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Bold, Bright Color Defines This Energetic Family Home

The kitchen sits at the heart of the home, overlooking the great room and ready to be a central gathering place for friends and family. Double islands, showcasing deep gray millwork and topped with thick stone countertops make prep and service easy. A box beam ceiling adds visual interest above.

A basic spec house takes flight thanks to a new palette of rich hues.

By Shannon Severson | Photography by Michael Woodall

“Color is an expression of who we are or who we would like to be,” says Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award-winning interior designer Mary Meinz.

For one couple, the addition of bold shades transformed what was once a mostly finished 6,500-square-foot spec home in Paradise Valley into a cheerful personal oasis that nurtures growing children, welcomes visiting relatives and comfortably hosts gatherings of friends.

“I knew that our house needed to be fun,” the wife explains. “We are a young family, and we love to entertain. I wanted a place that reflects our personality.” Her love of all things bold and bright is seen throughout the property. Upon arrival, guests are greeted with a flash of color from the swimming pool’s brightly hued iridescent tile, which is glimpsed through the front facade’s tall, south-facing windows.

Meinz says she used the exterior hues, including the pool and blooming gardens, along with the clean-lined white interior to create a dynamic finished product. “Neutral-toned homes are serene and timeless, appeal to a majority of people and are easy to live with, so clients who are willing to incorporate color into their homes are a sheer delight,” she says.

Inside, a large fuchsia area rug, seen through a transparent resin coffee table, sets the tone for the interiors. Oversized furnishings—cobalt blue wingback chairs, a tufted patterned ottoman and a plush, muted taupe sectional, accented with bright throw pillows—fill the large living room, while lively yellow pool umbrellas in the backyard echo details found throughout the interiors.

Meinz explains, “With the repetition of such hues as fuchsia, cobalt and yellow in everything from the commissioned artwork to the designer fabrics designated room-to-room, as well as accessories and furnishings both inside and out, color was the thread that held hands with the elements of black and white that were strategically peppered throughout. The contrast really grounds this incredible space.”

1. A cheerful guest den gives visitors a private space to relax. 2. Residential designer Agnieszka Jastrzebska drew inspiration for the flow of the house from Frank Lloyd Wright’s penchant for centering homes around the fireplace. 3. In the great room, a transparent resin coffee table allows the brilliant fuchsia area rug to take center stage. Interior designer Mary Meinz selected fabrics for accent pillows that tie in the hues from around the home and backyard. The box beam ceiling from the kitchen carries through into this space, giving a cohesive look to the main living areas. A glass wine cellar adds a contemporary touch to the more traditional architecture. 4. A crystal chandelier adds a touch of glam to the dining room’s clean lines and neutral furnishings. The elephant painting incorporates all the colors found in the home and holds a special meaning––the animal, a favorite of the wife, is the mascot of her alma mater.

Although the master suite features a soothing dark gray palette, its textural elements and reflective surfaces—a velvety, tufted headboard; an industrial-style overhead lighting fixture; a floor-to-ceiling Alaska white ledgestone fireplace; and a fluffy sheepskin rug—create visual interest. Bouquets of fresh blooms add vibrant pops that capture the eye, while the artwork subtly references family names and important dates.

An unused room near the master bedroom, originally intended as a study and sheathed in dark-toned paneling, was painted bright white to become a sweet nursery with a butterfly motif. “The design of this room is very meaningful,” the wife explains. “Butterflies were a favorite of my husband’s mother. When we see a butterfly, we are reminded of her, and now we can share that memory with our daughter.”

“I wanted to carry the colors in the home out into the yard, but I also wanted to keep it simple.”

—Shannon Murry, landscape designer

1. The stately facade of this spec house conceals its playful interiors. A pair of palms stand guard at the entry courtyard and accentuate the formal symmetry of the front egress, which is flanked by matching French doors. 2. Pocketing glass doors in the great room open to an outdoor lounge furnished with plush seating in graphic black-and-white stripes. A pass-though window connects the kitchen to the outdoor dining area. 3. The backyard offers showstopping views of Camelback Mountain. When the sun’s rays hit the blue pool tiles, their iridescent finish glows in the same fuchsia hue that is repeated inside the house.

Throughout the dwelling, residential designer Agnieszka Jastrzebska and builder Bill Cardie incorporated varying ceiling heights to designate different areas. “I love to try to imagine how the owners live and what their day looks like,” Jastrzebska explains. “By creating higher ceilings in larger rooms for public areas and lower ceilings in smaller rooms for private areas, human scale is created and the home feels more livable.”

Inside there is space for everything and everyone. Three uniquely themed guest rooms with en suite baths cluster around what the owners call a “guest den” in their own wing. That area opens to an enclosed entry courtyard, as do the doors of the dining room on the other side.

“The connection between that flex room, dining area and entryway allow the courtyard to become a space in and of itself,” Cardie explains. “Our goal was to have entertaining spaces that can be lived in and used regularly. Giving guests their own wing adjacent to those enclaves is a nice option.”

The majority of the abode’s gathering spaces are oriented toward the backyard. Sliding glass windows easily tuck away to make one large covered indoor/outdoor area that combines the great room, game room/bar, theatre and exterior dining room.

“In some houses, if you’re in the game room, kitchen or movie room, you’re distant from the party,” says the wife. “I didn’t want it to feel that way. There needed to be good flow between the individual areas. The entertaining spaces and layout were my husband’s biggest priority.”

For the bar and movie room, the couple chose a lighter palette than what is typical, opting for a bright and airy neutral scheme. And instead of a sofa and coffee table, they went with club chairs and a game-height table. “Men love sitting in them,” observes the wife. “Guys don’t usually like to sit close together on a sofa, but the club chairs are always occupied. We also lightened up the colors in the movie room and, when the sliding windows are open, the entertaining and living spaces merge with the patio to become one huge place to hang out. No one is left out of the party.”

The spacious backyard includes the pool, a spa, a putting green and plenty of room to lounge and enjoy the sun. There’s ample space to throw a Frisbee or toss a baseball. Landscape designer Shannon Murry was tasked with adding vibrancy and texture to the expanse without distracting from the majestic view of Camelback Mountain’s iconic Praying Monk formation.

“I wanted to carry the colors in the home out into the yard, but I also wanted to keep it simple,” Murry says. “The couple desired a Mediterranean feel, so we incorporated bougainvillea, ice plant, Italian cypress and sour orange plants, along with other citrus trees. We really wanted to bring the whole property to its fullest potential.”

Making the most of every part of the home is a delight the homeowners love to share with their friends and family. Whether it’s evening cocktails by the front yard fire pits, a holiday celebration in the formal dining room, or burgers and sports in the bar and game room, every space is primed for a celebration.

“I wanted a place that reflects our personality.”


1. Chrome fixtures and a large mirror amplify the powder room’s punchy black-and-white theme. 2. The nursery features a butterfly theme: its color scheme was inspired by the fabric on the club chair. A pair of stylish child-size ghost chairs and a tulip table are a perfect place for little ones to be creative, while a plush blue armchair and oversize poufs offer spots to cuddle up for a bedtime story. The French doors lead to a garden plot. 3. A tufted bed, mirrored nightstands and moody lighting underscore the refined yet relaxing atmosphere in the master bedroom. It’s one of the few places in the house where there is color on the walls. “We love the shade,” says the wife. ”It’s a calming blue that is just perfect.’” 4. A soothing monochromatic palette and an array of textures rein in the master bedroom’s sitting area, where a soft lambskin throw complements the floor-to-ceiling ledgestone fireplace. The horse painting discreetly incorporates names and dates that are important to the homeowner. 5. The marble-clad master bath features his-and-hers vanities, water closets and clothes closets, as well as its own laundry room. Plenty of natural light makes the fixtures sparkle.

Meinz sums it up: “This home lives large and becomes one with its backyard, with nature, and with all of the requirements that say, ‘Welcome’ the moment you enter.”

Builder: Bill Cardie, Diamond Spur Builders LLC. Interior Designer: Mary Meinz, Mary Meinz Design. Landscape Architect: Shannon Murry, TLB Construction, The Landscape Broker. Residential designer: Angieszka Jastrzebska, AJ Design Studio.

For more information, see Sources.


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