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A Fun-Loving Family Collaborates on Creating Their Dream Home

A study in texture and color, a niche in the dining room exemplifies the home’s refined yet approachable aesthetic.

Designed with every member of the household in mind, a Paradise Valley abode offers an easy-going grace.

By Shannon Severson | Photography by Kevin Brost

For most homeowners, a house is more than four walls and a roof. It’s a haven from the tumult of the world outside and, as such, should reflect the personalities of its residents. For Gary and Ashley Gregg, the process of renovating their newly purchased Santa Barbara-style dwelling became a family affair, one that involved their three daughters and resulted in a stylish yet comfortable retreat that reflects the vivacious nature of the people it shelters.

“Timeless is a great word for the look,” Ashley says. “Gary likes sleek and modern, but he didn’t want it to be too up-to-the-minute. We aren’t trendy.” Because the house is large—8,441 square feet with six bedrooms and eight-and-a-half baths—it could easily become too opulent, so the Greggs were resolved that the overall feel be inviting and comfortable.

Interior designers Lori Clarke and Summer Kraut mixed masculine and feminine, modern and vintage into a story told through color, texture and pattern. “When the Greggs reached out to us, we started with a conversation about their lifestyle, their daughters and what was important to them,” Clarke explains. “The family does a lot of traveling, and Gary is a talented photographer. They love collecting and displaying items from their trips.” The designers devised a theme they refer to as “raw, refined and spirited” for the home’s aesthetic. “It really captures the entire family,” Clarke notes.

A major inspiration for the overall look and feel of the home was Pablo Picasso’s “War and Peace,” a continuous line drawing of a woman wearing a garland on her head, an image that Clarke says embodies Ashley’s “elegance and a bit of wildness.” A print of the sketch is displayed prominently at the end of a hallway that leads to the home gym and Gary’s office.

The design plan centered on three distinct types of spaces: gathering, family and private. The formal rooms and Gary’s office trend toward contemporary, while rustic and organic touches add unexpected delights throughout. A quiet, tonal color palette accented by pops of bold hues highlights, rather than competes with, the already rich textures of stone and wood. “Our last home had a pretty monochromatic scheme, and this time we added color,” Ashley comments.

1. In the entry foyer, the graceful curves of a figurative sculpture focus the eye on an arched niche. The stools can be moved to create extra seating in the living room. 2. In the dining room, linear hurricane-style sconces and a matching chandelier illuminate the intermix of traditional and contemporary furniture, textiles and trim. The host chairs are covered in a rich charcoal-hued mohair, a fabric that repeats in the living room’s throw pillows. 3. A dual-sided carved Canterra stone fireplace warms the dining room and adjacent living space. The dark wood coffered ceiling feels fresh when contrasted with the freshly painted deep blue and soft white walls.

The couple’s daughters were also included in every email and decision during the renovation process. They perused samples and attended walk-throughs. “It was fun to watch them grow in confidence in their design abilities. They would show us colors that they liked and share ideas,” Ashley says. “To have the girls and their dad collaborate on their vision was fantastic. It was cool to see the artistic connection we all have.”

Clarke comments, “The entire project was the Greggs’ vision; we just ran it through our filter. Every room is different, but each is special and means something. There is a story behind everything.”

“Every room is different, but each is special and means something. There is a story behind everything.”

—Lori Clarke, interior designer

1. The kitchen’s layout was not changed during the home’s renovations. “We kept the original countertops but repainted all of the millwork,” says interior designer Lori Clarke. A matte mocha-colored tile backsplash “brings out the richness of the ceiling beams,” she adds. 2. The living room’s balance of masculine and feminine, angular and round, sleek and spirited, is representative of the Gregg family’s personalities and design sensibilities. “This is such an important space,” says Clarke. “You see it as soon as you enter the home.” Art, furnishings and accessories were selected to complement but not compete with the large stone Buddha head. Adding to the room’s sense of serenity is a contemporary painting that “has movement—but not too much. It’s just enough,” adds the designer. 3. This intimate corner of the master bedroom, complete with a pair of matching plush chaise longues and a pass-through stone fireplace, is one of Ashley’s favorite spots to read or meditate. The family’s Portuguese water dog, Andie, seems to agree. 4. The deep brown of the tray ceiling gradually lightens with each layer as it descends down to walls covered with a muted linen hue. Clean lines and classic touches, such as matching crystal chandeliers and a tufted headboard, give the bedroom a sense of timeless elegance. Large windows flood the room in soft, reflective light. 5. Homeowner Gary Gregg’s study reflects his love of contemporary style. It was important to him that the space include chairs and ottomans that allow his daughters to have comfortable spots to sit when hanging out with him. 6. The focus of the family room is comfort and togetherness. “We agreed that we didn’t need the extra element of stone in the original fireplace,” says Clarke. “So we covered it in stucco and added a custom-stained mantle that matches the ceiling beams.” Neutral textiles are accented with touches of navy.

In the formal living room, a large stone Buddha head is situated so that it is the first thing Ashley sees when she leaves her bedroom in the morning, a reminder of many treasured trips to India. Its rough, imperfect quality balances out the tailored white chairs and straight lines and shimmer of the crushed pearl-toned coffee table.

Navy-hued walls with deep gray undertones add energy to the traditional living and dining rooms, while linear chandeliers balance the arched doorways and niche. The cabinetry, painted in a soothing white tint so as not to demand attention, complements and contrasts with the home’s original dark-stained oak floors and coffered ceilings. Greenery in the form of succulents, orchids, sprays of pampas grass and protea wreaths lend a soft, natural feel here and throughout the house.

The once dark and heavy Tuscan-inspired kitchen and family room were updated with a bright, clean appearance. “We did simple cosmetic things in the kitchen to keep the integrity and the look of the home consistent,” Kraut notes. “We changed out the hood but kept the original moldings. A new backsplash was added to bring out the warm tones in the room, and we added fresh paint and hardware.”

In the family room, an ornate stone fireplace was replaced with a sleek, stucco version that gently curves toward the ceiling. The custom wood mantle was stained to match the room’s existing beams. Creamy white walls and comfy, flexible seating invites casual entertaining or family relaxation. Another favorite hangout is the cozy theater room, where the girls and Gary especially like to have film marathons. “With the recent spread of COVID-19, they’ve really enjoyed making use of the captive time for movie watching,” Ashley notes. “The room is also a prime spot for Sunday afternoon naps.”

For privacy, Ashley and Gary retire to their master suite. “It is my favorite space in the house,” Ashley exclaims. “It has such a great energy, and when we’re there, we feel as though we’re in a high-end hotel.” Entry to the room is through a vestibule featuring floating shelves arranged with treasures from abroad. It opens to a fireside seating area that boasts a striking painting of a nude by London-based artist Francisco Jose Jimenez and a pair of settees for reading or meditation.

The bedroom is warm and intimate, with custom colors that gradually dilute from each layer of the tray ceiling, to the chocolate tone reflected in the draperies, to a soft taupe color on the walls, tufted headboard and bed linens. A pair of crystal chandeliers that flank the bed are reflected in matching mirrors above the night stands, adding an undertone of glam to the calm, neutral setting.

1. French oak floors in a herringbone pattern delineate the master retreat’s entry vestibule, where a wet bar was removed and replaced by floating shelves that display family photographs and some of the couple’s most prized mementos. “We pick up pieces when we travel,” says homeowner Ashley Gregg. “Each item speaks to a specific trip.” The curves of an imitation horn armchair mimic the forms seen in the evocative painting above the fireplace. 2. A line drawing by Picasso graces a first-floor hallway. “It represents the personality of the homeowners and tells a story that inspired much of the interior’s design,” says Clarke. “The great thing about this family is that they stayed true to their heart for what they wanted for the space.”

“Gary, our painter and I worked for a long time to find the right rich brown,” says Clarke. “We kept the furniture lines clean and repeated the theme of the Jimenez painting in a series of small, framed nude sketches displayed above the dresser. The room has that wow factor—it’s a bit of Ashley’s playful side with gracious style that represents Gary.”

As their family matures and the Greggs approach life as empty nesters, the special spaces created just for them and their daughters take on new meaning.

“I really wanted to design an environment for the girls that was safe and peaceful for them to come home to,” Ashley explains. “Outside of these walls, you can’t control what the world throws at them, but inside you can create a beautiful, quiet environment. It has been amazing for them to be involved in something this big before the next major chapter of their lives. When they come home, they’re a part of every detail.”

Architect: Architrio LLC. Interior Designers: Lori Clarke and Summer Kraut, Lori Clarke Design.

For more information, see Sources.

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