Stumble upon this North Scottsdale lot surrounded by cacti in the Sonoran Desert and you’ll fall in love too. That’s just what happened when a West Coast couple visited the site in 2016 and decided to construct their dream family home. The couple brought in Anthony Salcito of Salcito Custom Homes for this ground-up build and local interior designer Holly Ogden, partner at Wiseman & Gale Interiors, to mastermind its interiors. Ogden had collaborated with the couple and their extended family for years, so there was a familiarity there. “The lot is really positioned at the perfect vantage point to view the mountains in the foreground and the valley below with no obstructed views,” says Ogden. “Positioning the house to best optimize these views was very important. The house feels grounded, but there are definitely moments where you feel like you’re floating as the mountains change colors around you with the rise and fall of the sun.”
The couple, who reside at the home with their two teenage daughters and many dogs, tasked the team with creating a comfortable, casual, quintessentially Arizona home that embraced the spectacular desert views and could accommodate their large extended family. “Creating a home and not just a house has always been at the top of the list of the owner’s directives,” says Ogden. “The end result had to reflect their family and lifestyle.”
The resulting home, built into the hillside, boasts 12,000 square feet of living space spread across five bedrooms, five bathrooms and three powder rooms. “There’s a sense of scale to this house that you’re always aware of and trying to get right,” says Ogden. The wife is a great cook and so a working kitchen that functioned well in addition to being beautiful was paramount. “The goal was to make sure the family was represented as a collective whole,” says Ogden. The interiors boast expansive rooms that feature gorgeous natural light streaming in alongside plaster walls and old beams. Terra-cotta roof tiles add a European aesthetic to the American retreat. “The ebb and flow between these spaces was very important to both the function and aesthetic of the house,” says Ogden. “We intentionally played with the restraint from room to room, pulling back almost to a minimal level in some areas and, at other times, going quite grand. The homeowners have an affinity for authentic materials so, with the help of Amy Johannsen and Studio Ressource, these were incorporated into the design from the early stages.”
The well-lived-in home isn’t a showpiece or ever too fussy or formal for its inhabitants. Plus, it’s filled with works of art and objects that the couple has sourced over the years which are very personal to them. Avid art and antiquities collectors, they also brought in works by notable Arizona artists like Bill Tull, Mayme Kratz, Nancy Tokar Miller and Carrie Marill in a nod to the house’s surroundings. The perfect blend of custom-made furniture, unique floor and wall coverings, special art and antiques and beautifully landscaped grounds (thanks to landscape architect Berghoff Design Group) have made this home a true desert oasis.