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Carey Sweet | Photo: Dustin Revella Photography & Design | July 7, 2014
This Paradise Valley residence is anything but ordinary.
It’s not every home that boasts a crystal chandelier in the master bedroom closet. And certainly, it’s a rare residence that features custom, built-in dog beds in the laundry room, plus a custom cat bed crafted in the same fiery orange color that is a design statement throughout the house, from the front door to accent mirrors. And how many homeowners place a lounge with armchairs and a coffee table in their kitchen?
The last thing Patty Sellers wanted for her Paradise Valley estate was for it to be ordinary. After having won a bidding war among 20 potential buyers for her property in the Cheney neighborhood of Mummy Mountain last summer, she enlisted Scottsdale’s PHX Architecture to gut the existing structure and rebuild her dream home over a 10-month time frame.
Originally built in the mid-1950s, the residence had been renovated once before in the late ’80s by previous owners. Its bones were strong, and the exterior’s design was striking—boxy, clean and contemporary, with a swimming pool in front. “I almost fainted when I saw the views,” Sellers says. “The lot—it’s about 1.2 acres, and the house is on the back lot line—is elevated a bit before the hillside. It’s stunning in every direction, from the mountains, to North [Scottsdale] and South Scottsdale. And it was very modern, especially for the time it was built.”
But the inside was dated, with small baths and closets, and closed-off rooms that made it feel much smaller than its 3,200 square feet. So as a first order of business, the floor plan was opened up to offer a combined living, dining and family room flowing into an expansive kitchen with spacious all-natural stone countertops in marble and quartzite. A guest bath was also added, as was a large pantry and laundry area to double as sleeping quarters for the two family dachshunds and one cat.
“The biggest challenge was working within the traditional footprint,” says PHX Architecture principal and architect Scott Carson. “We weren’t expanding it, so we made it flow from inside to out. A traditional home stops at the exterior walls, but we opened the design to continue outdoors.”
Glass stretches all across the back walls, and new patios span three sides, with a walkway on the fourth, to celebrate those incredible, jaw-dropping views. The formerly tiny kitchen was enlarged and brightened with sliding windows leading to a marble bar that begins inside, then continues to the patio. The master bath showcases glass doors leading to a private courtyard with a luxe outdoor shower.
As the retired owner of LGE Design Build of Phoenix (her son, David Sellers, now operates the company), industry veteran Sellers also had some distinct ideas and opinions about how she wanted the interior design to feel. “I call it glam-modern,” she says of the dramatic look that pairs fluffy white shag rugs with chocolate-colored leather nailhead armchairs. “It combines contemporary with elegance and comfort. Doors and windows are trimmed in black, but then there are big, overstuffed, comfy couches. There are blacks and whites and gray and platinum, but then pops of orange. I wanted splash, something different.”
Indeed, the color scheme is immediately arresting, beginning with the brilliant orange front door that vividly contrasts with the white exterior. Touches of orange tie the entire home together, in fact—in the sleek sofa, throw pillows, accent wallpaper, mirrors, lamps, patio furniture, plant boxes and even the sleek cat chaise that’s property of her pampered feline, Charlie Tuna.
“Patty wanted a total departure from the traditional Southwestern homes she’d had previously,” says project manager and interior designer Erin Liston of Iconic Design Studio in Phoenix. “And since she had only a few sentimental pieces from before, we got to start with a blank slate. She did know she wanted her signature orange against neutral colors, and we went from there.”
There’s even orange in the showpiece master bedroom closet, in the trim on storage boxes set atop a marble cabinet. The entire scene resides beneath a glittering chandelier for an extra fun touch. The space is a personal luxury, Sellers admits, designed to cater to both her desires and the needs of her partner, Steven Connor.
But it’s the kitchen that wins Sellers’ heart. Rich, orange-tone wood floors glisten next to stainless steel appliances and white-gray marble, and an entire wall of glass French doors leads to her office. Instead of a table in the dining space, there are two curvaceous white armchairs for reading and relaxing.
Some of Sellers’ other favorite features are select accoutrements that survived from the original home, such as oversized moldings, which were refinished from their previous stain with a glossy paint. Doors were salvaged and repainted, and a tile wall in the entryway was restored.
Perhaps the most dramatic change from Sellers’ earlier traditional style is found in the attention-grabbing wallpaper, which appears throughout the home in numerous, eye-catching styles. “I love bold patterns, big backgrounds,” says Liston. “I don’t think you should be afraid of using expression, and Patty wasn’t.”