Who’s doing what, where?

Above: Scottsdale-based Hydroscapes' Roger and Sheri Soares recently finished a diving pool with travertine coping, copper spillways and other water features. Interior Design | 10 Jan, 2014 |

Frank Aazami, of the Private Client Group, Russ Lyon I Sotheby’s International Realty, Scottsdale, says that the population of Maricopa County is growing much greater than the housing stock: “Given the unprecedented imbalance we now have between population growth and new homebuilding, be prepared for years of rising prices in front of us,” he says. “Likely is a surge in demand from both people and companies deciding to migrate from California. Compared to most of California, housing in Central Arizona is still ridiculously affordable even if interest rates were to double.”

And: “Nobody has a good track record of predicting mortgage interest rates, but in any case multiple studies have shown no significant statistical correlation between homes prices and interest rates. So when interest rates eventually rise, as they surely can only go in one direction, this is as likely to increase demand as it is to decrease it.”


Arizona Residential Architects (ARA), a network of 15 of the Valley’s finest residential architects, has announced the winners (and sponsors) of its second-annual Design Competition. All are from Tempe and have studied or are studying at Arizona State University. They are First Place, $5,000, Ryan Cook (Jon Summer, Cyber Sound); Second Place, $3,000, Nathan Leber (Art Zeroulias, AZ Custom Designs); Third Place, $1,000, Hunter Byrnes (Jamie Herzlinger, Jamie Herzlinger Interiors); Honorable Mention, $500; Dean Feldhausen (Eric Linthicum, Linthicum Construction Corporation); Honorable Mention, $500, Nhu Phan (Anita Lang, IMI Design); and Honorable Mention, $500, Skyler Mapes (Kevin Mooney, Woodcrest).

James Hann Design, AIA, has four projects under construction. One is a rustic 6,200-square-foot “cabin,” composed primarily reclaimed timbers in Pine Canyon, Flagstaff. Another is a lakeside cabin in Wisconsin for the daughter of a previous client. The third is a group of Craftsman-style bungalows. In addition to being in a style appropriate to Tempe, these are designed as a green project under the NAHB Emerald designation, Hann says. He is also nearing construction completion on a home in the “Tuscan Light” character at Desert Mountain. A design of a contemporary home, also in Desert Mountain, has also begun.

A Territorial-style adobe home, by Clint Miller, AIA, in North Scottsdale’s Whisper Rock Estates will celebrate the Craftsman movement of the early 1900s as well as later Southern California rambling ranch homes. The adobe supports all loads including the second floor. Other natural elements include native stone, which provides a structural base. “Both indigenous materials tie the dwelling to the land, while steel-forged metal anchors, classic two-piece tile roofing and heavy timber detailing create solidity for the casual rustic dwelling,” says the Scottsdale architect.

Wendell Burnette, AIA, is working on the design of Muratura 7, Scottsdale, the firm’s first multi-family housing project in the Valley just south of Old Town. “Tower  lofts step back from the street in order to simultaneously frame unobstructed views of the Valley floor, its distant mountain ranges including most proximately Camelback Mountain while at the same time opening onto private back yards with front door access and ‘eyes on the street,’” writes the Phoenix-based architect. “Each tower loft set within this garden retreat is a walled citadel of solid natural masonry specifically crafted to celebrate the ever-changing light, color and shadow of our native Sonoran Desert.”

Dale Gardon, AIA, LEED AP, describes his most recent designs in the Silverleaf and Paradise Valley areas as “clean and classic.” The latest homes by his Scottsdale-based Dale Gardon Design sometimes combine Modern or Contemporary interiors within traditional exteriors, such as one example built by Salcito Custom Homes, Scottsdale. The firm is also completing design of a 17,500-square-foot estate home, has completed a guest villa with a spa component for a home Gardon previously designed and is also under way with other remodels and new custom homes.

Brent Kendle, AIA, LEED AP, is working on custom homes in Desert Mountain, Fountain Hills and Peoria and designing several remodel/additions in Mountain Shadows Estates West in Paradise Valley and in Phoenix. A rammed-earth Modern-style home was recently featured in international design blogs and publications, and he is working on a design for the Grand at Papago Park Center, a 58-acre 3.3-million-square-foot mixed-use development along Loop 202 and Priest Road in Tempe. “The project includes relocation of the Grand Canal in order to weave it into the development as a central feature,” says the Scottsdale-based architect.

Interior designers

Ernesto Garcia, ASID, recently won an ASID Central Chapter award in the Universal Design category: “For this project, the client asked me for a home that ‘would reflect the possibilities of his life — and not the limitations,’” says the Phoenix-based interior designer. Another award, in the Elements category, was for a mirror which hangs in a Paradise Valley home owned by one of the country’s top neurosurgeons.

Scottsdale’s Janet Brooks, ASID, recently entered the Miele Call for Exceptional Kitchens national kitchen design competition, which was open to any designer, kitchen designer or architect who used Miele appliances in the design of a kitchen. Brooks’ highly awarded studio was named as one of the 10 national finalists.

Susan Hersker, ASID, and business partner Elaine Ryckman, Allied ASID, are working on new construction in Desert Mountain and Silverleaf as well as some kitchen and bath remodels. Trends in flooring and background materials? “Our clients are selecting lighter colors for their granite countertops. Blues, greens, and light-colored marble are very popular,” Hersker says.  Ryckman adds: “People are frequently choosing limestone tile flooring in light neutral colors and medium-toned hardwoods with smooth, not hewn or distressed finishes.”

Est Est Inc., Tony Sutton, owner, and Blake Sutton, director of operations, report that Est Est recently received an ASID Design Award for Residence under 3,500 square feet for a Scottsdale Waterfront home. The project designers for the Scottsdale-based design firm were Peggy Parker and Taylor Eastburn. “The client . . . desired a clean contemporary interior incorporating custom doors, built-in cabinetry units and influential artwork and accessories,” Parker explains. “The challenge was to make the transition from the client’s home of 45 years into the foundation of her future. We accomplished this goal with minimal footprint modifications and a selection of materials and furniture that inspired luxurious minimalism.”


La Casa Builders, Ron Steege and Tim Larson, principals of the Scottsdale-based company, is nearing completion on a 4,500-square-foot Midcentury-Modern home in the Village of Gambel Quail, Desert Mountain. The residence was designed by Taliesin graduate, Gustad Irani, and has qualified as a Green Residence with the city of Scottsdale’s pioneering Green Building Program.

Arizona Structures, the Gilbert-based general contracting company, led by partners Tom Monte and Dave Green, is completing two major renovation projects in collaboration with Phoenix architect Zach Shirk of Clarity Workshop. “We have found by working in concert with architects, designers and artists, we are able to take the client’s dream from ‘like’ to ‘love,’” Monte says. “Arizona Structures feels that all three are an integral part of the equation that equals success.”

Scottsdale’s Calvis Wyant Luxury Homes is finding that homebuyers are lightening up in their colors, tones, hues and shades for walls, cabinetry and home furnishings. “For so many years, we saw nothing but red-based browns. Now we’re seeing a shift to gray influences and taupes. These days we often use the ‘putty colors’ which are warm but lighter earth tones,” says Tony Calvis, company principal with Gary Wyant. He, notes, too, that many buyers are requesting more visible, rather than just structural, craftsmanship in the interiors: ceiling box beams and crown moldings, for example. “They’re looking for a design theme rooted in a historical style, such as Arts & Crafts or vintage Americana,” he says.


Mike Ferraro, principal of Scottsdale’s Phoenician Pools, is seeing more simplicity in natatorial designs: straight-lined, clean with all tile and all-glass-tile finishes. Other trends: “water and fire,” zero-, or vanishing-edge, rather than negative-edge pools, and more pools controllable through links to computers and cell phones. Residential salt-water pools can now have PH-balance sensors: “The system monitors the acid content and adds acid when it is needed,” says Ferraro who adds he is building most of his pools, many heated, in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Sedona.

Alyshaan Fine Rugs, in the Scottsdale Design Center, recently delivered a custom rug, 100 percent New Zealand wool on a cotton foundation, for a home by Scottsdale’s award-winning Angelica Henry Design. “This is a clean contemporary design done is subtle and soft tones, creating a very elegant sitting room,” says company representative Suzanne Daley.

Scottsdale-based Hydroscapes, Roger (II) and Sheri Soares, has recently finished a diving pool in Queen Creek with travertine coping, copper spillways and other water features, a Pebble Sheen interior, a bench area for reclining and in-pool seats and colored LED lights that can be set on one color or to rotate colors. The pool has a robotic pool cleaner, moving automatically or by remote to spot-clean areas. A cauldron becomes a wood fire pit to warm cool Valley nights. “Lighting and tropical landscaping give this project a very resort feel, with plenty of area for seating and entertaining,” Sheri says.

Larry Langhurst and Bernie Becker, Woodesign, Phoenix, recently made the Wall Street Journal. In July, the famed business daily noted how the “high-end cabinet designer” used beeswing eucalyptus on the sink cabinetry for a 15,000-square-foot home in Phoenix. The wood pattern resembles a magnified bee’s wing. Veneers were set side by side for a consistent pattern.

David M. Brown is a Valley freelance wirter. Learn more at azwriter.com.

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