Tag Archives: Paula Den Boer

Scottsdale Living Magazine Summer 2012, Photo: Dino Todd

DC Ranch Home Is Nimble, Flexible, Up To The Challenge Of Three Boys

The Yatkowski family uses every inch of their DC Ranch home — all 13,128 square feet of livable space.

Paul and Kari Yatkowski’s Southwest-Mediterranean-style two-level at DC Ranch in north Scottsdale includes five bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a five-car garage and a detached 602-square-foot casita with another bedroom and bath, which the couple generously opens for friends and family. An acre-plus wash-delineated lot, blending lush high desert and xeriscaping, privatizes them from neighbors and the golf course.

“They loved the location on a quiet cul-de-sac with great views of the mountains and city lights,” says Ron Steege, co-principal, with Tim Larson, of La Casa Builders, Scottsdale.
To complete the team, the Yatkowski’s selected Scottsdale architect David Dick, who had designed their former Ahwatukee home, and, for the interior design, Holly Ogden, ASID, of Wiseman and Gale Interiors, Scottsdale. Design and building required two years, and the family moved in July 2009.

West by Midwest

“We bought the lot and built here because we felt that this was as close to how we grew up,” says Kari, a native of Spearfish, S.D., famous for its gold-rush past, mining present and proximity to Mount Rushmore National Park. Similarly, Paul grew up in Winnipeg, Canada, before coming to the United States to play football for the University of Tennessee. “As you would expect, that creates some family rivalry,” says Kari, an Arizona State University graduate.

“We wanted the amenities of a master-planned community and the fabric of a traditional community,” she adds. “We wanted a home where the children can ride their bikes down the street and go to school with the same children they play football with.”

Married 10 years, they have three boys: twins and a high schooler from Kari’s first marriage. Also residing at the home are a half dozen dogs and cats, living the DC Ranch lifestyle with apparent satisfaction, enjoying designated feeding areas and siesta nooks: “I’d have a 100 animals if I could,” says Kari, who works closely with nonprofits supporting families with children and animal causes throughout the Valley.

The DC Ranch community provides them with hiking trails into the McDowell Mountain Preserve, neighborhood parks and amenities such as the Desert Center, an 8,000-square-foot facility on nine acres, including fitness rooms, heated pool, tennis, volleyball and basketball; and the Homestead Community Center, with a 7,000-square-foot facility, including the innovative Homestead Playhouse community theater. Nearby are the shops and restaurants of DC Ranch Marketplace.

Every year when the boys are off from school, they spend time in a second home in Colorado, but for most of this summer, Kari will be vernal social director, hoping to schedule activities at the house, the DC Ranch community centers and other Scottsdale-area activities.

“This will be our first summer here,” she notes, with a sigh. “What do you do with three boys for four summer months?” she continues with a big smile, looking out toward their backyard, which the La Casa team has fitted with a large pool, including an electric cover for safety and low maintenance, a heated pool bath/spa and a trampoline area. “Well, they do like to swim.”

A living home

Fortunately, how the Yatkowski’s designed their home provides many activity options beyond swimming and trampolining in the summer as well as in cooler times of the year. “We didn’t go into it to design our home according to a set theme or style,” says Kari, who works out of the home for Corporate Citizen, her consulting company that provides corporate-giving strategies to clients who want to align their businesses with nonprofits.
From her office, connected to Paul’s through a medial hallway, she also coordinates Haven Charitable Foundation, a family foundation established to assist nonprofits make wise and lasting changes.

“It was so much more important for us to program the home for our lifestyle, for the way we live every day,” she says. “I’ve been in some spectacular homes, but sometimes I don’t know how people can live in them with kids and dogs; they’re so fussy. For Paul and me and the kids, a home is for living.”

Modularity and scale are essential design elements. Although the home is large, it’s nimble, flexible, up to the challenge of a three-child (plus friends) home. “We didn’t want all high-vaulted ceilings, with a sense of immensity, so we decided early on to bring the home down to the Arizona lifestyle we wanted to enjoy,” she says.

“When it’s our little family, it feels it’s just our little family and nothing more, but when you have a big group and entertaining, we can activate spaces to make our home work for us and them,” she adds. “Everything seems connected here, rather than having wings spread out. It’s compartmentalized but open, too.

“Paul and I both come from Midwest environments, where all of the rooms are small, so we tried to blend the large overall imprint of the home with this concept,” explains Kari, who traveled to Arizona with her car and clothes two decades ago to attend a “warm-weather school.” From ASU, she graduated with a degree in supply chain management and followed with a successful corporate career until she had the twins.

For example, the foyer seamlessly leads to the great room, with this large space opening through collapsing walls to the outdoor hearth room, including a gas barbecue, a fireplace built into a support wall viewable from the foyer and seasonal heaters and misters. The pool area is conveniently off to the right.

“This is what living in Arizona is all about, and how La Casa builds homes,” says Steege, who was also born and educated in the Midwest and who chose to move to the Valley with his wife, Jennifer, because of the many attractions of the desert. “We always enjoy the opportunity to create a true indoor/outdoor lifestyle experience, and this home exemplifies that.”

Left of the elegantly finished foyer/great room is an expansive French-style kitchen, which opens through archways into a breakfast room on one side and, on the other, the formal dining room with an adjacent room built for Kari’s cherished dish collection. “This immediate kitchen area is the heart of where we live and is very comfortable,” she adds. She also regularly uses a walk-in cooler and walk-in pantry. “You can certainly live without a walk-in cooler, but it’s been so helpful with the family,” she says.

“Paul and I don’t formally entertain a lot, but we entertain informally often, so this area sets the tone very well for our casual lifestyle,” she adds. It’s often the area that gets used, too, by the children: “We’ve become the Kool-Aid stop for the neighborhood,” she explains, with a laugh. “So, after the games, after school, this is a popular place.”

In a similar spirit of connectedness, the boys’ playroom/TV room is off this central everyday locus; here, there are also areas for them to read and study. Just behind this are their rooms, to which Kari has allowed them to liberally place ASU Sun Devil and UT Volunteers peel-away decals on the walls — “They’re called Fatheads,” she says — which Paul paternally tolerates, with his University of Tennessee connection.

Upstairs is the older son’s home — more like a hotel suite, including a bedroom with a window niche daybed for buddies and a sitting room. On this level is also an enormous game room featuring a view deck, billiards table and multiple screens for watching Paul’s favorite teams simultaneously.

While Paul’s doing that on the second floor with friends, Kari can be showing a group of 15-year-olds a movie downstairs in the home theater and entertaining eight-year-olds with an afternoon Kool-Aid break at the kitchen island.
“We use every square inch,” she says.

A home that finishes well

Utilitarian in many ways — Kari: “It’s like a tank or a well-oiled machine” — the home also includes superlative materials, finishes and touches. Flooring in the living, master, dining, gallery, foyer and formal powder is walnut, and the two stairways to the second floor and its game room are reclaimed oak.

Throughout are French limestone fireplaces, hand-forged metal doors for the wine room and dish room, a hand-carved entry door and a handmade zinc bar top for the game room and details such as a hand-made leopard pattern carpet, by Stark, in the master bedroom closet.

She particularly enjoys the influences and textures of Provence and countryside France, and they appear throughout in artwork (a hotel guest registry along a corridor, for example), wallpapers, a powder room (“something girly for me”) and various niches, such as the daybed in the master bedroom bath, of which Paul once asked, “Why do we need this? What is it for?” “Because it’s pretty,” she told him.

Pretty, too, and eco-friendly are the reclaimed Douglas fir beams from old sawmills on the great room ceiling. Tim Larson traveled to Oregon to hand select them — a trademark service and resource of La Casa Builders exclusive to its homeowners.

“We first asked, ‘Should we patch the old bolt and nail holes?’ But we thought they’re not so rustic that you feel there are cobwebs,” she says. “And now, looking at them every day, they’re perfect — just the way they are.”


Photos of the Yatkowskis’ home:

Photo: Dino Todd Photo: Dino Todd Scottsdale Living Magazine Summer 2012, Photo: Dino Todd Scottsdale Living Magazine Summer 2012, Photo: Dino Todd Scottsdale Living Magazine Summer 2012, Photo: Dino Todd
Scottsdale Living Magazine Summer 2012, Photo: Dino Todd Scottsdale Living Magazine Summer 2012, Photo: Dino Todd Scottsdale Living Magazine Summer 2012, Photo: Dino Todd Scottsdale Living Magazine Summer 2012, Photo: Dino Todd Scottsdale Living Magazine Summer 2012, Photo: Dino Todd

Scottsdale Living Magazine Summer 2012

Choosing Art - Scottsdale Living Magazine Spring 2012

The Art Of Decorating: Complementing The Theme Of Your Home

The Art of Decorating: Choosing the perfect art piece to complement the theme of your home.


You can enhance the look of anything with the addition of an eye-catching conversation starter, whether it be a diamond necklace dangling from your neck or a work of art hanging on the wall of your living room.

But knowing what will appropriately — and stylishly — complement your look is the real task. Just as you wouldn’t wear every piece of jewelry you own at one time, the same goes for decorating your home with pieces of art.

With a plan in mind and a few tips from interior design experts, you’ll be able to turn heads and keep those eyes from rolling the next time your guests walk into your home.

Stick to a theme

Shopping, by most, can be considered the best part of decorating your home, but before you begin shopping, the first step is to think about the theme of your room and how you want to develop your space.

“The aspiring art connoisseur should think about how important they consider artwork to be in their overall design scheme,” says Krystyn Moroz, owner and principle designer of DTN Design Group.Keep a color scheme in mind — whether you’re taking more of a modern-inspired route or incorporating a vintage feel to the room. Designers agree to look at the surrounding colors and textures. If you notice a lot of patterns on your carpets, furniture and walls, look at solid-colored art pieces.Next, ask yourself where you should place the art. Look at the space you are decorating and determine what size fits best in that specific area. The art your purchase can’t be too large for the room. For instance, if the room you’ve chosen is a living room, don’t use pieces that block people from socializing, like placing a large vase on the table between couches.Also, avoid hanging one painting on each wall of the room, says Paula Den Boer, an interior designer with Ashley P Designs.

Den Boer adds that if you choose glass pieces, avoid placing them by windows; this will camouflage the glass art.

Once you’ve determined the theme, take a few photos of the room and bring them with you when you begin shopping. This will help prevent you from purchasing too many of the wrong items, including those that do not match the color scheme and/or those that will literally not fit.

5 tips when choosing an art piece:

1. Find something you love. Avoid purchasing art to please your guests; be sure you’re absolutely sold on it before you buy it.
2. Stick to a theme. Even if your personal style is an eclectic one, putting random pieces together does not always make the perfect match.
3. Experts agree that you should take a photo with you when you are shopping. It is easier to match colors and remember where everything is placed in your home.
4. Look at the sizes of your décor. If you find a piece too large or small for your room, it won’t add any value to your space.
5. Don’t agonize over the choice if you don’t want to. Consult a friend or an interior designer.

Where to shop ‘til you drop

You do not need to buy the most expensive Picasso to add a touch of elegance to your room. According to Moroz, you can find art just about anywhere.

“A diamond is a diamond whether you find it at a jewelry store or in the dirt at the side of the road,” Moroz says.

While great art pieces can be found in galleries or showrooms like Think Art in Scottsdale, art can also be found at thrift stores, flea markets, a garage sale or even at the mall. Or, for those avid online shoppers, try out Craigslist, Ebay, Etsy or many other online stores. Use your online resources to not only find the best deal, but also prevent driving around town.

Choosing Art

Scottsdale, and Phoenix, are also comprised of local artists and art fairs, f you want to find that unique, one-of-a-kind piece. First Friday Artwalk in Downtown Phoenix has more than 70 art galleries, venues and related spaces. You can have a night on the town and a shopping trip all at the same time.

On the hunt

While you’re on your artwork hunt, don’t feel limited as to what could be considered art. According to Moroz, it can be virtually anything.

“Paintings, sculptures, finely-crafted furniture, botanicals, accessories like vases or candles — all of these things and more comprise the vast universe of art,” Moroz says.

Art can also be both stylish and functional, such as an ottoman you can also use to store items or a painting that relaxes you. Also, a set of three same-scent candles of varying sizes can be just as relaxing.

Adding subtle things can help you develop a space. From a life-size portrait to a bowl of rose petals, find the right accent to give your home the style and coziness it needs.
Because, according to Den Boer, “A room without art is a room without warmth.”

For more information on choosing art for your home, visit:

Ashley P Designs
8150 N. 86th Pl., Scottsdale
(480) 367-1156
ashleypdesign.com

DTN Design Group
(480) 458-7700
dtndesign.com

Scottsdale Living Magazine Spring 2012