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Luxury Living in Lake Havasu: Architectural Marvel by C.P. Drewett with Interiors by Mara Green

Architecture: Drewett Works

Interior Design: Mara Green Interiors

Photography: Dino Tonn

Luxury home in Lake Havasu hero

Dino Tonn

In Lake Havasu City, a new home marks a turning point in design.

Tricia and Scott Ward’s luxury home in Lake Havasu was designed by architect C.P. Drewett to be airy, light-filled and make the most of the surrounding dramatic views. With interior design handled by Mara Green, the house is a comfortable spot for the couple—principals of the building firm, Mountain Desert Development—and their two teenage children and an easy-breezy place for entertaining.

C.P. Drewett and Mara Green home backyard

However, the Wards’ abode isn’t in the usual backyard of Scottsdale-based Drewett and Green. Instead, their luxury home is in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, perched above the deep blue reservoir on the Colorado River and surrounded by the high Mojave Desert. The design of this Lake Havasu luxury home marks an inflection point for architecture in the lakeside community and reflects an elevation of style.

“Honestly, the only thing I knew about Lake Havasu is what I’d seen on MTV,” Drewett recalls with a laugh, referring to the lake’s annual spring break shenanigans immortalized on reality TV. “But when I got to the site, I was flabbergasted by not only the beauty of the lake, but of the surrounding mountains and desert.”

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The community’s roots go back to the 1930s, with the building of the Parker Dam downstream, creating the lake. In the 1960s, entrepreneur Robert McCulloch began developing Lake Havasu City on the eastern—Arizona—side of the lake. He famously imported the old London Bridge from England and had it rebuilt over a channel as a marketing tool and tourist attraction. In the ensuing decades, the town became known as Arizona’s “Riviera.” Lake Havasu is popular not only as a spring break destination, but as a second-home community for Southern Californians and snowbirds from the upper Midwest and Canada, who come for sun, water sports, golf and desert recreation. For many years, standard production homes were the housing choices, but as more people have discovered the lake lifestyle, custom homes have come into the marketplace.

This community is a turning point for Lake Havasu City.

With an established building business in Park City, Utah, the Wards came to Lake Havasu in 2002 to work on a few homes in a new subdivision. “We had no intention of spending years here,” Scott Ward remembers. “But a lot of houses later, we’re still here.” 

Several years ago, a new marina on the lake opened up, as did a new community called Havasu Riviera, located uphill, with spectacular views of the water. The Wards joined the community to build luxury homes there and opted to craft their own on one of the available lots.

This community is a turning point for Lake Havasu City,” Ward explains. “The developer wanted a higher level of architecture here.” After interviewing several architects, Scott and Tricia brought Drewett into the project. The architect not only designed their home, but is working on more than two dozen others and helped craft the community’s design guidelines.

“My challenge in designing Tricia and Scott’s house was that I wanted the plan to have a good living experience and capture the views,” Drewett recalls. “However, the lots are rather narrow, and in Lake Havasu City, everyone has a lot of boats and ‘toys,’ so they need larger garages, which take up a lot of space.”

Drewett rose to the challenge by creating a 4,000-square-foot plan that presents a blank face to the street, with an elevation taken up by a large—but architecturally handsome—garage, the entry shifted to the side of the house. The builder and architect were able to put in a second story for the primary suite and office by excavating down a few feet to meet the community’s height restrictions. In plan, the home also includes the living, dining and kitchen on the first floor, along with two bedrooms and a den.

Luxurious home in Lake Havasu, dining room

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Thanks to pocketing and stacking window walls, the entire back of the main level opens onto a pool patio and unobstructed views of the surrounding desert and lake below. A dramatic feature is the cantilevered, angular overhang that shades most of the glass. “I’m a sailboat junkie,” Drewett explains. “I love catamarans. Scott also likes to sail. This part of the house and its angles were inspired by French sailboat designs.”

Luxury Lake Havasu Home's backyard

Inside, interior designer Green—who has collaborated with Drewett on past projects—took her cues from the home’s pale plaster and limestone exterior and the beautiful setting to create an inviting contemporary setting for the Wards. “The Wards are an active, vibrant couple,” Green explains. “I wanted the interior to be a livable reflection of them.”

“I told Mara that we wanted the interior to complement the architecture,” Tricia Ward  recalls. “But we also wanted the look to be warm and inviting, not cold and sterile. I wanted the furniture to feel like you’re getting wrapped up in a soft blanket.”

Luxury home in Lake Havasu, bedroom

Working in neutral hues with a backdrop that included pale porcelain tile flooring on the main level and white oak for the upstairs, Green went with an understated, elegant approach that kept the focus on the desert and lake views. The interior designer employed layers and asymmetrical lines to add interest to each room, suggesting simple furnishings with a bit of heft to match the scale of the setting, mixing in wood and metals for definition.

I wanted the interior to be a livable reflection of them.

In the living room, a sofa, loveseat and two armchairs create a conversation area in front of the linear fireplace and television, while the dining room’s live-edge walnut slab table is illuminated by a dramatic chandelier. The kitchen’s rift-cut oak cabinetry adds warmth to the setting, accented by a veined quartzite-wrapped island.

Living room designed by interior designer Mara Green

The interior is further marked by several architectural details, including a cantilevered, glass-rail staircase that leads to the second level, and a steel, glass and wood wine display cabinet of Green’s design, which separates the entry from the dining room. “The wine display is meant to be a signature entry piece without taking away from the views,”Green says. “When it’s lit up at night, it glows.”

Wine cellar designed by Mara Green

Now that they have settled into their new abode, Tricia and Scott are savoring its modern design and the luxurious Lake Havasu lifestyle. “We’re shopping for a new boat,” Scott says, eyeing the marina a short distance away. “Socializing here is tying up your boat at the water’s edge and meeting friends for drinks or dinner at restaurants along the lake. At our house, the sunsets are spectacular because we face west and at night, we can see the lights of the London Bridge.”

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