In Pine Canyon, Flagstaff, Arizona, the view from Jamie Middleton’s luxury cabin is straight down a fairway that leads the eye towards the landmark—and often snow-capped—San Francisco Peaks. At dusk, she’s often joined for cocktails by scores of elk, who graze calmly on the emerald green grass just yards away from her expansive back deck.
At dusk, she’s often joined for cocktails by scores of elk, who graze calmly on the emerald green grass just yards away from her expansive back deck.
The site’s natural (and cultivated) attributes are why the retired businesswoman chose to build a summer retreat on that exact spot, asking architect Mark Candelaria to design her 5,400-square-foot getaway so that it captured the best of living in the pine-scented, mountain locale.
“I love to golf, I love to cook, and I love to entertain,” Middleton said, referring to the parameters she gave to Candelaria for the design of the luxury cabin. “I also didn’t want a typical cabin or something contemporary. I was going for an elegant lodge look.”
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Known for his romantic approach to classic architectural motifs, Candelaria created a four-bedroom house inspired by mountain lodges. “I grew up in Colorado,” Candelaria, whose forte is estate homes, said. “That style is ingrained in me.”
The architect created a two-level plan for the half-acre site on the golf course, making the most of the site with a great room, dining area, kitchen and back deck that opens up onto the fairway and mountain views. With the master suite, office and one of the bedrooms also on the first level, Mark Candelaria placed a loft-style library and two additional bedrooms upstairs. Working with builder John Schultz, Candelaria detailed the home’s exterior with live-edge wood siding, stone accent walls, custom wrought iron touches and standing-seam copper roofing that patinas with age.
“The exterior isn’t perfect,” Candelaria said. “It’s a touch rustic and designed to withstand the snow loads during Flagstaff’s winter months.”
Inspired by cathedrals, as well as the tall pines of Arizona’s north country, Candelaria used a series of bowed Douglas fir trusses to create drama for the interior of the luxury cabin. High dormer windows between the beams help flood the rooms with natural light. A soaring stone fireplace in the great room, the library’s coffered ceiling, warm wood flooring and more custom wrought iron details add to the home’s graceful lodge style.
"I knew what I wanted—rich fabrics, comfortable chairs and beautiful woodwork.”
Middleton, who was a principal in the No Fear clothing company, initially worked with an interior designer, then finished the project herself. “I worked in the interior design field for many years,” she explained. “I knew what I wanted—rich fabrics, comfortable chairs and beautiful woodwork.”
Middleton collaborated with the architect and builder to enrich the luxury cabin with custom cabinetry and millwork in places such as the kitchen, where Middleton enjoys making dinner for friends and family (and where Mark Candelaria has been known to cook—a tradition he shares with many of his clients) and in the library, where the owner often plays cards with friends.
Personal touches also abound, including Middleton’s choice of tiles that look like hand-tooled leather for the powder room floor, an antique Mexican parade saddle displayed on the stair landing and a large clock in the dining room that was an antique store find.
Once the building process was complete, Middleton enjoyed the collaborative process with the architect and builder.
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“Mark Candelaria and I agreed on 99 percent of everything,” she said with a laugh. “However, he insisted on putting in a gated entry patio at the front of the house—for curb appeal—but I wanted a larger living room instead. He won that argument, and I have to eat my words because it’s the perfect place where I can sit and watch my new dog play safely, away from the elk and other animals.”
From spring through fall, Middleton finds herself relaxing in her Flagstaff luxury cabin. There are golf and card games to be played, dinners to cook and drinks to enjoy on the back deck, where the evening routine includes counting the elk (and sometimes deer), then watching the alpines color the mountains purple and pink.