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Marni Elyse Katz


Joe Schmelzer


Paradise Valley, AZ

"The remarkable thing about this kitchen is the number of materials we used,” says designer Jamie Drake about the luxurious but functional kitchen of this Paradise Valley, Arizona, home. He ticks them off: Stone, walnut, lacquer, leather, porcelain, stainless steel. There’s color in there, too, in the form of a dramatic orange fridge. “The complexity is a visual delight; the more you look, the more you discover,” he adds.

Drake and his design partner, Caleb Anderson, used these materials and a palette of both hot and cool colors throughout the entirety of this newly constructed contemporary home, for which he specified every finish, fixture, and furnishing. “The scale and style are very different from the clients’ last home, which was more transitional, so we started from scratch,” he says.

Speaking of scale, the dramatic stone for the fireplace wall in the double-height living room—four slabs of book-matched Southern Cross onyx that soar 18-feet high—launched the design scheme. “The clients responded to very active slabs when we visited stone yards together,” Drake recalls. “There’s something spiritual about how the veining leads into the central portion of the expanse.”

Dramatic stone for the 18-foot fireplace wall in double-height living room is Southern Cross onyx.

The dramatic stone for the 18-foot fireplace wall in the double-height living room is Southern Cross onyx.

The tones found in the exterior landscape coalesced in the stone and inspired the overall color palette. “The grayed-out blue-green is the color of the scrub,” Drake explains. “We energized it with upbeat oranges and the vibrant orange-reds of Indian paintbrush, a native flower.”

Drake repeats the soft celadon shades often, using them as a foil for explosions of fervent color—the hot colors of the desert landscape. There are many circular motifs reminiscent of the moon and sun. For instance, a ceramic chandelier by Barnaby Barford is a fiery orb over the seating area, while gray-green circles formed by shifting, lava-like clouds float through the rug. The celestial energy bounces to the dining room, where an abstract painting by Dan Christensen holds an entire wall. “The painting’s circle is the blazing sun or the rising moon, depending on how you wish to see it,” Drake says.

Drake brings fire into the kitchen by wrapping the door of the Sub-Zero Designer Series Refrigerator in orange leather. (Sub-Zero Designer Series Freezer Drawers are tucked in the hidden pantry accessed through the glass door to the left of the fridge.) “The color pulls the eye across the island, and the black metal cabinetry recalls the exterior windows,” Drake says, noting that ebony metal chairs in the dining room do the same.

Terracotta tones continue on the outdoor patio and pool area, reflecting the glorious desert landscape

Terracotta tones continue on the outdoor patio and pool area, reflecting the glorious desert landscape.

Like the colors in the fireplace slab, the mix of colors in the African River marble of the island reiterates the local landscape. Drake bisected the enormous stone block with a swath of walnut edged in stainless steel. The polished metal trim ties to the two Wolf M Series Contemporary Stainless Ovens and the E Series Transitional Convection Steam Oven across from it.

The cooking zone is the kitchen’s secondary focal point. A large hood finished in celadon enamel hovers over a five-burner Wolf Contemporary Gas Cooktop set into a niche lined with sand-colored quartzite. Although the hood and the drawers below it are metal, the celadon cabinetry to the left is lacquered wood. “The eye always needs a place to rest, so we used white quartz and smooth cabinets in the corner,” Drake says.

Drinks are served at the wet bar, where a wall of channel-tufted faux suede sets off a crisp length of walnut cantilevered over an embossed leather base. An 86-bottle Sub-Zero Designer Series Wine Storage unit and ice maker encased in sleek, white lacquered wood cabinets stand to one side, and Apparatus double teardrop pendants flirt overhead. The palette is spare, and the effect is sexy and serene.

Cool tones of celadon mingle with bright accents of vibrant orange seen in textiles and artwork

Cool tones of celadon mingle with bright accents of vibrant orange seen in textiles and artwork.

Terracotta tones spill outdoors and travel up to the loft, where a triptych by Robert Kushner bursts with exuberant florals, beckoning those looking for a place to escape. On one end of the space, blackened steel doors open to an upper terrace. Beside it, an office with an orange and ivory desk doubles as a guest room thanks to a pair of coral-colored daybeds. Furnishings in desert hues make their way into the other second-floor guest suites too.

Back on the main level, the primary suite leans into green, with hints of purple in the artwork and pillows that echo colors in the triptych in the loft. Materials repeat, too, from the lacquered nightstands to the metal bench to the turquoise leather-wrapped desk. In the bath, Drake celebrates the owners' love of highly figured stone with a statement slab of onyx that resembles desert sand.

Primary bedroom suite leans into green, with hints of purple in the artwork and pillows that echo colors in the triptych in the loft

Under the pergola on the owners’ private patio, a freestanding shower pipe sprouts in front of a desert vista made of glass mosaic tiles. “We commissioned a mural of the glorious Arizona landscape as if the wall wasn’t there,” Drake says. “In a town named Paradise Valley, the lure of the desert is irresistible.”

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