A desert home takes a fabulous turn thanks to refined finishes and European antiquities.
Rustic patinas and refined shimmer transform a 1980s home into a neighborhood gem.
People, sunbeams, breezes, and chatter cheerfully spill between elegantly appointed interiors and poolside patios at this Paradise Valley, Arizona, home. Redesigned instead of razed, the updated 1980s home beautifully meets the needs of an empty-nester couple— encouraging their kids to visit regularly and issuing a lingerawhile invitation to all who enter.
The home has journeyed a ways since it was first viewed in 2014 by the couple and interior designer Laurel Pfannenstiel, who ushered in changes that complemented the home’s finer qualities while improving its lackluster ones. “We loved that you could see the front and back yards as you walked through,” Pfannenstiel says. “And we loved the light and the variations in ceiling heights, which created the feel of both cozy areas and grand spaces.”
To amplify those perceptions, Pfannenstiel opened interior doorways, replaced windows and doors with steel versions, installed gray-washed oak flooring, plastered walls, and used reclaimed boards and beams to add warmth. “We used our budget to introduce interesting architectural details,” Pfannenstiel says. “We created clean backdrops and spent money on things that make the home look like a jewel, inside and out.”
Sumptuous wallcoverings and textiles further the home’s design story, cued by the fashion sense and color preferences of her client. “She wanted sophisticated fabrics and sparks of glamour,” Pfannenstiel says. “She loves gray, which gave way to including pale blue and bright turquoise.”
Vibrant turquoise fabrics dazzle in the dining room; softer blues appear in textiles and cabinet finishes. Antique brass sconces, gold-leaf details on the kitchen island, and a band of bronze-color tiles on the master bath floor supply a sense of gentle age. Shimmer is also introduced through silverthreaded drapery fabrics, crystal chandeliers, and marble and mirrored surfaces.
It’s this mix of silver and gold, rustic and polished, and earthy neutrals and jewel-tone brights that ensures the home will stylishly endure, Pfannenstiel says. “The home is a beautiful blend of modern and antique. It’s friendly, sophisticated, graceful, and elegant—just like the homeowner. This home isn’t about trends—it’s a classic that will stand the test of time.”
“There’s nothing better than a mix of plaster, steel, and wood when you want to bring interest and warmth to a design.”
—INTERIOR DESIGNER LAUREL PFANNENSTIEL
This photo: Bluish-gray shutters found at an antiques store introduce a touch of rusticity to the master bath’s more formal marble surfaces. Antique-gold finishes—on door pulls and sconces—add old-world élan. Opposite: Lofty ceilings in the master bedroom are conquered in part by a 19th-century Italian carved headboard upholstered with Pierre Frey gold velvet. The window is flanked by a pair of wooden bibliothèques from France.
Turquoise velvet fabrics on antique Scandinavian side chairs and vintage French host chairs turn up the volume in the dining room. Interior designer Laurel Pfannenstiel enlarged the doorway between the dining area and kitchen to improve the home’s...