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European Elegance is Redefined in a Modern Mediterranean Arizona Home

photography by LISA ROMEREIN/OTTO

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Designed for family gatherings, this sophisticated home is a modern Mediterranean mix of old and new.

Located on the picturesque hillside of the McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale, Ariz., this luxurious residence echoes the timeless beauty of some of Spain and Italy’s most sumptuous villas. Conceived by architect Don Ziebell of Oz Architects, it captures the romance of rural modern Mediterranean home style with details borrowed from French Provençal design, and it is nothing less than breathtaking.

The exterior is classic European styling with a low-pitched roof with antique reclaimed terra cotta roof tiles, smooth cream-color stucco and elements of stone, wood and iron, all of which suit the Southwest setting

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A rustic vibe infused with soft hues characterizes this estate, as does its masterful mix of traditional and modern elements. “Don designed the house to fit into the natural desert environment,” says interior designer Inga Rehmann of Oz Architects. The exterior is classic European styling with a low-pitched roof with antique reclaimed terra cotta roof tiles, smooth cream-color stucco and elements of stone, wood and iron, all of which suit the Southwest setting. Its simple, steel-paned windows take on a more modern-day vibe.

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“Don and Inga presented a fresh take on Old World meets modern Mediterranean home style,” says Jeremy Meek, principal at Desert Star Construction, who built the residence. “Everything is lighter—from the color palette to the finishes to the furnishings. A lot of reclaimed attic boards found in old buildings in Europe as well as train boards and French oak were incorporated in the handcrafted doors and floors. You’ll also find reclaimed millwork, iron, limestone, brick and terra cotta, which all lend authenticity.

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“More than anything, the homeowners wanted the house to live well for the two of them as well as be a relaxing place for family and friends to gather,” says Meek. “They wanted the best of the best and quality and attention to detail would not be compromised.”

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While large in scale, this three-story modern Mediterranean home, with its multitude of outdoor living spaces, designed by Berghoff Design, and the rare Arizona basement, is elegant and cozy. Rehmann says it was configured following the quintessential European principle of transitioning between large open spaces, such as the high-ceilinged kitchen and family room, to smaller, more compressed areas, like the bedrooms and home offices. “The smaller spaces sometimes have quirky shapes, and every room feels unique,” she notes.

By going with a more neutral background, it allows the architecture and design to stand out,

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In this modern Mediterranean home, a neutral backdrop of white walls plays well into its European sensibility. “By going with a more neutral background, it allows the architecture and design to stand out,” Rehmann points out. “Textures then become very important, with reclaimed antique oak ceiling beams, DC Ranch stone and various furnishings becoming the standout features.”

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As in many homes, the kitchen is the favorite gathering spot. Its stone-clad walls, French limestone flooring, 17th-Century French tile backsplash and beautiful custom cabinetry exude farmhouse appeal. Adding to its quaintness is an all-glass double Dutch door that leads to the backyard, and a light-filled morning room with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooks a sparkling blue pool.

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While every room is special, there are several specialty spaces, including a cozy reading room with a fireplace, a master closet with library ladders to access out-of-reach storage, a full-size game room, a pétanque court (a French lawn game) and a basement wine cellar. In common European styling, the cellar was designed with a gravel floor, barrel brick ceiling, stone walls and custom built-ins for storing wine. A small table and chairs make wine tastings or small dinners intimate affairs at this modern Mediterranean home.

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Another unexpected space is what Rehmann refers to as the party barn, which actually is a garage with room for one car and outfitted with a large dining area. “This always surprises guests,” says the interior designer. With its reclaimed train-board floor, tall wood columns and wood plank ceiling hung with a pair of glass and iron chandeliers from Belgium, it is the ideal spot for overflow seating during holiday celebrations.

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At the request of the homeowners, this well-crafted modern Mediterranean-style home was designed with a high level of energy efficiency, adds Meek. “Geothermal heating and cooling technology are just one of the many sustainable features deployed in the home,” he points out. “While keeping the standards of LEED for Homes in mind, we were able to construct a house that conserves energy in regards to lighting, air quality and HVAC without compromising on the homeowners’ desire for tastefully sophisticated sustainable living.”

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It’s no wonder then that friends and family alike welcome the opportunity to spend time with the homeowners at this magical place where exquisite design and understated styling wake the senses and set the mood for making lasting memories.

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