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Homepage / Special Features  / Editor's Journal  / Editor’s Letter for October/November 2023

Editor’s Letter for October/November 2023

By John Roark

I’ve always thought I would know I had made it to the big time if I had a kitchen with an expansive island (or, if I’m being greedy, two). For me, that acreage of extra countertop real estate would represent an embarrassment of riches. Our art director, Len Loria, would want a greenhouse; senior executive editor Lauren Tyda longs for a secret underground wine room accessible by slide—but she’ll settle for a working microwave at this point. The signifier for a loyal subscriber on Florida’s west coast would be a koi pond; and Dillon, who was working the Starbucks drive-thru on the morning I completed my highly scientific research, didn’t hesitate to swing for the fences and ask for a skate park. If I recall correctly, “bro” or “dude” (maybe both) was included in his enthusiastic response.

We at Cities West Media were saddened to learn of the passing of our longtime friend, plantscape designer Craig Pearson. Named one of the inaugural Masters of the Southwest in 1990 and owner of the eponymous Pearson & Company, Craig was a fixture of the Valley for decades. We will miss his easy smile, generosity and collaborative spirit, and our thoughts are with his family and friends.

For each of us, the embodiment of our perfect palace is unique. The pages ahead include five of the dreamiest houses we visited this year. While they encompass a range of aesthetics and amenities, they have important commonalities: Each elicited countless “wows” when we walked through them and inspired hyperbole, ideas and aspirations. While we crowned one of them our 2023 Home of the Year, all are deserving of genuflections, open-mouthed wonder and unapologetic goosebumps. 

Speaking of reverential residences, we hope you will make plans to join us Saturday, Nov. 18, on the Phoenix Home & Garden 2023 Home Tour, which includes off-the-charts offerings from quaint to grand—including, as of this writing, the aforementioned Home of the Year. We are ecstatic about the lineup and hope to see you there and inspire you to manifest your own awesome abode. For ticket information visit

Pleasant dreams.

John Roark
Editor in Chief


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