Large pocket doors connect the guesthouse to the custom pool
This family home in Arcadia was designed to connect with the architectural spirit of the historic neighborhood, but also to be unique, fun, relaxed—and lived in.
Recalling the ancient Greeks’ vision of mountain contentment, the upscale Phoenix neighborhood south of Camelback Mountain was once citrus farms, which were followed by signature Arizona ranch homes on large parcels, many with the original trees.
The luminous polygonal shaped breakfast room adds a serene view into the cul-de-sac of the historic Arcadia neighborhood
Today, along Arcadia’s quiet streets, walkers, joggers and bike riders wave to and often stop to chat with their neighbors in renovated homes or new builds. Guided by this community lifestyle, the bungalow cottage transitional home was sited to engage the street activity, the adjacent homes and the landmark mountain while ensuring privacy for its family of five.
Completed in May 2017 on a 1⁄2-acre cul-de-sac lot by Scottsdale’s Santorini Homes, the 5,764-square- foot four-bedroom, 4 1/2-bath main house looks across to a 699-square-foot guest/pool/reading house featuring another bedroom and bathroom. A traditional 704-square-foot detached garage adds another two bays to the two in the main-house garage.
The bar features a retro ceiling from American Tin and Phillip Jeffries wallcovering
The original house that was torn down was a 1950s-vintage tract home, explains architect Mark Candelaria, AIA, whose Scottsdale-based Candelaria Design Associates is celebrating two decades this year. “The existing house was turned toward the cul-de-sac, missing the mountain views,” he explains. In addition, it did not welcome the neighborhood at the street level as the owners requested.
To ensure those views of the Phoenix area’s most famous mountain, the architect aligned the ridge peaks of the main and guesthouses with the pinnacle of Camelback Mountain. As a result, the guesthouse, situated on the north side of the pool and spa, blocks homes behind it. For the owners and their guests, the result is beauty, not clutter.
After entering the foyer on the west, you immediately look to the left through the vaulted great room and its floor-to-ceiling doors and transoms, then up the steps of the covered patio to the pool, the guesthouse and the mountain. The home immediately reveals itself: You look through it, then outside and triumphantly up to the peak.
A pair of custom powder-coated chandeliers from Visual Comfort hang above the kitchen island and countertops
“We all knew we wanted to preserve the beautiful view of Camelback Mountain, and Mark did a fantastic job planning the house to all focus on our view,” the husband says. During the approximately two-year design-build, Candelaria was assisted by Vivian Ayala, a partner at the firm; and Hector Medina, its artistic director.
Completing the project team was the Phoenix-based interior design firm, Arcadia Design Studio, led by Kim Anderson, assisted by Elizabeth (Imbornoni) Hamill, who is now leading Elizabeth Hamill Interiors, also in Phoenix.
“The client wanted to incorporate color and family- friendly finishes throughout so their focus could be on entertaining with family and friends,” Hamill says.
In the great room, for example, she and Anderson used neutral tones on the beams and trusses and walls, and then added color, such as the upholstery fabric prints. In the adjacent kitchen, she adds, “mixing bold colors and patterns in fabrics to teal powder-coated lanterns above the island and finishing with colorful window treatments in the adjacent breakfast nook provided the fun and unique style the clients were looking for.”
The great room centers on a fireplace surrounded in Carrara marble by The Stone Collection
To connect with the community, an open courtyard with a water feature and fire pit extends from the covered entry. “Now, the front of the home embraces the neighborhood,” Candelaria explains, noting that the grade for the courtyard was built up to avoid car headlights. This area steps down to the pavement and the street.
“Both owners come from close-knit families, and they do spend a lot of time together around the fire pit and the fountain with families and friends,” says John Sebald, founder and president of Santorini Homes, who is also a longtime family friend and a neighbor doors away.
Alongside this, a traditional “Hollywood driveway,” with pavers for the car tires and grass between, leads to the detached garage—both retro details connecting the home to an area with more than a century of residential history. Beside the driveway is another element connecting with the community: The hexagonal breakfast room offers panoramic views to the front yard; this is illuminated with three layers of windows topped by those in the traditional cupola. Candelaria calls this nook “our lantern,” a lighthouse directing owners and visitors to the comfort of home. “I love the nook because we eat dinner in there most nights. It has an intimate feel where we can have good family conversation,” the wife says.
The resplendent master bathroom symmetrically aligns with his-and-hers vanities leading to a niched tub supplied by Clyde Hardware in Phoenix
In addition to views and neighborhood engagement, the owners wanted to avoid overbuilding. “I wanted a home, not a house,” says the wife, who notes that, after 16 years in their former home, she was apprehensive about the move. “I was worried about having a monstrosity of a house that was unused.”
The result, Candelaria notes, is a right- size home: “In a word, it says ‘family.’”
As regular entertainers, the owners also wanted their home to flex for that. Central to this is its configuration into three areas: a master suite that connects to the husband’s office inside and a Zen garden outside; a children’s wing, with one bedroom including a hangout loft accessed by a ladder, and three en suite bathrooms; and a central play area adjacent to the living and great room.
“We finished the spaces to feel connected, but also to provide more intimate spaces for smaller groups to gather within the overall open floor plan,” Hamill explains.
The front courtyard opens out to the street, greeting neighbors in traditional style
A focal-point bar with a retro tin ceiling and a countertop finished in pewter and zinc centers this fun spot, opening to an outside serving/sitting area through sliding windows, making it the “go-to” area for parties. Because this is a place where the couple welcomes visitors, Hamill and Anderson chose the living zinc finish. “Selecting a living finish allows the material to patina over time, creating a charm you can’t factory- produce,” she says. “The goal was for every glass ring left on the bar top to be a story and a memory.”
Next to this is a pool table room, and outside beyond another covered patio is the sport court. The detached garage incorporates an exterior barn door that opens to the backyard for partying, Candelaria explains.
Two years after moving in, the couple agree that the home is just right: “It satisfies all of our family needs and wants,” the husband says. “We utilize every inch of this house, and it has already provided us with many memories,” says the wife. For him, “It still feels like we are on vacation when we return to our home.” And, for her, once so wary of moving: “Everything was designed just the way we wanted. I feel like we have lived here forever.”
Photography by: Julianne Palmer / Pearl Blossom Photography