As we cruise into spring 2016, I wanted to share some thoughts on my last round (really—last round??) on being my own designer and client for a project in paradise valley. I recently finished a rather intense rebuild/restoration of a masonry hillside home designed by Ned Sawyer, originally completed in 1985. Four plus years ago, when I fell in love with the house and its very discrete setting into the north east slope of Mummy Mountain, I had a naïve impression of what it would take to restore and rebuild this project. (denial perhaps would be a better description of my psychological state when buying it). —one would think that, after more years of interior design work than I care to count, I could be realistic with my own budget and mission creep! But, not so much.
The house remodel is now complete, and I think that the restoration/update of the house does justice to the beauty of the original structure and siting by Ned. In terms of the updating to the design itself, I need to credit Susan Biegner of Beigner-Murph Architects, for some design assistance on building modifications and the addition of the pool. Brian Wieberg, in my own office, was instrumental in defining and drawing the vocabulary of design details for the house, which is especially rich and exacting in this project. Of course, all of the best laid plans on paper mean little without good execution in the field, and for that I owe a debt of gratitude to Stephan Mackos and John Annos from Mackos Construction. They were great stewards of the original building, and actually survived having a perfectionistic interior designer as a client! their attention to detail and commitment to the work was and is remarkable. Millwork for the house was designed largely in our office, and built by Woodesign and bulthaup Scottsdale. Those elements of fit and finish enhance and marry so beautifully to the building itself.
I am glad and proud that a uniquely good piece of modern architecture, from an era of building design that has not all had great staying power, has a new life! The great overarching logic and siting of the house by Ned, made a wonderful framework on which to add our interior details and finishes in. Many of the details that we have created over the years for our clients, have been revised and repurposed in this house project. I feel lucky to be able to now enjoy, not only the building and interiors, but most of all, the natural terrain of our mountain desert, which is what drew me out to Arizona now nearly 37 years ago!