Tour an Architect’s Sun-Drenched Family Home in Arcadia
Moving on a whim, a remote-working couple and their brood find a dream setup in Arcadia.
By Rebecca Kleinman | Photography by Austin LaRue Baker
Like many people during the pandemic, the Redzic family found themselves relocating to a completely different part of the world. Arizona was on the sunseekers’ list of possibilities, but so were California and Florida; they’d had enough of the dreary days and urban pace of their previous hometowns of Chicago and Paris. While visiting Phoenix, randomly the first stop on their where-shall-we-move-to-next tour, the shutdown happened. “So, Phoenix it was,” says Maya Redzic, pouring a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juicemade with oranges from her neighbor’s tree.
Foraging for citrus is just one of the reasons the family fell in love with their new home, a modern interpretation of Arcadia’s signature, farmhouse-inspired aesthetic. Maya, an accomplished architect and artist, her husband Ogi, chief digital officer and vice president for Caterpillar Inc., and their three young children, struck gold in finding a newly constructed, turnkey spec house that spoke to their sensibility and desire for loads of natural light. Its efficient layout and down-to-earth quality also worked for them—they lived on mattresses and bean bags for a stretch of time.
“The developer doesn’t just put something out there to sell. It has to live well through a choreography that flows for how and where you live,” says the residence’s architect Ben Nesbeitt. “We like to think that really good design is versatile and lives on as different owners reinterpret spaces; for example, how Maya turned what we envisioned as the rec room into a studio.”
With views of Camelback Mountain, Maya’s spacious sanctuary perched above the east wing is a far cry from her previous workspaces—her kids’ playrooms. Amid the clutter of architecture plans for her current commissions and easels, small-scale, multimedia artworks lay atop a large table in preparation for an upcoming Phoenix exhibition.
“Living here has changed my work. It’s calmer, and I incorporate natural materials that I find in the landscape,” says Maya, whose textural paintings and textile sculptures are displayed throughout the home.
Ample windows, even in the closets, make it easy to be inspired by the natural surroundings. They also allow for more angles of the mountain and slice at all levels, through ribbons along floors to reveal hummingbirds hovering on a flower, or beneath the kitchen cabinets for Maya to keep an eye on her children at play in the backyard.
Punctuating the façade like a giant exclamation point, the great room’s slender, sculptural fireplace is also flanked and backed with glass. It’s a clever welcoming effect.
“We thought it would be fun for guests to view a fire from outside as they walk up to the front door,” Nesbeitt says.
The vaulted great room with a simple scissor truss functions as the heart of the home. Whereas traditional farmhouses have the main home and outbuildings, Nesbeitt and associate Elizabeth Reiter, who researched modern farmhouses by Washington architect James Cutler and Minnesotan architects David Salmela and Vincent James, smushed everything together. The great room, or pavilion as they refer to it, is the main house; the wings on each side are sheds, and the patio areas are farmers’ wind-sheltered work zones. After paying their dues winter-wise, the family spends a lot of time outside watching movies on a big screen, toasting s’mores around the fire pit and tending veggie beds.
Large planters in Corten steel break up the variety of intentionally poured hardscape and Arcadia-friendly lawn. Landscape designer Marc Beyer is a proponent of massing, planting swaths of a single species, preferably hearty natives, for bold effect; he chose a feathery ornamental grass that sways in the wind. A towering saguaro became the obvious focal point, while new mature mesquite trees and an exotic jacaranda lend regionalism and a pop of tropical color, respectively. A corner lot presents certain challenges, or opportunities, as Beyer likes to see it, as well.
“Beyond thinking about how does the plant material and hardscape connect from space to space, we think about a site’s connection to the community,” he says.
Architects: Ben Nesbeitt and Elizabeth Reiter, Worksbureau Architecture + Interior Design + Planning, Phoenix, worksbureau.com. Developer/builder: Jordan Vasbinder, Vasbinder Development, Phoenix, vasbinderdevelopment.com. Contractor: Ron Barney, RD Enterprises, Gilbert, rdenterprisesaz.com. Landscape designer: Marc Beyer, Trueform Landscape Architecture Studio, Phoenix, trueformlas.com.
Exterior brick: interstatebrick.com.
Light pendants: sonnemanlight.com. Bar stools and dining table: designwithinreach.com.
Ottoman/coffee table: rh.com; Wool rug: westelm.com. Side chairs: crateandbarrel.com. Pouf: cb2.com.
Outdoor sofa, table and chairs: rh.com. Patio parasols: tuuci.com.
Bathtub: vandabaths.com. Light fixtures: bocci.com.
Beds: crateandbarrel.com; pbteens.com.