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Timeless Elegance in a Storied Arizona Home
Leaving no detail unattended, a design team builds a relaxed European-style estate that’s perfectly at home in an old neighborhood.
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After 15 years of friendship and decorating five houses with her clients, interior designer April Lozevski knew without asking that a sense of history infused with a spirit of welcome would top their wish list for the new house they planned to build on a storied lot in an old neighborhood of Scottsdale, Arizona. “The owners desired the perfect blend of timeless elegance, relaxed comfort, and modern convenience,” she says.
The sensibility of something new anchored in the past served as a mantra for Lozevski, architect Jim Blochberger, and landscape designer Jeff Berghoff as they crafted the renaissance of the 2½-acre property, which was once an olive grove, then a horse farm, and is now the happy, boisterous home of a family with four teenagers, four dogs, a rabbit, and eight chickens.
Mature pear, oak, and crape myrtle trees lend an established feel to the new home.
Photography: Werner Segarra
Produced by: Jessica Brinkert Holtam
Architect: Jim Blochberger, Blochberger Design, 5440 N. 46th Place, Phoenix, AZ 85018; 602/692-9081; blochbergerdesign.com.
Interior designer: April M. Lozevski, Avril Interiors, 4314 E. Pinchot Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85018; 602/952-7055; avrilinteriors.com.
Landscape designer: Jeff Berghoff, Berghoff Design Group, 7000 E. McDowell Rd., Suite 100, Scottsdale, AZ 85257; 480/481-3433; berghoffdesign.com.
Master gardener: Marsha Friel, Dreamscape Garden Design, 3438 E. Charleston Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85032; 602/309-2110
Pretty Living Room
“Our design plan was to create a casual country French-style home that would fit a neighborhood with old roots,” Berghoff says. “To foster that feel, we installed historic cobblestones from Belgium so your car rumbles as it comes through the main gate and drives between an alley of oak trees. Anticipation builds and gets better and better as you approach the front door.”
Heirloom bergères re-covered in French toile and checks cozy up to a limestone fireplace in the living room. French doors bookend both sides of the room, providing easy access to front courtyard and backyard seating destinations.
Authentic details, such as a steeply pitched shingled roof, copper chimney caps, and sun-washed straw-color plaster, immediately transport visitors. But it’s the little things, often unseen yet felt, that distinguish the home. One-foot-thick walls, stained wood windows, mahogany doors, and paths lined by bricks salvaged from old buildings contribute to a sense of architectural timelessness.
A carved and gilded mirror and linen-upholstered sofa sweeten the view in a passageway connecting the entry and living room to the kitchen. “We mixed English and Swedish pieces with French ones and Czech family heirlooms throughout the house to create a collected look,” interior designer April Lozevski says.
Country French Kitchen
Fragrant plants, such as lavender and roses, are clustered around walkways, so approaching the home is a multisensory experience. “Every detail was considered to ensure the home felt welcoming and approachable,” Blochberger says.
Antique reproduction lanterns in the kitchen illuminate an iroko butcher-block island top.
Blochberger’s plans called for a house that—at 14,000 square feet—would live large enough for parties but still be intimate and gracious for the family’s everyday life. “It’s a large home, but it doesn’t feel that way,” he says.
Walnut floorboards laid in an X pattern echo the breakfast room’s groined vault ceiling.
Glamorous Dining Room
“Rooms are sectioned and defined in a European style, rather than open-plan and rambling," Blochberger says. "Spaces are not overscaled for when the family is just eating breakfast together in the kitchen. But when they are entertaining, people can flow in and out of the house.”
Muslin-covered dining chairs feature burlap backs, which are casual notes meant to balance the elegant pearlized ceiling and crystal chandelier. The oak table wears a pickled finish that blends with the off-white colors throughout the home and lends that sense of history.
Creating comfort in beautiful fashion throughout the interiors was paramount. “We researched and collected images of French country houses that felt relaxed and romantic,” Lozevski says.
Leaded-glass windows add instant age to a home office, where a damask-pattern wallpaper whispers of romance.
The homeowners have long been passionate about country French style, and their previous home was also country French inspired, with the look carried out in Provençal reds and greens. “This time, they wanted the home to be calming, so we cooled the palette,” Lozevski says. “The household is bustling with activity. Family life can get rambunctious, and they wanted a house that inspires serenity.”
Flouncy iron hardware and pale blue-green cabinet paint, sanded and rubbed to appear weathered, lend rustic charm to the laundry.
To that end, upholstered pieces are covered in natural linen, muslin, and burlap; beams overhead wear antiqued glazes; and wood trim is painted warm white. The walls are a luxe parchment color, achieved with a Venetian plaster technique. “The plaster is mixed with marble dust, producing soft movement in the surface,” Lozevski says. “It’s burnished with wax polish to create highlights and lowlights.”
Rather than make a grand statement, the stairway curves up and away—a low-key but alluring design element the homeowners love.
Yet nowhere does the house feel stuffy or formal. Family heirlooms, such as the mahogany piano in the entrance, add personal meaning, with fabric and finish choices softening the ambience. “The owners like antiques, but only if they’re simple with a weathered look,” Lozevski says.
In the master bedroom, a corona draws the eye to flirty linens in white, ivory, and cream.
Grass cloth woven with silver thread echoes the sparkle of crystal light fixtures in the master bath.
Layered finishes and glazes on woods, rather than one-dimensional stains, help achieve the effect of being aged by time and the sun. Traditional checks and florals relax with their country vibe.
Banded linen draperies puddle ever so slightly in the master bedroom, perfectly framing a gilded writing desk.
Loggias and courtyards, which are tucked around every curve of the home, add another 6,000 square feet of living area and open the house up to light as well as Arizona’s warm climate. Lozevski furnished each outdoor room with comfort in mind. “We chose seating pieces with big squishy cushions and sturdy French iron frames,” she says.
Cushy chairs invite gathering on the loggia just off the living room, where a television is hidden behind mahogany doors.
The loggia off the family room hosts a potting bench, complete with a copper sink and a shuttered window adorned with an antique reproduction iron grille.
“Built-in heaters warm the cool nights, and large ceiling fans move hot air during the day," Lozevski says. "Bifold doors can be opened up, blurring the line between indoor and outdoor spaces.”
Doors from the kitchen and breakfast room lead out to a casual alfresco dining area lined with pea gravel.
A vintage iron bistro set pairs with a fountain to form an inviting pocket garden—one of many tucked around the house to provide enticing views from inside and out.
Beautiful Back Yard
“This home is well lived in,” Lozevski says. “It’s a family home—there are always dogs and kids running past. Nothing is too precious to enjoy.”
Berghoff snuck the pool between decades-old olive trees. “It’s dreamy to have trees like this on your property,” he says. “They speak to the history of the land.”