Happily Ever After
Newlyweds say “I do” to transforming a dated 1970s dwelling into a dream domicile for two.
By Katherine Adomaitis | Photography by Michael Woodall
Not long after Tami Clark and Tony Rossetti married, they began looking for a house in Paradise Valley. Their only requirement? It had to have a view. After a lengthy search, Tony found a prospect on a steep hillside with vistas of Camelback Mountain. He brought his new bride to see the property. “I hated it,” she recalls, “and I immediately checked it off the list.”
The 5,000-square-foot, three-bedroom home, which was built in the 1970s, angled around a granite outcropping and backed directly into the mountain. “It had been remodeled badly in the 1990s,” Tami says, “and the floor plan didn’t work. It seemed like too much work to make it into something we would enjoy.” But Tony saw something in the house and convinced his wife to come back one evening. “We walked out on the deck, felt the breeze and saw all the lights below,” she remembers. “I guess that clinched it.”
“I didn’t want the house to look like a model home. We like modern looks, but we also have eclectic tastes”
—Tami Clark, homeowner
The couple asked Scottsdale-based interior designer Esther Boivin to handle the renovations and help with selecting new furnishings. “One of the first things that Tami told me was that she likes to cook and entertain,” Boivin says, “and that both she and Tony wanted an open floor plan that takes advantage of the views. The interior was dated, but I didn’t get stuck with what I was seeing. I helped them visualize what could be.”
The first room Boivin tackled was the kitchen. It—and a powder room—was tucked behind a wall near the home’s entry. The space also included a curved breakfast room bay with floor-to-ceiling windows. “It had the best view in the house,” the designer recalls, “and it was blocked off in the kitchen.”
By removing walls, Boivin opened up the space and allowed views and light to flood the adjacent living and dining areas. The powder room was relocated to a nearby hallway. To accommodate Tami’s desire to cook and entertain, Boivin designed two islands—one for prep and cooking and another that serves as a bar for drinks and informal dining. They are connected by a floating range top, a design option made possible by use of a custom, hidden gas line. “The floating range lets Tami cook, enjoy the views and interact with her guests,” says Boivin. “She doesn’t have her back to anyone.” Custom walnut cabinetry, white quartz counters and pale marble flooring—which extends into the living and dining areas—complete the look.
In the living room, dimensional stone tile replaced the original native rock cladding on the fireplace, which was flanked with two wallpapered niches, each sporting a dramatic, shapely sconce. An angular metal sculpture in the firebox adds interest when there are no flames.
The master suite is located a half flight of stairs from the rest of the house. To add privacy and drama, Boivin designed a custom walnut-and-glass pivot door and changed out the wrought-iron stair railing for a sleek, glass-and-steel version. Clerestory windows above the bed frame views of the rocky mountainside and bring natural light into the bedroom.
Like the kitchen, the master bath needed a major renovation to make it usable for the homeowners. “The old bathroom was chopped up into small spaces,” Boivin recalls, “and it wasn’t functional.”
“The floating range lets Tami cook, enjoy views and interact with her guests.”
—Esther Boivin, interior designer
The designer transformed the room into a large open spa-like retreat, complete with a pair of custom vanities, a soaking tub and a walk-in shower with a glass door that opens directly onto a small patio carved into the hillside.
When it came to furnishings, Tami asked Boivin to incorporate some of the couple’s existing pieces and artworks. “I didn’t want the house to look like a model home,” she says. “We like modern looks, but we also have eclectic tastes.” The designer suggested a few contemporary pieces with dramatic lines to complement items the homeowners had collected over the years.
For example, antiques that Tami had acquired during her years of travel to Asia have found new life in the entryway, while a pair of sleek Italian leather-and-steel sofas flank the fireplace. Tony’s contemporary art pieces add pops of color to the living room, and Tami’s collection of vintage black-and-white photography—including images by William Claxton and George Hurrell—accentuate the den and powder room.
The home’s revamped interior works well for the couple. When it’s just the two of them, they sip their morning coffees on red leather armchairs in the glass-walled bay off the kitchen, watching the sunrise and enjoying visits from javelinas, bobcats and hawks. When they entertain, everyone congregates in the kitchen, just as Boivin had intended when designing the new floorplan.
Most important, the transformation has won Tami over. “I love this house now,” she admits. “I love the open space, the views and how we can see fireworks at the Paradise Valley Country Club. I’m either enjoying the interior or checking things out with binoculars. I’ve got a pair in every room.”
Interior Designer: Esther Boivin, Esther Boivin Interiors.
For more information, see Sources.