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Bohemian Rhapsody

A California couple remodel a Scottsdale abode into a glamorous rock ’n’ roll retreat.

By Carly Scholl | Photography by Jenna Peffley

While there are endless good reasons to relocate to the Valley—from the enviable weather to the blend of big-city amenities and small-town community—Christina Valencia and her family of five made the decision to plant springtime roots in Scottsdale for the love of baseball. “My husband, Kele, has been coming to Arizona his whole life to attend the San Francisco Giants’ spring training games with his family,” Christina explains. “I came into the picture about 12 years ago and absorbed the tradition.” After adding three sons to the annual ritual, the couple found it increasingly challenging to book hotel rooms to accommodate their brood and finally decided to look for a second home in the Old Town Scottsdale area.

“We were determined to find some place unique,” says Christina, who owns an interior design firm with her husband in their hometown of Sacramento. The couple searched the neighborhoods around Scottsdale Stadium until they discovered a 2,000-square-foot single-family home in the perfect location. “When we found this house, it was so unloved and had so little going for it, but it had hints of character we knew could turn into something special,” she recalls.

An array of wall art hangs above a vintage credenza in Christina Valencia’s newly remodeled family home in Scottsdale.

The new homeowners kept the remodel in the family, calling on Kele’s contractor father to handle the structural renovations, including the expansion and reorientation of the kitchen area. “The original space was tiny,” says Christina. “We doubled the size and opened it up to make it part of the main living room. Now it’s casual and comfortable and can fit a lot of people at once.

“That’s the thing about the house,” she continues. “It’s meant to be a communal living space for all ages and groups. We bought this place with Kele’s parents, and there’s often more people than just our family here, so it needed to suit more styles and needs than our own.”

In an exclusive online extra, we chat with Christina Valencia about her favorite vintage shops in the Valley and her tips for finding antique treasures. Check out our interview here!

A minimalistic sunset mural adorns the wall in one of the guest rooms.

Other improvements that embraced the desert setting included the addition of archways throughout the home that reflect a slight Spanish influence, the installation of rosy Saltillo tile in place of dated brown tile flooring and a complete overhaul of the dilapidated pool area. To complement and contrast the new Southwestern-inspired elements, the design duo filled their home with light, color and unexpected details.

To incorporate more Spanish-inspired details into the desert abode, the couple added bold archways and pinkish Saltillo tile throughout the interiors.

A mix of colorful desert scenes, a verdant houseplant and tabletop objects d’art bring personality to an eclectic dining set made up of vintage furniture.

“This house is a little bit funky,” Christina notes. “We wanted to lean into that quirkiness instead of try to erase it.” The result is a design aesthetic the couple calls “desert glam meets ’70s rock ’n’ roll.” With an eclectic mix of contemporary and retro furnishings, fixtures and decorations, the home’s glimmering grooviness seems as suited for Laurel Canyon as it is for Scottsdale. It’s the kind of place where a sleek modern chandelier looks perfectly at home suspended above a quartet of antique cane-back dining chairs, or where you just might find Fleetwood Mac on vinyl tucked inside a vintage credenza. Gallery walls featuring paintings blended with hanging decor, as well as assorted objets d’art, add to the free-spirited sensibility of the interiors.

While this compilation of old and new elements lends one-of-a-kind character to the abode, it is the color palette that forms a visual constant throughout the property. “Kele and I tend to use a lot of different colors and textures in our work,” says Christina. “In this house, we wanted each room to have a graphic moment, and the warm shades we chose were inspired by our desert surroundings.” A bedroom mural composed of simple shapes depicts a honey-hued sunset dipping down between two mountain peaks, while bold black-and-white tile anchors the statement-making fireplace in the living room, which is flanked by French doors painted a muted gold. In the backyard, vermilion lounge chairs perch by the pool, and the kitchen features a range hood cloaked in glossy brown tile. Patterned rugs, pillows and throws bring energy and playfulness to each space. “Color is exciting and warm and comfortable,” the homeowner says. “We found special ways to create interest and functionality while still being fun.”

“The pool was very dilapidated,” the homeowner recalls. “We realized that one side was unusable because it was so deep, and not many people use diving pools anymore. So we created one depth and added a Baja shelf so we can play and relax.” Colorful lounge chairs and desert modern-style accents help set the stage for fun in the sun.

After stripping down the original fireplace, the homeowners added graphic black-and-white tile and installed a simple mantel, which underscores a cleverly concealed amenity. “We’re anti-TV when we’re on vacation,” says Christina. “But my father-in-law is such a huge baseball fan that we compromised.” The couple designed a hinged custom artwork that opens up to reveal a flat-screen TV.

Though Northern California is still their permanent home, the family’s desert days are the highlight of each year. “We fell in love with Scottsdale because of baseball, but we’ve moved beyond that,” Christina says. “We are big fans of the hiking, art and activities the city offers, and our boys are avid lizard hunters, Giants lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. They’re always begging us to come to Arizona.”

Because the home is only a part-time residence, the family didn’t need much storage space in the kitchen. Instead, they installed wood-grain open shelves to contrast with the white shaker-style cabinetry and sleek countertops.


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