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Inside a House That Radiates Cheer and Positive Vibes

Crisp white walls, bright colors and surprising patterns present a fresh face that delights the homeowner, guests and visitors. The two-sided copper-clad fireplace, which was original to the home, helped to inspire the interior color palette.

A simple remodel brings a big transition to a dated home.

By John Roark | Photography by Austin Baker

“There is something magical about this house, and I don’t know exactly what it is,” says interior designer Mary Meinz. “The best way I can describe it is that it’s a smile.”

The homeowner agrees, noting that during the COVID-19 lockdown, package and food delivery couriers would express their surprise when she greeted them at the front door. “What I have heard time and again is, ‘Your house is so happy,’” she says.

Meinz, a Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award winner, met the homeowner, who works in property management, years ago through a mutual client. More recently, their paths crossed at another residence that Meinz had renovated. “It was decorated to the nines and I was excited about every fabric that I saw,” the homeowner recalls. “When I found out that it was Mary’s work, I called her right away. I told her I had a remodel with a smaller budget, but that I loved everything she had done.” 

Soon the women were sitting together on a couple of folding chairs in the empty house they would embark on transforming together. “We felt like we were old friends on day one,” Meinz says, “and that’s important because interior design is such a personal process. It isn’t just a financial investment, it’s an emotional investment as well.”

Armed with pages pulled from magazines, the homeowner was confident of the direction she wanted to go. “I was very specific in my ideas,” she recalls. “I knew I wanted color. I wanted contemporary but not without warmth. So many people want to be safe and monochromatic, which I like, but was tired of. Mary was able to look at the whole picture, understand what I was saying and run with it. It was invigorating to work with someone so on her game.”

The transformation started with the living room and family room ceilings, which were punctuated with wood beams that were too rustic to suit the homeowner. Meinz suggested encasing and painting them in a high lacquer to show them off. “The original beams were stained and obtrusive; they were nothing but a visual interruption,” the designer says. “Now they are magnificent even though they are so subtle.” The homeowner agrees: “I always call them my ceiling jewelry.”

1. The symmetrical layout of the room is deliberate and provides ample seating for entertaining. A frothy chandelier, also found in the foyer and family room, adds a soft note. “The homeowner is a girly girl. She likes froufrou,” Meinz says. “Because we wanted a little bit of glitz, these worked.” 2. The gallery was freshened by updating doors and hardware. At the far end, the home office is guarded by the homeowner’s “French soldier/boyfriend,” who watches over the house. 3. Just off the foyer, wood shelves were replaced by lighted glass to display some of the homeowner’s treasures. In the background, the mirrored walls bounce additional light into the low-ceilinged dining room, which was dark before the remodel. 4. The glass-doored entry is bright and airy. “I always say that a foyer is an appetizer to the rest of the home,” Meinz says. An accent wall of blackened mahogany and a cheerful parakeet-themed rug hint at the homeowner’s adventurous spirit in decor. 5. “We wanted a big piece of artwork for the dining room, and I asked the homeowner what she would like,” Meinz recalls. “She thought about it briefly and said, of all things, ‘I’m thinking oysters.’ We found a local artist who did a beautiful job. When you find a client like this, you get a home with personality.” 6. The owner, who loves to cook and entertain, says that the open kitchen is the hub and the heart of the home. An island was added with storage for large items, and a two-sided eating area features chairs covered in functional faux leather. Adjacent to the window, the wall is accented with glass shelving.

The house evolved. “It was like dominoes,” Meinz says. “Once we did the beams and painted the ceilings white, it was as if we cleared the way to make everything light and happy, and we started exploring colors.”

Meinz describes the aesthetic as contemporary with a twist. When possible, she prefers to design from the ground up. “If we have the opportunity, we start with area rugs, which are artwork for the floor,” she says. “You build from there. If you start with a perfect foundation, inspiration is inevitable.”

The home speaks a happy language with eye candy in every room—bright yellow sofas, chairs in bold prints, surprising accents and vivid artwork. “So often, we must be safe, and we have to be beige. That is the comfort zone for a lot of people, and they are not ready to step out of it,” Meinz says. “This client was not afraid, and she added personality to the whole project. She was willing to be set apart.”

The homeowner describes the remodel as transformative. “This is a safe haven that grounds me when I’ve had a day out there,” she says. “It has such a happy energy. I love coming home.”

1. “This room works thanks to a brave client and a big space,” says interior designer Mary Meinz. The two-sided fireplace was original to the home and is visible from both the living room and family room. “As the color scheme came together, the copper turned out to be a big asset,” Meinz recalls. “If you can’t think of a way to enhance something, work with it and around it, and pull it into your interiors. It will end up holding hands with you.” 2 & 3. The circular overhead structures are not part of the home’s original architecture and are unique to the neighborhood. “I always tell the homeowner it’s a good thing she saw it first because I would have bought this house,” Meinz jokes. The only additions to the backyard were new furniture and faux turf. “We just added and integrated,” Meinz says. “Sometimes that is all you need.”
“The dining room was very unattractive when we started,” Meinz recalls. An outdated chandelier was replaced by dimmable lights and the decision was made to keep the existing floor-to-ceiling mirrors, but to partially conceal them with new china cabinets. The table seats eight comfortably.
In the family room, ottomans nest beneath an 8-foot by 4-foot glass coffee table. “Because it’s glass, it doesn’t seem as large as it is,” Meinz says. “In a room of this volume, anything smaller would have been a stamp on a letter.” The chairs, reupholstered in an avocado-themed fabric, have been with the homeowner for 25 years.


Interior designer: Mary Meinz, ASID, NCIDQ, Mary Meinz Design, Scottsdale,
Chandelier: Light Form Lighting, Scottsdale, White pottery vessels: Zebra fabric on chairs: Cocktail table and ottomans (custom): Sofa: Palavela Home, Scottsdale,; fabric: Kravet Inc., Scottsdale, Deco pillows: Designers Boutique, Scottsdale, (480) 513-7744. Area rug: David E. Adler Fine Rugs, Scottsdale,

Chairs and side table: Sectionals (custom):; yellow velvet fabric and pillow fabric: John Brooks, Scottsdale, Round cocktail tables: Peter Thomas Designs, Scottsdale, Chandelier: Area rug:

Chair fabric:
Chest and accessories: Bench: Area rug:
Furniture: Inside/Out Showrooms, Scottsdale,
Oyster painting (by Jen Hollock): commissioned through Chairs: Table (custom):
Double and single barstools:; fabric:
Bedding: Chairs: Drapery:; Designers Boutique, (480) 513-7744. Area rug:
Chair fabric (by Designers guild): Cocktail table (custom): Ottomans: (custom):; fabric: Deb Fedasiuk, Scottsdale, Lighting:


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