ccording to interior designer Holly Ogden, a house with well-proportioned rooms is the best primer for timeless and tailored decor. When it came to a home in Arcadia by residential designer Alan Gorzynski, Ogden had a canvas with practically perfect scale. “The clients had specific ideas about square footage and not being wasteful,” she says. “Every space has great intention in terms of how it’s used. From an interior design standpoint, this allows us to keep things well-edited and simple.”
The homeowners, Nancy and Adam Millstein–a couple with two grown children–moved from northeast Scottsdale to Arcadia to be closer to the vibrant city center. “We wanted a change,” says Nancy, who is retired from mortgage banking, which continues to be her husband’s line of work. “This house is a three-minute bike ride to downtown, where all the shopping and restaurants are.” Still, there’s a feeling of being removed from the hustle and bustle, as the backyard faces Camelback Mountain. “This part of the city is very lush,” Nancy says. “There are rolling lawns and orange, grapefruit, pomegranate, fig and olive trees everywhere.”
Although the lot was idyllic, the existing home left something to be desired. “It was built in the 1950s, and the roof was caving in,” Nancy explains. “It wasn’t salvageable.” The couple cleared the parcel and commissioned Gorzynski to design a 5,500-square foot structure that would fit with the architectural fabric of the neighborhood. “You could call what we created a French look,” he says. “It’s soft-spoken and elegant.” Steeply pitched roofs, wood shutters and a low perimeter wall made of stacked Telluride stone mark the front elevation, which features bright, textured cladding. “The exterior siding is washed with white mortar and is a combination of stucco and reclaimed Chicago brick,” says general contractor Brett Brimley, who managed the construction.
While the faÃ§ade is reminiscent of something you might see in the French countryside, the interior displays a different aesthetic. “It’s a little more modern and clean,” Gorzynski says. There’s virtually no detailing or casework around the doors, walls or windows, which are framed with black aluminum for a minimalist look. The layout, however, is less straightforward. “It’s a meandering floor plan, which makes it more comfortable and interesting,” the residential designer says. “When things are perfectly centered or symmetrical, a home is stagnant.”
The fresh spaces gave Ogden a blank slate to create an equally elegant interior. “The house has a very warm, approachable feel,” she says. “Because there’s not a lot of color or pattern, I overemphasized texture.” Playing off the honed-limestone fireplace in the living room, she chose a sectional sofa wrapped in textured linen, wing chairs covered in black leather and a wood coffee table that references the space’s wood ceiling beams. “The different textures and finishes add layers,” she explains.
In the nearby dining room, she juxtaposed wood, leather and metal, outfitting the space with a cantilevered wenge-wood buffet, leather chairs, chrome chandeliers and a 14-foot-long walnut dining table–perfect for the clients, who love to entertain.
Throughout the home, furniture silhouettes combine classic and contemporary styles. “I like it when you love a room but can’t put your finger on what exactly makes it what it is,” Ogden says. “My goal is to look at an interior as a whole.” The living room’s wing chairs and collection of antique Chinese pottery are traditional, but the low-slung sectional and the coffee table have more of a modernist presence. And although the interior designer gave the entry a classic feel with a traditional-style settee and an oil portrait, she set a contemporary tone in the master suite by appointing a custom-upholstered bed with clean lines and an understated chaise lounge. “My clients wanted the master to feel like a chic city hotel,” she explains.
Outside, landscape designer Jeremy McVicars matched the grounds to the house using DC Ranch stone, iceberg roses, Little Ollie hedges and Bradford pear trees. “We created a nice mixture of formal plantings with more organic wall and paving materials to have a transitional relaxed feeling,” he says.
A fresh escape in a vibrant area, the Millsteins’ new home is a comfortable haven for the couple–not too big, not too small, but just right. “There’s a wonderful humanistic scale,” Ogden says. “This house is more about what we didn’t do as opposed to what we did. It’s thoughtful and restrained.”
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