Desert retreat conjures up a certain set of colors: rich and ruddy earth tones, sunbaked clay, and gleaming golds. This palette is so inextricably linked with traditional Southwest decorating that most Americans could pluck burnt sienna and raw umber from the crayon box—but not most Canadians. “I don’t think we even knew the cliché colors of Arizona design,” says designer Lindsay Mens, a partner with the Toronto firm TOM Design Studio, laughing. She and senior designer Laura Fremont created this Arizona home for a couple who also have a summer house in Ontario.
A single site visit to the 3,500-square-foot residence, located just outside of Phoenix, kicked off the project. From that, Mens and Fremont identified a sweeping array of colors to employ. The clients wanted something light and contemporary, but Team TOM didn’t hedge too closely to safe—there’s lavender, terra-cotta, stormy blue-grays, and even eggplant in the mix.
“When you look out the window, that’s what you see,” Mens says. “The ocher color is from the sun, greens from the plant life, and even that deep purple, which you can see in the mountains.” The concept was to create a harmonious interior landscape that blends seamlessly with the view. And like the sculptural saguaro cactus and century plants outside, there are bold shapes in this space. The designers went big with lighting: “Lighting has a tendency to feel oversized when you’re reading the dimensions,” Fremont says. “But when you hang it in the space, it fills the void. It brings intimacy to a room, making it more inviting.”
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A room receives energy from the push-pull of silhouettes and scale. In many places, the decor is placed well above eye level. “We embraced the height and decorated it all the way through,” says Mens. “If you stop decorating at the typical eight feet, a space like this dining room would be too cavernous; you have to keep going for it to become warm and welcoming.” Beyond the grand gestures is a level of finish that contributes to the calm vibes inside, from shiplap walls to layered rugs. “That’s the secret to a cozy home,” says Fremont. “There isn’t a single inch that’s not addressed.”
Ceiling beams—purely decorative—were added to make the space feel warmer. Chairs: Space Copenhagen, Klaus. Table: Bettencourt Manor. Daybed: Perigold. Sofa: Lawson-Fenning. Bench: Atelier Arking. Rug: Elte.
Paneling adds texture without coming off heavy-handed. Paint: Revere Pewter, Benjamin Moore. Bed: Oly. Nightstand: Cocoon Furnishings. Mirror: South Hill Home. Bedding: RH. Lamps: Elte. Curtain fabric: Kravet.
A slender custom vanity features wood drawer fronts. Hardware: MYOH. Sconce: Kelly Wearstler. Mirror: Elte. Art: Rina Gottesman, Canvas Gallery. Chair: vintage, 1stDibs. Wall paint: Calm, Benjamin Moore.
A Wolf cooktop allows for utensil and pot drawers below. Pendants: Circa Lighting. Faucet: Rohl. Counter: Arabescato marble, Arizona Tile. Backsplash tile: Ann Sacks Tile & Stone. Counter stools: Palecek. Paint: China White (cabinetry) and White Dove (walls), both Benjamin Moore.
Cushy Lee Industries chairs fit comfortably around a pedest-al-style Ethnicraft table. Light fixture: Apparatus. Cabinets: Atelier Arking, with MYOH hardware. Curtain fabric: Tonic Living. Rug: Y&Co.
Purple hues play off the nearby mountains. Stools: Atelier Arking. Bed: Shoppe Amber Interiors. Pillow and coverlet fabrics: Studio Four NYC. Rug: Lulu and Georgia. Lamps: Pottery Barn. Nightstands: McGee & Co. Art: Celadon Art. Pendant: Palecek. Paint: Cloud Cover, Benjamin Moore.
Woven textures add an element of earthiness. Pendant: Made Goods. Chair: Palecek. Curtains: McLaurin & Piercy. Paint: Off-Black, Farrow & Ball (millwork) and Seapearl, Benjamin Moore (walls). Sconces: Circa Lighting. Art: Matt Suess. Desk and lamp: RH. Rug: Elte. Pillow: Lulu and Georgia.
With the Sonoran Desert just outside, the goal was to complement—not distract from—the view. Chandelier: Circa Lighting. Table: Worlds Away. Chairs: Artesia. Bench and pillow fabrics: Villa Nova. Paint: White Dove, Benjamin Moore.
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