ceiling and heavy beams enhance the curvature of the room, adding depth to ground the whole vignette. “You walk into this space when you enter the front door, and it was the ultimate opportunity for a ‘wow’ moment, so we knew the fireplace detail had to be perfectly executed,” Clarke says. “This was originally a ‘beehive’ silhouette and its transformation was one of the first design elements we nailed down. The bishop’s hat definitely imparts more of a tailored Spanish aesthetic.”

“What always makes us smile is the view from inside the house out to the beautiful landscape beyond. It never gets old.”

—Fulvia Walton, homeowner

1-2. Hints of verdant green provide a lively hue off of which the sleek white chairs and dark wood furniture can play. The mossy shade takes center stage in a tiled built-in dry bar. 3. A striking plaid wallcovering in the powder bathroom diverges from traditional Spanish style but creates a graphic moment in the small space. 4. An apothecarial-style vanity is a rustic note in the guest bathroom.

For Ronald and Fulvia, the outdoor area of their new home was just as important as the interiors. “It was all about maximizing the views,” Fulvia says. “Each of the living zones needed to be designed for how we were personally going to use the space. Our aim was to take advantage of the mountain vistas and sunsets as much as possible. We also learned that a full-size pool was not what we wanted because they’re expensive to run, so we decided on a ‘spool,’ which is an oversized spa that can be cooled off to enjoy as a pool. We love how much it adds to our backyard, especially with the large saguaro and the amazing sunsets as backdrops.”

Landscape designer David Creech spearheaded the exterior makeover. “The whole project revolved around the new built-in spa and its position overlooking some of the best views on the property,” he says. “We were also working with an older home with a mature, but unkempt, landscape. We wanted to salvage and reuse specimen plants wherever possible, and we did introduce some new species, including bougainvillea and Texas sage, to visually soften the yard.”

Now when the couple comes to visit their desert dream home, they find that they appreciate it to the fullest. “While we certainly do a lot of hosting of family and friends, our home is for us to enjoy,” Fulvia asserts. “What always makes us smile is the view from inside the house and out to the beautiful landscape beyond. It never gets old.”

1. “We wanted the interior of the home to flow with what we saw out our windows,” says homeowner Fulvia Walton. “Our respect for the Southwest guided us toward incorporating Spanish design. I love organic textures and natural materials, so we used those as often as possible.” 2. “Fulvia has a love for warm woods, terra cotta tiles and curves—which makes my heart sing!” Clarke exclaims. In the master suite, each of those elements is on display. A large picture window above the soaking tub looks out onto the rocky terrain of Troon North.

Interior Designers: Lori Clarke and Summer Kraut, Lori Clarke Design. Landscape Architect: David Creech, CFdesign.

For more information, see Sources.


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