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European Elegance Gets a 21st Century Upgrade

Against a backdrop of natural desert landscaping, this Mediterranean-style enclave is nestled into the mountains of North Scottsdale’s Silverleaf community.

A seasonal Scottsdale home combines a classic European aesthetic with high-tech touches.

By Niki D’Andrea | Photography by Art Holeman

Some homeowners prefer a vacation dwelling to be a place to escape the constant influx of modern technology, a comfortable place simply to relax. Others desire the most up-to-date amenities and design. For one North Scottsdale couple, their winter abode in the exclusive Silverleaf community is a stylish blend of both worlds. It features the hallmarks of a classical Mediterranean manse, but inside, it has one foot in the future.

1. In the foyer, polished stone flooring, crisp white walls and clean-lined furnishings are softened by graceful arches and rounded accessories, such as the spherical cage chandelier and custom hair-on-hide rug with a gentle wave pattern. The cool blue tones connect the interiors to the pool beyond. 2. An 11-foot-tall glass entry door flanked by floor-to-ceiling fenestration greets guests, whose eyes are immediately drawn through the space to the backyard and mountain views beyond. “You have an instant sense of open space, and then you’re invited into the house,” says architect Dale Gardon. 3. Contemporary meets rustic in the kitchen, where honed limestone, exposed fieldstone excavated from the site and wood beams counterbalance clean-lined, wire brushed oak cabinetry. 4. Simple touches of greenery, such as this bouquet of hydrangeas displayed on the circular dining table in a glass orb, enhance the subdued interiors. The chairs’ chenille-like fabric adds texture to the setting.

The overall design blends traditional elements, such as limestone floors and vaulted ceilings, with smart technology that allows the homeowners to control nearly everything in the house remotely. The pair, whose main residence is in Park City, Utah, wanted a space for entertaining friends and family that was both comfortable and cutting-edge.

“We were trying to go after a rustic charm that felt like it still had some warmth to it but with all of the modern amenities,” says the homeowner.
According to architect Dale Gardon, the 2-plus-acre lot’s location in the curve of Horseshoe Canyon lends itself to panoramic views, and his design takes advantage of that. “The house is kind of a bent boomerang shape because it feels the enclosure of the mountains behind it, while all of the interior spaces are oriented outward toward the landscape,” he explains. “This lot is special.”

The 7,500-square-foot residence was designed for indoor-outdoor entertaining and boasts a total of five bedrooms plus a theater, a game room, a view tower, an outdoor shower and an indoor/outdoor bar. “This type of bar was something new that we haven’t had before,” the homeowner says. “It’s nice. You can just open the windows to the exterior, and it’s very entertainment-friendly.”

Another ideal spot for gathering is the eight-seat theater featuring a 140-inch screen, one of the home’s many high-tech touches. State-of-the-art wireless automation systems allow the couple to control everything from lighting, solar screens and security cameras to the garage doors and temperature of the infinity-edge swimming pool from anywhere on the property. It’s a contemporary contrast to the wrought-iron balconies, window grilles, European-style courtyards and tile roofing that define its outward appearance.

“This house definitely has a modern-rustic feel to it,” says interior designer Rebecca Salcito. “In the bathrooms, we used marble, which is classic and pretty. It has a nice, timeless look. But we went modern in the kitchen. Contrasting dark and wood-tone cabinets are topped with a black stone with subtle veining, creating a minimalist effect, exactly what the couple wished for.

“We wanted an open floor plan with some exposed wood and richly hued cabinets, with great big windows to bring the outdoors in,” says the homeowner. Salcito adds, “The couple was looking for the color to come from their artwork. So, we really kept everything else very neutral, with earth tones throughout the house.”

“We were trying to go after a rustic charm that felt as though it still had some warmth to it but with the addition of modern amenities.”


The kitchen, dining and living areas flow together in an open floor plan, accented by a wine cellar that showcases the homeowners’ collection of global vintages. A floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace incorporates elements used on the exterior of the dwelling, enhancing the room’s indoor/outdoor feel. Contemporary steel-framed French doors open to a lush, European-style courtyard that’s bursting with Sonoran Desert flora.

Builder Anthony Salcito points out that Arizona’s indoor-outdoor lifestyle was a priority for his clients. On the back side of the dwelling, he designed a 50-foot-wide by 18-foot-deep covered patio that spans the kitchen, dining room and family room. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors run the length of the wall and slide completely open to merge the interiors with the exteriors. “It’s a fully shaded patio with misting fans to keep it cool in a warm season and heaters for warmth and coziness during the colder months,” he says. “It’s made for entertaining during the winter.”

“Guests are treated like kings and queens when they come to visit this property.”

—Dale Gardon, architect

From here, guests can look out over the perfectly planned grounds, where a manicured lawn blends with beds filled with verdant Sonoran greenery. Tucked-away courtyards bloom with lush desert-adapted plants, while native species flourish throughout the property. “The area on which the house is built has a slope of 20 feet. The challenge was to create a dramatic sense of arrival starting at the auto court,” landscape architect Jeff Berghoff explains. “In the backyard, we worked with the slope of the site to create level areas for entertaining.”

Because the couple love to host family and friends, they made sure that everyone has plenty of their own space, as well. As such, the second floor is designed as a private family zone with areas where guests can relax without feeling as though they are intruding.

“When the homeowners invite guests to stay, those folks will always feel very well accommodated,” Gardon remarks. “They’ll have wonderful access to not only the city views but also the rear yard through the lawn area, which includes direct access to the pool. They’re treated like kings and queens when they come to visit this property.”

1. Gardon surprised the homeowners with an exterior shower. “It’s a special treat to be able to rinse off with the mountains in the distance and the sunlight on your face,” he says. 2. The master bedroom reflects the low-key color scheme the owners desired, with warm and dark earth tones juxtaposed against white walls, large windows and vaulted ceilings. 3.  A tableau of illuminated artwork and earthy vessels accents a hallway. 4. Brushed oak cabinetry and gray Pietra marble flooring ground the master bathroom in organic warmth. The glittering chandelier reflects light from the outdoors and brings in a touch of glam.
1. Landscape architect Jeff Berghoff worked with the slope of the site to integrate multiple areas for entertaining. “On the pool deck terrace, you are greeted with a dramatic, three-sided negative-edge pool that overlooks the native desert and sunset views,” he says. 2. The 90-degree corner configuration of the indoor/outdoor bar was designed without a corner connecting post, providing unobstructed views and unfettered access. “It’s very entertainment friendly,” raves the homeowner.

Architect: Dale Gardon, Dale Gardon Design. Builder: Anthony Salcito, Salcito Custom Homes Ltd. Interior Designer: Rebecca Salcito, Salcito Custom Homes Ltd. Landscape designer: Jeff Berghoff, Berghoff Design Group.

For more information, see Sources.


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