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Orange Crush

An open floor plan concept was exactly what the homeowners desired in their Arizona vacation abode. Interior designer Mary Meinz incorporated mix-and-match textiles that feature her signature shade—orange—for a vibrant contrast with the white walls and dark woodwork. The three-ring chandelier in the great room was made to complement the sparkling lighting over the dining table and kitchen island. “The owner wanted something round and light,” she says. “This intertwining idea came to us. It’s massive without being overbearing. But rather than something commonplace, it’s like jewelry to the room.”

An unexpected accent color enlivens a stylish yet livable abode.

By Jackie Dishner | Photography by Scott Sandler

There’s a first time for everything, including hiring an interior designer. Such was the case for one Wisconsin couple, who decided that they needed some extra help beautifying their new vacation property in North Scottsdale—a home they almost didn’t purchase.

“We wanted something more contemporary and larger than what we had at the time,” says the wife. A real estate agent, she viewed the property by herself first and thought it was perfect, sitting privately and overlooking a golf course. She fell in love with the views of Pinnacle Peak, the surrounding mountains and city lights, from both inside and out. The home also included just about every item on their wish list, save for an outdoor shower.

Her husband wasn’t as impressed. “It took five visits before it clicked with him. He kept finding excuses not to like it,” she says with a laugh.

A friend suggested that the couple consider hiring Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award-winning interior designer Mary Meinz to help make the dwelling feel more homey and welcoming.

“We didn’t know what to expect,” says the wife about their decision to utilize a design professional. “Our fear was that the abode wouldn’t be comfortable or inviting enough. We didn’t want a show house.” It turns out that Meinz was born and raised in Michigan and went to college in The Badger State, and the three quickly bonded over their shared Midwestern roots.

The contemporary prairie-style house designed by architect Andrew J. Gramling offered a strong base on which to build, including white walls with stone accents and wood panels, mahogany-stained cabinetry, light brown porcelain wood-look planks on the floors, ceramic tile in the bathrooms and tumbled travertine on the back patio.

During a tour of the empty home, Meinz quipped, “God only sends me people who love orange.” At the time, she was wearing the color—her signature shade—by way of a puffy vest. The hue quickly found its way into the design scheme.

The wife remembers how. “Mary told us, ‘We have to start from the floor up.’” The trio met at a rug store, where Meinz had the staff pull out about 20 samples in different color groupings—yellows, beiges, greens and oranges. “She had plans for whatever we might choose,” the wife notes. “We fell in love with the orange. I had never cared for it that much, but now we adore it. It’s a dusty but vibrant color.”

The first rug selected was fitted for the great room, a space brilliantly illuminated by window walls during the day and by sparkling chandeliers at night. Positioned in front of the fireplace, the eye-catching silk-and-wool hand-woven piece from Nepal took a year to make, Meinz points out. A repeating raised oval pattern reminiscent of seedpods is rendered in an invigorating cantaloupe tone mixed with neutral gray, taupe and cream. The palette provides the perfect punch to the stark white walls throughout the home.

1. A trio of framed beaded necklaces at the entrance to the wine cellar, which features custom shelving and brick-veneer pavers on the floor, came from the homeowners’ previous dwelling. 2. Simple yet elegant lines in the guest bedroom combine for a look that is “cozy, comfortable and welcoming,” according to Meinz. 3. Flooring in the master bathroom is Italian ceramic that mimics limestone. The same tile in a contrasting shade was used to create an accent wall behind the freestanding tub. Chrome fixtures and an acrylic martini table underscore the room’s contemporary look. 4. Meinz notes that this light-filled nook in the master bedroom is her favorite spot in the house. A patterned throw pillow and playful Z-shaped high-gloss accent table add a punch of color to the custom sofa. “You just want to lounge there. It’s like a desert oasis,” the designer says.

“There’s a beauty to the home, but we’re also not afraid to live in it.”


Wood panels on either side of the fireplace make a dramatic statement, according to Gramling. “It’s a rift cut oak to give the face its vertical look. It works well in a high-ceilinged room,” he says. “We used the same veneer throughout the home, on interior doors and cabinetry, so the design flows from room to room.”

Completing the living space, which opens onto the kitchen and dining area, is a stuffed sectional sofa in light beige, a pair of swivel chairs in hues that match the rug and a bright woven leather ottoman in a soft shade of pumpkin. Various mix-and-match textures provide additional interest, with each textile pattern from the ground up aptly matching the next. “You have to count on your couch, chairs and pillows to add interest to the room,” Meinz notes. “They should complement the rug while not taking away from it.”

1. High-backed dining chairs match the scale of the formal dining room, which opens onto a second-story loft. The thickness of the wood table matches that of other surfaces in the home, including the kitchen island. Abstract wall art pulls in colors of the main living area, providing a sense of cohesion throughout. 2. The upstairs loft was designed to be used as a private retreat for visiting friends and family and features a bedroom, bathroom, sitting area and deck with its own fireplace and TV. This cozy arrangement is the perfect spot for playing board games or cards. According to architect Andrew J. Gramling, the space has the best views in the house. 3. To take advantage of the backyard vistas—and also allow for privacy—Gramling terraced the property, providing various levels of sitting and entertainment areas. A cantilevered overhang ensures that no views are blocked by columns. Teak-framed sofas, upholstered in soft black-and-white fabrics, complement the cut stone accents found on exterior walls and raised plant beds. “The palette was deliberately selected for compatibility, to blend in with what’s inside the home,” says Meinz. She added a pop of her signature color to the yard by way of an orange sun shade. 4. MFrosted glass doors that open to the master bedroom allow more light to enter. Fabrics, textures and furnishings in cool neutrals enhance relaxation, while burled maple night stands and silver hammered lamps continue the home’s overall design.

“We fell in love with the orange. I never cared for it that much, but now I love it.”


Anchoring the seating area, where family and guests gather to watch sports on the big-screen TV or play board games, is a custom coffee table crafted from smooth alder wood atop a pair of sturdy iron bases.

Plush chairs upholstered in a matching cantaloupe hue in the kitchen and dining room tie the open floor plan together and bring in enough seating to entertain up to a few dozen guests comfortably. Orange also shows up in a bold-shaded oversized jar by the front door, on brightly patterned throw pillows and vivid accent tables, and in artfully framed canvases on the walls. The color palette even picks up the natural tones of the cut stone that seamlessly flows from outside to indoors.

Although he may have had his doubts about the house, the husband finally succumbed to its charm. According to the wife, they were having lunch at the clubhouse across the fairway when it happened. Sitting out on the patio, she pointed over at the house with its terraced backyard. “It’s a good-looking house,” he admitted.

“Yes, there’s a beauty to the home, but we’re also not afraid to live in it,” the wife says. And her husband? “He stands there now, looking out those sliding glass doors and says, ‘I love this house.’” π

Architect/builder/landscape designer: Andrew J. Gramling, Gramling Architecture. Interior Designer: Mary Meinz, Mary Meinz Design.
For more information, see Sources.


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