At this North Scottsdale enclave, a new estate rises above.
Nestled in a saddle between two peaks, this modern home in Scottsdale, Arizona rises majestically from its rocky site to capture views of the desert and the lights of Phoenix in the distance. With its crisp architecture softened by arches and carved stone window surrounds, the residence pays a modern homage to classic Mediterranean styling. Inside, luxe finishes and custom furnishings balance a formal, European sensibility with an easy-breezy desert lifestyle.
The 12,000-square-foot, three-level house is a singular achievement by notable design/build talents—the husband-and-wife team of builder Anthony Salcito and interior designer Rebecca Salcito, architect Dale Gardon and landscape designer Jeff Berghoff—who have collaborated on more than 100 houses over the years.
The project, located in the Silverleaf community of North Scottsdale, began with Anthony Salcito, who in addition to building homes, offers concierge home maintenance services to owners of homes that he built—and those he did not. The latter was the case for a couple who hired him to take care of their spec home, also in the community.
“They bought the home, and it really didn’t work for them,” Anthony Salcito recalls. “They decided to build, and found a five-acre site not far from their old house.” Both builder and clients were captivated by the lot’s views, and, once Anthony Salcito and his construction team mapped out every rock, swale and ridge on the property, the project commenced.
“The clients wanted a lighter, brighter and more joyous house,” architect Gardon remembers. “The challenge was to surgically insert the house onto the site, which, with its steep drop-offs, only had about an acre of buildable land.”
Taking his cue from the Silverleaf community’s Mediterranean architectural traditions, Gardon was able to create a cleaner, more contemporary look by mixing both arched window openings with squared-off forms, using dark, flat concrete tiles for the roof rather than curving red clay pieces and specifying walls of smooth taupe stucco, accented by squared-off stone details.
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“This house marks an evolution for Silverleaf’s architecture,” Gardon notes. “It’s less fussy than typical Mediterranean design. I believe that it’s a modern interpretation of traditional estate architecture.”
Rising from a rubble stone plinth, the home seems rooted in the surrounding desert, with a main level encompassing the kitchen, great room, primary bedroom and view-grabbing bedrooms, while the lower level, which includes two guest bedrooms, opens onto the pool patio. An office with miles of views sits atop the primary bedroom.
“The great thing about this house was that we were able to include specific spaces for the clients—a music room, a place to do crafts and his-and-her offices—and still keep the open floor plan,” Anthony Salcito says. “By placing the house on a northeast-southwest axis, we were also able to keep the primary rooms filled with natural light all day long.”
Interior designer Rebecca Salcito developed an instant rapport with the clients, who trusted her instincts and decisions to make the home’s living spaces as magnificent as the site and architecture. “The project started with marble slabs we found, which we used for the kitchen,” Rebecca Salcito explains. “That set the color scheme of caramel, white and black. We also incorporated green and yellow gold into the mix.”
The theme was elegance, and Rebecca created a backdrop of European white oak flooring and walls adorned with Italian plaster, handcrafted wall coverings and detailed millwork. Carved marble fireplace surrounds from London add a stately touch, as do classic moldings, all juxtaposed with sleek, minimalist lacquer and anodized bronze kitchen cabinetry from Bulthaup. Lush furnishings with European sensibility anchor the rooms, while Alpaca wool draperies cool windows from the desert sun. “The clients were used to a traditional look,” Rebecca Salcito says, “but we broke away from that with transitional pieces in luxurious finishes.”
Eye-catching moments abound throughout the house. In the foyer, a gold-leaf paper-maché chandelier illuminates Artitalia Group flooring that bears a petal motif, done with marble, bronze and oak. The glass-rail staircase that links all three floors winds past a clear wine cabinet, crafted as a focal point and backdrop for a grand piano. Off the primary bedroom, the spa is set in a partially enclosed alcove, its arched windows offering desert views from within the soothing cauldron of swirling water.
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While the home is filled with dramatic interior spaces, it does live indoors to out, with covered balconies, a long stretch of pool that seems to hang above the desert floor and motorized window walls that open up to allow breezes and flow. Landscape designer Berghoff left most of the site as untouched Sonoran Desert, but added civilized elements in the forms of two lawn areas that link the pool with the home’s main level, crisply edged in shrubs and small trees. He also softened the motor court at the home’s entry with more trees and arid-region plantings that speak of Mediterranean climates.
Completed in 2021, the home is a pinnacle in the design/build team’s collaborations.
“This is one of the most special houses we have ever done,” Anthony Salcito says, summarizing the project. “It’s so personal for the clients, and, for us, it’s truly a testament to when a client trusts the team’s knowledge of design, right down to the details.”