Interior Designer Lissa Lee Hickman Creates a Custom Retreat High Atop a Luxe Condo Tower

By Nora Burba Trulsson | November 11, 2019 | Home & Real Estate

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Pale taupe, cream and silvery hues in the great room create a soothing setting and keep the focus on the views.

Inside the ninth-floor condo created by architect David Hovey, Jr., floor-to-ceiling windows perfectly frame views of the McDowell Mountains and provide glimpses of planes landing at the nearby Scottsdale airport. Balconies offer desert breezes and bird’s-eye views of the urban hubbub below. The backdrop inspired interior designer Lissa Lee Hickman to create a luxurious, tone-one-tone aerie that’s a calming setting for its owners.

The 3,100-square-foot, three-bedroom North Scottsdale residence was designed by Hickman for a couple, with adult children, who has vacationed in Scottsdale for years. “I did their previous home,” says Hickman, who opened her own firm in 2006. “They decided they didn’t want to maintain a big single-family house, so they were looking for a lock-and-leave condo.”

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The kitchen gets some sparkle from white lacquer and stainless steel cabinetry.

Donning hard hats, Hickman and the couple toured the condo tower when it was still under construction and opted to create a customized living space, combining three units into one. Hickman chose fixtures, materials and finishes that reflected the clients’ desire to have a vacation home that was serene and a breeze to maintain.

“One of the challenges we had with the condo was that the ceilings were 9 feet tall,” says Hickman, “and that didn’t leave us much room to install recessed lighting without losing the height.” She brought in lighting designer Kevin Flowers, who devised a 4-inch-deep floating soffit ceiling that could accept recessed lighting, chandeliers and other light fixtures throughout the unit.

Working with a backdrop of white oak flooring and pale walls, Hickman added numerous special touches to the interior, such as a quartzite slab fireplace surround for the great room, flanked by two custom white oak bookcases that display tomes and family treasures. The small dining area—the owners eat out a lot when they’re in town—is located in a niche that doubles as the wet bar, with custom oak cabinetry fabricated by Distinctive Custom Cabinetry. The kitchen’s waterfall-edge island includes stainless steel cabinetry, which is a cool contrast to the white lacquer cabinetry in the rest of the cooking space. Per the wife’s request, Hickman invoked penthouse glamour for the master bath, cladding walls and floors with marble tile in various sizes and patterns, and adding two crystal chandeliers for sparkle.

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From top: Marble and crystal chandeliers give the master bath a glam touch; a quartzite fireplace surround and white oak shelving give the great room a strong focal point.

Hickman used a cream, silver and pale taupe palette in choosing furnishings for the condo, suggesting softly rounded forms and plush upholstery for the living room’s seating area and comfortable, upholstered chairs that surround the wood dining table.

Hickman designed the master bedroom’s custom, upholstered platform bed to be fabricated in pieces and assembled on-site, so it could fit in the freight elevator. Silvery silk bedding and two simple wood nightstands complete the bedroom.

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Silk bedding adds a luxe touch to the master bedroom.

Bringing in all new artwork, Hickman balanced the space with pieces in quiet tones. That, and the drapery-free windows, keep the focus on the views out the windows—sunrise behind the McDowells and an alpine glow in the evening.

“Ultimately, the owners wanted a place that reminded them of coming to a spa retreat,” says Hickman. “It is, after all, their vacation getaway.”



Photography by: Werner Segarra