Modernist spec homes in the Greater Phoenix area usually have “safe” designs—lots of white, a few glass walls and all the amenities that the real estate market demands.
However, a recently built 7,100-square-foot spec home in Paradise Valley pushes the envelope with its minimalist design and narrower market focus. Created by a talented team that includes architect Erik Peterson, interior designer Meredith Smyth and landscape designer Jeff Berghoff, the residence has been dubbed the “Museum House” for its airy simplicity.
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“This house definitely has a bachelor pad vibe to it,” says Peterson, principal of Scottsdale-based PHX Architecture. “Because my firm also has an office in Beverly Hills, we’re seeing a lot of that look in the Los Angeles area, which we thought would translate well to Arizona.”
“This really isn’t designed as a family home,” echoes Smyth, who, along with Peterson, worked with developer Paramount Built and builder Sapanaro Development on the project. “I see the potential buyer as a super-entertainer, a super-host who’s well-traveled and throws large events.”
Presented with an empty, flat lot in a long-developed neighborhood, Peterson noted that the corner lot had mountain views on two sides but next-door views of a neighbor’s tennis court. “To get the views and maintain privacy, we reversed the plan,” Peterson explains. “The backyard faces the street, and the free-standing casita provides privacy. You drive around to the front.”
The architect designed an H-shaped plan for the luxurious Paradise Valley house, with an entry courtyard flanked by the garage and primary suite wings and the backyard anchored by a zen-like swimming pool. “The central core, which is the kitchen, dining and living areas, is pretty much all glass,” Peterson says.
“The glass walls and doors go up 13 feet high and have a very thin aluminum framing system that’s virtually invisible, which blurs the line between indoors and out. The natural light here is spectacular,” he says. Peterson went with bright white walls inside and out, something he could do in this setting as it was nestled into an established neighborhood and not on a desert lot, where blending into the landscape is necessary.
Inside, Phoenix interior designer Smyth of Smyth House played up the simple architecture with a well-edited choice of finishes, materials and millwork. “The look is clean and simple, but it’s also warm and hand-crafted,” she points out.
Flooring in the main spaces of this luxury Paradise Valley home is agglomerate marble, a terrazzo-like material that lends a subtle sheen to the setting, contrasted by the warmth of the kitchen’s rift-sawn white oak cabinetry. Hand-crafted concrete tiles clad the fireplace mass that separates the living and dining areas, while the high ceilings are clad in wood, adding an organic touch to the interior.
Chad Rothe, founder of Lightform, worked with the designer to conceptualize the sophisticated and modern lighting package. Known as a leader in lighting in the Valley, Rothe carefully selected signature lighting fixtures to offset the austere design of the home.
“We wanted some hero pieces to fine-tune the aesthetic with clean minimal lines to follow the architectural style of the home with unique pieces. The dining room suspension fixture was a favorite of Rothe’s from the Luke Lamp company. Those light pipes can come out of the ceiling to overlap the loops for a completely custom look,” he said.
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The open kitchen of this Paradise Valley luxury home is perhaps the piéce de résistance of the interior, featuring a generously sized, quartz-clad island and back counters, with windows overlooking a small courtyard marked by mid-century modern-style metal screens. “This kitchen has no upper cabinets,” says Smyth. “Everything seems hidden behind cabinetry doors, yet it’s fully functional. But the real workhorse is the large back kitchen, which has full-size appliances and a huge display cabinet for serving pieces that’s perfect for a caterer.”
Smyth staged the home with stylish furnishings that appear to be collected over time, mixing in touches of wood, stone and metal and choosing upholstered pieces with curvaceous lines as a counterpoint to the home’s rectilinear lines. For a glass-walled flexible room just off the main living area, Smyth chose to show it as a den. “This could easily be an office, too,” she remarks.
“This is not a ‘safe’ spec home that most developers would take on,” Peterson concludes. “We did narrow the scope of the market for most spec homes, but we are appealing to a sophisticated buyer.” The current listing price is $10.3 million.